Jaws is not based on a true story, as is commonly believed. It was adapted from the same-titled novel by Peter Benchley. In 1964, fisherman Frank Mundus caught a huge white shark that inspired Jaws author Steven Spielberg. According to Peter Benchley, in February 1974, he wrote a best-seller that inspired the film. Benchley, for his part, was inspired by the 1916 shark attacks on the Jersey Shore. 

 “a great white shark that weighed 4,500 pounds was harpooned off the coast of Long Island in 1964, and Benchley wondered what would happen if one of those monsters showed up in a resort community and refused to leave. So Benchley tucked the newspaper article into his wallet and, for the time being, forgot about it.” Shark hunter Frank Mundus was the inspiration for Quint, a character in Robert Shaw’s novel.

As a child, Peter Benchley participated in family swordfishing adventures off Nantucket. In the absence of swordfish, Benchley explains, “we turned to sharks, which were plentiful in the water.”

The summer before, five people were attacked by a shark off the shore of New Jersey. Five people were injured, and four of them died as a result.

The majority of people thought sharks were harmless before the 1916 shark attacks in New York City. Sharks eat only smaller fish and crustaceans and do not eat humans at any point in time. In fact, following the first strike, this opinion didn’t change. Little attention was paid to the initial strike. The press downplayed this incident as an isolated incident. However, after the second attack, the mood shifted. Boston Herald and Washington Post both ran front-page stories on it. It caused a widespread pandemic.



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