Where Was Jaws Filmed in 1975?

Not many movie lovers would reach all the way back to 1975 but if you love the classics, you’ll love Jaws! Can I call it a classic? This suspenseful film will keep you on the edge of your seat. It may even change your swimming practices if you love to swim in the ocean. So where was Jaws filmed? The location may surprise you.

Jaws – The Story

This fictional story centers around a New England beach town where a young woman is attacked by a shark and dies while swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. Her partial remains were found on the beach the following day.

At first, the attack is attributed to a boating accident. But when a young boy is killed shortly thereafter in full view of a crowded beach, a bounty is placed on the shark. The bounty causes a shark-hunting frenzy for both amateur and professional shark fishermen who come from near and far. The story then centers around the obstacles of catching the shark. Cue bloody scenes here.

Where Was Jaws Filmed - Small Shark Caught

The movie is based on the book, Jaws, which was written by Peter Benchley. It is understood that many of the subplots in the book didn’t make it into the movie.

The Cast

The Jaws cast included Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Carl Gottlieb, Jeffrey Kramer, Susan Backlinie, Jonathan Filley, and Chris Rebello.

The Director of Jaws

The movie was directed by Steven Spielberg in 1975. Rumor has it that he almost left the production at one point for fear of being typecast as the “truck and shark director.”

Spielberg, in all his wisdom and creativity, didn’t want to make a really dark movie. He wanted it to be a little lighter. So Spielberg contacted a comedy writer, Carl Gottlieb who eventually became the primary screenwriter and ended up rewriting the entire script. In many cases, scenes were rewritten the night before filming. There may be humorous moments but trust me, it’s not a comedy.

The Location

As for the location, Jaws was shot almost entirely on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. It’s a small island off the coast of Cape Cod. However, there are many other places around the island where scenes from the movie were filmed. Here are some of the most notable ones:

Menemsha Harbor – This harbor was used for the opening sequence in which the boat carrying Quint crashes into the reef.

Chappaquiddick Island – The famous car accident scene took place here.

Edgartown Harbor – In one of the final scenes, the police ship pulls up alongside the beach.

West Tisbury Beach – One of the film crew members died while filming this scene.

Cape Cod Canal – The scene where Chief Brody and Hooper jump off the ferry.

Mashpee Commons Park – A few shots of the ocean were taken here.

Spielberg chose Edgartown as the main shooting site. The town was already familiar territory to him since he’d visited it several times while growing up. In fact, he’d even stayed at the same hotel where he’d met his future wife, actress Kate Capshaw.

Where Was Jaws Filmed - Shark Attack in Boat

Edgartown was the perfect spot for the movie. There are lots of beaches, including one called Chappy Beach. And the town itself is small enough that everyone knew each other.

But the real star of the movie wasn’t a beach or a building. Instead, it was the ocean. The filmmakers needed a huge amount of water to make the shark scenes look realistic. They found it in Aquinnah Harbor.

Aquinnah is located on the western side of the island. It’s home to the Wampanoag tribe. And it’s also where the original settlers came ashore in 1620.

Fun and Not-So-Fun Facts About Jaws

The woman who played Mrs. Kintner, Lee Fierro, actually lived on Martha’s Vineyard at the time. It took 17 takes to do her famous slap scene!

Where Was Jaws Filmed - Slap Scene with Lee Fierro

Robert Shaw (actor) was actually shot at his first night on Martha’s Vineyard by a local. The local thought the house was empty and shot a rifle at the front door of the house. No one knows why.

The scene where Jaws jumps out of the water and attacks Quint takes place in a backyard swimming pool. Director Steven Spielberg wanted to shoot it in a real pool, but he couldn’t find one big enough. So he rented one from his neighbor. He had to add milk to the water because there wasn’t enough salt.

Spielberg originally planned to film the scene in a quarry near San Francisco. But when the location manager found out about the swimming pool, he didn’t want to use it. “I told him I’d pay double,” Spielberg recalled. “He looked at me and said ‘You’re crazy.’ Then we got into a fight.”

So Spielberg went home and wrote a letter to Universal Studios asking permission to use the backyard pool. He sent it off and waited. A few days later he received a call from Universal saying yes.

But Spielberg still needed someone to play Quint. He called Richard Dreyfuss, who agreed to do it. When he arrived at the house, Spielberg asked him what he thought of the script. “I loved it!” Dreyfuss replied. “And I love sharks.”

Awards 

Jaws won three Academy awards in 1976. Best film editing, best sound, and best original dramatic score. It was also nominated for best picture but lost out to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

What is Jaws Famous For?

I think we can all agree that when we hear the word, Jaws, in reference to the movie, we immediately hear the background music–da-dum…da-dum…da-dum. And in our mind, we see that shark fin in the water.

Jaws Filming Locations on Martha’s Vineyard You Can Visit

While many of the filming locations used in the film have been lost over the years, there are some spots left behind that give visitors a chance to see how much work went into making the classic summer blockbuster. Here are five locations worth checking out.

The Aquarium at Squantum Point Park

The aquarium opened in 1973, just three months before the release of the film. It closed in 1999 but was reopened in 2017 under new ownership. Today, visitors can tour the facility and learn about local marine life. They can even take a ride on the submarine simulator.

The Chatham Bars Inn

One of the most iconic buildings in the area, the inn dates back to 1832. Visitors can check out the lobby, bar, and restaurant, which served as the setting for Hooper’s office.

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum

This museum features exhibits about the history and the surrounding region. Learn about how Martha’s Vineyard has changed over the years, the history of the lighthouses, and the geology of the region.

Things to Do in Martha’s Vineyard

Depending on what time of year you plan to visit, Martha’s Vineyard has plenty of things to do. But the best time to visit is between April and September. 

New England is steeped in history. In fact, whaling was a main way of life between 1738 and 1894. 

So if you are looking for even more things to do in Martha’s Vineyard, check out:

  • Sailing around the island
  • Sightseeing tours around the island
  • Martha’s Vineyard Venture Scavenger Hunt
  • Visit the lighthouses
  • Tour an oyster farm

Not to mention the hotels, shops, and restaurants on the island. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Was a real shark used in Jaws?

“Bruce” was indeed a real shark that was one of the largest ever male sharks. He was 1,208 pounds, 25 feet long, and 45 years old. 

Where was Amity Island in Jaws?

Amity Island is in Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of Cape Cod.

If you’ve never been to Cape Cod, it’s worth a visit. You’ll need to travel by ferry to both Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. It gets pretty crowded in the summer but it is beautiful no matter what time of year you visit. 

With all there is to do and see, you won’t be bored at all. You may even be lucky enough to see whales, dolphins, and even sharks. Or you might spot a few celebrities that are living or visiting the vineyard. Yes, we call it ‘the vineyard.’

But the big question is this: do you still feel safe swimming in the ocean after watching this movie? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Jaws
Where Was Jaws Filmed | Where Was Jaws Filmed

Director: Steven Spielberg

Date Created: 1975-12-16 14:42

Editor's Rating:
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Alanna Birmingham

Alanna Birmingham is a professional freelance writer and a Film Aficionado who adores watching, writing and being involved in all elements of filmmaking. Her writing repertoire includes films, filmmaking, travel, and electronic gadgets. When she’s not writing she’s hanging out at the beach or taking walks in the woods. She has a passion for animals, especially dogs, and is currently on the lookout for her next canine pal.

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