Jaws released 1975
On this day in 1975, Jaws, a film directed by Steven Spielberg that made countless viewers afraid to go into the water, opens in theaters. The story of a great white shark that terrorizes a New England resort town became an instant blockbuster and the highest-grossing film in movie history until it was bested by 1977’s Star Wars. Jaws was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Picture category and took home three Oscars, for Best Film Editing, Best Original Score and Best Sound. The film, a breakthrough for director Spielberg, then 27 years old, spawned three sequels.
The film starred Roy Scheider as principled police chief Martin Brody, Richard Dreyfuss as a marine biologist named Matt Hooper and Robert Shaw as a grizzled fisherman called Quint. It was set in the fictional beach town of Amity, and based on a best-selling novel, released in 1973, by Peter Benchley. Subsequent water-themed Benchley bestsellers also made it to the big screen, including The Deep (1977).
With a budget of $12 million, Jaws was produced by the team of Richard Zanuck and David Brown, whose later credits include The Verdict (1982), Cocoon (1985) and Driving Miss Daisy (1989). Filming, which took place on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, was plagued by delays and technical difficulties, including malfunctioning mechanical sharks.
Jaws put now-famed director Steven Spielberg on the Hollywood map. Spielberg, largely self-taught in filmmaking, made his feature-length directorial debut with The Sugarland Express in 1974. The film was critically well-received but a box-office flop. Following the success of Jaws, Spielberg went on to become one of the most influential, iconic people in the film world, with such epics as Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), ET: the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Jurassic Park (1993), Schindler’s List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998). E.T., Jaws and Jurassic Park rank among the 10 highest-grossing movies of all time. In 1994, Spielberg formed DreamWorks SKG, with Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen. The company has produced such hits as American Beauty (1999), Gladiator (2001) and Shrek (2001).
(More Events on This Day in History)
- 1782 Congress adopts the Great Seal of the United States
- 1941 Ford signs first contract with autoworkers’ union
- 1863 West Virginia enters the Union
- 1963 United States and Soviet Union will establish a “hot line”
- 1947 Bugsy Siegel, organized crime leader, is killed
- 2002 Coal mine explosion kills 111 in China
- 1789 Third Estate makes Tennis Court Oath
- 1900 Boxer Rebellion begins in China
- 1977 Oil flows in Alaska
- 1975 Jaws released
- 1905 Lillian Hellman is born
- 1981 Beatles and Disco equals a #1 pop hit for Stars on 45
- 1875 Mountain man Joe Meek dies
- 1979 Solar-energy system installed at White House
- 1980 Duran outpoints Leonard for welterweight title
- 1964 Westmoreland becomes Commander of MACV
- 1972 Abrams appointed as Army Chief of Staff
World War I
- 1919 German cabinet resigns over Versailles deadlock
World War II
- 1943 Britain launches Operation Bellicose