Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
What this movie is about, and where it succeeds best, is the primordial level of fear.
Spielberg works self-effacingly, with subtly correct camera placement and meticulous editing. He twists our guts with false alarms, giving us the real thing with heart-stopping suddenness.
Steven Spielberg's mechanical thriller is guaranteed to make you scream on schedule.
Los Angeles Times:
It is a coarse-grained and exploitive work which depends on excess for its impact. Ashore it is a bore, awkwardly staged and lumpily written.
Director Steven Spielberg has immeasurably improved the bestselling Peter Benchley potboiler novel.
Spielberg may be the man who created the new Hollywood, but in his first megahit he summed up what was best in the old -- the humor, the perversity, and the storytelling integrity of Alfred Hitchcock.
New York Daily News:
Spielberg had paced the film beautifully so that one is always on edge, tensed for those scary moments that turn out to be false alarms, and left somehow totally unprepared for the real shocks.
New York Times:
Mr. Spielberg has so effectively spaced out the shocks that by the time we reach the spectacular final confrontation between the three men and the great white shark, we totally accept the makebelieve on its own foolishly entertaining terms.
When it comes to this kind of thriller, no movie has been able to top Jaws, although many have tried. And, as the years go by, it seems increasingly unlikely that anything will come close.
It's no wonder a generation of holidaymakers still thinks twice before stepping into the water.
The fast-moving 124-minute film engenders enormous suspense as the shark attacks a succession of people.
A near Hitchcockian exercise in transference of guilt and making the audience pay for its illicit pleasures.
I don't think there's a more exciting talent at work right now than Spielberg, an authentic moviemaking prodigy, and perhaps his worst problem from June 20, 1975, on will be preventing success from making a nervous or artistic wreck of him.