Roy Scheider in a scene from “Jaws” 1975. IMDb photo

You remember the opening with John Williams’ score that ran the notes like ice pellets down your spine, your arms and thighs, while you sat there with your mouth open, popcorn in your hand. You remember, don’t you?

Of course, you do. It was 1975 and the girl on the beach was Chrissie, just like your best friend who was sitting behind you, like the girl on the moonlit beach who was being hit on by the nameless blonde boy. “”What’s your name again?” he shouted.

“Chrissie,” she shouted, as she teased him and ran away, barefoot in the sand toward the surf, tearing her clothes away as she plunged into the moon-capped blue water.

“Where are we going?


Director Stephen Spielberg’s camera zoomed out and focused on Chrissie’s face, as she popped up out of the water, once, twice, three times and down again, up and down again, this time with a scream.


“Oh God,” she screamed, “Oh God, help me.”

And then she went down for the last time, and the pulsating music stopped, and there was that eerie silence, and the rustling of the popcorn bags stopped, and there was that huge inhalation that filled the air.

“What’s your name again?”


“Where are we going ?”



It was summer 1975, and as you read this you can smell the butter on the popcorn and the sunscreen on your arms as your wife walks by and asks, “Whatcha’ watching?”

She looks at the screen and laughs.

“Oh that one again. ‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat.’”

And there was Roy Scheider as the cynical, bored town sheriff, Martin Brody, who squinted into the sun as his eyes never left the kids and old people ankle deep in the water, while listening to Murray Hamilton as Larry Vaughn, Amity’s mayor who had previously threatened Dustin Hoffman in “The Graduate.”

And who can forget Richard Dreyfuss’ wisecracking ichthyologist Matt Hooper, who is there to help save the mission.

Robert Shaw’s grizzled professional survivor Quint speaks.


“I knew all about sharks after floating for days in the Pacific,” he says, as he tells the true tale of the fatal sinking of the USS Indianapolis, where 890 men faced exposure, dehydration, saltwater poisoning and shark attacks. Only 316 survived. Our Quint was one of them.

“Jaws” will always rank as one the great films of survival and the story of three disparate strangers holding on to a frayed rope, barrel and prayers.

This story is being kept alive on Broadway this season in the play “The Shark is Broken” with Olivier Award-winner Guy Masterson, Ian Shaw (actor son of Robert Shaw) and Joseph Nixon.

The play was co-written by Ian Shaw, inspired by father Robert Shaw’s experience in playing Quint and the drama and problems in Steven Spielberg’s notorious journey getting “Jaws” to the screen.

Listen, when you can, to the opening music by John Williams, who reminds you with the opening score how really scared you were. Better yet, watch it again some rainy night. … Here it is.

Watch it on Netflix, Peacock TV, ReDiscover Television, ROW8, Prime Video, Apple TV, Vudu or Redbox.

J.P. Devine of Waterville is a former stage and screen actor.

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