Considered one of the greatest films of all time, Jaws tells the story of the New England town of Amity plagued by a massive great white shark during peak tourist season. The responsibility falls on the Chief of Police Martin Brody, who teams up with eccentric shark hunter Quint and marine biologist Hooper, to hunt down the shark. When this film was first released in theaters in 1975, it created the blockbuster genre, introduced audiences to director Steven Spielberg, and drove down summer tourism as audiences opted to stay out of the water!
Film buffs and fans have likely heard of the film's troubled production. The constantly malfunctioning shark prop prompted Spielberg to rely on John Williams' iconic score and other clever methods to simulate the shark's presence while leaving the rest up to the audience's imagination. This strategy was genius. Still, there's a sea of other stories, facts, and points fans may have failed to notice in re-watches or wouldn't have thought to look for. So, here are 10 hidden details you never noticed in Jaws.
10 The Shark is Never Referred To As Jaws
Despite being the title of the film, the shark is never called Jaws. Hooper does discuss the size of the shark's jaws and even measures the jaws of the tiger shark, but most of the time the shark in the film is simply referred to as "the shark," and never Jaws.
9 Quint Sings a Song From Moby Dick
Quint repeatedly sings an old British naval song called "Spanish Ladies" while aboard the Orca. What's ironic is that this song is also sung by the crew in Herman Melville's classic book Moby Dick. In fact, Quint is similar to the classic's Captain Ahab. Quint is obsessed with killing sharks, while Ahab is obsessed with killing the whale. Both men are motivated by revenge, and both are killed by the creatures they despite.
8 The License Plate In the Tiger Shark References James Bond
When Hooper and Brody decide to cut open the tiger shark's digestive tract to determine if it was the shark which killed Alex Kitner, Hooper pulls out a license plate and tosses it over to Brody. The first three digits of the plate are 007. This could be a reference to James Bond, as Spielberg had long desired to direct a James Bond movie. In fact, the Indiana Jones franchise came from both Spielberg and George Lucas' desire to make a James Bond-style movie. Indiana Jones was their take on an American-esque James Bond.
7 Writer Peter Benchley Cameos in the Film
Before it was a movie, Jaws was a best-selling book by Peter Benchley. Published in 1974, Benchley claimed the inspiration for the story came from a newspaper clipping about a fisherman who caught a massive great white shark in New York. In addition to being credited for the film's script along with Carl Gottlieb, Benchley also made a cameo in the film as a local news reporter on the beach.
6 The Orca's Name is Significant
Quint kills sharks for a living out of revenge for what happened to him and his crew who were aboard the USS Indianapolis. It's only fitting his boat the Orca reflects both his profession and motivation, as Orcas are the only natural enemy of the shark.
5 Brody's Books Foreshadow Events in the Film
When Brody's flipping through books about sharks for research, he comes across several photographs which actually play out on screen later in the film. One photograph shows a large hole in the hull of a boat due to a shark chomping on the vessel. This hole resembles what Hooper finds when he dives down to Ben Gardner's wrecked boat and discovers the shark tooth the size of a shot glass and Ben Gardner himself.
Another image from Brody's books shows a shark with an air canister in his jaws. The shark in the film is killed when a canister in the shark's mouth is shot by Brody, causing the shark to explode.
4 The Dates of the Shark Deaths Are Out of Order
When Brody is typing his report of Chrissie Watkins death towards the beginning of the film, he types July 1 as the date of the incident. However, the reward poster for killing the shark which killed Alex Kitner claims he was killed on June 29. This is clearly an error, since Alex Kitner's death took place after Chrissie Watkins and not before.
3 Quint Gives the Wrong Date for the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis
Quint's haunting speech about his experience after the sinking of the USS Indianapolis was inspired by a true World War II event. The 900 men who survived the sinking were afloat in the ocean for four days. Only 316 men survived the shark attacks and dehydration.
So, while some of what Quint said in his terrifying yet sobering dialogue was true, he claims the USS Indianapolis was sunk on July 29. However, in actuality, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed and sunk on July 30, not July 29.
2 Foreshadowing Shot of The Orca in Actual Jaws
As Quint, Brody, and Hooper are setting out to hunt for the shark, there's a shot of The Orca sailing out to sea which is filmed through the window of Quint's place which is framed by a set of jaws from Quint's exploits. This shot foreshadows The Orca sailing into danger and into the jaws of the shark they've set out to kill.
1 A Real Shark Attacked the Shark Cage
While a mechanical shark was used for most of the film's shark attack scenes, the footage of the shark destroying Hooper's shark cage was real. The shot of the shark with a rope in his mouth underwater was real as well. This footage was captured by Ron and Valerie Taylor along with shark expert Rodney Fox. In order to make the actual shark look as large as the monstrous shark from the film, they used a smaller cage and both a little person and a dummy in the place of Hooper.