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One Jaws scene was so gory that Steven Spielberg refused to include it

There are some blood-soaked moments in Steven Spielberg's shark movie classic Jaws, but one shocking scene pushed the oceanic violence a little bit too far.

Steven Spielberg cut this gory Jaws scene

Spielberg had a filmmaking baptism of fire when he made Jaws. It’s now an all-time classic, but Jaws proved to be a nightmarish project for the young man who would become one of the best directors in Hollywood history. Before Jaws was among the best movies ever made, it was a pain in Steven Spielberg‘s ass.

Of course, when you’re making the best shark movies, it’s important to decide just how much blood to slosh around in the water. These movies can be gore-fests, or they can aim at a slightly more multiplex-friendly crowd. Jaws exists somewhere between the two, thanks to Spielberg’s careful consideration.

In an excerpt from Laurent Bouzereau’s new book Spielberg: The First Ten Years, published in Vanity Fair, Spielberg revealed that the original version of one of the most brutal Jaws scenes was even more violent than what we got to see.

The scene in question is the attack on an unnamed man on a boat, which rather ruins the Fourth of July weekend on Amity Island. It’s pretty gory in the finished movie, with the dude’s severed leg shown sinking to the bottom of the water.

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But, in Spielberg’s words, it was almost something truly terrifying, with enough blood flowing to make David Cronenberg blush.

“I cut the scene down because it was too bloody, too gory,” he said. “Stuntman Teddy Grossman played the victim — and Teddy is a very funny guy, by the way — but originally, he was riding in the mouth of the shark like a maidenhead of a ship, toward the kid in the water, vomiting blood. That was much more horrible than anything else that came in the first third of the movie, so I took it out.”

As much as we’d love to see a guy spurting blood from his mouth like a grotesque water feature, we can understand why Spielberg let this moment hit the cutting room floor. It’s a bit much.

Certainly, we don’t think Jaws would have become the definitive summer blockbuster if it had grossed out a huge percentage of the audience. We love the goriest and best horror movies, but there are plenty of people who’d rather a bit more subtlety.

Jaws stands as one of the best movies ever made

For more sharp-toothed cinema magic, find out about our picks for the best Steven Spielberg movies and learn how Spielberg saved a Jaws rip-off from the court room. For more recent shark attacks we took a deep dive into The Meg true story.