35 years ago today, Universal Studios released "Jaws" onto the American public and single-handedly changed the face of Hollywood in one fell swoop.
It was the film that coined the term "blockbuster." It was the spark of inspiration that started the Summer movie release season. It grossed over $470 million in 1975 and up until "Star Wars" was released two years later, was the largest grossing film ever made.
Not bad for a 26 year old, completely untested director who got his start by sneaking onto the Universal lot and pretended to work there until he eventually did.
Overbudget, behind schedule and plagued with technical problems, its a miracle that Spielberg was even able to finish the film. The star of the movie - in this case the shark, (nicknamed Bruce by the production team after Spielberg's lawyer) was a disaster of a mechanical prop that was broken down more than it was functioning. Because of this, Spielberg had to improvise on how to shoot the movie. The end result - not revealing the shark until more than half-way through the film - turned out to be one of the things that made the film so suspensful, memorable and frightening.
As Richard Dreyfus stated, "We started the film without a script, without a cast and without a shark."
And now 35 years later, it ranks high on the list as one of the greatest American films ever made.