6 Reasons Why Jaws Is Secretly A Western

You're gonna need a bigger... horse!?

Jaws Western
Universal Pictures

Let's talk about Jaws, Steven Spielberg's tale of a rampaging, rogue shark terrorising an island community. Upon release in the Summer of 1975, the film became an instant classic and almost single handedly invented the summer blockbuster.

Is Jaws an adventure movie, an action blockbuster or a horror movie? All these descriptions are apt, however, search deeper within the celluloid and you will uncover undeniable evidence that in fact Jaws is Steven Spielberg's first, and to date, only...Western.

Call it far fetched, call it over reaching, but all the tropes are there. It's well known that Spielberg is a big fan of John Ford's The Searchers and as legend has it (okay, that's dramatic) according to interviews Spielberg has given over the years, he screens it to his cast and crew before embarking on creating a new moving picture.

So saddle up, here's why Jaws is actually a Western...

6. Amity Island

Jaws Western
Universal Pictures

Amity Island (Amity, as you know, means friendship) is isolated, surrounded by ocean, naturally, and cut off from the mainland. Replace the ocean with desert and you could have any number of frontier towns in any number of westerns.

The islanders are a close knit community who don't take well to outsiders as evidenced when Ellen Brody is informed that she will never be an islander; their complaints about out of town car number plates; and barely sealed frustration at Chief Brody not understanding the town's economics and their reliance on 'summer dollars'.

Even when Richard Dreyfuss' Hooper turns up to help he is looked upon with suspicion by Robert Shaw's Quint, with his city ways and city hands.


Fledgling writer, Spielberg enthusiast, Kubrick sceptic.