Spielberg’s breakthrough, and the first to showcase his signature blend of technical expertise with audience appeal, Jaws is now considered the first blockbuster, a commercial innovation for which the director will forever be both lauded and damned by cineastes. Regardless, the film remains extremely fresh and entertaining even as it retains its power to scare almost half a century after its original release.
The small community of Amity Island, which relies on tourism, comes under threat when a great white shark makes its home offshore, causing a number of fatalities. Police Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) teams up with oceanographer Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw) to find and kill the deadly predator. The film is filled with classic dialogue (“You’re gonna need a bigger boat”, Quint’s U.S.S. Indianapolis speech) and terrifying moments, accompanied by its famous score.