Jaws

Jaws ★★★★½

Even watching a snippet of this it is still tense, tightly written, economically shot, and beautifully cast.

The fact that concerns about money and the economy costs people's lives is probably just as likely to happen today as it did back then, and you'll always find a Quint to be a bounty hunter, arrogant and not caring a jot ("I'll never put on a life-jacket again").

Roy Schieder (who died nearly ten years ago, which seems impossible) is the police chief who battles with authority to be taken seriously after a shark starts causing havoc in Amity Beach. He's joined by oceanographer Richard Dreyfus and old sea-dog Robert Shaw to do battle with the menace (obviously rubber, but somehow still scary), but they soon realise they "need a bigger boat".

I know this film backwards. It's terrific, thrilling stuff, and a triumph for the young Spielberg who had just started to find his feet as a director. The sequels, though, are poor fare indeed, and they aren't worth watching.

But watch this for the shots of the victims being pulled to their doom, for the nails down the blackboard, for the dolly zoom shot on the beach, for the Indianapolis speech, for the humour on the boat with the central trio - did Dreyfus and Shaw really dislike each other, or was that for show? - and for the gloriously simple music by John Williams.

This film is still a scary chiller which may make your blood run cold, and it might well want to make you stay out of the water. If you do decide to go for a swim, well, remember the fate of the little mutt, Pippet ...

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