The Movie Critique

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
North By Northwest
Taxi Driver
Wild Things
Kindergarten Cop
The Godfather
The Shining
Gone with the wind
2001: A Space Odyssey
The Maltese Falcon


Date: 31 October 2001
Summary: I still go in the water`

I love Jaws and I still go in the ocean even though I've seen this movie about a hundred times. I love watching JAWs. It's probably Spielberg's best film to date, sorry Schindler's List, E.T. This movie does not leave you with any bad feelings. The movie is first entertaining from beginning to end and it is well-done.



Date: 29 October 2001
Summary: How good acting, editing, directing and music can overcome a silly script

It's a testament to Spielberg's talent that he could make a movie like Jaws into a revered classic. The plot is incredible silly. You have a ocean full of perfectly edible creatures. Yet the SUPER shark only munches on people from one particular beach in New England. Yeah,un-huh, sure.But guess what, it works. Spielberg wisely builds up the suspense. We know the shark is out there and hungry. Yet we have to use our imagination on just how scary the shark is. So the tension and suspence builds and builds as the movie progresses. The New England setting works effectively. The extras all look and act like normal people. Giving the movie a sense of believability that say a Flordia beach setting would lack. The acting is wonderful. Shaw,Scneider and Dreyfuss throw themselves completely into their roles. Even if the characters are rather one dimensional. You can almost feel their fear at the climax. John Williams music is tight, but effective. Usually when Williams scores a movie he practically has music for every scene. (Which most of the time is a good thing) But keeping it to a minimum it's builds the suspence. Recommend if nothing else so many cliches stem from this movie's success. That and Kevin Smith references it in almost all his films.


bob the moo
Birmingham, England

Date: 17 October 2001
Summary: A lesson in tension

Who'd have thought that such a simple idea could be a film of such amazing impact, even decades later. It is a testament to Spielberg's directing abilities that this film still creates deep seated phobias in those that watch it!

Essentially a remake of Duel except with a shark replacing the truck this is a lesson in suspense for directors. With special effects now the audience tend to see everything in glorious colour - not much is left to the imagination. With Jaws we only see the fin, movements under water or the impact of the attack - the shark remains hidden until the end. This is the best option as it is very rubbery looking, but it also heightens the tension as the unknown moves under water to attack us.

Roy Scheider is excellent as Chief Brody with great support from Dreyfuss and Shaw. The chemistry between the Dreyfuss and Scheider is perfect and Shaw is as tetchy as he needs to be. The dialogue is spot on in many scenes and has become part of the common knowledge of the world - being spoofed in films included Lethal Weapon 3, Chasing Amy to name two.

Later remade as Jurassic Park (!) this is a classic piece of tension. Ignore the rubber shark effects towards the end and sit back and marvel at what a master director can do with a simple story and basic effects.


stu worth (

Date: 14 October 2001
Summary: the action,suspense film that gets better with age!

Still one of the best suspense films of all time,Steven Spielberg should go back to his roots and make another straight forward action film.Jurassic park was good but , you all know , this was\is 2 hours of sheer cinematic pleasure.Perhaps he should make a movie version of "MEG", dribble,dribble.


Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

Date: 29 September 2001
Summary: A Great Horror Film and a Cultural Force

There is no more instantly recognizable phrase of movie music. None. The low repetitive, tension building bass violin. No other movie has also so massively created paranioa. This movie ranks with The Godfather for shaping forever the public's perception of its central theme.

The shark is not shown in this movie until about 2/3 of the way in and that is central to its horror. The ultimate enemy is the one you cannot see and cannot predict. This movie also lets you inside the sharks pysche, for lack of a better term, when oceanographer Dreyfuss gives his speech on the shark being "the perfect engine". A nonhuman villian is described in terms that we can understand and completely fear.

There is a lot of small town hokeyness to this film. Robert Shaw is a little over the top (but great) and there is the perfunctory subplot of the mayor who doesn't want the beach closed in peak season. But is all works in the context of this groundbreaking, edgy film, which at the time, was the #1 grossing film of all time.

I give the strongest recommendation to this film as a great piece of horror, but also as a view of the work of a young Speilberg. Required viewing for all movie fans - one of the best films ever made. **** out of ****.


WehoSteve (

Date: 23 September 2001
Summary: Not your average fish story...

Widely regarded as the film that began the "summer movie blockbuster era", JAWS (1975) was also rightfully one of the year's most critically acclaimed movies. It was also the recipient of an Academy Award Nomination for Best Picture and a winner of Oscars for film editing (Verna Fields) and music score (John Williams). One of the reasons the film received no acting nods is that everyone involved is so good, how could one single out just one or two? (I personally feel Robert Shaw should have gotten a Best Actor nomination, however). Roy Scheider is wonderful as New York cop Martin Brody, who has relocated to a small coastal island town, only to have his bad case of "aquaphobia" put to the ultimate test. Richard Dreyfuss is perfectly cast as a shark expert and provides some truly funny comic bits along the way. Lorraine Gary (who director Steven Spielberg says was the first person to be cast for the film) does an excellent job of being the concerned wife and mother. Finally, there's Murray Hamilton, who gives one of the best performances of his career as Mayor Vaughn, who seems to be more concerned about the economy of the town than the safety of the residents. In a way, Vaughn is really the film's villain. Solid cast indeed. The screenplay (by Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb) is tight and well-written, as is Spielberg's direction. Whether it was the mechanical shark's failure to operate correctly or Spielberg's decision to simply see less of the shark until the end of the film, the "less is more" idea works perfectly, particularly in the opening scene, which is chilling to this day.

One thing I do want to add: if you choose to watch this film at home, do yourself a favor and rent or buy the WIDESCREEN version. The full-screen pan and scan version is a travesty that ruins the great camerawork that Spielberg and cameraman Bill Butler made. I always recommend the widescreen version but it is especially important for JAWS.

No offense to fans of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, but this is the film that should have taken home the Oscar gold. Grade: A+


Michael Williams (MnKWilliams)
Liberty,South Carolina

Date: 20 September 2001
Summary: My most vivid theater experience

I can still recall sitting in the theater,10 years old.The screen is black.You then hear the rustling of water.Slowly,the music

begins.It begins to quicken.It's coming to get us!This man eating machine they call "Jaws".I think in many ways,this film perhaps gave sharks a worse name than they really deserve,but this in no way keeps it from being a great film.This is indeed a thrill ride from beginning to end,with a laugh or two mixed in to give our hearts a rest.The late Robert Shaw is excellent as Quint,the cranky,seaworthy captain.Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss(one of my all time favorite actors) turn in great performances here,as well.Before going to the beach,give this film a look,and see if you don't change your mind.


La Gremlin
Boston, MA

Date: 18 September 2001
Summary: I can see why it's a classic

Here's the problem with not having sat down and watched "Jaws" until just last weekend. SO many cartoons, movies, and so on have parodied this movie, I felt like I'd already seen it about thirty times. Then again, this is such a great fish story, it deserves all the tribute.

One thing that I'm still not so clear on. See, I was born a few years after this movie was released. I have a *really* hard time believing that not so many people were cautious about swimming in the ocean before this.


Kansas City, MO, USA

Date: 16 September 2001
Summary: The Real Phantom Menace

One of the things that struck me upon watching `Jaws' again recently was how little we see the shark. I remembered the shark being in this movie much more, and killing many more people, but the actual film is different. Instead, the film relies much more on suspense than on shock you know the shark is out there, but you don't know where he is or when he will appear. It makes the time he does appear than much more powerful.

There's a lesson to be learned here, filmmakers: less is more. The anticipation of the event is much more powerful than the event itself. Hitchcock understood that; Spielberg understands it (or did back when he made `Jaws,' not too sure anymore). A movie need not move from shock to shock, from special effect to stunt; if there is a story, it will have legs of its own. `Jaws' works because it plays on our fear of the unknown, of being eaten alive, of the deep water and what might be down there. It's real fear, much more personal and chilling than any werewolf or vampire because we know there are such things in the oceans.


Braveheart1626 (
Falls Church, Virginia.

Date: 10 September 2001
Summary: A shark twice as big as a normal shark?

This movie is absolutely boring. The shark in the movie is as twice as big as a normal shark and he's so smart. Spielberg is one of the worst directors ever. The shark gets out of traps. To tell you the truth, I haven't seen the whole movie in a long time, but from what I remeber it's boring. Very bad acting. Don't watch it.


Mesa, AZ (not Amity Island)

Date: 7 September 2001
Summary: Am I the only person who sees this as OVERRATED?

This movie on the Top 250? Doesn't deserve it.

As a gory film, this works, but as a GOOD film? Doesn't break "okay." And yet, everyone thinks it is a great shark film. (Bruce oughta eat those people.)

I have only seen this once. There's 2 hours and four minutes I'll never have back.

(PS: Why do I say it's okay? I can't figure that out.)


Sheffield, UK

Date: 4 September 2001
Summary: The greatest of them all

The greatest motion picture ever made. The grand daddy of them all. The most frightening, funniest, most thrilling feature ever committed to celluloid. This 1975 masterpiece is the one by which all other pictures must be judged. There is nothing else to say.


London, England

Date: 3 September 2001
Summary: The Greatest Film of All Time

This happens to be my all time favourite. I first saw it when I was about 4 years old and it scared the life out of me. As I have got older I can appreciate mroe than just the scare factor. The acting is excellent and there are some very amusing moments, mainly the ones involving the Hooper and Quint exchanges.


Brooklyn NY

Date: 4 September 2001
Summary: I lined up..

..with the rest of the world when this came out. Its been on cable quite often but not until yesterday did I see the entire thing uncut and uninterupted.

Its a good movie, not classic, but solid entertainment with some thrills and some things best overlooked. Spielberg created some excellent suspense but some of the deaths are horribly overlooked, they seem to just have happened to move the plot along. Its hard to believe that a beach community would think twice about closing down a beach with known great white sharks in the area, so to make that feasible, it gets laid on the politicians, who are greedy and untrustworthy in every single movie since time memorial.

This is very timely right now, in this 'Summer of Sharks' here in the US. Each time someone gets attacked its all over the press; two people died this past Labor Day weekend and of course their families were all over the news, being continually insulted and exploited by the press. On the other side of the coin, you get 'Jaws' author Peter Benchley on CNN proclaiming that the sharks are more often the victim than the predator, so its just easier to ignore it all and say a prayer.



Date: 28 August 2001
Summary: A childhood favorite

A top 20 action movie in my book. Rates up there with ET and Close Encounters as Speilberg's finest. Great cast and storyline. Sequels don't even come close to this one, so don't bother seeing them. After seeing "Air Jaws" on the Discovery Channel, this movie wasn't to far fetched.


RColtASC (
West Hollywood, CA

Date: 26 August 2001
Summary: "JAWS", why I became a cinematographer is the first place!

The movie theater goes dark, the trailers end, then the images begin. We see a young coed strip down to skinnydip in familiar waters. Everything is fine and dandy - until the antagonist of the film comes swimming towards her. I can say that EVERY scene of Spielberg's "JAWS" has had an impact on my life. I can't think of another film that has evoked more primal feelings out of a young kid ( I was 7 when it came out) than this one. (I can add "COMA", "WATERSHIP DOWN", "STAR WARS" and "HALLOWEEN" to the top of my list as well). Spielberg has, as with almost every other of his films, created a an experience to behold with this one. I think one of the greatest elements of the film is Spielberg, and editor Fields, techique of NOT showing the shark until half-way through the film. This creates a "Hitchcockian" type of suspence that so extremely effective. It is hard to describe the impact and influence the plot, and characters had on me - I guess I was at the right age to absorb what was going on enough to formulate it in my mind and instill it in my brain. Chief Brody and his fear of water, Quint's hatred for the shark, Hooper's know-it-all expertise, the Mayor's denial of the situation, etc. And, of course, "Bruce", the hungry shark. Bill Butler's cinematography was very good, considering the budget and locations he had to work with (this also goes for Dean Cudney's '"Halloween"). Benchley and Gottlieb's treatment of the film, I think, works better that if they would have stayed true to Benchley's novel. Spielberg's approach and stylization really works. It could have been "shot through a cannon", but Steven likes to be creative, and Zanuck and Brown took the chance and allowed him to. Well, motion picture history was made that summer of 1975. And I owe all involved in making it a huge thanks. I would have not became a filmmaker if this was not made when it was.



Date: 15 August 2001
Summary: Absolutely riveting

When I first saw this movie was when it came out in 1975 at a local drive -in and I was 10. I remember going to the snack bar just before the scene where the little boy on the raft gets eaten. I was walking back and saw the scene and closed my eyes. I was terrified for a long time after that . It wasnt until years later when it was released on home video that I could see just how much I had missed that night. Robert Shaw was absolutely riveting and to me extremely sexy. What a shame his character had to die at the end even though it was his idea to change the ending ,in Benchleys book Quint drowns.Evidently Shaw didnt like that and Benchley wasnt thrilled with Shaws ending and was thrown off the set. You do get to see Becnhley in a cameo as a news reporter on the beach in once scene. Roy Scheider is a great actor as is Richard Dreyfuss.This movie put Dreyfuss on the map and he won an oscar for the Goodbye Girl a few years later. Also a shame he has not been given any good movies to do lately.I hear hes going to tv now .

Roy Scheider hasn't aged too well ,about 70 i think now and doesnt do much acting work . Most of the main characters are either dead or out of the business. Robert Shaw sadly died a few years later after doing the Sting another great movie and a few lame ones after that . A shame because he was such a talent and you know rumor has it that Sterling Holloway was supposed to be Quint but had problems with the IRS .Shaw didnt wanna do the movie ,thought is was silly , supposedly his wife had a hand at the time to urge him on . Boy was he happy when it was a hit .

I am somewhat surprised that he wasnt even nominated for an oscar that year or for any other award. The indianapolis speech alone should have one him that .I figure its because it was a horror movie and most actors guild members didnt support it .It was nominated for best picture but obviously didnt win. On a somber note are the sequels . Jaws 2 was ok at best but without a Quint character or a Hooper and only Brody's character returning it sinks. I wont even mention 3 or 4 except to say please dont make any more sequels to this movie . Its 26 yrs old now and enough is enough,each sequel ruined it. But i hear rumor has it they actually have a script to do another sequel which actually might be a prequel involving Quints days in the military. That could be interesting if done right and with a good director ,top notch acting and directing.

This movie is and always will be a classic .The only horror movie to me which worked better when the monster couldnt be seen . To the person who made the comment why didnt they show more of the shark at the beginning ,i think it made it more scary to not now what it looked like .Sure we all knew it was a shark but how big or how scary we didnt know / FAct is that made movie better and in real life the modem shark that was used kept breaking down and they got it too work so rarely so they had to work around it. This to me was a great suspense and audiences loved it .. I dont care how old or tired the special effects get . There will never be another movie like it . Enjoy and show your kids for the first time . Bye now


seann70 (
Chepstow, South Wales, UK.

Date: 9 August 2001
Summary: Feel Good Factor Like No Other!

For me the obsession started in 1975 when I was carted off to see Jaws at the now demolished Plaza cinema in Cardiff. I was 5 years old, I remember being there and being amazed though I was probably too young to be scared by it. Surely they wouldn't let 5 year olds see it today! This was the film that got me addicted to cinema, not Disney classics that most kids seem to love.

Years later I remember watching Jaws on TV and being absolutely fascinated by it again but it was not until I bought a copy on VHS in about 1988 that I really started to watch the film in detail. What a piece of work! The second half of the film must be the best three-hander in film history, the casting of Shaw, Dreyfuss and Scheider has amazing chemistry. Scheider's everyman, Martin Brody being the "fish out of water" against the salty Quint and Ocean Brat, Hooper's needling relationship. (Has anyone else noticed Scheider's resemblance to the shark?? - sorry Roy) Virtually every line that comes out of Quint's head is macho rhetoric that we'd all love to be able to quote verbatim when we are drunk. He is from the same mould as Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore in Apocalypse Now. A macho hard man impenetrable mostly but with a slightly soft centre when put under the microscope.

Jaws has had an undeniable influence on our culture. It has instilled in a generation a fear of what is under the water. How many times have you had a moment of illogical panic whilst swimming? For me and many I know this was put there by Jaws. The "scars" scene is undeniably a Cinema classic and has been parodied and tributed many times. It is in this scene that we see a more human side to Quint emerging. How many times have you heard people in desperate situations say "We're gonna need a bigger boat"? Just watch Buffy!

So much has been said about the film and it IS a flawed masterpiece but no one questions the fact Halliwell's rates this as two star film! I love Halliwell's and this is the only real faux pas it contains. Such a seminal film (the true father of summer blockbusters) and a film so well crafted, scored, acted and scripted should qualify as a four star. Technically Jaws is brilliant - temperamantal mechanical sharks aside! All that water-level perspective camerawork is groundbreaking and was copied hugely in Robert Zemekis' Cast Away - go on take a look it's where the camera is half in the water half out.

I am glad to see that other IMDB users love this film enough to put it where it is in the Top 250. It may not be fresh in our memories and there may be better films out there from one aspect or another but when it comes to the best all-rounder of all time I don't think there's one to beat this. It is so accessible and it preys on a fundamental human fear while using very human relationships to convey the story.

Of all the films that I'd like to see a remake of this is the one, Here's your cast: Edward Norton - Brody, Seann William Scott - Hooper, William H Macy - Mayor Vaughan, Tommy Lee Jones - Quint, Brian Singer - Director.



Date: 8 August 2001
Summary: I HATED THIS MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** Everybody I know likes this movie, and they all say that it is a classic. Please, this movie is so boring. The movie is supposed to be about the shark, right, and we hardly see any of it, and my brother told me that the reason for that is, that it is supposed to add to the suspense. What suspense? Before Alex gets killed, we see a bunch of kids playing with a fake fin, and there is no music. Then we hear John Williams music, and we see some of the actual shark, and then we see the Alex's leg, and you know the shark is going to kill him, so where is the suspense. There is no suspense at all, you know the shark is going in for the kill, so it's just a matter of seeing him die. The movie is very boring, and the 3 main characters give nothing to liven up the very dull, and simple plot for a " classic.'' I know that in movies your suposed to have character devolpment, but in this movie there is too much of it. Instead of showing the shark, they show them dirnking wine, and eating dinner, and there is no point to it. They could be showing something more important to the already THIN plot, but no, instead they show people eating, and drinking.Through out the whole movie Speilberg hides the shark, and in the end, you see it's face. It's more like an unveiling, and of course we a regular shark, nothing to go WOW over, just a regular shark. Come on, people no what sharks look like, so why hid it the whole movie. The last 50 minutes of the film is nothing fancy, it's not even entertaning, it's just a matter of finding the shark, and killing it. Then we find out that they didn't know how big the shark was, and how stupid is that, and they didn't even pick a big enough boat, are they really that stupid. I also did not like the ending, I thought they could have though of something more complicated. Brody throws the air tank at the ahrk, and it happens to land in the perfect place for him to shoot. Well I just plain hated this movie, it far, far, far from a classic and even further from being a godd movie. It's nor scary, or entertaining, and Robert Shaw thinks that he knows everything about sharks, and that's the arrognace that kills him. 0/0, 1/10, thumbs way way way down, well you get the picture.


San Gabriel, Ca., USA

Date: 6 August 2001
Summary: The film that took a big bite out of beach business

One of the most traumatic productions in Hollywood history also turned out to be one of Hollywood's greatest masterpieces of terror. JAWS is often blamed (wrongly, I think) for starting this obsession Hollywood has with blockbuster hits. I say "wrongly blamed", because, besides grossing a quarter of a billion dollars at the box office (the first film to do so), JAWS is really a very great movie.

The story itself is familiar: a New England coastal resort town terrorized by a Great White shark, a mayor unwilling to put his town's economy at risk so that the shark can be killed, etcetera, etcetera. The problems they had with the mechanical shark are even more familiar. But the fact remains that JAWS works, because Steven Spielberg has never been the kind to let go of a vision he is in the process of making into his own--and this was no exception. Instead of making it into a visceral monster movie, Spielberg took to not showing the shark for the first two-thirds of the movie (although the fact that he had very little choice had more than a little to do with it), thus mandating an Alfred Hitchcock approach to things. He is helped by the excellent performances of Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss, as well as John Williams' classic score. The score, Verna Fields' editing, and the production sound team of John Carter and Robert Hoyt won Oscars for their work.

And of course one must thank Spielberg for having delivered a truly terrifying and dramatic piece of cinema, and not just an ARMAGEDDON-style sound-and-fury event. JAWS, even after a quarter century-plus of being sequalized, parodied, and ripped off, is still a Hollywood masterpiece.