While looking back on the impact of Jaws, movie maker Steven Spielberg says he regrets the effects the film’s success had on the population of sharks.
Although Jaws helped turn Steven Spielberg into a household name, the director says he regrets the movies real-life impact on the shark population. The 1975 thriller, which saw the fictional island of Amity tormented by a man-eating great white, established the titular movie monster as a true cinema icon, with Jaws helping to pave the way for the summer blockbuster. Despite its influence on cinema still being felt today, the movie also played a part in the negative public perception of sharks, with the popularity of sport fishing rising in the years following the movie’s release.
But Jaws‘ side effects aren’t lost on Spielberg, with the legendary movie maker taking to BBC’s Desert Island Discs podcast to lament the movie’s unfortunate impact. Spielberg says he regrets “the decimation of the shark population” following Jaws. Pondering what sharks would think of him, Spielberg also says he wonders if sharks are mad at him for his hand in their population decrease since 1975. Read Spielberg’s full comments below:
Lauren Laverne: “Now the sea around your desert island could be inhabited by sharks, how do you feel about that?Spielberg: “That’s one of the things I still fear, not to get eaten by a shark, but that sharks are somehow mad at me for the feeding frenzy of crazy sword fishermen that happened after 1975. I truly and to this day regret the decimation of the shark population because of the book and the film, I really and truly regret that.”
Why Jaws Remains The Ultimate Creature Feature
Despite so many movies trying to replicate Jaws‘ success, the original deep sea terror remains the ultimate creature feature nearly 50 years on. The shark doesn’t fully appear until the movie’s final act, but thanks to John Williams’ incredible, tension-building score and Spielberg’s excellent directorial hand, Jaws managed to scare viewers across the globe with the idea of its villain alone. The movie’s heavy use of practical effects, with its lifelike, animatronic beast, also made the idea of a deadly shark even more terrifying, playing into the idea that sharks are more dangerous than they actually are.
Of course, Jaws‘ shark is far different to its real-life counterparts. Shark attacks are incredibly rare and often a case of mistaken identity. While Spielberg has a lot to thank Jaws for, it’s good to see the director recognizes that one of his most famous movies may have left behind an unfortunate side effect.
There’s a reason that Quentin Tarantino recently listed Jaws as one of the films he considers perfect. The movie helped inspire a whole genre of big-budget monster features, but none have managed to reach the heights of Jaws’ success. It’s something the franchise itself failed to replicate, with both Jaws sequels dissatisfying viewers and critics alike. Still, at least the impact of cinema’s most iconic flesh-eating sea creature remains as prominent as ever – for better or worse for the sharks themselves.
Next: Jaws 4’s Genius Cancelled PlansSource: Desert Island Discs