Bruce is the name of a Great White Shark that was the main antagonist of Jaws, and was the collective name for a reoccurring group of supposedly-mutated Great White Sharks thought to be closely related genetically.
This particular incarnation of the shark was depicted in the film Jaws released in 1975. In addition, there were slightly similar-looking designed sharks depicted in follow-up sequels (J2, J3, and J4, respectively). However, the shark design as depicted in Jaws, is by far the most respected variant among aficionados of the film franchise.
Because the shark was originally called "Bruce" by film crew members in reference to Steven Spielberg's lawyer, Bruce Raynor, knowledgeable fin fans tend to prefer using this as an official moniker. Interestingly, it has never been agreed upon as to the official name the shark should be called. Casual fans of the film franchise in general tend to call the shark JAWS, which is actually something of a misnomer considering there were different sizes and shapes of sharks featured in each of the four films in the franchise.
A hollow, static copy of "Bruce" from the film was discovered in a junkyard years later, and is in essence a fourth "Bruce" pulled from molds for the mechanical shark used in the production of the film. Serious fans of the film have christened this rare find, "Junkyard Bruce" or JYB.
History[edit | edit source]
Bruce makes his first appearance at night, marking his first victim: Chrissie Watkins, a young female tourist. (Bruce doesn’t make ANY appearances at all until the film is halfway done, the majority of the time, he’s underwater dragging people or eating them underwater for suspense.) Deputy Hendricks finds Chrissie’s arm on the beach, and calls it in. Chief Brody (Martin Brody) and the medical inspector conclude immediately that it was a shark, but this is later changed when the mayor dismissed it as a “boating accident.” Bruce returns again to the Amity Beach side killing Alex Kintner, a young kid, in the process. Ms. Kintner puts up an ad to kill Bruce, causing a shark hunting frenzy. A couple shark hunters claim to have caught Bruce but Matt Hooper, the ocean expert, has his doubts as the bite radius on the tiger shark were different then the ones on Ms. Watkins. Brody and Hooper cut open the tiger and find no human remains, causing them to look for Bruce on the water, since Bruce is a “Night feeder” claimed by Hooper. The two stumble upon Ben Gardners boat, Hooper goes to the hull of the boat finding a tooth from Bruce and finds Ben Gardner dead, dropping the tooth in the process. Hooper and Brody insist on closing the beaches, but the mayor denies their pleads and leaves the beaches open for the tourists. Bruce reappears in the estuary, (Bruce finally appears above water), killing a person in a raft and flees back into open sea. Brody hires Quint, a grizzled shark hunter, to assist them in killing Bruce with his boat the “Orca”. After a while at sea, Bruce takes a bite of the chum poured by Brody. Bruce circles around the Orca as the group gets ready to make attempts to kill him. Bruce is hit with a barrel and dives underwater for a while. Bruce returns again while the group is drinking and having a good time and rams the Orca, damaging it in the process. Quint and Hooper make attempts to repair the boat working til the afternoon. Bruce, finally, tires and resurfaces. Quint and Hooper grab the barrel attached to Bruce, in doing so Bruce resurfaces and Quints hand is cut in the process. The group gives chase to Bruce, hitting him with two barrels. Bruce is tied to the back of the Orca and is hit with another barrel. Bruce pulls them as the three make attempts to tie him off. The cleats that had Bruce tied eventually give out and Bruce tries to go back underwater, he is unsuccessful. Bruce resurfaces with the three barrels along him, but this time manages to go under. Quint is surprised by this as no shark has ever done this in his years of shark hunting. Bruce hits the Orca after resurfacing again and follows them as they make an attempt to bring him to the shallows and drown him. Quint burns the bearings of the engine, leaving the group stuck in the same place. Hooper convinces the others to go down in his shark cage and try to poison him. Hoopers attempt fails, but he manages to escape the cage. Bruce jumps on the boat and, in doing so, kills Quint. Bruce makes attempts to eat Brody but is ultimately blown up by the compressed air given from Brody. Hooper resurfaces and swims to Brody, the two look at the barrels left behind by Bruce’s body. The two use the barrels as a float and swim back to shore.
Human Victims[edit | edit source]
- Chrissie: Dragged around and eaten.
- Alex Kintner: Attacked from below and eaten.
- Ben Gardner: Eaten. (off-screen).
- Estuary Victim: Leg bitten off and devoured.
- Quint: Slipped into Bruce's mouth and Eaten.
Animal Victims[edit | edit source]
- Pippet: Eaten (off-screen).
Controversy[edit | edit source]
Based on eye witness accounts during the infamous first 'Amity Incident', a tremendous, humongous bull shark was purportedly deemed responsible for an onslaught of attacks during the summer of 1973. Some believe the film and book adaptions are therefore in fact based on a true story, which it is based on the New Jersey shark attacks.
Appearance[edit | edit source]
Due to limitations in design production at the time of filmmaking and some mistakes in depiction, the Great White Shark in Jaws is depicted in the attack posture of a Great White Shark. With its mouth wide open and pulled back while the mouth is not presented. It is cruising where the "nose" of the shark is no longer pulled back. This was not intentional in the design as clips of footage of actual great white sharks in the scene with Hooper in the cage, so the Bruce shark design was only designed to depict a great white shark with its mouth in attack posture, but not for when the shark is cruising. Also there were jowls depicted on the shark that was a design mistake as great white sharks do not have jowls.
In Jaws, Bruce was destroyed by a compressed air tank during a sea battle led by APD chief Brody, Oceanographer Hooper, and Sea captain Quint. A hollow, static copy of 'Bruce' from the film was discovered in a junkyard years later, and is in essence a fourth 'Bruce' pulled from molds for the mechanical shark used in the production of the film. Serious fans of the film have christened this rare find, 'Junkyard Bruce'.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- For the live-action film sequences involving Great Whites, footage of real Great Whites circling and attacking the cage in which a midget stuntman played Matt Hooper was filmed. As Bruce was a 25-foot shark, a dwarf diver helped to create the correct scale.
- Bruce became such a public icon that his name was used several times in various other films and documentaries, including as the moniker for an animatronic Bull Shark in the discovery channel documentary Anatomy of a Shark Bite and as the name of the Great White appearing in Finding Nemo.
- In reality, many of the feats Bruce accomplished in the films are impossible for real Great Whites to accomplish; though a Great White can punch a hole in a boat's hull, the shark is by no means strong enough to sink a boat outright. Real Great Whites also cannot pull three floatation barrels underwater for unlimited lengths of time as Bruce did; the strength and endurance required is too much to be natural for a shark.
- Bruce's size is exceedingly large for a Great White, though some real individual sharks have approached it in size; the legendary female Great White known as the Submarine, a supposed 23-footer that lived in False Bay, South Africa during the 1980's, was one of these. Another, known as Deep Blue, is a large female seen off of Guadalupe Island in Mexico in 2013 that measures about 20 feet long. This shark was likely of similar weight to Bruce due to her pregnancy at the time she was filmed. A third female, known as the Hunchback, was a 21-footer and a regular visitor to the great white hotspot that is the Farallon Islands, which lie 50 miles off the coast of San Francisco.
- Only female Great Whites reach a length of 20+ feet in reality, with males said to be 16-18 feet, making Bruce, who is said to be male, gigantic for one of his kind.
- Bruce's great size may be due to his longevity; as real Great Whites are capable of living 72+ years, it is likely that Bruce may be of advanced age, which might explain its size.
- In the film, Bruce's attack on Alex Kitner was supposed to be more brutal, with the shark actually rising from the water to attack the boy. This was ultimately cut due to its extremely graphic nature. However, photos of the cut scene resurfaced in recent years, with Alex's actor floating on the raft and Bruce's animatronic head rising from the water, about to snatch him up.
- A tribute to Jaws appeared in the 2008 animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The main antagonist of the episodes "Water War", "Gungan Attack" and "Prisoners", was a shark-like alien called a Karkarodon named Riff Tamson. Riff Tamson also died in a similar way to Bruce in Jaws; he was killed via an exploding weapon by the protagonist of the episodes.
- Despite being the main antagonist of the first film, he only gets four minutes of screentime.
- Although Bruce was depicted as eating people and a large part of the reason why sharks are feared in the present day, in reality Great Whites (Bruce's specific breed), don't actually feed on people, and in fact humans have too little fat to allow Great Whites to replenish energy to power their muscular bodies (plus, taking too long to digest largely thanks to the low fat content of human bodies), with the actual reasons for Great White Shark attacks generally being due to either mistaken identity or otherwise being territorial.