Trivia / Jaws

The novel:

  • Creator Backlash: During interviews later in his career, Peter Benchley claimed he came to regret writing the novel when he learned about the growing worldwide fear of sharks, and he felt his book and its film version had led to massive shark overfishing that was driving several species close to extinction. He became a vocal ocean conservation activist to make up for it, and remained so until his death. His later book The Beast even features the hero ranting in his head about how much damage the film has done.
  • Old Shame: The movie's popularity turned the book into this for Peter Benchley. The movie set off a wave of paranoia about going to the beach as well as a renewed spate of shark-hunting that drove various species almost to the point of extinction. Benchley lamented that he would never have written the book had he actually known anything about sharks and that they weren't like the monster about which he had written.
  • Working Title: The Stillness in the Water, Leviathan Rising, The Jaws of Death and The Jaws of Leviathan.

The film:

  • AFI's 100 Years... Series:
  • Approval of God: Peter Benchley liked how cutting the subplots allowed for the characters to be fleshed out properly.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!:
    • It's "You're gonna need a bigger boat", not "We're".
    • And it's "This is not a boat accident!", not "This was no boating accident!"
  • Defictionalization: In 2010 when the Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheik experienced killer shark attacks it pretty much used the plot of Jaws as its guide, including denying the problem, resisting closing the beaches, reluctantly closing them after a near shore attack, killing the wrong shark and declaring it the right one despite clear evidence to the contrary, re-opening the beaches with a fanfare declaring them safe, then having more attacks take place. After that the shark simply left of its own accord, perhaps it was Genre Savvy enough to know what came next in film.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Initially, they weren't getting the reaction shot Spielberg wanted from Susan Backlinie when the shark first grabs Chrissie, so they did a take where they didn't tell her when it was going to happen. That's the take that went into the movie.
    • An inadvertent example—the attack on Chrissie is simulated by having her pulled to and fro by ropes tethered to her torso. Unfortunately, one of the ropes was pulled too hard, breaking a rib. Those screams of pain and terror are real.
  • Fake American: Quint is played by Lancashire-born Robert Shaw.
  • Fan Nickname: Due to the first shark's Production Nickname, the later sharks are usually called "Bruce (sequel number)" or something along those lines. The baby shark in the third movie also tends to be called Bruce Jr. to distinguish it from its parent.
  • Follow the Leader: The Summer Blockbuster and "giant dangerous animal" movies were all inspired by this film.
  • Life Imitates Art: Beach attendance dropped sharply for the summer of 1975.
  • Production Nickname: Bruce for the first shark. Spielberg himself called it Great White Turd due to its breakdowns.
  • Real-Life Relative: Lorraine Gary (Ellen Brody's actress) is the wife of Sidney Sheinberg, who was Universal's president at the time.
  • The Red Stapler: Inverted. Beach attendance dropped significantly after this movie.
  • Science Marches On: Much more has been learned about shark behavior since 1975. As a consequence, most of the theories Hooper voices, believed to be valid at the time, have since been disproven.
    • At the time the general conception really was that great white sharks are "mindless eating machines". It has since been proven that great whites have a complex social hierarchy, distinctive personalities, and definitely a capacity for learning and rudimentary reasoning.
  • Serendipity Writes the Plot:
    • There were problems with getting the mechanical shark to work, forcing the creators to turn it into mostly The Unseen.
    • Quint's Indianapolis speech was only recorded because the crew was waiting around for "Bruce" to be repaired, so Spielberg added more dialogue to keep from wasting so much shooting-time. It wound up being the dramatic high point of the film.
    • Hooper was Spared by the Adaptation because when shooting scenes with actual sharks in Australia, there was that great take of the shark rolling on top of an shark cage - but it was empty (the stuntman had fled for his life).
  • Throw It In:
    • Roy Scheider ad-libbed the famous "You're gonna need a bigger boat." line.
    • The shooting star that appears as Brody loads his revolver on the boat is real, not something added in post-production.
    • The footage of the Shark rolling on top of the shark cage wasn't planned, but it was considered far too awesome not to use. This lead to Hooper surviving, since he wasn't in the shot.
    • The entirety of the Indianapolis speech was written by Robert Shaw, who felt that Quint needed a motivation for his quest. Its inclusion in the final film is only because yet another shark shot failed.
    • "The Body of Mary Lee" poem was thrown in by Robert Shaw. When the producers asked who wrote it so that they could be sure to get the rights, Shaw assured them the rights wouldn't be an issue: he'd found it on an old tombstone in Ireland.
  • Troubled Production: An unusual case; it seems that the more troubled the production of each film was, the better it turned out. The original film barely even got made at all due to the numerous troubles they had with the weather and the mechanical shark, yet is easily the best of the series. The second had a massively problematic start, but things eventually smoothed out during filming, and it ended up a decent film. The third's production problems were mostly limited to the challenges of working in 3-D, and the resulting film was... pretty bad. The Revenge had the smoothest production of all the Jaws films by far — and yet it ended up the absolute worst film.
  • What Could Have Been: Spielberg's first choice to play Quint was Lee Marvin.
  • Written by Cast Member:
    • Carl Gottlieb, who plays newspaper editor Meadows, is one of the credited screenwriters and responsible for most of the shooting script.
    • Robert Shaw himself made a significant contribution to the Indianapolis speech.

The ride:

  • The Danza: All of the skippers' names are what the actual team members' names are.
  • Executive Veto: When Halloween Horror Nights returned to the Studios park in 2006, the ride's skippers put together their own script that was more profane and violence-based that they hoped they would be able to use during the event nights. When the employees presented the script to the resort's higher-ups, they rejected it and forced them to stick to the regular script for reasons unknown.
  • Throw It In: The skipper sometimes will make a slight change to their spiel to poke fun at the reactions of the riders, and there are situations where the skipper will be forced to due some improvising, such as if they accidentally drop the grenade launcher into the water. note 
  • Troubled Production: A rather serious case, as the ride was essentially non-functional when it first opened. It had to be completely shut down and reworked entirely, and it took three years for the ride to finally be opened up again. Universal even sued the people who manufactured the original version of the ride.