The film was released in 1975 when I was fourteen and Watergate was still very fresh in everybody's mind. I had decided that, if you couldn't trust the most powerful man in the world, then you should treat all authority figures with a certain degree of suspicion. While this decision may have may not have enamoured me to my elders at the time, on the whole it has served me well as a standpoint in the world. I didn't trust any adults ... but I could trust Chief Brody, Matt Hooper and Quint.
The first half of the film is largely a transposition of Ibsen's 'An Enemy of the People'. But Spielberg makes sure that, amongst all the negotiating and capitalist rationalising, there is a generous sprinkling of suspenseful moments involving the, as yet unseen and unidentified, Great White. But the business people and politicians of Amity are more avaricious than any shark. Perhaps the most chilling shots of the film do not involve the shark at all; they involve parents watching their children swim in water where they know there is danger.