Released in 1975, Jaws is an iconic film that changed both Hollywood and beach life forever. It’s the film that invented the summer blockbuster and also all made us a little afraid to swim in the ocean.
NERD NOTE: Over 67 million people in the United States went to see Jaws in theaters in 1975. This unprecedented number at the time made Jaws the first summer “blockbuster” in history.
Critics on Rotten Tomatoes give the film a score of 97%. Why? The answer cannot be boiled down to one single element. Everything including the film’s direction by Steven Spielberg, acting from Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss and an excellent screenplay by Howard Sackler, Carl Gottlieb, and Peter Benchley all came together to make an incredible classic. But one of the things that make the movie so great, is the script. Here are some of the most memorable Jaws quotes in the film’s chronological order. Keep reading to pick out your favorite Jaws movie quotes from this legendary thriller.
1You Yell ‘Shark,’ We’ve Got A Panic On Our Hands
- Mayor Larry Vaughn: I don’t think you appreciate the gut reaction people have to these things…Martin, It’s all psychological. You yell ‘Barracuda,’ everybody says ‘Huh? What?’ You yell ‘Shark,’ we’ve got a panic on our hands on the Fourth of July.
2Get Out Of The Water!
This is one of the most emotional scenes in the film and our saddest Jaws movie quote on this list. After seeing blood in the water, everyone rushes out of the ocean to the safety of the beach. The scene ends with a desperate mother pacing the shore calling for her son “Alex”, a call that will never be answered.
- Chief Brody: Everybody out! Get them out! Get out of the water!
3Cash Or Check
- Chairmember: Is that $3,000 bounty on the shark in cash or check?
4I’ll Catch This Bird For You
- Quint: I’ll catch this bird for you, but it ain’t gonna be easy. Bad fish! Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallow ya whole. Little shakin’, little tenderizin’, down you go.
5Too Many Captains
- Quint: There are too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me, by myself. For that, you get the head, the tail, the whole damned thing.
6This Is Not A Boat Accident!
- Hooper: This is not a boat accident. And it wasn’t any propeller. It wasn’t any coral reef. And it wasn’t Jack the Ripper. It was a shark.
7My Boy Is Dead
- Mrs. Kintner: Chief Brody?
- Chief Brody: Yes? (Mrs. Kintner slaps Brody and sobs)
- Mrs. Kintner: 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? You knew all those things! But still, my boy is dead now. And there’s nothing you can do about it. My boy is dead. I wanted you to know that. (Mrs. Kintner walks away)
8It’s Like Ringing The Dinner Bell
- Hooper: Look, the situation is that apparently, a great white shark has staked a claim in the waters off Amity Island. And he is going to continue to feed here as long as there is food in the water.
- Chief Brody: And there’s no limit of what he’s going to do. I mean we’ve already had three incidents. Two people were killed in a week and it’s gonna happen again. It happened before, The Jersey Beach, 1916. Five people were killed.
- Hooper: In one week.
- Chief Brody: Tell him about the swimmers!
- Hooper: A shark is attracted to the exact kind of splashing and activity that occurs whenever human beings go swimming. You cannot avoid it.
- Chief Brody: You open the beaches on the Fourth of July, it’s is like ringing the dinner bell for Christ’s sake!
- Matt Hooper: I’m not going to waste my time arguing with a man who’s lining up to be a hot lunch.
10A Perfect Engine, An Eating Machine
- Hooper: 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.
11You’re The Mayor Of Shark City
- Chief Brody: You got a pen, Larry?
- Mayor Vaughn: A pen?
- Chief Brody: Yeah, a pen! You know. ‘Cause you’re gonna do what you do best: you’re gonna sign this voucher so I can hire a contractor.
- Mayor Vaughn: I don’t think I can do that without–
- Chief Brody: I’m gonna hire Quint to kill the shark! (Larry nods, and starts to think)
- Mayor Vaughn: August, August…
- Chief Brody: August? What are you talking about? Larry, summer’s over. You’re the mayor of “Shark City!” These people think you want the beaches open!
- Mayor Vaughn: I was-I was acting in the town’s best interest-Chief Brody: That’s right! You were! You were acting in the town’s best interest, and that’s why you’re gonna do the right thing! That’s why you’re gonna sign this, and we’re gonna pay that guy what he wants!
- Mayor Vaughn: Martin… Martin, my kids were on that beach too.
- Chief Brody: Sign it, Larry.
12City Boy Hands
- Quint: I’m not talkin’ about pleasure boatin’ or day sailin’. I’m talkin’ about workin’ for a livin’. I’m talkin’ about sharkin’.
- Hooper: Well I’m not talkin’ about hookin’ some poor dogfish or sand shark. I’m talkin’ about findin’ a Great White.
- Quint: Porkers? Ya talkin’ about Porkers, Mr. Hooper? Tie me a sheepshank. (Gives Hooper some rope)
- Hooper: I haven’t had to pass basic seamanship in a long time. You didn’t say how short you wanted it. (Ties the knot expertly and tosses rope back to Quint)
- Quint: Gimme your hands… (Quint grabs Hooper’s wrists and looks at his hands) Dogfish? You’ve got city boy hands, Hooper. You been countin’ money all your life.
- Hooper: All right, hey, I don’t need this! I don’t need this working-class-hero crap!
- Quint: Maybe I should go alone.
13The Virgin Mary Lee
- Quint: Here lies the body of Mary Lee; died at the age of a hundred and three. For fifteen years she kept her virginity; not a bad record for this vicinity.
- Ellen Brody: What am I gonna tell the kids?
- Chief Martin Brody: Tell ’em I’m going fishing.
- Quint: Well it proves one thing, Mr. Hooper. It proves that you wealthy college boys don’t have the education enough to admit when you’re wrong.
Roy Scheider’s character, Brody, has one of the most famous movie quotes of all time. If you search online for “jaws quote bigger boat” you’ll find articles about countless fans reacting to this legendary Jaws movie quote. “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” is #35 on the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 movie quotations in American cinema.
- Brody: You’re gonna need a bigger boat.
NERD NOTE: According to screenplay writer for Jaws, Carl Gottlieb, the famous line “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” was not originally part of the script. It was ad-libbed on set by Roy Scheider.
17The Ocean Turns Read
One of the best parts of the script is all of the Quint jaws quotes. Out of all of Quint’s lines in the film, this one might be the most memorable.
- Quint: Sometimes that shark he looks right into ya. Right into your eyes. And, you know, the thing about a shark… he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn’t seem to be living… until he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then… ah, then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin’. The ocean turns red, and despite all the pounding’ and the hollering’, they all come in and they… rip you to pieces.
- Quint: Back home we got a taxidermy man. He gonna have a heart attack when he sees what I brought him.
19Smile, You Son Of A Bitch!
- Chief Brody: Smile, you son of a bitch!
20I Never Liked The Water
- Matt Hooper: The tide is with us today. (Paddling to shore after killing the shark)
- Chief Martin Brody: I never liked the water.
- Matt Hooper: I can’t imagine why. (Final line in the movie)
Classic Jaws Quotes
It’s truly difficult to limit the best Jaws movie quotes to this list. After all, every line of dialogue is memorable. This is a movie as much about the relationships between men as it is about a deadly Great White shark.
If you consider yourself a lover of great cinema, it’s hard not to place Jaws near the top of any list of the greatest movies ever made. And with quotes like those listed here, it’s not difficult to understand why.