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Richard Dreyfuss recalls how one Jaws accident nearly turned deadly

Much has been written about the fraught production of Jaws in the nearly 50 years since it was released, from a faulty shark to near fatal accidents.


It’s been almost 50 years since the Steven Spielberg movie Jaws was released and since then, many, many miles of words have been written about the first summer blockbuster movie. Many articles are concerned with what a disastrous shoot it was, with a shark that did not want to play ball most of the time. With so much time spent on and near the water – it wasn’t plain sailing for the actors either, and sometimes dangerous accidents occurred.

In 2019, Richard Dreyfuss recalled to Yahoo Entertainment that one moment almost turned deadly for him on the set of Jaws. “We were putting me into the cage and I had a line which was; ‘I got no spit’ and as I said it, the winch went [makes a creaking, cracking sound] and the cage fell [into the water]. I was caught inside the cage, mask is gone, breathing apparatus is gone, the top of the cage is down, and I have to not panic.”

Jaws is now clearly the king of shark movies, but things could have been very different – especially if one of the lead actors had been killed off. The problems with the legendary mechanical shark – known to his friends as Bruce – famously led to one of the movie’s greatest strengths. The fact that there’s so much tension (aided by the iconic two-note score) built up in not seeing the shark until the end of the movie is what makes Jaws one of the best movies of all time.

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Spielberg was still under 30 when he made Jaws and he’s only gone from strength-to-strength as a director of spectacular blockbusters such as Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones, but always mixed in with drama movies such as Schindler’s List, Munich, and Catch Me If You Can.

Check out our guide to the best adventure movies.