Steven Spielberg Shares Regrets Over The Movie “Jaws” And Its Impact On Real-Life Sharks

It’s hard to believe that it has been almost 5 decades since the movie Jaws came out. It was 1975 when that movie hit the big screen and ever since that time, people have been afraid of going in the ocean.

Jaws was actually an adaptation of a novel by Peter Benchley. That novel, which was also named Jaws, was meant to be a thriller but it actually had more of an impact than most frightening movies.

Photo: Flickr/Kevin Dooley License: CC BY 2.0

For example, we may have seen many of the summer thrillers that occurred in the ’80s and ’90s, from Friday the 13th to Halloween. Most of those tended to take place at summer camps, but people don’t avoid summer camps because of the movies.

Something quite different happened with Jaws, and people have a real fear of sharks after seeing the movie. Prior to Jaws being released, sharks were feared but nothing like they are today.

As it turns out, Spielberg regrets many of the things that are associated with the film. It isn’t just a matter of people being afraid to go back in the water, it’s the impact that the film may have had on the population of sharks.


In speaking with Lauren Laverne on BBC’s Desert Island Discs, he said: “I truly and to this day regret the decimation of the shark population because of the book and the film. I really, truly regret that.”

Spielberg went on to say that it is something he still fears; not getting eaten by a shark but that sharks are somehow still angry with him for the crazy sports associated with hunting sharks after the movie in 1975.

According to the Florida Museum, George Burgess, a shark researcher, said that Jaws initiated some sports that sent fishermen out to catch sharks that weighed hundreds of pounds. They did so to prove their bravery and unfortunately, it had an impact on the hobby of shark finning as well.

Photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore License: CC BY-SA 2.0

Shark finning is a practice where people catch sharks and then chop off the fins. They sell the fins but the sharks are dumped back into the ocean, often to sink to the bottom and drown. It’s a horrible practice.

The movie Jaws not only inspired these fishermen to hit the water, but it also inspired a number of other shark-based movies, including Deep-Sea Blue and Great White. Rather than shedding a positive light on sharks, they just added to the problem that already existed.

Spielberg has already voiced his regret for the feeding frenzy he created with the movie Jaws. Peter Benchley, the author of the book, also has some guilty feelings as well. According to Smithsonian Magazine, even though the movie launched his book to super success and he became a millionaire, he feels somewhat responsible for the decline of sharks.

Photo: Pexels/Matt Waters

According to Wilson Marine Science, Benchley said: “What I now know, which wasn’t known when I wrote Jaws, is that there is no such thing as a rogue shark which develops a taste for human flesh.”

He also said that is difficult to have people appreciate just how vulnerable sharks are. After all, it’s hard to anthropomorphize a shark. That is better left to whales and dolphins.

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