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Still shot from the movie: Jaws.

Jaws

When a small island community starts losing citizens and tourist to the Jaws of a hungry marine stalker, the police chief (Roy Scheider), an oceanographer (Richard Dreyfuss), and a shark hunter (Robert Shaw), set out in an aging boat to kill the beast.

Overall Grade: C+
Violence: D+
Sexual Content: C
Language: B-
Drugs/Alcohol: D
Release Date: 19 Jun 1975
Run Time: 124
MPAA Rating: PG

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In-Depth Review

Destined to become the first major calling card of Steven Spielberg's incredible career, Jaws wowed 1975 audiences with its mechanical shark, helped by John William's famous score.

This infamous shark-fest opens on the quiet beach of Amity Island, where a group of young people is gathered around a fire getting drunk, smoking pot, and pursuing sexual interests. When one couple leaves the party, and the girl strips off her clothes and heads into the ocean, Jaws really begins and the audience is left with the indelible image of a woman being eaten alive.

With 4th of July celebrations around the corner, the business types on the island interfere with police chief Martin Brody's (Roy Scheider) plans to close the beach, and demand he keep the shark attack quiet. But the secret is out after a young boy becomes dinner.

Determined to rid their sandy shores of this tourist-eating monster, the angry townspeople take to the ocean and return with a large shark. But oceanographer Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) knows they didn't get the killer after opening the shark's stomach and finding only fish and a license plate.

With two more men dead, the desperate town officials agree to pay $10,000 to an old-time shark hunter named Quint (Robert Shaw). Brody and Hooper join the search, heading off in Quint's aging boat.

Rated in 1975, before the classification system had a PG-13 category, the film received a PG. Using today's system, Jaws would likely have been awarded a PG-13 (or perhaps even R - due to the drug use depicted in the opening scene) considering the many bloody feedings portrayed. The movie also includes graphic shots of severed limbs and one victim who is explicitly consumed by the shark. And thanks to higher resolution of DVD and Blu-ray, all the details are sharper, including the silhouette of the skinny-dipper who provided the first bait.

Although well constructed, parents should remember the Jaws' premise is to create entertainment from watching humans being chewed to death. For children who have no sentimental attachment to this classic piece of cinema history, viewing it may still be a horrifying experience.

Discussion Ideas: Talk About the Movie...

What types of sharks are found off the Northeast U.S. coast and what are your chances of being eaten alive? Check http://www.beach-net.com/Shark.html for more shark information. Look for the link titled “The Chance of a Shark Attack”.

Video alternatives

If you like movies where humans are dinner, check our review of Jurassic Park (dinosaurs eating people), Anaconda (snakes eating people), Bats (bats eating people), or Godzilla (baby Godzillas eating people). Unfortunately we can’t recommend any of them for family viewing (or dining).

Home Video Notes

Home Video Notes: Jaws

Release Date: 14 August 2012

Jaws releases to home video on Blu-ray, with the following bonus extras:

- Digitally remastered and fully restored from high resolution 35MM original film elements

- Digital Copy of Jaws (download by 12/31/2013)

- UltraViolet Copy of Jaws (download/redeem by 12/31/2013)

- The Shark is Still Working: The Impact & Legacy of Jaws - All-new feature-length documentary featuring never-before-seen footage and interviews with cast and crew including Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider

- The Making of Jaws: A feature-length documentary featuring interviews with key cast and crew

- Jaws: The Restoration - An all-new in-depth look at the intricate process of restoring the movie

- Deleted Scenes and Outtakes From the Set: An insider’s look at life on the set of Jaws, featuring an interview with Steven Spielberg

- Storyboards Production Photos

- Marketing Jaws

- Jaws Phenomenon

- Original Theatrical Trailer

- pocket BLU: App for smartphones and tablets - take content on the go! BD-Live: Internet-connected features

- My Scenes: Bookmark your favorite scenes

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About the Reviewer: Rod Gustafson

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