*Editor's Note: "Rewind Review" is a new addition to The Sentinel's "Now Showing" blog that takes a look at movies available on various streaming platforms.
Quick Opinion: Revered as a timeless classic, and the true original summer blockbuster, 1975’s "Jaws" remains one of Steven Spielberg’s most well-known films to date. Its mix of action, suspense, and most importantly, horror, continues to hold up over 40 years later. "Jaws" still manages to inject its viewers with plenty of anxiety any time they step foot into the ocean, even after all these years.
Taking a Closer Look: "Jaws" builds up tension scene by scene until its thrilling finale. Led by a terrific cast, Richard Dreyfus, Roy Scheider and Robert Shaw anchor the story with solid chemistry and plenty of banter to keep the audience entertained when the shark is not around. There are a handful of famous one-liners that highlight the excellent dialogue of a very well written script. “You're gonna need a bigger boat,” is arguably one of the most famous lines of all time.
Spielberg’s knack for cinematography is on full display here. As an audience, we can feel the looming threat of the shark in nearly every scene. The camera drifts beneath the feet of casual swimmers, ready to attack at any moment. These moments translate into real fear that has kept people away from the ocean since "Jaws" hit theaters years ago. I can't think of any other film that has impacted its audience so profoundly for so long after the credits have rolled.
In many scenes, the tone is like that of a horror movie. Although unconventional for most horror movie setups, "Jaws" puts the shark in the unique role of a killer on the loose.
Standout Scene: With so many iconic scenes, it’s tough to narrow down one in particular; however, the opening scene brilliantly sets the stage for what's to come. A young couple sneaks away from a beach party to go for a night swim. We witness the young woman being brutally attacked by a shark as she gets pulled under and thrashed around, screaming for help.
It's a terrifying opening scene that occurs entirely without the shark being seen. This is a horror film technique that has since been consistently used in many monster films over the years. Apparently, the limited budget of "Jaws" meant less onscreen appearances for the shark. What seemed like a restriction at the time, turned out to be an innovative filmmaking technique in the making, and one that would come to be imitated for years to come.
You can stream "Jaws" on Netflix or Showtime On Demand.
Matt McCafferty is a film critic contributor for The Sentinel and writes Rewind Reviews of movies available for streaming.