Jaws premiered on this day 41 years ago and made cinematic history. We celebrate its birthday with some of the best Jaws merchandise you can buy
The film Jaws celebrates its 41st birthday today as the blockbuster shark movie premiered in 464 cinemas across the US on 20 June 1975.
Steven Spielberg’s record-breaking classic – it netted over $2billion in global rentals when adjusted for inflation – will grace the big screen again with re-releases in both the US and the UK. Jaws was seen by many as the first example of the summer blockbuster – the hot months between June and August traditionally seen as a quiet period for the box office.
Jaws also set the template for the merchandised tie-in, with licensed products ranging from the standard posters, T-shirts, hats and mugs to more interesting items like fake shark fins, ‘Quint’ flip-flops and even Jaws-flavoured ice cream.
To commemorate the anniversary of this ground-breaking film, we round up some of the very best Jaws-related merchandise you can buy today.
Jaws Ultimate Edition Blu-ray/Digital Download
Universal didn’t roll out a specific 40th anniversary Blu-Ray or DVD re-release for Jaws last year because the film has already had a high-profile restoration and release in 2012 to celebrate the studio’s 100th birthday.
But that shouldn’t matter as this Blu-Ray is probably as good as it can possibly get. The entire film is restored frame-by-frame onto a 4k digital master, which means that this version is undoubtedly better quality than what you would have seen in the cinema back in 1975.
The soundtrack, featuring John Williams’ legendary score, has also been remastered onto 7.1 channel Dolby Digital to give you added audio impact. Apart from the stunning sound and video quality, the package includes plenty of fascinating extras including the excellent The Shark Is Still Working documentary, which includes the last ever interview with Jaws author Peter Benchley.
A magnificent package for a fully deserving film.
Jaws Original Soundtrack (OST)
The two-note musical motif that John Williams created for Jaws is perhaps the most recognisable piece of music in the history of cinema. Steven Spielberg himself admitted that the film would have been half as successful and as scary without John Williams’ contribution. So all true Jaws afficionados should endeavour to add the Oscar-winning sountrack to their record collection.
Several versions of the soundtrack exist: the original 1975 release, a 2000 reissue to coincide with the 25th anniversary and a Varèse Sarabande re-recording featuring the Royal Scottish Orchestra conducted by Joel McNeely. The best version is probably the 2000 reissue, but true Jaws buffs should buy them all – and then track down the new vinyl reissue that’s just been released.
Jaws: Memories from Martha's Vineyard (book)
As one reviewer of Jaws: Memories from Martha’s Vineyard put it succinctly: “You’re going to need a bigger coffee table!” This is a thoroughly comprehensive behind-the-scenes look at the making of Jaws, and its 312 pages are packed with anecdotes, interviews and photography from the troubled shoot on Martha’s Vineyard in the summer of ’74.
The co-author, Matt Taylor, is not just a film buff, he happens to be Martha’s Vineyard local and he gets plenty of fascinating insights on the making of the film from the perspective of the islanders. Originally many of the locals turned up their nose at what was perceived to be a trashy B-movie, but as the filmmakers made great efforts to win over the locals – including casting scores of people as extras – attitudes slowly changed for the better. No self-respecting fan of Jaws should pass on the opportunity to own this fascinating book.
There are schools of Jaws-themed T-shirts out there, but for our money this is the best you can buy. Based on Roger Kastel’s iconic painting, used on both the paperback book cover and the movie poster, it takes the 2 key elements of the design and puts them on the front and rear of the shirt. The retro tie-dye colouring gives the top a sense of quality that is reflected in the rather steep asking price. North of £30 is a lot to ask for a T-shirt tie-in, so thank heavens that this is no ordinary piece of movie merchandise.
Jaws Retro Action Figures
These Jaws action figures will be familiar to anyone who bought the original Star Wars merchandise nearly 40 years ago. Made of plastic, with limited articulation, as toys they have relatively little play value – but it’s Quint, Hooper and Chief Brody from Jaws for Pete’s sake. And best of all, completing the set, is a 10-inch model of Jaws himself, complete with a fake-looking mouth and a deadly scuba tank. I defy anyone to buy these figures and not stick Quint in the shark’s gob. Incidentally, these may be new figures made by the US cult toy company Funko but their already achieving some high prices on Amazon and eBay. It may be worthwhile to buy a bunch of these as an investment – if you can resist ripping open the packaging, that is.