On the 20th June 1975 a film called Jaws would open. It would break box office records and cement its place in history, creating the now normal release of the summer movie blockbuster.
The film is without a shadow of a doubt my favourite movie of all time and I can honestly say that whilst I adore many other films, nothing has given me as many memories as Jaws has
I can even remember the first time I saw it. On it’s ITV premiere of October 8th 1981 after swimming club, where I was one of the 23.25 million who tuned in with my family. The day also happens to be my brother’s birthday so I never forget it, because obviously I want to celebrate when I first watched Jaws don’t I?
It is odd how much the way I watched the film has changed as well, as a 10 year old, it scared the life out of me, in fact I can recall a second time using my mum’s cardigan to hide behind during Quint’s death scene.
Yet like Peter Benchley who wrote the much darker book it is based on, having started watching as a horror film, I now watch it with a massive love of sharks, I find these creatures beautiful and misunderstood, yet for all that I am a sucker for watching shark movies despite the monsters they are made out to be!
That being said, it is because I know the difference to onscreen B movie monster, that I can enjoy them as silly fun films against what happens in the real world, which is far more horrific and less fun.
The late Rob Stewart’s fantastic documentary film ‘Sharkwater’ shows his fight with government policy, which sees far too many sharks killed so their fins can be made into soup. It is truly heartbreaking =(
Jaws is the only film I have seen on the big screen in more than double figures, despite not seeing it on its first run. Luckily it has had re-releases due to restored prints and anniversary editions. Also its Amity Island setting has seen it ideal to be shown on beaches where I have lived and the experience keeps giving, in October I will be seeing it again at the Royal Albert Hall but this time accompanied by a live orchestra.
A viral often shows of screenings done in swimming pools where you watch the film in rubber rings and hope the divers employed don’t grab your leg from underneath which I would also love to experience.
Secret Cinema, who have recreated Star Wars and Back to the Future locations for their big summer events, I have always hoped one day will recreate Amity Island for Jaws screenings, where I’m sure before seeing the film we could all go to Brody’s Yaaaaaaard and get a drink =)
I’m a member of quite a few Facebook groups of fans of the film and unlike other film fan groups, they seem to be all friendly, the later sequels often get a ribbing but nothing like the bile I see in similar Ghostbusters fan groups because of the recent female led reboot.
My memories of Jaws continue to grow as I have grown older. The first time I saw the film in a cinema was at a special midnight screening, where a drunk stood up half hour into the film and said ‘this is the film with the big fish’ and walked out, I’m not sure, but I’m guessing he though the Jaws would refer to a film of a more adult nature.
I have fond memories of devouring the sequels. Excitement when Jaws 2 first showed on ITV. When 3-D came out, the race to open the Shredded Wheat for the Jaws freebie and when The Revenge came out, I even remember paying 50p to reserve it at my local video store. More recently I got to enjoy Jaws 3 in 3-D for the first time when it was released in this format on BluRay.
I have owned Jaws on VHS; DVD; DVD 30th Anniversary edition and on digitally re-mastered BluRay. The special features giving me an excuse to upgrade every time and one day we hope Universal will improve on the vanilla features on the 3 sequel releases. Starting we hope with Jaws 2 which turns 40 next year!
I am Jaws obsessed. I have the books, the making of, as much merchandise as I can find on release and eBay. I have fond memories of going to Universal Studios on a cold day in April and going on the Jaws Ride 7 times, knowing I may never get to go on it again.
On a bucket list, it would have to be going in a shark cage to see a real great white and to visit Martha Vineyard to see where the film was filmed and still celebrated with walking tours and restaurants naming foods after the film.
I also as previously mentioned love the world of Social Media which has helped my obsession, groups sharing memories and behind the scenes (check out The Daily Jaws as a great example) on formats from YouTube; Instagram; Facebook and Twitter.
I love how I rush out to see every Shark film from cinema to Direct to DVD release, trying to remember that love of Jaws. I would say Deep Blue Sea and The Shallows have been the closest to date. Next year even sees us get Meg, the first big budget shark film, based on the great book series from Steve Alten.
Yet because of our love of Jaws and the increasing popularity of shark films , such as the social media frenzy that was caused by the first Sharknado film was aired and The Shallows recent big box office success, we do fear that one day we will see a Jaws reboot which we hope never happens. The thought of a CGI shark and obscure casting choices fears us with dread as we know whatever happens we would go and see it, such is the films pull on us.
And now as it is 42 today we feel the need to give it another watch, so here’s to swimming with bowlegged women and can anyone show me the way to go home.
By Bill Boswell
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