Picture by Louis Goldman.

On this day in 1975, Steven Spielberg’s thriller about a great white shark terrorising a summer resort – Jaws – was released to widespread critical acclaim. Based on the book of the same name by Peter Benchley, Jaws follows a the hunt of a man eating shark which continues to threaten the resort’s visitors, prompting the police chief Martin Brody to pursue it with the aid of one marine biologist and a professional shark hunter.

Jaws was the first motion picture of its time to be shot on the ocean, presenting many challenges to the production team which resulted in a prolonged shooting schedule and the studio going well over the set budget to complete the film. The mechanical sharks created for the film often kept malfunctioning, causing director Steven Spielberg to ingeniously remove the physical presence of the shark altogether and rely solely on the anticipation of it. Indeed, throughout the movie, the only physical feature of the shark present is its fin protruding from the water.

Spielberg’s masterful use of such a technique is what allowed the film to become a monumental success, often being referred to as one of the greatest films of all time and remaining the highest grossing film for a period of two years before the release of Star Wars in 1977.

“Once a month the sky falls on my head, I come to and I see another movie I want to make”

-Steven Spielberg