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Don’t Go In The Water 

Year: 1975 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Steven Spielberg 
Starring: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss  
An image from Jaws

Steven Spielberg’s tense thriller about the deadly great white shark that attacks a small summer town is a cinema classic.

The film is set in the little seaside town of Amity Island, where all the tourists are enjoying a seemingly usual beach holiday of sun and surf. This idyllic summer scene soon dissipates, however, as John Williams’ now iconic score announces the arrival of the ferocious shark and the impending death of its victims…

Get ready to sit on the edge of your seats as the hunt for the man-eating predator begins.

Lauren Howard

Dun-dun. Dun-dun. Dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun. You know the drill.

Heralded as the most frightening film to come out in the summer of 1975, Jaws recounts the tale of the residents of Amity Island as they are terrorised by a killer great white shark.

Police Chief Brody (Scheider), is the new guy in town, charged with the protection of the inhabitants, and the reputation of the island as a tourist destination. When it appears that the murderous shark has set up shop on the coast, Brody, along with marine scientist Hooper (Dreyfuss) and grizzled fisherman Quint , set out on an obscenely tiny boat to destroy the beast at all costs.

Now that of course we’re so used to having our nightmares drawn out by sparkling CGI, quite frankly, a plastic shark puppet ain’t gonna cut it.

This is entirely beside the point. The real terror and suspense comes from a far more organic source, namely the fantastic direction by the legend that is Mr. Spielberg and the equally legendary musical score. I doubt the kids in the 70s were that frightened by the plastic shark either, but something made people walk out of theatres across the country.

Like all good scary movies, the revelation of the monster is kept until the end, tantalising you with point-of-view shots from below the water, accompanied by John Williams’ tense music. You know it’s coming, but the victim doesn’t, prompting shouts of OH MY GOD LOOK BEHIND YOOOOU!

Often overlooked are also the fantastic performances of Richard Dreyfuss, Rob Scheider and Robert Shaw. Scheider (who sadly passed away this year) plays the quiet, straight-laced Brody with great skill, and the relationship that is carefully built between the three characters, particularly as they are stuck together in the fishing boat, is one of the film’s finest achievements.

And honestly, if you haven’t seen Jaws you are missing out on one of the most perfectly crafted films you will ever see. Its household name status also means that if you haven’t seen it you are in fact a lesser human being. So go. Now.

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Screenings of this film:

1979/1980 Summer Term (16mm)
1995/1996 Autumn Term (35mm)
1995/1996 Autumn Term (35mm)
2014/2015 Spring Term (digital)