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Why Jaws is Still the #1 Shark Film

Updated: Feb 9, 2022

Convo #5 Word of Mouth


"Why it isn't unfair to compare all movies to the classic in its genre?"

​Norton - Film History Student - UCLA:

"Yes! It's not fair to compare other shark films to the all time classic. But it's not about comparison as much as it is about why JAWS' success is among so few successful Shark Films. You look at The Godfather for example. Consider the Greatest Film ever. Yet, since then, there have been other classics made in the Mafia genre. You can't forget GoodFellas, Mean Streets, Casino, etc..."

Norton Cont'd:

"So here's why Jaws is the most successful Shark Film Franchise...

a. It played like a great detective story. Instead of showing only gruesome scenes, the killer left clues for the characters to discover it's existence and it's makeup- a great white shark.

b. The conflict wasn't solely between the shark and the people.

*We had the captain and the academic fighting each other on how to combat the great white.

*We had the frustration of the Sheriff trying to convince the city officials during tourism season that a killer is at large.

c. It played like a horror movie, giving us the POV of the serial killer -in this case the shark. It even had it's own attacking music.

d. There were stories within stories. The characters had back stories which came to life while surviving the Jaws."

Norton cont'd:

"So here's why most movies fail to make the classic status...

a. Size doesn't matter. Actually size can hurt. The bigger the shark appears, the faker the shark can look.

b. Don't sacrifice the story for more gruesome scenes. Remember, great scenes only matter when a great story supports them.

c. Too much of people bobbling in the water. First, this can make the viewers sea sick from just watching. Second, the more the characters are at sea throughout the film, the more it desensitize the viewers from feeling the true fear of being vulnerable and lost at sea."

Norton cont'd:

"The survivors & how they survived

a. Open Water Despite bobbling in the water the whole time, this movie resonated b/c it was based on true story and the frenzied shark scenes as the camera dip below and above the water were original and amazing.

b. Sharknado Lesson here. Be ridiculous. If you are going to break the rules, break them bad. "

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