An island community dependant on its summer tourism trade for its income is plagued by the appearance of a great white shark right before the beginning of the tourist season.
Steven Spielberg is perhaps the most famous director of all time, and this is the movie that really brought him to the attention of the world. As far as I'm concerned, he deserved it for this one; it is one of the best and most exciting horror thrillers ever made. It is also the only Spielberg movie I've seen so far that I love and enjoy without reservations; I think it works superbly on every level. It delivers on the nail-biting suspense, livens it with effective comic moments which can turn serious on a dime without straining. It has an excellent score from John Williams, and it is used to good effect; Spielberg knows when to use music and when to use silence. It also has interesting moral issues, and fascinating and fun characters, especially Robert Shaw's grizzled and colorful sea captain. Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider are also great in their respective roles, and the supporting cast is also top notch. The script is loaded with memorable lines. Best of all, it avoids the "playing for effect" scenes that occasionally give me a problem with Spielberg, those moments when we can see him so obviously pulling the manipulative strings that it muffles our enjoyment; the only moment that comes close is the scene where Scheider must contend with the mother who lost her child. I've seen this movie several times now, and it remains one of my favorites. Highly recommended.