“It’s only an island if you look at it from the water.”
This quote effectively sums up Chief Brody. He is not a native islander and so his actions are viewed with more suspicion than, say, the Mayor. The quote also gives insight into the fact that Brody is willing to look at things from a different perspective when the conventional point of view doesn’t provide an adequate answer.
“You yell barracuda!...everybody says huh, what? You yell shark! and we've got a panic on our hands on the fourth of July.”
With this quote, we first begin to realize that the bad guy of this story is not the shark, but the Mayor. All we know after he says this is that he is more than willing to sacrifice another victim or two in return for the big crowds that summer brings.
“Well this is not a boat accident! It wasn't any propeller! It wasn't any coral reef! And it wasn't Jack the Ripper! It was a shark.”
Often misquoted as “this was no boating accident” this quote in particular primarily serves the purpose of establishing Hooper and Mayor Vaughn as polar opposites to each other who are coming at the shark attack from two completely different perspective. The quote is utterly superfluous as far as providing necessary information since the audience already knows it was a shark attack. Vaughn sees the shark in terms of devouring business revenues from visiting tourists whereas Hooper sees the shark in terms of devouring tourists.
“Mr. Vaughn, what we are dealing with here is a perfect engine, an eating machine. It's really a miracle of evolution. All this machine does is swim and eat and make little sharks, and that's all.”
The showdown between Hooper and Vaughn reaches a fever pitch when the Mayor still continues to put profits ahead of lives by not taking his advice to close the beaches.
“Love to prove that, wouldn't ya? Get your name into the National Geographic.”
As if foreshadowing the looming antagonism between science and industry, the Mayor’s response to the scientific facts with which Hooper just argued his case above is not refuting those facts, but an unreasonable and unwarranted attack on the motives of the messenger.
"I just found out, that a girl got killed here last week, and you knew it! You knew there was a shark out there! You knew it was dangerous! But you let people go swimming anyway?"
One could argue that this heartbreaking line from Mrs. Kintner is misdirected. Chief Brody tried to buck the political pressure and close the beaches, but was overruled. Mrs. Kintner’s outrage would be more appropriately directed toward the Mayor for his poor judgment, but like most politicians, Vaughn has carefully cultivated a means of distancing himself from being revealed responsible when his decisions turn out badly.
“Cage goes in the water, you go in the water. Shark's in the water. Our shark.”
As the old-school shark fisherman observes the newfangled technology that Hooper brings to the pursuit, his observation boils things down to the bare essentials. This is a huge, ravenous shark these three guys on a boat are after. The odds are overwhelmingly against them. Not to mention that one of the shark hunters hates being on the water. Of course, that does give him a unique perspective unshared by either Quint or Hooper.
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
The first really good look at the shark in Jaws immediately precedes the one line of dialogue from the movie to make it into the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 most memorable quotes from the first 100 years of American movies, ranking at 35. The most interesting thing about one of the most famous and oft-quoted and oft-parodied lines of dialogue in movie history may well be how often it is ever so slightly misquoted. Ask people what Brody says and the odds are probably 50/50 that the response will be “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” While the pronoun trouble makes for a slight error in misquotation, in terms of character development, it’s a huge error. Considering that from the very first minutes of his introduction onward, Chief Brody is continually situated as an outsider on Amity Island, the fact that he still views himself an outsider even among two men who are themselves hardly welcomed into the inner circle of power on Amity Island is of enormous import and consequence.
Come on into the water!
One of the first lines of the movie. An invitation from a naked girl on a deserted beach illuminated by beautiful moonlight. What could possibly go wrong?
"My kids were on that beach, too."
In one of his only genuine, human moments in the film, Mayor Vaughn shows vulnerability in telling Brody that he had a personal stake in the danger on the beach in the form of his own children being there. This moment not only serves to humanize him after an hour of antagonism, but is also the turning point that convinces him to sign the paperwork hiring Quint to kill the shark.
Jaws Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Jaws is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.