Read: The Fantastic Screenplay for 'A Stillness in the Water', aka 'Jaws'

Read: The Fantastic Screenplay for 'A Stillness in the Water', aka 'Jaws'

Aug 13, 2012

Welcome to Jaws Week! When it was announced that Steven Spielberg's Jaws was arriving on Blu-ray right smack in the middle of a bustling summer movie season, we thought it'd be perfect to dedicate an entire week to the movie that created the summer blockbuster to begin with. Every day this week we'll be posting an assortment of really fun features tied to the film, its production, its legacy, its fans, its merchandise and so much more.

Jaws movie art

Looking for a little summer reading to tide you over until Jaws hits Blu-ray tomorrow? Already read Peter Benchley’s novel so many times that you can quote it by heart? Why not check out an early draft of the script that served as the foundation for Spielberg’s movie instead?

Fans can find an original Jaws script online at IMSDb in an easy-to-read format. This draft was titled A Stillness in the Water, aka Jaws – meaning they were still flirting with the idea of using one of Benchley’s rejected titles at this point. The script is credited to Carl Gottlieb and Benchley and should be very familiar to anyone who’s seen the film.

One interesting note for Jaws fans: this draft contains the truncated Howard Sackler version of Quint’s speech about his time on the USS Indianapolis in World War II. Sackler’s version (which was uncredited) is significantly shorter than the monologue Robert Shaw uses in the finished film – but it’s an interesting read for comparison purposes. Some of the material that was jettisoned is pretty great, particularly bits about men going mad from thirst.

Here's a sample from the opening of the script, describing the shark's first kill.


She runs headlong into the inviting sea, plunges cleanly into the water with a light "Whoops!" as the cold water sweeps over her.
Behind all this, we continue to hear the sentimental, beery chorus of alma maters.
Then we see it -- a gentle bulge in the water, a ripple that passes her a dozen feet away. A pressure wave lifts her up, then eases her down again, like a smooth, sudden swell.
                         Tommy? Don't dunk me...
She looks around for him, finds him still on the beach, his feet tangled in his pants, which have dropped around his ankles. She starts to swim back in to him.
Her expression freezes. The water-bulge is racing towards her. The first bump jolts her upright, out of the water to her hips. She reaches under water to touch her leg. Whatever she feels makes her open her mouth to scream, but she is slammed again, hard, whipped into an arc of about eight feet, up and down, submerging her down to her open mouth, choking off any scream she might try to make. Another jolt to her body, driving her under so that only her hair swirls on the surface. Then it too is sucked below in a final and terrible jerking motion. HOLD on the eddies and swirls until we're sure it's all over.


Check out the full script by heading here – and keep your eyes peeled for lots more Jaws content this week here at And here's that full scene described above in case you want to watch it now.


Categories: Buzz Bin, Horror
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