This movie is pure perfection. It's one of those movies to which other movies strive to be. Starting out at a classic beach bonfire, sounds of harmonica playing in the background and a drunk boy chasing a girl named Chrissie. The iconic poster is of Chrissie, in the first scene, about to become the first known victim of the great white shark that terrorizes fictional Amity Island.
Did Jaws change your mind about swimming in the ocean?
The movie then moves on to explore the trials and tribulations of a non "islander" Police Chief (played brilliantly, if not a little stiffly, by Roy Scheider) trying to start his career on Amity, and dealing with this first major crisis. In comes the colorful characters, Quint, the salty, sea worn fisherman that has seen the inside of as many bars as he has the inside of fish. He steals every single scene he is in. Played by Robert Shaw. Robert Shaw WAS Quint. Known for performing his scenes drunk, he lived and breathed Quint. His tragic end in the movie should not suprise any viewer. You get a very "Old Man and the Sea" feeling about him when you first meet him. And then of course, Richard Dreyfuss as the scientist Hooper (or as Quint calls him, "Hoopah").
The shark itself doesn't show itself as much as most serial killers do in horror movies, and this is a serial killer, no mistaking that. That makes this even more scary - the fact is you don't see the shark until about 45 minutes into the movie. And of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the famous 2 bar theme song. Who doesn't know that by heart? And isn't instantly scared by it?
In summary, this is THE classic summer horror movie. The summer of 1975 changed it all.