One Iconic Jaws Death Scene Was Nearly Much Longer, Says Steven Spielberg: “It Was Too Gory”



  • “Jaws” could have been even darker if a brutal scene featuring a victim vomiting blood while hanging from the shark’s mouth wasn’t cut.
  • Director Steven Spielberg decided to remove the scene as it was deemed too gory and horrifying compared to the rest of the movie.
  • The inclusion of a child witnessing the gruesome scene would have added to the overall darkness and terror of the movie.



If not for how brutal one scene originally was, Jaws might have been even darker. With a shark on the loose and terrorizing innocent people, a team consisting of a police officer, a biologist, and a shark hunter is left scrambling to take it down. There are numerous bloody scenes in Jaws as the shark tears through the people of Cape Cod, leading to a newfound fear of the ocean and launching the summer blockbuster trend.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Jaws director Steven Spielberg revealed that he had to change one iconic death scene that featured the shark attacking victims in the estuary. Spielberg detailed some of the horrific violence that came from the scene in which the shark Jaws kills a Boy Scout leader played by Teddy Grossman, including a child having to witness it all, which the director felt ultimately went too far. Check out his quote below:

I cut the scene down because it was too bloody, too gory. Stuntman Teddy Grossman played the victim—and Teddy is a very funny guy, by the way—but originally, he was riding in the mouth of the shark like a maidenhead of a ship, toward the kid in the water, vomiting blood. That was much more horrible than anything else that came in the first third of the movie, so I took it out.

How Spielberg Changed Jaws’ Estuary Scene

The shark attacks Brody in Jaws 1975

The estuary scene in Jaws is the first time that viewers get a chance to truly see the shark in action. Tension builds throughout the sequence as a relaxing moment in the water turns into a brutal attack. The shark tips over two boats, rips off a man’s leg, and leaves a pool of bubbling blood in its wake, making it one of the most memorable from the movie alongside Chrissie Watkins’ opening death and Quint’s demise while attempting to face down the shark in the climax.

Had Spielberg included the original cut of the estuary attack in Jaws, it could have completely ruined the intent of the scene for some viewers. A man hanging from a shark’s mouth and spewing blood feels doesn’t feel quite like an understated assault given the necessary grace that an attack deserves, but rather is more as a display of horror for the sake of it. It would have been a serious departure from the tone of the first act and far too absurd to truly appreciate.

Jaws has already ignited a profound fear of sharks, and even Spielberg has been outspoken about regretting the decimating impact Jaws had on the shark population. With everyday people already outstandingly terrified of shark attacks, escalating the horror of Jaws would have only made the film’s real-life effects worse. While it would have been interesting to see Spielberg’s original intentions for the attack, Jaws and the world’s oceans both benefit from the changes to the scene.

Source: Vanity Fair