The original blockbuster

How Spielberg’s “Jaws” impacted cinema



The original poster of the movie Jaws from 1975.

“Jaws” is the first major motion picture of Steven Spielberg’s long and iconic film career. It’s arguably one of the best shark movies ever made, with brilliant practical effects in an era pre-CGI with a mechanical wooden shark nicknamed Bruce after Spielberg’s lawyer. This movie was incredibly difficult to film due to months of shooting on the Atlantic Ocean with the cast and crew. On top of the mechanical sharks and the vast amounts of water, there are many practical reasons why this movie shouldn’t have worked. “Jaws” brilliant effects and captivating story made it drastically different from any other movie at the time.


It starts in the small, coastal town of Amity Island, New York with a new police chief played by Roy Scheider who moved from the city. Amity is a relatively peaceful town with a big reliance on tourists for their summer economy. So when a shark attack takes the life of a girl who went for a late-night swim, the mayor refuses to let the claims of a shark attack break. Since it’ll hurt the economy, the mayor is a stereotypical politician in cinema choosing wealth over public health and causing more loss of life. The outrage at the loss of life calls for the mayor to make a bounty for this shark. Now, this is just the start of the movie, but it’s a fabulous movie, so I’m not going to give too much away.


The plot makes it easy to follow and captivates audiences with a new fear of the water, but there is also simplicity with nature vs man. Steven Speilberg when making this movie was just a kid with something to prove and this movie did that. It put him on the map and cemented the importance of this movie in creating a movie icon who would go on to be involved in a whole library of influential movies. 


This movie would be the start of what we know today as “summer blockbusters”. We owe a lot to this movie for the role it plays in setting the stage for the cinema industry we perceive today.

Every summer, we can expect the next big movie, and we have no one but Spielberg’s motion picture to thank. This past summer, we had “Top Gun: Maverick” which has been a box office hit, a more recent example of a blockbuster. The idea of a blockbuster is a part of the cinemas, something that can appeal to every audience from the year “Jaws” released in 1975 to 2022.