Jaws (1975)
Roy Scheider
Credit: Universal Pictures/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection

Today in Movie History: June 20

In 1974, Universal Pictures handed the adaptation of a dreadful little potboiler to an untested director with just a couple of films under his belt. The production was plagued by accidents, delays and cost overruns. The script was a mess, the cast cantankerous, and the main selling point depended on special effects that just didn’t work. It looked for all the world like a disaster from the get-go.

And then it hit theaters.

The movie was Jaws, the director was Steven Spielberg, and every summer blockbuster since then — every single one — owes its very existence to it. It opened today in 1975, and we’re betting that the merest mention of its name is enough to make you want to pop it in and watch it all over again. Like right now.

Moving only slightly down the classics scale, we find The Blues Brothers, a jumped-up Saturday Night Live sketch that somehow morphed into one of the funniest movies of all time. Its secret lies in a strange kind of sweetness, carefully hidden beneath smart-aleck snark and heightened by the singular chemistry between stars Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. If you strip away the irreverence, the cynicism, the spectacular car wrecks and the Illinois Nazis, this is a movie about singing and dancing: giving people who hate musicals a musical they can truly love. All that and Ray Charles too? (And James Brown and Aretha Franklin and Cab Calloway and…) How can you not love this movie? The Blues Brothers opened today in 1980.

Oh and Batman and Robin opened today in 1997. We won’t speak of it further because OH MY GOD.


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