Jaws, 1975

Director

Steven Spielberg

Cast

visit the film locations

Martha's Vineyard: Flights: Martha's Vineyard Airport is served year round from Boston, Hyannis, Nantucket, New Bedford, and Providence.

There's a seasonal service from New York La Guardia Airport, Washington DC Reagan National Airport and Philadelphia International Airport

Tourism: Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce

It's not a large island – only nine miles across. To explore, why not hire a bike from one of the many rental companies and explore the Vineyard on two wheels? There's an excellent cycle track network.


Trivia

Jaws II returned to Martha's Vineyard; Jaws 3-D found the shark at Orlando's Sea World Aquatic Park, Florida, and Jaws the Revenge moved between Martha's Vineyard and the Bahamas.

Jaws filming location: 'Jaws bridge': American Legion Memorial Bridge & Sengekontacket Pond, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Jaws filming location: 'Jaws bridge': American Legion Memorial Bridge & Sengekontacket Pond, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Coolly received by critics on release, this dazzlingly directed and sharply edited thriller launched the Steven Spielberg phenomenon, spawned a shoal of increasingly sloppy sequels and turned “You're gonna need a bigger boat!” into a classic quote.

The fictitious ‘Amity Island’ is swanky holiday retreat Martha’s Vineyard, off the coast of Massachusetts.

When I visited the location, I got the distinct impression that Martha’s Vineyard wants to be known for its whaling history, its clapboard cottages and its literary heritage, not for being the location for one of Hollywood’s greatest blockbusters.

Jaws filming location: Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Jaws filming location: Chief Brody gets paintbrushes in the town centre of ‘Amity island’: Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

That’s where the real island does differ from ‘Amity’. I suspect the savvy businessfolk of Amity would have gone on to promote the Xtreme Shark Attack Experience with their own animatronic Great White.

As a conservation area, the prestigious resort remains relatively unspoiled since its heyday as a whaling centre in the 19th century, and the movie’s locations remain unchanged.

The town centre, where Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) gets materials for the ‘Beach closed’ signs, is the junction of Water Street and Main Street, Edgartown, the one-time whaling town on the east coast.

Jaws filming location: Chappaquiddick Island Ferry, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, Massachusetts

Jaws filming location: the mayor has a word with Chief Brody: Chappaquiddick Island Ferry, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

At the end of Daggett Street, at the northern end of town, you’ll find the Chappaquiddick Island Ferry, where the Mayor has a quiet word about boating accidents. The ferry takes pedestrians, bikes and up to three cars at a time.

West of the coast road north from Edgartown toward the popular resort of Oak Bluffs is Joseph A Sylvia State Beach, where the swimmers are panicked by the shark attack on the Kintner boy.

Alongside is the American Legion Memorial Bridge, under which the shark swims to the ‘safe’ inlet, Sengekontacket Pond, where Brody’s son is traumatised by the attack.

Jaws filming location: Menemsha Harbor, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Jaws filming location: the site of Quint's workshop: Menemsha Harbor, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Across the island, toward the southwest tip, is the tiny fishing port of Menemsha. It was here, at the end of the harbour inlet between the General Store and the Galley Restaurant that the workshed of old seadog Quint (Robert Shaw) was built.

A permanent structure would have had to meet the island’s strict building regulations, so the area was restored to its original state after shooting – including replacing any litter found on the site. Once again, it’s an empty lot.

Jaws filming location: the Orca sets sail: Menemsha Harbor, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Jaws filming location: the Orca sets sail: Menemsha Harbor, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

The Orca’s scenes were filmed over 155 days at sea between Oak Bluffs and East Chop, under well-documented nightmare conditions.

The great shock moment, when Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) discovers the old fisherman’s nibbled head in the wrecked boat, was added as an afterthought. The ‘head’ shot was staged in the swimming pool of the movie’s editor, Verna Fields.


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