Bruce was a shark, the main antagonist in the Jaws film franchise, 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, J3D, and JTR 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.
In Jaws, Bruce first appears (unseen) and attacks swimmers.
Bruce was destroyed in its last attempt to devour the crew of the ORCA. The shark's remains then sink to the seabed.
Bruce was around 25 feet long and weighed around three tons. Oddly, Bruce had noticeable jowls, a feature it also shared with other great whites that appeared in the film franchise. Bruce could easily bite through a leader on a fishing line made of steel piano wire, and smashed the hull of the ORCA with it's great strength.
Bruce's behavior was unique. While normal great whites hunt seals and fish such as tuna, Bruce preferred the taste of human flesh. There were no patterns Bruce's attacks, and it did not hesitate to attack swimmers by night or day.
Though Matt Hooper believed that Bruce was also clever enough to lure its pursuers (Brody, Hooper and Quint) into more open waters where it had the advantage of speed and strength. It also knew it could incapacitate the ORCA by disabling the hull.
- Chrissie Watkins: Dragged around and eaten.
- Alex Kintner: Devoured
- Ben Gardner: Killed (off-screen).
- Estuary Victim: Leg bitten off and devoured.
- Quint: Eaten alive.
- Matt Hooper (Novel)
- Pippet: Eaten (off-screen).
Based on eye witness accounts during the infamous first 'Amity Incident', a tremendous great white 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.
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'.
- 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 its 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.