Back in 1974, a few malfunctioning pneumatically powered prop sharks, water logged cameras, unwanted sailboats drifting into frame, seasick actors, a blown schedule, a really blown budget, and an up-and-coming director named Steven Spielberg made movie magic on Martha's Vineyard with Jaws. The film, based on Peter Benchley's bestselling novel, went on to win multiple Academy Awards and is considered the original summer blockbuster. Just why was one of the most successful motion pictures of all time filmed on the Vineyard?
Well, long before state's began offering film tax incentives, turning the Carolina's into the default stand-in for the Cape & Islands, the production went in search of "a vacation area that was lower middle class enough so that an appearance of a shark would destroy the tourist business." As we said, it was a long time ago. Anyway, cue Martha's Vineyard - and the John Williams score - for the fictional island of Amity. These days, the real island celebrates the fake island being terrorized by an enormous great white shark with the occasional JawsFest and plenty of readily-available "You're gonna need a bigger boat" type of swag. Since the movie was released almost 40 years ago, on June 1, 1975, here's hoping there's some sort of huge anniversary event being planned. In the meantime, we've mapped out many of the Amity filming locations, with help from Then & Now Movie Locations, The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations, and this IGN round-up. Take the Jaws tour this way: