In the movie JAWS, when Quint interrupts the meeting to make his bid on catching and killing the shark, he is eating something. I couldn't quite make out what it is. If anyone knows, please help.

Beyond being just a trivia question (and off-topic), what he's eating could give a little peak into his character's psychology, thus improving my enjoyment of the film. He obviously feels the need to eat it in front of people during a delicate and troubling time.

Granted, maybe it's nothing, and he just eats whatever is on hand whenever he's hungry, much like Bruce (the shark) did.

EDIT : Maybe it's an apple, like Napoleon suggests, but it seems cut into an even width piece as opposed to the crescent-shaped wedge (think orange or grapefruit pieces) apples are normally cut into. Also we only see him eating this one loud and crispy piece. No knife or apple core are to be seen, and Quint doesn't seem too much like a "cut up some fruit, put it in a baggy to take to the meeting" kind of guy.

  • Ha, when did that shark actually get a name (or maybe it's just too long I didn't watch that classic)? That being said I'd guess it's more the act of eating itself at such a meeting (and not so much what he eats) that makes him look cool/badass and indifferent to the whole meeting.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Sep 14, 2014 at 19:50
  • Hmm, looks just like an apple (that he probably just cut to pieces life during the meeting with his own proven jackknife).
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Sep 14, 2014 at 19:57
  • @NapoleonWilson On set they called the fake shark "Bruce." Also, seems a bit oddly cut and crispy for an apple (though I could be wrong). Maybe it's mentioned in the original novel? Sep 14, 2014 at 19:57
  • To me it really has the classic half-moon shape of an apple piece, including the color. The only similar thing would have been an egg, though I guess that would be lighter and in a different shape.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Sep 14, 2014 at 20:05
  • 2
    Just saw the clip and it doesn't look\sound like an egg or an apple to me. According to this Sporcle quiz (just click 'give up' after a few seconds if you don't want to solve it), it's a potato chip, which seems more reasonable, but they don't say how they know it. Quint also eats crackers later in the movie; maybe he just has the munchies. ;)
    – Walt
    Sep 14, 2014 at 21:27

4 Answers 4


According to this "Script to Screen" Q&A Session with the film's writer; Carl Gottlieb

Robert Shaw brought the idea that the Quint character he was playing should be eating something, jaws mimicking the shark itself and they gave him saltine crackers to champ on.

So there you go, straight from the horse's shark's mouth

  • 1
    Though a great find that supports the prevalent theory here, they're not saying when he eats them. We know he's eating crackers on the boat, but not what he ate in the town hall meeting.
    – Walt
    Apr 17, 2016 at 8:39
  • 1
    @Walt - In light of the fact that it looks like a saltine, it's most likely a saltine.
    – user7812
    Apr 17, 2016 at 8:41
  • Hey, where'd ya get that pic? :P [I just meant it doesn't confirm it yet. But TBH, it's probably the closest we'll get]
    – Walt
    Apr 17, 2016 at 8:45

After carefully reviewing the clip, I would like to refute my esteemed colleague's apple hypothesis and offer incontrovertible proof as a professional snack sleuth that Quint is, in fact, munching on a saltine:

  • Quint breaks this flat item as he bites into it and makes a gravelly grinding sound when he chews it.
  • It's the perfect metaphor for a salty sailor like Quint.
  • This is also the kind of dry provisions a sailor might have on his boat...
  • ...And indeed, Sam Quint is eating crackers on his boat in a later scene...
  • ...Which explains where he got it - it was probably in his pocket (alternatively, a town hall meeting might provide this sort of snack).
  • Many people online are convinced this is a cracker and, more specifically, a saltine - like this one and that one and here and there (search for 'cracker'), and there are plenty more examples.
  • This image totally, irrefutably, kind of looks like a saltine that was bitten into, doesn't it?

enter image description here

[Yes, I do have a life. Why do you ask?]


A saltine might be too specific of an answer. In fact, the cracker does appear to be rounded, and when he takes bites the cracker (I will concede it is, in fact, a cracker of some type) doesn't crumble or even break along the lines of any saltine I've ever had. Also, take a bite of a saltine and try to deliver a monologue such as the one he's delivering. Saltines are like eating sawdust, it'd never happen.

I would contend that he's actually eating Water Crackers. They are rounded in shape, make a loud "crunch" when you bite them (and that crunch was definitely used for effect, otherwise he coulda been eating bread or something), and don't tend to crumble as much as saltines.

That would actually make some added sense, as Navymen are often referred to as "crackers" and they make their living on the water.

  • 1
    The roundness would explain why that Sporcle quiz got it wrong. It looks amorphous to me, but it could be round. That's a toughie. But at least we can agree it's a cracker!
    – Walt
    Sep 15, 2014 at 15:02

Captain's (Brand) Table Water Crackers.

This and many other characters enhancements were not in Benchley's novel.

  • 4
    Is this your opinion, or how did you find this out?
    – CGCampbell
    Jun 17, 2015 at 17:17

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