About that Jaws Indianapolis scene

It’s one of the best scenes in Jaws. That’s all you have to say before any self-respecting Jaws freak will shout out, “The Indianapolis scene!” 

In a quiet, dark moment on the boat, Quint recalls being on the Indianapolis navy ship that went down on July 30, 1945. Four days later, the survivors were rescued, but hundreds didn’t make it, and there were horrible shark attacks while the seamen were desperately waiting for help.

Again, the Indianapolis scene is one of the most celebrated in Jaws, and Robert Shaw tells it so vividly, you wonder why it’s never been turned into a film. At one point, Jaws 2 was going to be the Indianapolis story, and now Robert Downey Jr. with his wife Susan are producing a movie based on the incident.


The project is set up at Warner Brothers, but as The Hollywood Reporter relates, it’s more of the story of the aftermath, where an eleven-year old boy learned about the incident through Jaws, and tries to reverse a court martial on the captain of the ship, Charles McVay.

Funny enough, the story was also in development with J.J. Abrams at Universal, but he couldn’t get it off the ground. Of course Jaws will always be the ultimate shark movie, but I’ve always felt the Indianapolis incident could make a hell of a scary film if they ever made it into a film.

This project will be a much different take, which is a good idea as well, but here’s hoping some day there will also be a retelling that will show the audience how terrifying it had to be for the Navy men waiting to see if they would survive or not.

As for why the telling of the tale is one of the best scenes in Jaws, Pat Jankiewicz, author of the Jaws companion, Just When You Thought It Was Safe, says, “The Indianapolis scene is what propels Jaws into true greatness. It’s the scene where our heroes all truly bond and it gives Quint a horrifying backstory that explains his motivations. With just the actor Robert Shaw’s description, the sharks he conjures in our mind’s eye are far scarier.”