10 Films that Changed Cinema: Jaws (1975)

There are a lot kind of movies and I've probably seen most of these types. There are good films, beloved films, hated ones and just those that have changed something in movie history. They may not be one of the most favorites, or one of IMDB's top 250, however those films turned movie industry in something different resulting in modern cinematic art.

In the series of 10 Films that Changed Cinema I'll represent ten motion pictures that leveled the movie-making business up and lead it to progress.

The first film I've to honor is iconic movie of my favorite genre, that is horror, Steven Spielberg's Jaws.

Before early 70's there were few blockbuster movies, Hollywood mostly produced well played dramas with the cast of most popular actors and actresses, telling heartbreaking and memorable stories. But then Universal Pictures decided to make something extraordinary and producers Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown started working on Peter Benchley's novel Jaws. Initially the film should have been directed by Dick Richards but the studio refused the candidate and gave the job to 27 year old, almost new comer Steven Spielberg. And then what Steven did changed everything.

Spielberg rewrote the script and merged some different stories that include: Herman Melville's 1851 Moby DickIbsen's 1882 classic play An Enemy of the People, documentary film Blue Water, White Death (1971), Peter Matthiessen's 1971 non-fiction book Blue Meridian: The Search for the Great White Shark, horror films: The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954) and The Monster That Challenged the World (1957), a real-life incident on the New Jersey shore in the summer of 1916 that claimed five lives over the course of two weeks.

He genuinely used a widely spread Selachophobia - a fear to Sharks, that has been the biggest trouble for America during 70's. Steven built his script up on the phobia of "something" that's not seen on the surface but it still watches you from the very deep of ocean. An extensive marketing campaign called for movie fans "Don't Go in the Water" or "Watch the movie once more, bu now with your eyes opened". Jaws shocked america, people who were afraid kept going to theaters and attend the movie once, twice and even three times. Vince Sculli attended 28 screenings in row.

The technology of visual effects used during the filming - full dimension shark and artificial ocean - had been widely used in such iconic movies as Superman (1978) and Star Wars (1977). But the most important, Jaws is the first blockbuster horror movie, favorited by even most coward people and grossed USD 470 million (net USD 1.85 billion as today).

The film won three Oscars including Best Editing, Sound and Score (written by John Williams), but lost best picture nomination to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Spielberg was missed.

For acknowledgment of great technical work and the start of blockbuster horror movie era, also in the name of millions of fans, I believe Jaws is a great candidate to be among 10 Films that Changed Cinema.

How do you think, does Jaws really deserve to be in this list? Or which other motion pictures do you consider to be that much significant? Feel free to comment&share.

Coming Next: 10 Films that Changed Cinema: Star Wars (1977)

2 comments:

  1. Fascinating post. I remember hearing someone on a podcast saying they went to see Jaws in the theatre around 20 times. I thought that was an exaggeration, but it seems like that was a common thing for this film. Amazing!

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  2. Yes, I guess it was a big hit and I totally understand the people rewatching Jaws multiple times. By that time it was something very different and thanks to Steven for this :))

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