20 Facts You Probably Never Knew About “Jaws”

Warning: contains sharks.

1. The shark’s name is Bruce.

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The great white was named after Spielberg’s lawyer, Bruce Ramer.

2. Originally, the movie was supposed to prominently feature a mechanical shark.

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The idea was scrapped when the first shark, completely untested, sank to the bottom of the ocean.

3. When Spielberg first heard the now famous two note theme, he laughed thinking it was a joke.

4. The film is said to be one of Fidel Castro’s favourites.

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According to Castro, the shark is a metaphor for capitalism exploiting ordinary Americans. This interpretation has never been confirmed.

5. Unhappy with one scene, Spielberg re-shot it in film editor Verna Fields’ swimming pool, using his own money to pay for the shoot.

6. Some of the original proposed titles for the book Jaws were “Silence in the Water”, “Wha’s That Noshin’ On My Laig”, and “The Jaws of Leviathan.”

Doubleday / Universal Studios / BuzzFeed

7. The movie is considered the world’s first-ever summer blockbuster.

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Prior to Jaws’ 1975 release, summer was considered the worst time to release a movie, mostly due to studio executive’s belief that audiences would rather be outdoors than in.

8. Steven Spielberg skipped being present for the final scene of shooting, fearful that the cast and crew would throw him in the water.

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9. Spielberg’s dog, Elma, makes a super brief cameo as Brody’s dog.

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10. Speaking of cameos, author and writer of the book the movie is based on, Peter Benchley, also has a small role in the film.

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11. Peter Benchley later became a shark conservationist, due to the negative publicity the movie generated towards sharks.

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In an interview with The Los Angles Times, Benchley said: “knowing what I know now, I could never write that book today.”

12. The line “you’re gonna need a bigger boat” was ad libbed by Roy Scheider.

Universal Studios

13. The movie was originally to be directed by Dick Richards, but he was fired by producers for repeatedly referring to Jaws as a whale.

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14. Charlton Heston very nearly got the role of Brody.

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15. Richard Dreyfus was not the first choice to play Hooper. Jeff Bridges, Jon Voight, and Timothy Bottoms were all approached for the role first.

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16. Scheider himself first heard about the role when he overheard Spielberg describing the movie at a party.

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17. Shooting of the movie was scheduled to last 55 days, but ended up taking 159.

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The opening scene alone took more than three days to film.

18. The shark doesn’t fully appear on camera until 1 hour and 21 minutes into the film.

Universal Studios

19. The film’s budget was $3.5million, but ended up costing close to $9million.

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20. Not that it mattered too much: The movie ended up making more than $471million – a record at the time.

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Jamie Jones is a senior staff writer for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
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