Jaws (Richard Kiel)

Jaws
Jaws

Holly Goodhead: “Do you know him?”

James Bond: “Not socially. His name’s Jaws. He kills people.”

―Holly Goodhead and James Bond[src]

Jaws is a fictional assassin in the James Bond media franchise with stainless steel teeth. He first appeared in the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me and made a subsequent appearance in 1979’s Moonraker. The character was played by the late actor Richard Kiel.

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An obvious reference to the 1975 horror/thriller film of the same name, Jaws gets his name both from his enormous size and strong metal teeth that could bite through virtually anything. During filming, Kiel would only wear the metal teeth for a few minutes because they hurt his mouth.

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Film biography

Jaws first appeared in the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me as a henchman to the villain, Karl Stromberg. He would later appear in the sequel Moonraker as a henchman to the villain Hugo Drax. However, in this second appearance, his character was changed from that of a ruthless and unstoppable killing machine to more of a comedy figure. He eventually turns against Drax and helps Bond to defeat him, and also gains a girlfriend.

“Well, heres to us” (Jaws first and final line to girlfriend Dolly)

In The Spy Who Loved Me, Jaws battled a shark and won, had an entire construction scaffold collapse on top of him, drove a car off a cliff into someone’s roof, and fell off a moving train and survived. Furthermore, in Moonraker Jaws survives a fall from an airplane without a parachute in the opening credits; later in the movie, he survives a high-speed crash of a tramway car in Rio de Janeiro and a fall from a Brazilian waterfall (shot at Iguassu Falls). After every accident, a signature move by Jaws is to get up, dust himself off, and walk away.

Jaw and James Bond

In addition to having steel teeth, Jaws was also 7 feet, 2 inches (2.18 m) tall for 315 pounds (142 kgs). He is also extremely strong, which forced Bond to be especially inventive while fighting him. In combat, Bond found himself caught in an unbreakable death grip by Jaws, who was about to fatally bite him; Bond only escaped by using a broken electric lamp to send an electric shock through the assassin’s teeth to stun him. Jaws also has an uncanny ability to survive any misfortune seemingly completely unscathed and come back to challenge Bond again.

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In The Spy Who Loved Me, Jaws survives a battle underwater with a shark and the destruction of Stromberg’s lair. Most notably, in Moonraker he survives falling several thousand feet without a parachute (granted, he falls through a circus tent and lands in the trapeze net), a crash through a building on top of a runaway cable car, and falling off a waterfall, as well as the destruction of most of Drax’s space station. He has fantastic skills in unarmed combat, combining his steel teeth, his tremendous strength with several highly complex martial arts moves. Along with Baron Samedi, Oddjob, and Tee Hee, Jaws is perhaps the most iconic James Bond henchman in the franchise, and one of several characters who have creative appearances, deaths, fighting styles and relationships with other characters. He is exceedingly sadistic and psychopathic, smiling when he kills people and fights James Bond. He has almost reckless in his efforts to overpower his enemies and doesn’t take in his surroundings, notably what could be used to defeat him.

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Jaws’ jaws are his weakness as well as his signature weapon. They are highly susceptible to magnetism, electricity and heat. They are also incredibly durable, able to withstand a bullet, an explosion and several direct punches. This also renders him unable to communicate with others.

 

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