Jaws (1975)


It’s a cop film.

As we approach the anniversary of our great nation’s birth (unless you are a believer in the 1619 Project, in which case there is nothing great and nothing ever to celebrate) we would like to recommend one of the greatest 4th of July movies of all time. 

Jaws (1975) is an iconic piece of Americana that revolves around “keeping the beaches open for the 4th of July.”  It pits man against nature for the right to enjoy a beer and fireworks on the shores of our liberty-loving country on the day the Declaration of Independence was signed. 

But Jaws is not just a shark film that made us scared to go back in the water.  It’s a cop film – actually, the quintessential cop film.  Who do you call when things are going south?  The cops.  Who do politicians try to blame for every problem that afflicts society? The cops.  Who gets the job when other agencies have failed or given up? The cops.  Mental health system failure? Call the cops.  Giant shark eating the Kintner boy? Get the cops on it. 

Chief Brody is the Chief of Police on Amity Island.  In the story, he is a former NYPD cop who has moved on to command the tiny force of lawmen protecting the island’s populace.  Never in a million years did he imagine he would be throwing rounds at a 25-foot great white shark, but cops must clean up messes, and here is another one. 

Brody is a profile in courage.  He is afraid of the water and almost drowned as a child. And yet he takes on this unusual task and personally sees it through.  He didn’t have to go out on that boat.  He could have ordered it returned to shore.  But he is a dedicated cop and leader and sees the job through – to its explosive end.

Roy Scheider plays Chief Brody.  He is no stranger to the NYPD role.  He played real life Detective Sonny Grasso in The French Connection and was Detective Buddy Manucci in The Seven-Ups.  Scheider is excellent in showing the city cop as the proverbial fish out of water on the tiny island.  He does a great job portraying the fear and courage of Chief Brody.

But for all that, Robert Shaw steals the show as Quint, the captain of the good ship Orca.  Quint is the enigmatic seaman who brings the promise of salvation to the island’s tourist-driven economy.  He is a mercenary but brings a true hatred of the shark to the game. 

Richard Dreyfuss rounds out the mission as Hooper.  He’s fine as the ship’s oceanographer (even if you do sometimes wish the shark would eat him whole). 

Stephen Spielberg directs Jaws in his breakthrough film.  He shot to stardom based on the accolades he received for this movie (made when he was just 25!).  The film eventually won three Academy Awards, including one for its memorable score. 

Jaws is a little more than two hours.  I’m not sure there is an adult in the United States who hasn’t seen this one, but that is a testament to its timelessness.  It’s a movie that captures you, no matter how often you see it. 

You can watch it this weekend on the SYFY channel or stream it for free on the TBS/TNT/TrueTV app.  

So if you don’t plan on hitting the beaches this week, take a few hours of downtime to enjoy this cop thriller – that you thought was just a shark movie! 

Thanks for following The Ops Desk and have a great weekend! 



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