Five-star movie could scare the pants off kids.
  • Review Date: July 9, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 125 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

An edge-of-your seat suspense flick with heart but little substance.

Positive role models

The three male leads are clever, determined and like-minded.


Only violence of the nature-versus-human variety, but it gets fairly gruesome, with thrashing, foaming blood, and severed body parts. This is scary stuff. That's one big man-eating fish, who escalates suspense by remaining hidden a good portion of the ti


A bit of semi-revealing female skinny-dipping.


A hearty fistful of expletives.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Lots of adult social drinking and a drunken beach party.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although the small screen lessens its impact, this movie can terrify as much as it entertains. It's not as gruesome as today's horror movies, but it may be too intense for sensitive preteens, especially those who have a fear of swimming in the ocean.

What's the story?

A tourist disappears late one night while swimming at the beach. When her remains come ashore, Police Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) believes it was a shark attack. Mayor Vaughn (Murray Hamilton), though, is worried about the effect such news might have on the tourist trade. After a few more attacks, some local fishermen catch a shark. The Mayor ignores warnings from ichthyologist Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) that shark the fishermen caught was too small to have been the one in the attacks. Another fatality sends Brody, Hooper and local fisherman Quint (Robert Shaw) off to find the Great White.

Is it any good?


In 1975 JAWS became as much an American phenomenon as the Peter Benchley novel that inspired it. The movie had summer moviegoers screaming in their seats and became the first ever to gross $100 million. It was a thrilling and surprisingly funny piece of entertainment back then, and age hasn't done it any great disservice. It has what no other movie in the Giant Vengeful Animal genre has since managed to produce: a witty, believable, and compelling script; notable performances by humans; and the directorial gunpowder of a young, ambitious Steven Spielberg. Any one of those attributes can pull a mediocre idea out of the chum bucket; JAWS has it all.

While stars Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss are standouts in their roles, the movie is impossible to imagine without Robert Shaw. Three parts Ahab, two parts Long John Silver, he redefines the term "salty" with his performance, and inspires the movie's greatest dread in a speech that he himself rewrote. "You know the thing about a shark," he says. "He's got lifeless eyes, black eyes--like a doll's eyes." Seeing all those uninformed vacationers bobbing in the ocean like so many fish food flakes is gripping stuff -- certainly to be avoided by children wrestling with water phobias. Three less accomplished sequels followed, the last one fun only in its absolute ineptness. If only National Lampoon had gone ahead with their proposed parody, the boxed set would be complete; supposedly it was to be called Jaws 5, Tourists 0.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the fact that this movie is considered the first official "summer blockbuster." What other blockbusters can you think of? What do they have in common? Also, how does the movie build suspense? 

  • What's scarier -- a monster you can see, or one you can't? Why?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 1, 2000
DVD release date:July 1, 2000
Cast:Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider
Director:Steven Spielberg
Studio:Universal Pictures
Topics:Adventures, Book characters, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Ocean creatures
Run time:125 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:violence

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous October 10, 2014
age 10+

Jaws review

========================================================= Sex/Nudity: A female college student disrobes as she runs for the beach in the moonlight. Although it's rather dark, the sides of her bare breasts can be seen and while she runs completely nude, it's too dark to really see anything else. Moments later, she's seen from underneath the water (Shark Point of View), and again due to the darkness, you can't really see anything although you might think there's some nudity). Ellen gives Brody a drink and asks, "Wanna get drunk and fool around?" to which he replies, "Oh yeah," but nothing happens. Quint repeats an ode: "Here lies the body of Mary Lee. Died at the age of 103. For 15 years she kept her virginity. Not a bad record for his vicinity." 3/10. ========================================================= Violence: A woman swimming at night in the ocean is attacked and killed by the shark (the actual attack isn't seen -- but her reactions are). A boy is pulled from his raft and killed by the shark (all we see is blood squirting into the air). In the same scene, it's implied that a dog is also killed by the shark (but there's no visual evidence of this). A shark attack victim's mother smacks Brody for letting the beaches stay open (which is actually Vaughan's fault). Another man is attacked and killed by the shark. The men shoot at the shark with guns and small harpoons in an attempt to kill it and Hooper stabs his knife into its nose in another scene. Quint smashes their radio with a baseball bat. The shark kills Quint. Brody kills the shark. 8/10. ========================================================= Blood/Gore: Brody's son shows a bloody cut on his palm. Parts of the remains of a female swimmer are seen washed up on the shore (mainly her hand covered with crabs) and later Hooper lifts up that arm, revealing the bloody stump. A boy is pulled from his blow up raft and blood squirts up into the air and paints the water red. Brody briefly looks at some real-life pictures of shark attack victims and their wounds, including some rather graphic (but not bloody) images (leg flesh hanging from the bone, chunks taken out of bodies, etc...). There are several scenes where chum (a bloody mixture of fish parts) is thrown into the water (turning it red) in an attempt to attract the shark. A dead shark is seen as is its bloody mouth. Later, Hooper cuts the shark open (seen from behind the shark) and white stomach fluid spills onto the floor as do a few dead fish. A slightly decomposed head (with an eye missing) pops out at Hooper as he dives on a partially submerged ship. A man's cut off leg (with a bloody stump) sinks to the ocean floor after a shark attack and the water's bloody from that. A rope gets yanked from Hooper's hand creating a bloody cut. The men shoot the shark several times leaving slightly bloody bullet holes. Blood squirts from Quint's mouth and flows from his body as the shark bites down on him. The shark's body is ripped apart in an explosion of lots of blood and shark meat. As its body sinks in the ocean, large amounts of blood mix into the water. 7.5/10. ========================================================= Profanity: At least 2 "s" words, 7 hells, 6 damns, 5 asses, 5 S.O.B.'s, 3 craps, and 4 uses of "G-damn," 3 each of "Oh my God" and "For Christ's sakes," 2 uses each of "Jesus H. Christ" and "Thank Christ," and 1 use each of "Oh Jesus," "Oh God," "Good God," "Jesus Christ," "Christ Almighty," and "My God" as exclamations. 5/10. ========================================================= Alcohol/Drugs: Some college students drink beer and a few pass around a marijuana joint. One of these students, who runs after a woman heading for the beach, is drunk and repeatedly stumbles as he tries to follow her. Ellen brings Brody a drink and she has one as well. Hooper brings two bottles of wine over to the sheriff's home and the three drink some of it. Later, Brody carries one of the bottles and appears slightly drunk. Quint and Brody drink a shot of homemade liquor, but Brody spits his out. Quint drinks down an entire can of beer in one gulp. The three men appear to be drinking while exchanging old "wound" stories. 5/10. ========================================================= Smoking: Brody smokes in several scenes, as does the mayor (who also carries around unlit cigarettes). Some college students smoke around a campfire. A few other people smoke in a few scenes. 3/10. ========================================================= Jaws is one of Steven Spielberg's best films, and is definitely worth watching. The suspense, characters, soundtrack... all amazing. I give it 9/10. =========================================================
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byJadenp March 1, 2011
age 14+

definitely should be PG-13

Suggested MPAA Rating: PG-13 for strong bloody violence throughout, language, and brief nudity.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written bymad man April 9, 2008
age 0+

Can You Say Shark?

This was a really great movie that wouldscare anyone under 10. I think the movie did not scare me because the violence and the shark did not look that real.
Kid, 12 years old August 21, 2011
age 10+

Amazing Movie. Not for the small ones.

Jaws is an amazing movie. I just started enjoying watching the TV 14 shows on shark week and I just watched Jaws last night. I say 12+ for sure but pause on 10 because I don't think littler kids would be able to watch it. Just be careful on the second attack (blood squirts like a gushing fountain), the first is ok, the third all that's graphic is a severed leg, the fisherman boat scene causes a bit of a fright, and the ending... Just be warned for massive blood and screaming. And more blood. Honestly I laughed the whole way through but I don't think many people do.


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