The Unassuming Greatness of Jaws: The New Yorker Reflects on Spielberg’s Classic, Which Turned 40 This Year

by Owen James Burke

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“… a glistening example of an American filmmaker turning pulp fiction into pop art.” Image: Universal Pictures.

This year, as Jaws turns 40, the film is being restored and rereleased with a series of behind-the-scenes documentaries in which Steven Spielberg reflects on what he calls the “youthful courage and stupidity” that made the 27-year-old director’s film adaptation of Peter Benchley’s book possible.

In the behind-the-scenes footage, you’ll see Spielberg kvetching in the same theatrical manner Coppola groused over his film adaptations of Mario Puzo’s and Joseph Conrad’s classic novels. However, the production’s greatest source of internal conflict, Spielberg recounts, might well have been the film’s cantankerous lead actor,”Bruce,” the 25-foot robotic shark.

“Bruce,” along with New England’s unabating spring winds and waves, led Spielberg and co. 100 days past schedule, which just happened to be the necessary crisis that incited the creative spirit of the youthful director and nourished the classic masterpiece to life, The New Yorker writes. –OJB

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