"Life Lessons from Chief Brody"

JAWS is my all time #1 favorite movie.  I saw the film several times when it came out in the summer of 1975 and now own it in multiple formats with all the extras.  I screen Jaws two to three times a year at home, though had the opportunity to see it in the theater again a few years ago and it was just as amazing as I remembered.  One of the many reasons I love the movie is because it has everything ... drama, comedy, suspense, amazing performances, a perfect cast ... I could go on and on.

After so many viewings, I began deriving life lessons from the characters and dialogue.  The lines in the movie took on different meanings and I would think of them at work or randomly during my day.  The most inspirational for me was the character of Chief Brody (not to mention I'm a big Roy Scheider fan in general).  Here are just a few Chief Brody quotes that continue to inspire me.


“Let Polly do the printing”.  

Chief Brody wants to make sure the beach closed signs are done correctly so he tells Hendricks in no uncertain terms that he is not the right man for this job.  From this, I learned that it’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses.  If someone doesn’t think you are right for a job, that’s fine and it’s best not to take it personally.  Some tasks are not meant for you and that’s ok.  Even though he says, “What’s the matter with my printing?”, Hendricks learns that he’s not the right man for this job.  It’s hard to tell but hopefully he didn’t take Brody’s insistence to heart.  Above all, know yourself and your limitations.    


“I can do anything; I’m the Chief of Police”.  

Late at night, Chief Brody confidently informs his wife that he’s going to go with Hooper to cut open the shark for a more thorough examination of its digestive tract. From this I’ve taken that it’s important to remember that you can do anything.  Life is limitless and nothing is impossible (even if it does take a half bottle of wine for the chief to make that realization).  At that moment, he knows his role in life and who he really is.  He has faith in himself and his own abilities just as Thoreau says “I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which has has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”


“It’s only an island if you look at it from the water”.  

On a boat late at night, the chief debates Hooper’s decision to study sharks for a living and is challenged about his own choice to live near the water despite his fear of it.  It’s Brody’s tenacity to look at situations from all angles that inspires me.  It’s important that we listen, truly hear each other, and study all sides of a situation or issue before passing judgement or making a decision.  Brody has somewhat overcome his fear of the water by looking at the situation in a different way.  We need to examine our lives closely every day for the true meaning and listen with an intuitive heart for what makes the most sense.  

These are just some of the many motivational lines from Jaws that inspire me daily. 

By David Burland

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