Universal acclaim - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19

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Critic Reviews

  1. 40
    Steven Spielberg's mechanical thriller is guaranteed to make you scream on schedule (John Williams's score even has the audience reactions programmed into the melodies), particularly if your tolerance for weak motivation and other minor inconsistencies is high.
  2. 100
    One of the most effective thrillers ever made.
  3. 75
    What this movie is about, and where it succeeds best, is the primordial level of fear. The characters, for the most part, and the non-fish elements in the story, are comparatively weak and not believable. [20 June 1975]
  4. Reviewed by: John Bleasdale
    May 31, 2016
    Importantly, Spielberg instinctively knows exactly when to keep his camera still and allow what's in front of it to take precedence.
  5. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    It was the complete nightmare that invented the "summer blockbuster", launched the genius on a global scale and delivered an astonishingly effective thriller built on a very primal level: fear.
  6. 100
    Steven Spielberg overcame the lumpy plotting of Peter Benchley's novel to create an efficient, graceful fright machine in Jaws.
  7. Reviewed by: Charles Champlin
    May 31, 2016
    While I have no doubt that Jaws will make a bloody fortune for Universal and producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown, it is a coarse-grained and exploitive work which depends on excess for its impact. Ashore it is a bore, awkwardly staged and lumpily written.
  8. Reviewed by: Kathleen Carroll
    May 31, 2016
    It is a stunningly effective thriller, as cleverly engineered by director Steven Spielberg (with considerable assist from film editor, Verna Fields) as the mechanical sharks that everyone knows by now play the great white shark.
  9. Newsweek
    Reviewed by: Arthur Cooper
    May 31, 2016
    Jaws is a grisly film, often ugly as sin, which achieves precisely what it set out to accomplish - scare the hell out of you. As such, it's destined to become a classic the way all truly terrifying movies, good or bad, become classics of a kind. [23 June 1975, p.54]
  10. 100
    The first is the best. When it comes to this kind of thriller, no movie has been able to top Jaws, although many have tried. And, as the years go by, it seems increasingly unlikely that anything will come close.
  11. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    May 31, 2016
    Spielberg balances terror on the water with a rich portrait of an island police chief (Roy Scheider) torn between public-safety concerns and a community that thrives on the tourist dollar.
  12. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    May 31, 2016
    This is a suspense classic that leaves teeth-marks.
  13. Reviewed by: Arthur Knight
    May 31, 2016
    Perhaps the most perfectly constructed horror story in our time.
  14. If you think about Jaws for more than 45 seconds you will recognize it as nonsense, but it's the sort of nonsense that can be a good deal of fun, if you like to have the wits scared out of you at irregular intervals.
  15. Reviewed by: Martin Chilton
    May 31, 2016
    The terror, panic and small town politics are all brilliantly done but this is also a film about bravery and friendship and the scenes in which the trio bond as they sit out at sea waiting to fight death itself are moving and witty.
  16. Reviewed by: Tom Huddleston
    May 31, 2016
    Best of all is Steven Spielberg’s direction: the camera moves like a predatory animal, gliding eerily across the surface of the vast Atlantic, creating sequences of almost unbearable suspense.
  17. From the outrageously frightening opening--in which a beautiful young woman skinny-dipping in the moonlight is devoured by the unseen shark--to the claustrophobic climax aboard Quint's fishing boat, Spielberg has us in his grip and rarely lets go.
  18. Reviewed by: A.D. Murphy
    Robert Shaw [is] absolutely magnificent as a coarse fisherman finally hired to locate the Great White Shark; and Richard Dreyfuss, in another excellent characterization as a likeable young scientist.
  19. Reviewed by: Gary Arnold
    May 31, 2016
    The movie version of Jaws is one of the most exciting and satisfying thrillers ever made.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 332 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 79 out of 95
  2. Negative: 11 out of 95
  1. Mar 31, 2011
    Jaws is simply one of the greatest motion pictures of all time. Based on the best-selling novel by Peter Benchley, the film opened toJaws is simply one of the greatest motion pictures of all time. Based on the best-selling novel by Peter Benchley, the film opened to audiences around the world and apart from receiving critical acclaim, grossed hundreds of millions thanks to word of mouth and clever advertising. Three mediocre sequels followed in 1978, 1983 and 1987 but the original from 1975 is THE definitive suspense film. The plot concerns a small New England holiday resort that is being terrorized by a killer great white shark. The corrupt mayor of the town wishes to regard the numerous shark attacks as boating accidents. However, as the bodies mount it becomes clear to police chief Martin Brody that the problem can no longer be ignored. So, with the help of oceanographer Matt Hooper and crusty old fisherman Quint, Brody heads out to sea on a small boat in order to catch and kill the shark once and for all. Once they get on open sea, the film suddenly becomes a straight out action-adventure film, which is a genius move by both Spielberg and the producers, because in the first half of the film, the tension is slowly built up notch by notch so that when the viewer wants the shark dead too, then the characters decide to do the same and the way it gradually makes the transition is brilliant. Also, one cannot review the film without mentioning the iconic musical score by composer John Williams, a frequent choice in nearly all Spielberg's films. The music represents the mindless attack of the shark and it also is accompanied by some traditional swashbuckler music in the less suspenseful moments. The film's other big claim to fame is the fact that it had one of the most troublesome shoots in film history. The three mechanical sharks constructed for the film rarely worked, and when they did it was only for a short while. The reason for having three sharks was so that the filmmakers could exercise their control over the shark. The cast is superb also, with Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss all giving their signature performances. However, the star of the show, as all learned movie buffs know, is really the shark. The film was released on June 20th of 1975 and quickly became the most popular film of all time at that time. It set the record for summer blockbusters since, grossing over 400 million dollars and shooting Spielberg to international fame. Overall, a classic chiller that belongs in every DVD collection. (10/10) Full Review »
  2. AdamR.
    Aug 30, 2007
    Best movie of all time!!!!!
  3. Oct 23, 2010
    Steven Spielberg is so excellent directing this summer flick from the early 70s.