In 1975, director Steven Spielberg ushered in the era of the Hollywood blockbuster with his cinematic adaptation of Jaws, based upon the novel by Peter Benchley. Jaws totally holds up 41 years later, remaining an iconic film with an unforgettable score by John Williams and one of the most quotable lines in movie history: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
Although that line has been widely attributed to an ad-lib by the late Roy Scheider, its origins date back to a conflict with the film’s producers, according to Jaws co-screenwriter Carl Gottlieb.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Gottlieb recalled that the “bigger boat” quote was originally used on-set in reference to a barge that carried all of the camera equipment and food, and its attached support boat that was far too small to actually “support” it.
“[Richard] Zanuck and [David] Brown were very stingy producers, so everyone kept telling them, ‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat,’” said Gottlieb. “It became a catchphrase for anytime anything went wrong — if lunch was late or the swells were rocking the camera, someone would say, ‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat.'”
On more than one occasion, Scheider did ad-lib the “bigger boat” line during filming. But it was only used in the finished movie shortly after Scheider’s Brody had his first close look at the shark that was terrorizing his town.
What’s your favorite callback to the “bigger boat” quote from Jaws? Pick any film, TV show, or book that used or referenced the line and share it in our comment section below!
Image Credits: Universal Pictures