visit the film locations
Martha's Vineyard: Flights: Martha's Vineyard Airport is served year round from Boston, Hyannis, Nantucket, New Bedford, and Providence.
It's not a large island only nine miles across. To explore, why not hire a bike from one of the many rental companies and explore the Vineyard on two wheels? There's an excellent cycle track network.
Jaws filming location: 'Jaws bridge': American Legion Memorial Bridge & Sengekontacket Pond, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Coolly received by critics on release, this dazzlingly directed and sharply edited thriller launched the Steven Spielberg phenomenon, spawned a shoal of increasingly sloppy sequels and turned “You're gonna need a bigger boat!” into a classic quote.
When I visited the location, I got the distinct impression that Martha’s Vineyard wants to be known for its whaling history, its clapboard cottages and its literary heritage, not for being the location for one of Hollywood’s greatest blockbusters.
Jaws filming location: Chief Brody gets paintbrushes in the town centre of ‘Amity island’: Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
That’s where the real island does differ from ‘Amity’. I suspect the savvy businessfolk of Amity would have gone on to promote the Xtreme Shark Attack Experience with their own animatronic Great White.
As a conservation area, the prestigious resort remains relatively unspoiled since its heyday as a whaling centre in the 19th century, and the movie’s locations remain unchanged.
The town centre, where Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) gets materials for the ‘Beach closed’ signs, is the junction of Water Street and Main Street, Edgartown, the one-time whaling town on the east coast.
Jaws filming location: the mayor has a word with Chief Brody: Chappaquiddick Island Ferry, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
At the end of Daggett Street, at the northern end of town, you’ll find the Chappaquiddick Island Ferry, where the Mayor has a quiet word about boating accidents. The ferry takes pedestrians, bikes and up to three cars at a time.
West of the coast road north from Edgartown toward the popular resort of Oak Bluffs is Joseph A Sylvia State Beach, where the swimmers are panicked by the shark attack on the Kintner boy.
Alongside is the American Legion Memorial Bridge, under which the shark swims to the ‘safe’ inlet, Sengekontacket Pond, where Brody’s son is traumatised by the attack.
Jaws filming location: the site of Quint's workshop: Menemsha Harbor, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Across the island, toward the southwest tip, is the tiny fishing port of Menemsha. It was here, at the end of the harbour inlet between the General Store and the Galley Restaurant that the workshed of old seadog Quint (Robert Shaw) was built.
A permanent structure would have had to meet the island’s strict building regulations, so the area was restored to its original state after shooting – including replacing any litter found on the site. Once again, it’s an empty lot.
Jaws filming location: the Orca sets sail: Menemsha Harbor, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
The Orca’s scenes were filmed over 155 days at sea between Oak Bluffs and East Chop, under well-documented nightmare conditions.
The great shock moment, when Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) discovers the old fisherman’s nibbled head in the wrecked boat, was added as an afterthought. The ‘head’ shot was staged in the swimming pool of the movie’s editor, Verna Fields.