Thirty-five years ago, when the fin broke through the water…

posted by Eric Friedmann on May 14, 2010 at 7:35 am

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”!

Comments (14)

moviebuff82 on May 16, 2010 at 12:00 pm

I remember this movie. The film finally came out on DVD in 2000 for the film’s 25th anniversary with a remixed 5.1 DTS track (I have that on a burnt dvd) as well as a mono track, along with a shortened version of the making of Jaws that was on the laserdisc deluxe edition a back in the mid 90’s. Jaws was the first movie to come out on what was then MCA’s Discovision label. The DVD would be reissued again in 2005, this time with the doc intact and a remastered transfer. I hope Universal comes out with the Bluray version of the movie with plenty of extras just in time for the anniversary, but that won’t come out until 2011.

pbubny on May 16, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Luckily for me, I was “of age” (14 going on 15) to see “Jaws” in its premiere engagement 35 years ago. I was less lucky about getting in on the first try: the Sunday afternoon show at the Clairidge Theatre in Montclair, NJ—then a single-screen neighborhood palace with a massive Cinerama screen—was sold out, so I had to come back the following day. Still one of the greatest moviegoing experiences I’ve ever had. I remember feeling as though I was actually on that rickety fishing boat during the last 45 minutes of the movie. Saw the movie twice more during that summer and several more times throughout its original 1975-76 run, a 1977 re-release and the ‘79 reissue referenced by Eric F. The 2005 DVD is nice (I always opt for the original mono soundtrack whenever I watch it), but “Jaws” really needs to be seen on a large theater screen.

Eric Friedmann
Eric Friedmann on May 17, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Let us all pray for a 35th anniversary theatrical re-release!!!

JimMann9 on May 17, 2010 at 1:12 pm

We went on the opening evening, sat in the balcony/smoking loge with heroes and large sodas. Yes times certainly have changed.

KennyCagle on May 17, 2010 at 1:20 pm

My sister and I saw Jaws on opening day at the Malco Twin in Hot Springs, AR. Rhonda was 17, I was 14. It began to storm that afteroon as we waited in line so we were soaked to the skin by the time we made it inside. The theatre was packed and it was the first time I remember getting to sit on the balcony. The combination of the theatre’s AC and our wet clothes made for a chilly experience but the chill soon went away after the opening scene. Like most 14 year olds at the time, I had a Jaws poster on my bedroom wall, read all I could about sharks and I still have a paperback book called “The Making of the Movie Jaws” by Edith Blake. I also have the 25th Anniversary DVD and I second the suggestion for a 35th Anniversary theatrical re-release AND for the film to be released on Blue-Ray as well.

Twistr54 on May 18, 2010 at 8:11 am

YES sounds like a winner to me! 35Th Anniversary Released to theatres for a special 2 week run,( on their largest screen, remember this is made for the big wide screen) then onto blu ray,,,,and my widescreen tv. OH YEA…

AdamBomb1701 on May 18, 2010 at 9:33 am

I saw “Jaws” the first weekend of release. I was 20, and took my uncle’s stepdaughter. The Island theater in Staten Island was just twinned, and “Jaws” was only playing in one side; the other side was reserved for a Disney festival that played during the summers in the 1970’s. The theater oversold the movie, as blocks of tickets were counted as just one seat, and they refused to use the other side. Maybe it wasn’t ready; I’ve forgotten why. As the movie was oversold, I couldn’t sit with my uncle’s stepdaughter, so we split up. When the movie ended, I looked everywhere for her for about an hour; she was nowhere to be found. It turned out that she bugged out of the movie, and went home. I went a few more times to see the movie. Without the crowds, and without my uncle’s stepdaughter. It was absolutely great.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 21, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Boy, Could i write a book on"JAWS" I was employeed about seven miles up the road at NATIONAL HILLS and according to our city Manager he thought “JAWS” who be a joke. It was no joke. Most of us ushers were working “BENJI” at National Hills and then driving down to the IMPERIAL in downtown Augusta to help handle the thousands that showed, Our city manager had one concession girl on duty and one Boxoffice girl and the doorman.And get this he goes on vacation that week.We somehow manage to pull it off with a couple of assistants And the manager from NATIONAL HILLS. You gotta love the business.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 21, 2010 at 3:44 pm

After all has been said. I really don’t care if i ever see “JAWS” again. Summer of 75 will never be forgotten for those of us lucky enough to work BRUCE THE SHARK.

TLSLOEWS on May 21, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Were going to need a bigger boat!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 21, 2010 at 8:04 pm

I guess you all played it. I missed “THE EXORCIST” crowds,but I know “JAWS” more than made up for it. I have two of the one-sheets that were at the Imperial.I thought about giving them one since what they have in Lounge is a reprint.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 21, 2010 at 8:05 pm

I see Robin is back at National Hills.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 27, 2010 at 6:30 pm

anyone into “JAWS” needs to go to the IMPERIAL THEATRE site ON CT,in AUGUSTA,Ga. and see an ad that was NOT done anywhere on any newspaper ad.It is May 27,2010 post. I think you shark fans should be impressed.

MPol on June 11, 2011 at 6:19 am

Although I first saw “Jaws” when it was out of date, I remember the opening day(s) when “Jaws” was the talk of pretty much every circle. It was cool to listen to.

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