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The 10 Most Quotable Jaws Lines
Not only is Jaws a perfect movie, but we say it belongs in the "Most Quotable Movie Hall of Fame" too.
Just shy of 50-years old and Jaws (now streaming on Peacock!) never shows its age. Steven Spielberg's first summer blockbuster remains a timeless, cinematic classic. Set in the fictional New England beach town of Amity Island, Jaws' story unfolds over the July 4th holiday when a great white shark attack sets the whole town upside down debating the safety vs commerce conundrum. Of course, sharks don't care about debates and the shark contentedly chomps away with abandon, until police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider), marine biologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), and local shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw) set out to stop it.
Jaws also remains one of the most quotable films ever. The screenplay is based on Peter Benchley's book of the same name, with the first draft of the screenplay written by Benchley and then highly re-written and polished by Carl Gottlieb. With so many great lines to choose from, SYFY WIRE offers our 10 favorite quotes and why.
The Top 10 Quotes from the Original Summer Blockbuster, Jaws
"Sh...ark! There's a shark in the pond!" - Local girl
Right after the beachgoers are terrified out of the water by a prank from two local kids, a young woman artist near the entrance to the pond sees the actual shark heading into the small area where some kids are taking boating lessons. It's her screams that alerts Brody and the rest of the freaked out tourists that there's real trouble coming at them... and specifically for Michael Brody, the chief's son, who is one of those kids on the supposedly safer waters.
"Well, this is not a boat accident! It wasn’t any propeller! It wasn’t any coral reef! And it wasn’t Jack the Ripper! It was a shark." - Matt Hooper
Hooper doesn't believe the coroner's report about a dead body being the result of a boating accident, so he requests to do his own post mortem on the body. Once he sees the damage and the bite on the body, he is incensed and gives this passionate, professional opinion that whatever fiction was on the report does not match reality....which is a great white prowling the local waters.
"You open the beaches on the 4th of July, it's like ringing the dinner bell for Christ's sakes." - Chief Brody
After the death of Chrissy and young Alex Kintner from shark attacks, Chief Brody wants to close the local beaches, but he has to contend with major pushback from Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) who only sees the town's businesses losing tourist money. In one of Brody's heated exchanges with the local elders, he makes this great point about what will happen if they leave the beaches open.
"Farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies." - Quint
"Spanish Ladies" is a traditional British naval song and one of Captain Quint's favorite musical ditties. He sings or hums this particular song several times in the movie. Sometimes its teasing, like when he sings it to Hooper to make a point, and sometimes its sinister, like when he's drunk and in the cabin waiting for the sun to rise. It's become synonymous with the character and the movie now, which is all you can ask for in keeping a faded song alive for new generations.
"They caught A shark. Not THE shark." - Matt Hooper
After the Amity town fishermen go nuts trying to win the shark bounty, a boat brings back a Tiger Shark that certainly looks like it could be the culprit for the attacks in local waters. But as Matt gives it a look and measures the size of its bite radius, he tells Brody and the Mayor that despite all the celebration, this is likely not the right killer. It's a line that sends shivers up spines.
"You yell barracuda, everybody says, "Huh? What?" You yell shark, we've got a panic on our hands on the Fourth of July." - Mayor Vaughn
In the on-going debate about the economic impact on Amity Island's business and tourism, Mayor Vaughn has this great little speech that is pure capitalism on display. Instead of being worried about the people he's supposed to be representing, Vaughn is just seeing lost dollar signs and potential political ruin if they close the beaches as Brody and eventually Hooper want. The speech isn't wrong in terms of how actual people will react to the news of the shark danger, but it sure is morally wrong!
"Boys, oh boys! I think he’s come back for his noon feeding." - Matt Hooper
In the third act of Jaws, when the trio are out on the ocean actively tracking the shark, Dreyfuss delivers this amazing line in a perfectly comedic yet alarmed voice, which brings Quint and Brody's attention to the big guy circling back to the Orca with purpose.
"So, eleven hundred men went into the water, three hundred sixteen men come out, and the sharks took the rest. But we delivered the bomb." - Quint
When it comes to cinematic soliloquies, Quint's telling of the aftermath of the USS Indianapolis remains one of the all-time greats. Much of it was written by Shaw, which is why the whole scene comes off so natural and terrifying. It's like the scariest campfire story ever told because it's based on real life, and Quint is able to put the audience right there in the water with him and his fellow doomed survivors. He ends the whole story with this last sentence which is at once sobering, heartbreaking, terrifying, and real.
"Smile, you son of a b--tch." - Chief Martin Brody
When Brody is literally the last man standing on that sinking crow's nest, and he's got one last shot to get the great white beast, he takes his too close for comfort shot and utters these satisfying words for himself and the whole audience. A perfect line to end the greatest cat and mouse third act in cinema.
"You're gonna need a bigger boat." - Chief Martin Brody
All praise to Roy Scheider's performance in this scene, which starts with him angrily chumming to attract the shark and then ends with him, cigarette dangling from his mouth, uttering this pitch perfect line to Quint. As it turns out, the chumming works, as Brody sees the great white with his own eyes for the first time and suddenly gets the exact size and scale of their enemy... and it's not good. As he backs up from the edge of the boat into the Orca's hold, he never takes his eyes of the ocean as he tells Quint that they are not prepared for what awaits them out in the deep.
The entire Jaws movie collection is streaming on Peacock now!