- 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 professional assassin with stainless steel teeth. The character is the secondary antagonist of the 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me and the secondary antagonist turned supporting protagonist in the film's sequel Moonraker. He was played by the late American actor Richard Kiel.
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.
The Spy Who Loved Me
Having found out that his assistant stole and sold the plans to his submarine tracking device, the film's main villain Karl Stromberg sends Jaws to recover the device and tells him to kill everyone who came into contact with it. He sends Sandor with Jaws, to assist him in his task. Jaws and Sandor then head to Egypt, where they intend to kill Fekkesh, a man who came into contact with the device. While Sandor waits at Fekkesh's house and is eventually killed by James Bond, Jaws follows Fekkesh to the pyramids. When Fekkesh sees Jaws he panicks and runs off, pursued by Jaws and James Bond. Fekkesh managed to enter a cavern and closes the iron gates behind him with a lock. This does not stop Jaws, who uses his steel teeth to bite open the lock. Advancing on the frightened man, Jaws kills Fekkesh by smashing him at a wall and then biting him in the neck. Upon leaving the cave, Jaws is greeted by Bond who aims his gun at him. However, at that moment the light of the lightshow switches, momentarily covering the entire place in darkness. Jaws uses this oppurtunity to escape. Bond then enters the cave and finds a book at Fekkesh's corpse, giving him the information he needed. This book leads Bond, and Russian agent Major Amasova, to the club of Max Kalba, who owns a secret microfilm. While both agents try to buy the microfilm from Kalba, Kalba is told that there's an urgent phone call. While in the phone booth, Kalba is killed by Jaws, who poses as a technician and takes the microfilm. Bond and Amasova follow Jaws, secretly entering the back of his van.
However, Jaws has microphones in the back of the van and hears Amasova and Bond talk. He drives the van into the desert, and eventually reaches a site of ruins. Bond and Amasova exit the van, but have lost sight of Jaws, who headed into the ruins and hid on top of one of the giant pillars. Watching the two agents underneath him, he eventually throws a boulder down on them and attacks, briefly fighting Bond until Anya draws a gun and forces him to yield the microfilm. Jaws takes it out of his pocket and throws it on the ground but when Anya bows down to take it, he kicks her gun out of her hand. Having obtained the microchip, Anya falls runs off, leaving Bond to continue his fight with Jaws.
This fight is quickly ended when Jaws accidentally hits a pillar of the construction they are fighting under, causing it to collapse and burying Jaws underneath it. Believing Jaws to be dead, Bond returns to the van, unaware that Jaws in fact survived. As both agents enter the van, Jaws jumps onto the car's hood, ripping off half the roof with his bare hands. While Anya tries to start the car's engines, Jaws uses his unhuman strength to demolish the car, ripping the hull and trying to stop it by grabbing the bumper. However, eventually Anya manages to drive backwars, smashing into Jaws and throwing him into a wall. Bond and Anya then drive off, leaving Jaws at the site. This causes Jaws, furious at his failure, to drop the boulder he was about to throw, accidentally hitting his own foot.
While examining the microchip, the MI6 and KGB, having teamed up to find their submarines, trace the microchip back to Strombergs marine research laboratory on Sardinia. Bond and Amasova are sent to investigate together. Traveling by train, Amasova and Bond share different compartments and when Amasova opens her cabinet she is shocked to see that Jaws is inside. Jaws attacks Amasova and easily overpowers her. He knocks her out and tries to bite her neck, but her screams have alerted Bond, who attacks Jaws by smashing a bottle on his head. Unimpressed, Jaws attacks Bond, who is merely able to defend himself, as every attack on Jaws seems to be futile. Jaws eventually grabs Bond by the neck and tries to bite him. To evade death, Bond grabs a nearby lamp, smashes the glass and aims the wires at Jaw's steel teeth, electrifying him. This causes Jaws to drop Bond and stumble backwards, giving Bond the opportunity to kick Jaws out of the train's window. However, Jaws again survives the encounter.
Pursuit by car
After Bond has met with Stromberg, Stromberg calls Jaws into his office, who confirms that Bond and Amasova were the ones he fought on the train. Stromberg then orders Jaws to kill both once they get ashore. Jaws and other henchmen then follow Bond in a car, shooting at him. To defeat them, Bond uses the car's special equipment to shoot a muddy liquid at the car, spraying the entire windshield and causing the driver to drive off the road, as he lost sight. The car drives off a cliff, eventually crashing into a hut. While the hut owner, who sat outside, shocked watches the damage, the huts door opens and a dirty Jaws leaves the hut, angrily glancing at the owner while walking off.
Fight at Atlantis
After returning to Atlantis and killing Stromberg, Bond heads to the place's prison tract to find and free Amasova. Arriving there, he is surprised to see that Jaws is there as well. Bond shoots at Jaws but only hits Jaws' teeth, causing no damage. When Jaws realises that this was Bond's last bullet, he runs towards Bond, swiftly diving to cover when Bond's gun is reloaded. He then grabs Bond and shoves him into an elevator, which brings Bond to the room where Stromberg kept his shark tank. Following Bond, Jaws arrives there as well but Bond activates a magnetic crane and steers it into Jaw's way while the latter tries to get to Bond. The magnet gets hold of Jaws' teeth, lifting him into the air. Bond then steers the magnet over the shark tank and deactivates it, dropping Jaws into the water. Bond then leaves the room to find Amasova, thus not witnessing Jaws biting the shark to death. When Atlantis is torpedoed, Jaws dives out of the facility and escapes.
When Bond, returning from a job in Africa, is on the plane back home, he is held at gunpoint by the pilot, who takes a parachute and intends to leave Bond to die in the plane. Bond fights the pilot, but the man jumps out of the plane. Moreso, Bond is grabbed behind from Jaws, who had sneaked onto the plane with a plan for revenge, and then thrown out of the plane without a parachute. In order to survive, Bond dives after the pilot, battling him mid-air and taking his parachute. He is then in turn attacked by Jaws, who had jumped after him. Jaws grabs Bond's leg and is about to bite it, when Bond activates his parachute and is thus separated from Jaws, who keeps falling. When trying to activate his own parachute, Jaws rips the trigger with such force that it is ripped out, rendering his parachute useless. Helpless, he tries to save himself somehow but keeps falling. He eventually crashes into a circus tent, flattening the entire tent but somehow surviving the fall.
Fighting Bond in Rio
Jaws is employed by Hugo Drax after the death of Drax' henchman Chang. While entering the United States by plane, he walks through a metal detector which rings. When a security man wants to take Jaws aside, Jaws smiles at the man, horrifying him. Jaws then continues his travel.
When Bond, now at Rio, investigates a warehouse at night, he does so during a parade. While Bond is inside the warehouse, his accomplice Manuela is approached by a giant figure disguised as a clown. The man removes his mask and reveals himself as Jaws. He advances onto Manuela, about to kill her but is stopped when a door opens and multiple citizens walk through the alley, celebrating. Grabbing Manuela, Jaws acts like they belong together and waits until the people are gone. Again he tries to bite her, this time to be interrupted by Bond, who jumps onto him, causing Jaws to drop the girl. Before they can fight, the alley is once again flooded with celebrating people and Jaws, though trying to prevent it, is swarmed away with the crowd.
The next day, Bond travels to a mountain outside the city, observing an island near the city owned by Drax. While watching one of Drax' planes fly off, he sees Dr. Goodhead -- who in truth is a CIA agent -- nearby. Both decide to work together and leave the station via cable cart. In the station underneath, Jaws grabs one of the giant wheels, thereby stopping the mechanism and trapping Bond's cable cart midway. He then bites one of the cables and climbs the line onto another cable cart on the line next to Bond's. Samuel, one of Drax' henchmen then drives Jaws' cable cart until it is directly next to Bond's. Jaws then jumps over onto Bond's cart and attacks him and Goodhead, who both try to escape him in the small place they have. Eventually, they manage to throw Jaws down into the cable car and close it. They escape the car by using a chain and sliding down the line. Samuel then activates Jaws' cable car to run them down while they are ziplining. After increasingly boosting the speed of Jaws' cable car in order to overtake the escaping agents in time, the henchman is unable to stop the car in time to prevent it from crashing. Bond and Goodhead drop from the line when they are close enough to the ground and Jaws' car crashes into the control room with such force that it brings down the entire building. Regaining consciousness under one of the wheels of the mechanism, Jaws heaves the wheel to escape and is aided by Dolly, one of the civilians around. The two of them fall in love immediately.
After Drax' nerve gas has been analyzed, Bond is sent to the Brazilian jungle, wherethe plant from which the toxin is made grows. While cruising the river, Bond is attacked by Drax' henchmen in speedboats, led by Jaws. Though defeating most of them with the special equipment built into his boat, Bond is eventually forced to drive his boat over the edge of a waterfall, escaping via paraglider. Not having a glider, Jaws tries to grab the wheel but, again owed to his strength, rips it out, causing his boat to drive over the edge.
However, while following a women in the forest, Bond is lured into Drax' hidden base, where he is captured by Jaws, still wet from his fall. Bond is brought before Drax, who allows Bond to watch via screen how four Moonraker shuttles lift off. Claiming that Bond has distracted him enough, Drax tells Jaws to place Bond somewhere where he can get warm after his swim. Jaws brings Bond into the chamber underneath the last Moonraker shuttle, where Dr. Goodhead already awaits him. Jaws then enters the shuttle Moonraker 5 and travels into space, safely arriving at Drax' space base with his girlfriend Dolly.
At the space base, Drax holds a speech, explaining that he intends to destroy the entire human race except for a small group of carefully selected humans, both male and female, which he views as physically perfected specimen to create a super race with. After a period of time, when the chemical agent has become harmless, Drax plans for his master race to return to earth to reinhabit the planet. This plan disgusts Jaws, who looks at Drax in contempt.
After Bond and Goodhead have destroyed the base's radar jammer, Jaws finds the two of them and sneaks up on them. When Bond turns and sees Jaws, more henchmen arrive. They take Goodhead away while Jaws takes Bond. Bond tries to escape Jaws by hitting him in the face, but only hurts himself due to Jaws' steel teeth. Jaws then brings Goodhead and Bond to Drax. Drax orders Jaws to expel both of them into space but Bond, knowing that Jaws is listening, asks Drax whether anyone not matching his ideals of beauty will be killed. Drax confirms this. Realising that he and his girlfriend Dolly will not meet Drax's standards, Jaws refuses to obey Drax any longer, instead attacking his henchmen. They are however overwhelmed by Drax's men. To evade the destruction of the approaching shuttle as well as their own deaths, Bond quickly moves and pushes the base's emergency stop button, causing the entire facility to violently shake. As the base is no longer rotating, it also has no gravity. Bond, Goodhead and Jaws use this advantage to escape from the main room.
After the US soldiers have battled Drax's henchmen, the station has taken too much damage and is falling apart. The US soldiers abandon the station, leaving Bond and Goodhead to head to Moonraker 5. However. the docking release system is jammed, preventing them from leaving the station. Meanwhile, Jaws has reunited with his girlfriend. In the ruins, they find a bottle of champagne and sit down. Jaws fetches two glasses and says his only words in the series: "Well, here's to us!" . After drinking, Jaws and Dolly roam the station. Bond sees the two and talks to Jaws via PA, asking for help. Jaws indeed manages to free the shuttle and Bond and Goodhead lift off, with Jaws and Dolly staying behind. The part of the station containing Jaws and Dolly then breaks off, falling towards Earth, while the rest of the station explodes. Bond, knowing Jaws, comments that they will be alright.
At the US base, the commander is told that two survivors were picked up, a tall man and a small blonde woman, so Jaws and Dolly indeed survived.
Jaws, likely being the most popular of the henchmen and characters in the James Bond franchise, has appeared in three video games since his last cinematic appearance in Moonraker. His first appearance was in the 1993 Sega Megadrive game The Duel, where he appears multiple times, and also as the final opponent of the game. His second appearance would be in 1997, in the Nintendo 64 game GoldenEye 007, in which Jaws — for unknown reasons — is working for Drax Corporation once again in a bonus level. In 2001, Jaws appeared in 007 Racing, where Jaws had survived the space capsule wreckage and became villainous again, working for a car industry businessman named Hammond Litte. In 2002, he appeared in Nightfire, but only as a multiplayer character.
In 2004, Jaws appeared again in the video game Everything or Nothing, working for the game's villain, Nikolai Diavolo. Richard Kiel is credited, because his face and body was used to create the 3D game model. He recorded no dialogue for the game (only grunts). Jaws makes an appearance in the Goldeneye remake in the multiplayer as a playable character in the splitscreen mode, and on Classic Conflict mode online. He has appeared in game 007 Legends.
Personality & Abilities
Jaws regularly doesn’t use firearms, unless attacking from a distance, preferring to use his physical strength and his metal teeth as his weapons. He seems to enjoy tearing out the jugulars of his victims after scaring them half to death. He effectively uses fear as a tactic to make his foes do mistakes, but Jaws also attacks in haste at times thus striking down objects that he shouldn’t have struck.
The henchman speaks very rarely although he is fully capable of doing so. Trying to get a bantering dialogue going with him in combat situations is useless. Plus, the likes of Bond will be too busy spending HPs just to survive to try banter. When taking order from his employer Jaws usually just nods and gets going. His intents are usually apparent from his body language. While not too intelligent, he is actually somewhat smarter than people usually give him credit for, and will perform some trickery. There is, at times, a certain slyness about him and his methods - he does use covers and disguises - and underestimating would be a severe mistake. At the same time he exhibits some of the behavior of a child. He has an odd personality and mentality, indeed.
While Jaws mostly does missions solo, he is not above teaming up with other henchmen or even opponents if justified. The death of such temporary compadres doesn’t become him the least, always being mission-oriented. He seems to find it amusing that Bond has survived him so many times, and usually greets him with a grin upon meeting him again. He always does what his employers tell him to do (unless they try to have him killed); if that happens he will look after his own interests and ally with former enemies, because as a professional he bears no ill will towards them. Neither will he be part of anything that could lead to the destruction of mankind or the Earth.
This is also an exceptionally strong and tough man, being able to lift people up with both hands and hold up huge weights in general. For being such a large man he is very quiet and stealthy, capable of surprising or evading the most perceptive of opponents. His famous bite attack, using his titanium teeth, is strong enough to easily cut through metal chains or men’s jugulars, and can even withstand a bullet. He has something of a knack for finding his targets in very big cities without trouble, probably by using his criminal colleague.
Behind the scenes
Although Ian Fleming had requested that no elements from his original book The Spy Who Loved Me be used in the film series, the novel's antagonists would provide the basis for the characters of Jaws and Sandor. The novel features two thugs named Sol Horror and Sluggsy Morent. Horror is described as having steel-capped teeth, while Sluggsy had a clear bald head.
While Jaws was in two James Bond films, he actually only had one short line of dialogue. In Moonraker, towards the end of the film, he turns to his girlfriend Dolly and says "Well, here's to us".In the final credits sequence of the 1999 film Inspector Gadget, Dr. Claw's assistant is shown attending a "Minion Recovery Group". Richard Kiel is one of the participants (along with Oddjob and Nick Nack) and is billed in the credits as 'Famous Guy with Metal Teeth'.
Richard Kiel passed away 3 days prior to his 75th birthday.