Jaws 2 – USA, 1978 – overview

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Jaws 2 is a 1978 American horror thriller feature film and the first sequel to Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975), which was based on Peter Benchley’s novel of the same name.

Directed by Jeannot Szwarc (Bug), it stars Roy Scheider as Police Chief Martin Brody, who must deal with another great white shark terrorising the waters of Amity Island, a fictional seaside resort.

Like the first film, the production of Jaws 2 was troubled. The original director, John D. Hancock, proved to be unsuitable for an action film and was replaced by Szwarc. Scheider, who only reprised his role to end a contractual issue with Universal, was also unhappy during production and had several heated exchanges with Szwarc.

Jaws 2 remained on Variety’s list of top ten box office hits of all time until the mid-1990s and was the highest-grossing sequel in history until Rocky II the following year.

Meanwhile, the film’s memorable tagline, “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…,” has become one of the most famous in movie history and has been parodied and homaged many times.


Four years after the events of Jaws, two divers are photographing the wreck of the Orca, Quint’s boat from the first film. They are suddenly attacked by a large great white shark, and during the attack one of the divers’ camera gets a photo of the shark’s profile.

A few days later, the shark enters the coastal waters of Amity Island, killing a female water skier. The female driver of the speedboat tries to defend herself by first throwing a gasoline tank at the shark (accidentally spilling some on herself) and then igniting the fuel with a flare gun. The fire ignites the gas tank and the speedboat explodes, killing the driver. Though burned on the right side of its head, the shark survives.

In addition to these incidents, a dead killer whale is beached at a nearby lighthouse with large wounds all over its body which Police Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) suggests were caused by a great white shark. Once again, Mayor Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) doesn’t share Brody’s belief that the town has another shark problem and warns him not to press the issue. Later, Brody spots a section of a ruined speed boat bobbing in the surf just off the beach. When he goes to retrieve it, he encounters the burnt remains of the female speed boat driver…

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