SPOILER: In the original novel, Hooper has an affair with Brody's wife, and is killed by the shark in the cage at the end. However, because the relationship between Brody's wife and Hooper was considered by many to be irrelevant to the plot, and arbitrarily included in the novel just to "sex it up", it was omitted from the film script, and Hooper was allowed to survive.
SPOILER: When Brody is flipping through the book about sharks, one of the photos shows a shark with an air tank in its mouth, which presages the film's finale.
SPOILER: When the shark is destroying the cage after Hooper swims away, you can see the shark turn and twist upside down. This was actual footage shot by Ron Taylor. As seen and explained in a recent Jaws (1975) documentary, the Great White Shark the couple had been filming became entangled in the cage's suspension ropes. The cage broke loose and sank to the bottom, however the shark managed to escape and swim off (as can also be seen in the film). After the shark had cleared the area, Ron had to take a second cage to the bottom in order to rescue the first. Ron and Valerie Taylor eventually went on to develop the chain-mail shark-proof diving suit.
SPOILER: Before the shark was blown up at the end, an explosives expert with a blasting permit was needed. Richard S. ("Dick") Edwards had done extensive explosives work while in the Navy and then for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and he agreed to place the dynamite for the final scene. Finding he couldn't get past the teeth of the shark mock-up, he was forced to crawl into the back of the device, but it was made of sharp fiberglass. After wrapping his knees with towels and putting on heavy gloves, he had to carry the dynamite in his mouth to place it in the head of the "shark," where his picture was taken and is now in the archives of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, along with the oral history that describes his contribution to this classic movie.
SPOILER: Quint's name comes from the Latin word for "fifth". Quint is the fifth person killed by the shark (after Chrissie Watkins, Alex Kintner, disembodied head in boat, and Michael's sailing teacher).
SPOILER: The sound-effect used when the shark first reveals itself, as Brody is throwing chum, is actually a fizzy-pop bottle being opened onto concrete after being shaken up.
# # SPOILER: After the shark blows up, the groaning sound effects during the shot of the carcass sinking are the same ones the truck makes as it crashes off a cliff in Steven Spielberg's first film, Duel (1971) (TV). The sound effect is from the original Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954).
SPOILER: Regarding the ending, author Peter Benchley thought Steven Spielberg's idea of shooting and blowing up the compressed air tank was horrible. Spielberg even considered having Chief Brody kill the shark only to look up and observe several other fins coming towards him.
# # SPOILER: In the original script, Quint was killed off by drowning. The rope from the harpoon that he fires at the shark wraps around his foot and he is pulled under by the shark, calling for Brody to give him the knife. (This was also the way the character was killed off in the book and, according to an interview with Steven Spielberg about this scene, it is similar to the way Ahab dies in "Moby Dick".) However, it was decided that Quint should be eaten, so the script was changed to what is in the movie.
SPOILER: According to Carl Gottlieb's "The Jaws Log", Steven Spielberg was never happy with the moment when Ben Gardner's head pops out of the hole in the bottom of his boat. Preview audiences jumped at this scene, but Spielberg wanted more than an ordinary shock moment. However, the studio was unwilling to budget a re-shoot. So Spielberg declared that he'd pay for it himself, assembling a crew in editor Verna Fields' back-yard swimming pool, which would serve as the underwater location. A gallon of milk gave the water enough of the look of Nantucket Sound. The boat bottom was placed in the pool and Richard Dreyfuss' stunt double went through the action. The studio eventually ate the cost of the re-shoot, and the scene was taken to a much higher level, just by changing the composition and timing of a few feet of footage.
Was ranked the second greatest thriller on the AFI's list of 100 Thrills.
The shark was ranked the eighteenth greatest villain on the AFI's list of 100 Heroes and Villains
Was voted the 48th greatest film by the American Film Institute on their list of the 100 greatest movies in 1998. Ten years later, it dropped eight ranks to #56.
The music by John Williams was ranked at #6 by the American Film Institute for their list of the 25 greatest film scores.
After filming was completed Steven Spielberg said "My next picture will be on dry land. There won't even be a bathroom scene". He was true to his word. His next film was Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).