Billed as ‘The terrifying motion picture from the terrifying No. 1 bestseller’ Jaws has indelibly shaped the way many of us view sharks. The great white from Steven Spielberg’s early masterpiece has become one of the most enduring and frightening villains in thriller history. To escape this one, ‘…you’re gonna need a bigger boat’. 

However, sharks don’t deserve this vicious reputation. Both Spielberg and Peter Benchley, author of the 1974 book, have expressed regret for the negative impact of these works of popular culture on shark numbers, which plummeted due to fishing for sport in the years after their release. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, more than a third of all shark species and approximately 75 percent of oceanic shark species face the threat of extinction.  

Join us after the movie for an insightful panel discussion exploring the extent to which this film has influenced public perception of sharks, and what it shows us about the cultural power of popular films. 

‘One of the most effective thrillers ever made’ – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times 

This screening is part of the SCIENCE. ART. FILM. series presented by the National Film and Sound Archive, Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science and ANU Humanities Research Centre.


Dr Kenneth Lampl received his D.M.A. in music composition from the Juilliard School of Music and was a student of John Williams. He has scored over 100 films, including: Pokemon: The First Movie: Mew vs MewtwoPokemon Mewtwo Returns,  Frontera (starring Ed Harris and Eva Longoria), and 35 & Ticking (starring Kevin Hart and Nicole Ari-Parker). His recent Australian scores include The Furies2067 and Sissy. The 2067 soundtrack was released by Sony/Milan Records and was also listed as 'One of the Best Scores of 2021‘ by the Film Music Institute in Los Angeles. Lampl is currently the convenor of the Composition for Film and Video Game program at the Australian National University. 

More panellists to be announced soon.


Dr Anna-Sophie Jürgens  is a Senior Lecturer in Science Communication at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science and the Head of the Popsicule – ANU’s Science in Popular Culture and Entertainment Hub. Her research explores the cultural meanings of science in different pop cultural media. 

Date & time

Wed 28 Feb 2024, 6pm


National Film and Sound Archive


Dr Kenneth Lampl, ANU, and Dr Anna-Sophie Jürgens, ANU


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