The movie that began the summer blockbuster genre, Jaws stands out above all the big budget, big explosion, movies that came in it's wake. This is great storytelling with compelling characters.
The movie came out in 1975. It was playing at the surf theater in Ocean City, Maryland that summer and there were lines. I saw it one evening with my girlfriend and and couple of her friends. It wasn't terrifying so much as ominous. It builds slowly, hints of what's coming in the first couple of attacks, and always the iconic music to foreshadow the lurking danger.
The shark isn't shown for most of the movie and when it finally is shown, it's obviously a rubber shark. There's no CGI yet. I know now that there were lots of issues with the shark that lead to some of the scene choices.
I like this movie, the three guys going out on a small fishing boat, the interactions, the slow search with time for conversations, singing, even a story told about the U.S.S. Indianapolis. The audience gets invested. When it all comes down at the end, the boat is sinking, the shark hunter Quint is dead, and our every man hero, police chief Brody, has to save the town and himself. With a Garand.
We went to the beach that night after we left the theater and went in, but it wasn't for long, we felt like bait.