Thirty-five years ago, when the fin broke through the water…
June 20, 2010 will mark the 35th anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s groundbreaking summer blockbuster, “Jaws”.
What can I possibly say that every fan of this film doesn’t already know? That it ushered in a new era of film marketing and wider theatrical releasing? That in between “The Exorcist” and “Star Wars” it was the highest grossing film of all time? That it instilled fears of going in the water that people probably still hold onto today? That it made Martha’s Vineyard more popular than it already was?
What’s the point? You already know all this. What I will, however, do is share a personal story with you regarding this film, and perhaps you will, too…
I was eight years old when “Jaws” was released in the summer of 1975 and my parents would NOT let me see it! Try to imagine what it must be like for an 8 year-old kid to enter the third grade the following fall and feel like he’s the only one who hasn’t seen this movie. Try to imagine what it’s like to hear other kids humming the infamous theme from “Jaws” and not really have a clue what it is they’re humming. Try to imagine what it’s like to feel like you’re the only kid in school who’s been denied access to the world’s greatest cultural phenomenon!
Cut to the summer of 1979, “Jaws” is re-released for a two week theatrical engagement. I’m 12 years-old now and my parents still won’t budge on this issue! WTF??? No, my friends, it would not be until 1980 when “Jaws” made its television premiere on the ABC Sunday Night Movie that I finally got to see the infamous fin break through the water. It would not be until 1984, when my family purchased our first VCR, that I would finally get to see “Jaws” uncut and without commercial interruption.
So, people, how’s that for being born under a bad sign?
Today, “Jaws” remains my absolute favorite summer blockbuster film of all time. And why not? It takes place at the beach, I grew up at the beach every summer, and what defines the summer better than the beach? I watch “Jaws” periodically throughout the year, but I make it a point to always make sure I watch it every 4th of July weekend in the same tradition that other people watch Christmas films.
Thank you Peter Benchley and Steven Spielberg for giving us a timeless masterpiece that is “Jaws”!