Great White (film)

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Great White
US poster
Directed by Enzo G. Castellari
Produced by Edward L. Montoro
Ugo Tucci
Written by Marc Princi
Starring James Franciscus
Vic Morrow
Micaela Pignatelli
Joshua Sinclair
Giancarlo Prete
Stefania Girolami Goodwin
Music by Guido & Maurizio De Angelis
Distributed by Film Ventures International (USA)
Eagle Films Ltd. (UK)
Release dates
  • 2 April 1981 (1981-04-02) (Italy)
  • 5 March 1982 (1982-03-05) (U.S.)
Running time
88 min.
Country Italy
Language English/Italian
Box office $18 million (USA)

Great White (a.k.a. The Last Shark; Italian: L'ultimo squalo) is a 1981 Italian horror film directed by Enzo G. Castellari and starring James Franciscus and Vic Morrow. The film is extremely similar to Steven Spielberg's Jaws and was marketed in many areas as a part of the franchise.[1]


While wind surfing near the seaside community of Port Harbor, a young man is killed by a giant Great White Shark. Author Peter Benton and professional shark hunter Ron Hammer realize the truth, but ambitious governor William Wells refuses to accept that a shark threatens their community. Fearing that a canceled wind-surfing regatta would derail his gubernatorial campaign, Wells has shark nets installed. But the sounds of teenagers splashing in the surf leads the shark to rip through the nets. The next day, the shark plows through the wind surfers, knocking them off their boards. But rather than eat the scattered teenagers, the shark targets the governor's aide and eats him.

The governor can no longer hide the truth. Benton and Hammer head out on the sea, planning to feed the shark dynamite and cause it to explode. But the shark traps them in a cave, and the men have to use their dynamite just to escape. Meanwhile, Benton's daughter Jenny and some of her friends head out on a yacht, armed with some steak and a shotgun, intending to shoot the shark. Instead, its powerful bites on the bait knocks Jenny into the water. Her friends pull her aboard, but not until the shark bites off one of her legs. Governor Wells's son was one of the friends she went out with, and Benton blames him for her injury. Determined to do something right, Wells sets out in a helicopter armed with a steak, apparently intending to hoist the shark into the air and suffocate it. But the shark is too powerful; when it bites into the steak dangling from a winch, it shakes the copter and knocks Wells into the sea. The shark then bites him in half then lunges into the helicopter, dragging it into the sea.

Benton and Hammer go back out to blow up the shark. After an argument, Benton agrees to allow Hammer to be the one to go down with the dynamite strapped into a belt around his waist. Thinking the shark might be hiding in the downed helicopter, Hammer investigates it. But the shark sneaks up on him and attacks. Benton dives in to save him, but Hammer becomes wrapped up in a line and is towed to his death by the shark.

Meanwhile, a shark hunter chains some spare ribs to the side of a dock. The man, a TV cameraman med Bob Martin and some spectators go stand on the dock. The shark takes the spare ribs, towing the dock out into the ocean. Suddenly, the shark begins to attacking the dock, knocking the spectators into the water. It eats the shark hunter and a TV Cameraman, but the others clamber back onto the dock. Benton arrives and rescues the others but gets trapped on the dock when the shark arrives to drag it further out to sea. Hammer's corpse floats by, Benton feeds it to the shark. Benton realizes he has the detonator in his hand. Leaping into the ocean, he flips the switch, detonating the dynamite and blowing the shark's head off.

Back on shore, Benton punches Bob Martin, then gets in a car and drives away.


Box office[edit]

Great White was very successful, and during the first month of its release in the United States it grossed $18 million. The film also enjoyed a good response in Italy, where it became the 72nd highest-grossing film of the season 1980–1981.[2]


Universal Pictures sued to have the release of this movie in North America blocked, accusing the makers of Great White of plagiarism of Jaws.[3] The studio won the case, and the film was pulled from North American theaters shortly after its release.


The film was briefly released theatrically in the United States by Film Ventures International in March 1982.[4]

The film has a cult following in the United States because of its brief 1982 theatrical release and a proliferation of publicity materials, especially stills showing the titular shark's enormous prop, many times larger than any actual known species, on the internet.

The film was released on DVD in its native Italy in 2007[5] and on May 21, 2008 it was released on DVD in Sweden. It wasn't available on any format in the USA until 2011 when Amazon released a video download and a twenty-dollar, burn on demand copy of the film on their site. The disc is burned from a blank one upon ordering, but still, can't be bought in stores unless bootlegged.

On March 5, 2013, RetroVision Entertainment released the first official DVD release of the film in the United States since the film's banning. The film comes with restored colors, along with special features, including the short documentary Great White: The Legacy – 30 Years Later and rare theatrical trailers. The DVD is limited edition Region 0, and only 500 copies were manufactured. It is only able to be purchased online. [6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dossier Nocturno n.66. Il punto G. Guida al cinema di Enzo G. Castellari, Milano, Nocturno, 2008.
  2. ^ Dossier Nocturno n.66. Il punto G. Guida al cinema di Enzo G. Castellari, Milano, Nocturno, 2008.
  3. ^ "Why Is Universal Still Blocking The Distribution...". Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  4. ^ "Company Credits for Great White". Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  5. ^ "Italian DVD of the film available for sale". Amazon Italia. Retrieved April 5, 2013. 
  6. ^ "The Last Shark DVD". Retrieved 2013-04-25. 

External links[edit]