In 1975, Steven Spielberg made a movie based on the novel Jaws by Peter Benchley. Both the movie and the book tell the story of a giant man-eating great white shark that attacks the beachgoers on Amity Island. This results in the hunt to find and kill the shark to protect the people. The movie does follow the main novel story line closely, but there are still many differences that can be found, especially within the first few moments of the story and movie. The first difference between the movie and novel is directly at the beginning.
While the novel tells us that there is a guest house where a few couples are staying, the movie shows a difference scene. In the movie, there are people sitting on the beach drinking. While drinking, the man notices a woman, named Chrissie, who he approaches. She then takes off running down the beach. The man follows after her, both yelling at each other and undressing as they run, and they arrive at the shore. The girl dives in and yells for the man to join her while she continues swimming. While he is still undressing, he passes out on the shore.
This results in him being safe from what is about to occur. Still waiting on the man, Chrissie is attacked and killed by the shark. Now, in the novel, this scene appears to be much different. The man and Chrissie both walk out of a guest house and lay on the beach. Chrissie decides she wants to go for a swim, trying to tempt the man into going with her, but he refuses and falls asleep. She slowly wades out, calling one last time for the man to join her, who ignores due to the fact that he is asleep.
While Chrissie is in the water, the shark attacks her and she is killed. This is where the next difference comes in. When Chrissie is first attacked in the movie, she is dragged under water. She then reappears and is tossed around by the shark, screaming throughout the whole ordeal and grabbing onto a buoy for a moment, until she is eventually dragged under water again, this time not returning to the surface. In the novel, however, there is much more detail and the attack is a little different.
For starters, the novel actually explains that there is a fish attacking. The movie, however, does not show what is lurking below the waters and instead leaves the audience guessing. Chrissie was also swimming towards the shore when attacked in the novel, unlike the movie where she continued waiting for the man. When she is first bit in the novel, she thought she had snagged her leg on something. She did not grab for a buoy, but instead she reached down to feel for her leg, which was gone. She screamed and is attacked again, this time from below.
This tossed Chrissie’s body up out of the water and the shark sunk his teeth onto, something that did not occur in the movie. The last difference that can be found is the fact that, in the movie, the man and woman were drunk, but in the novel, they were not. This factor alone resulted in a few small differences. For example, in the novel, the girl could feel that something was wrong and started to swim towards the shore. In the movie, however, she was smiling and giggling while calling for the man to join her in the water until the moment where she was eventually attacked.
Being drunk also resulted in saving the man’s life, as mentioned before. Had he had not been drunk and passed out on shore, he surely would have ran into the water with her which would have resulted in both of them dying. The main story line of the movie Jaws is very similar to that of the novel. While there are a number of differences throughout both the novel and the movie, such as Chrissie’s attack and the setting of the story at the beginning, the plot still remains the same. In the end, the shark is found and killed by the men who went looking for it.
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