47. Jaws (1975)
The power that a few musical notes can do for a film can be experienced and verified in this movie's first five minutes. As I have said before (and will more than likely say again), composer John Williams is a genius and, in 1975, he gave the world one of his finest and his most exciting score that would make even Bernard Hermann (Alfred Hitchcock's composer-of-choice) jealous. Masterfully directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's chilling novel, this movie really did make audiences afraid to go into the water. The story, set on the fictional Amity Island, is about the terror the townspeople face from the mysterious Great White Shark that roams the waters surrounding the isle. The movie (like the novel) gives its audience the sense of fear to the "Nth" degree even when the band of three (played by Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and the amazing Robert Shaw) tread out on the fishing trawler to hunt the predator down. This was one of Spielberg's first big successes (cementing the tradition of the Summer blockbuster) and his directorial touch (which he has perfected time and time again) cannot be mistaken. But it is Williams' music that gives the audience the thrill and terror that this movie requires. And Spielberg himself would probably be the first to admit it considering all the production problems the mechanical shark (named "Bruce") caused for him and his team. The movie is a first-rate thriller and does its job every time it is viewed.
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