Trivia provided by: The Internet Movie Database:
- Sterling Hayden was the original choice for the role of Quint. Hayden, however, was in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service for unpaid tax. All Hayden’s income from acting was subject to a levy by the IRS, so there was an attempt to circumvent that: Hayden was also a writer, so one idea was to pay him union scale for his acting, and buy a story from him (his literary income wasn’t subject to levy) for a large sum. It was concluded that the IRS would see through this scheme, so Robert Shaw was cast instead.
- Quint’s tale of the USS Indianapolis was written by Shaw following a disagreement between screenwriters Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb. Shaw presented his text, and Benchley and Gottlieb agreed that this was exactly what was needed.
- The live shark footage was shot at Seal Rocks, Australia. A real white pointer was cut up and “extended” for the close-up shots.
- A midget in a miniature cage and a real shark were used to get some shots correct.
- Susan Backlinie (Chrissie) was experiencing real pain during her attack scene at the beginning of the film. She was attached to straps and divers underneath pulled too hard.
- Apparently, technicians lost control of one of the mechanical sharks, and it was lost at sea.
- During the filming of some scenes, Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Shaw had to look in amazement off camera at a non-existant shark.
- Preview audiences screamed when the head of a shark victim appears in the hole in the bottom of the boat. Director Steven Spielberg re-shot the scene in editor Field, Verna’s swimming pool because he wanted them to “scream louder”.
- A real shooting star can be seen during a shot of the boat on the water at dusk.
- Video version is missing some scenes:
- Author Peter Benchley was thrown off the set after objecting to the climax.
- Steven Spielberg was the voice on Quint’s marine radio when Mrs. Brody tries to contact her husband on the Orca.
Hooper describing an obscene phonecall he made, while cutting open the shark.
Quint humiliating a young clarinet player as he buys piano wire.
Trivia provided by: Pascal L’ Heureux:
- The first shark killed on the docks which is supposed to be the “maneater” in the movie is actually a real shark killed in Florida because there wasn’t a big enough one in Martha’s Vineyard.
- Brody’s dog in the movie was actually Spielberg’s real dog.
- On the last day of shooting, Spielberg wore nice clothes to make sure he wouldn’t be thrown in the water by the crew.
Trivia provided by: Mitchell L. Boone:
- The mechanical shark used in JAWS (the original film anyway) was nicknamed “Bruce” by its “handlers” and the “full body” version tours around museums, while “Bruce II” resides at the Universal Theme Parks and “bites at” tourists on the tour ride.
- Also, the shark spent MOST of the movie broken-down, and was unavailable for certain shots. This led Steven to “use” the camera as the “shark”, and film from the sharks’ perspective. They think this added to the “chilling/haunting” quality in the final release. Many critics/movie-goers/and actors/crew think it would have made it too “cheesy” had they shown the shark as much as originally planned.
Trivia provided by: James Burger:
- Susan Backlinie (Chrissie) is actually a stunt woman, not an actress, and her underwater scenes in the JAWS opener were actually filmed during the day while she was in the buff.
- The original scene with Alex Kintner’s death was so scary that it had to be cut due to the fact that it might scare people to death and they would not be able to give JAWS a PG rating but an R instead. The scene called for a doll of Alex to be floating among the bathers, then the shark would jump out of the water.
- Robert Shaw was also in trouble from the IRS and had to flee the country once his scenes were completed.
- When Robert Shaw first attempted to do the Indianapolis scene, he was drunk as a skunk and was only able to complete one line; then he started talking about his family and other stuff. He was so embarassed that he asked Spielberg if he would let him do it again the next day. Spielberg said yes and Shaw did it in one take.
- If you look hard enough when Quint is being eaten, you can notice the rubber teeth bending at Quint’s waist.
- When Roy Scheider was trapped in the sinking Orca, it took 75 takes to get the shot right. Roy did not trust the special effects team to rescue him in case of an emergency so he hid axes and hatches around the cabin just in case.
- There were two 300lb weights attached to Susan Backlinie which were being tugged by two sets of crewmen on shore. One set would pull right, and the other set would pull left. It took three days to film that sequence.
- When the shark was built, it was never water tested therefore when it was put in the water at Martha’s Vineyard, it sunk straight to the ocean floor. It took a team of divers to retrieve it from the floor.
- The scenes missing from the video were not in the original picture. They were seen in later features of JAWS when the movie was first televised. They needed fillers during editing for TV so they used that footage.
- Robert Shaw could not stand Richard Dreyfuss and they argued all the time, which resulted in some good tension between Hooperand Quint.
- If you pay attention to the barrels in the film, you will notice that they are not consistent numerically due to errors in editing.
- If you pay close attention to one of the windows in the building behind Brody after he leaves the hardware store, you will notice a bystander sticking her head up and taking pictures of Roy Scheider as he is doing his lines.