Quint’s Indianapolis speech in Jaws has rightly gone down in movie history.
Forget about Brando’s incomprehensible mumbling in the shadows at the end of Apocalypse Now, THIS is real Horror…
"Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, Chief. We was comin' back from the island of Tinian to Leyte... just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in 12 minutes.
Didn't see the first shark for about a half an hour. Tiger. 13-footer. You know how you know that when you're in the water, Chief? You tell by looking from the dorsal to the tail.
What we didn't know, was our bomb mission had been so secret, no distress signal had been sent. They didn't even list us overdue for a week.
Very first light, Chief, sharks come cruisin', so we formed ourselves into tight groups. You know, it was kinda like old squares in the battle like you see in the calendar named "The Battle of Waterloo" and the idea was: shark comes to the nearest man, that man he starts poundin' and hollerin' and screamin' and sometimes the shark go away... but sometimes he wouldn't go away. Sometimes that shark he looks right into ya. Right into your eyes. And, you know, the thing about a shark... he's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn't seem to be living... until he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then... ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin'. The ocean turns red, and despite all the poundin' and the hollerin', they all come in and they... rip you to pieces.
You know by the end of that first dawn, lost a hundred men. I don't know how many sharks, maybe a thousand. I know how many men, they averaged six an hour. On Thursday morning, Chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player. Boatswain's mate. I thought he was asleep. I reached over to wake him up. Bobbed up, down in the water just like a kinda top. Upended. Well, he'd been bitten in half below the waist.
Noon, the fifth day, Mr. Hooper, a Lockheed Ventura saw us. He swung in low and he saw us... he was a young pilot, a lot younger than Mr. Hooper. Anyway, he saw us and he come in low and three hours later a big fat PBY comes down and starts to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened... waitin' for my turn. I'll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went in the water; 316 men come out and the sharks took the rest, June the 29th, 1945. Anyway, we delivered the bomb."
As great as it reads, Robert Shaw then manages to transform it into something unforgettable (in one take apparently, after a disastrous drunken attempt during the previous day's shoot).
Thank God then, that Spielberg ditched plans to have Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) interrupt Quint with a selection of wisecracks. These would have completely ruined the flow, and in my humble opinion would have made the speech less impactful:
1. “They never sent a distress message out? You can sue for them that you know.”
2. “Shut up and look over here, I forgot about this conger eel bite mark on my cock!”
3. “1000 sharks my arse! What, did someone actually count them?”
4. “Hang on, do shark’s eyes really roll over white when they eat something? Does that actually happen?”
5. “How come you won’t wear a life-jacket again, though? That’s just stupid.”