Jaws: Richard Dreyfuss as Hooper

Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper in Jaws (1975)


Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper, oceanographer

Amity Island, July 1974

Film: Jaws
Release Date: June 20, 1975
Director: Steven Spielberg
Costume Design: Louise Clark, Robert Ellsworth, and Irwin Rose


As this summer’s headlines are dominated by stories of orcas reclaiming the sea, now is as good a time as any to revisit the 1975 blockbuster Jaws that thrilled audiences upon its release 48 years ago this month.

Based on Peter Benchley’s bestselling novel of the same name, Jaws centers around the hunt for a man-eating shark terrorizing the beach of a New England resort town. The hunters include aquaphobic police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider), fearless shark hunter and USS Indianapolis survivor Quint (Robert Shaw), and the intense, serious-minded marine biologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), visiting from the Oceanic Institute.

The details of Hooper’s character—including his ultimate fate—changed considerably from the novel, where he had also been an Amity Island local and was thus engaged in an affair with Brody’s wife. The film presents a more cooperative relationship between Hooper and Chief Brody, characterized by a mutual respect lacking in the antagonistic association between Hooper and Quint—which mirrored the actual off-screen tension between Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw.

Steven Spielberg reportedly rewrote the Hooper character to better fit Richard Dreyfuss, whom Spielberg’s friend George Lucas had suggested after directing him in American Graffiti (1973), as well as to mirror his own personality to the extent that the director eventually saw the actor’s portrayal as his own alter ego, according to Joseph McBride’s 1999 biography.

Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper in Jaws (1975)

What’d He Wear?

Matt Hooper’s scrappy style has been requested by several BAMF Style readers throughout the years, so readers interested in finding where to buy clothes like Hooper’s can click here to skip ahead to a “Shop the Look” section at the bottom of this page, researched specifically to help you find modern head-to-toe alternatives inspired by Amity Island’s visiting oceanographer.

From the time he arrives on Amity Island, Hooper maintains a daily uniform anchored by his denim jacket, jeans, and deck sneakers, rotating through a trio of sweatshirts or the odd chambray shirt—with a corduroy sports coat, knitted tie, and boat shoes should he need to “dress up”—all tucked away into his russet leather duffel bag.

Hooper wears a dark navy ribbed-knit cap, similar to the woolen watch caps worn by sailors while standing shipboard watch in cold weather. Also known as beanies, skull caps, and toques, this headgear has a centuries-old association with seafarers, from its U.S. Navy authorization to the red knit caps famously worn by Jacques Cousteau and his fictional counterpart Steve Zissou.

Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper in Jaws (1975)

When Hooper joints Quint and Brody to set out on the Orca, he swaps out the watch cap for a dark indigo-blue denim bucket hat with a six-paneled soft crown detailed with white contrast stitching that continues in ten bands around the brim. Nicknamed the “Daisy Mae”, this work hat was authorized for U.S. Army wear in 1937, though variations of it may have been worn for decades prior.

Connected to thin gold arms and a gold bridge, Hooper’s rimless eyeglasses have semi-hexagonal lenses, rounded across the top but angled into three distinct sides across the bottom.

Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper in Jaws (1975)

Hooper wears a well-traveled blue denim jacket with details indicative of the Levi’s 557XX, which became the latest generation of the San Francisco-based brand’s trucker jackets when it was introduced in 1962. Though known to collectors as the “Type III”, Levi Strauss & Co. designated the jacket as No. 70505 five years later to align with the companion zip-fly Levi’s 505™ Regular Fit jeans that were introduced in 1967.

The Levi’s trucker jacket had already undergone two major evolutions (now known as the “Type I” and “Type II” models) following its introduction at the start of the 20th century, though the Type III arguably remains the standard for modern trucker jackets with its trim waist-length design, twin flapped chest pockets, tapered V-shaped front seams, and metal buttons.

Hooper’s jacket has six copper rivet buttons up the front, each coordinated to buttonholes on the left side that have been reinforced with darker navy blue thread, each showing some white fraying thread as well. The two pointed chest pocket flaps align with the horizontal chest yoke, and the characteristic V-shaped front seams taper down from under the top of the pocket flap (at the yoke) to the waist hem. The waistband has a two-button adjustable tab on each side, and the sleeves also have buttons to close the cuffs. (Hand pockets would not be added to Type III jackets until the ’80s, so Hooper’s jacket has only the two chest pockets.)

Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper in Jaws (1975)

The signature Levi’s branded red tab would have been sewn along the right side of the left pocket, though this appears to have been removed—either de-branded by the costume team or meant to be a casualty of the wear-and-tear of Hooper’s oceanographical duties.

Hooper’s most frequently worn sweatshirt is the heather gray crew-neck sweatshirt he wore when he arrived on Amity Island, constructed with raglan sleeves.

Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper in Jaws (1975)

When Hooper joins Chief Brody to recruit Quint for their shark-hunting mission, he wears a navy raglan-sleeved sweatshirt layered over his lighter blue chambray work shirt, with the latter’s collar positioned over the sweatshirt’s crew neck and both sets of sleeves rolled up his forearms.

Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider in Jaws (1975)

On the climactic day aboard the Orca, Hooper wears a baby-blue crew-neck sweatshirt. Like his others, this has long raglan sleeves.

Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper in Jaws (1975)

Hooper may wear a Levi’s trucker jacket, but his jeans are Lee Riders, identifiably by the wavy “lazy S” stitch across the back pockets and the “X”-shaped bar tacks stitched at their corners. Though Lee initially branded their 13-oz jeans as “Cowboy Pants” upon their introduction in 1926, Heddels informs us that they originally marketed their jeans to seamen as well as cowboys and loggers.

Made from a light-medium blue denim, Hooper’s jeans are clearly meant to be the same pair throughout the movie, characterized by considerable distress including fraying along the pockets and a self-mended patch over the back right hamstring. He holds them up with a plain black leather belt that closes through a gunmetal-toned double-prong buckle.

Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper in Jaws (1975)

Ideal for his substantial work on wet decks, Hooper wears the CVO-style deck sneakers that originated in the 1930s when Paul Sperry was inspired by his dog’s paws to develop siped soles for the seagoing Top Sider shoes. Over the decades that followed, the style has been popularized by brands like Converse, Keds, Sperry, and Vans.

I’ve seen “CVO” described as meaning both “Circular Vamp Oxford” and “Canvas Vulcanized Oxford”, the former referring to the overall shape while the latter relates to the canvas uppers and vulcanized rubber soles. These qualities make them popular for activities like sports or sailing, with the canvas uppers both lightweight and durable for lots of movement while the soles provide extra traction.

Hooper’s navy-blue canvas uppers have five sets of nickel eyelets for the flat white oxford-style laces, with a coordinated navy foxing stripe around the top of his thick white rubber outsoles.

Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper in Jaws (1975)

Situations like this are when you appreciate shoes with traction-friendly soles like the siped bottoms of most CVO-style deck sneakers.

Hooper often goes sockless, likely to avoid the discomfort (and potential infection) of his socks growing soggy as water permeates his shoes’ canvas uppers. That said, there are times we see him wearing socks, including a surprising glimpse of his burgundy socks in the background during Brody’s too-close-for-comfort interaction with Bruce the shark. Later that night, when Hooper is drinking and showing off shark-bites with Quint, he pulls back the leg of his jeans to show a pair of gray ribbed socks.

During this same sequence, Hooper wears a pale-pink cotton long-sleeved henley shirt with a three-button placket. He may wear this as an undershirt beneath his sweatshirts, or it may just be how he chooses to dress for a leisurely night of storytelling and beer.

Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss in Jaws (1975)

An oceangoing expert whose work often takes him underwater, Hooper understandably wears a dive watch but opted for a less-common model with his Alsta Nautoscaph Superautomatic. Water-resistant down to 300 meters, this satin-finished stainless steel automatic diver has a 36mm squared case and a narrow black unidirectional bezel. Encased under sapphire crystal, the round black dial features luminous coffin-shaped hour indices, in addition to luminous Arabic numerals indicating 12, 6, and 9 o’clock and a white date window at the 3 o’clock position. The watch is secured to a distinctive steel “porthole” bracelet, characterized by its oval-shaped cutouts in each link, a variation of metal rally-style bracelets.

Alsta has wisely capitalized on its Jaws connection by reviving the original Nautoscaph Superautomatic design—sized up to a 38mm case—as well as a line of updates designated the Nautoscaph II, III (PVD-coated), and IV.

Hooper also wears a uniquely shaped open ring on the ring finger of his left hand, made of a light-colored gold with a large black onyx stone set adjacent to the asymmetric fault line.

Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper in Jaws (1975)

Mr. Spielberg, Hooper’s Alsta Nautoscaph is ready for its close-up…

When Hooper changes into his blue neoprene diving suit for the final act spent in the shark cage, he fastens the Alsta over the suit’s left cuff.

Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper in Jaws (1975)

Hooper uses his dive watch for exactly its intended purpose… though running out of oxygen may not be his #1 concern when testing out the shark cage.

On land, Hooper’s version of “dressing up” doesn’t much differ from his everyday expedition-ready gear. His light-blue chambray two-pocket shirt is a smart choice, as this classic naval work shirt is compatible with his everyday duds while also having the collar that allows him to dress it up with a tie as needed. In this case, he wears a hefty burgundy knitted wool tie with a flat bottom, its coarse texture making it more compatible to be worn with denim and corduroy than a dressier smooth silk tie.

Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider in Jaws (1975)

When he and Brody are called away from dinner to work, he swaps out the sports coat for his usual trucker jacket and—much to Hooper’s credit—the look remains pretty cohesive.

Hooper’s three-button sport jacket is made from a navy pinwale corduroy cotton (also known as “needlecord”), with patch pockets over the hips and left breast, two-button cuffs, and a single vent. He continues wearing his usual Lee Rider jeans, though he swaps out the sneakers for somewhat more presentable brown leather boat shoes with black socks. He matches his dark brown leather belt (with a large squared brass single-prong buckle) to the shoes. With their brown leather uppers, two-eyelet 360-degree lacing system, and clean white outsoles, the shoes are likely classic Sperry Top-Siders.

Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper in Jaws (1975)

What to Imbibe

Hooper joins the Brodys for dinner, which includes going through several bottles of wine including a Barton & Guestier 1971 Beaujolais. Produced in the historical Beaujolais province in France, located in the southern part of Burgundy just north of Lyon, this typically light-bodied red wine is made from the thin-skinned Gamay grape.

Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss in Jaws (1975)

Chief Brody keeps the evening going by opening the B&G Beaujolais.

The Barton & Guestier (B&G) wine house was founded in 1725 when Irish merchant Thomas Barton arrived in Bordeaux. His grandson Hugh partnered with French trader Daniel Guestier in 1802 to officially form B&G, whose wines were growing an impressive international audience with orders from no less than then-President Thomas Jefferson.

Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper in Jaws (1975)

How to Get the Look

Maritime expert Matt Hooper sticks to a regular uniform anchored (so to speak) by a well-worn denim jacket, jeans, and deck sneakers, a rotation of hats and sweatshirts, and an essential tool of his aquatic trade: a reliable dive watch.

  • Blue denim Levi’s 557XX “Type III” trucker jacket with six-button front, chest pockets with single-button pointed flaps, single-button squared cuffs, and button-tab waist adjusters
  • Heather gray crew-neck raglan-sleeve sweatshirt
  • Blue denim Lee Rider jeans with belt loops and five-pocket layout
  • Black leather belt with gunmetal double-prong buckle
  • Navy canvas CVO-style deck sneakers with 5 nickel eyelets, flat white laces, and navy foxing-striped white rubber outsoles
  • Gray socks
  • Navy ribbed-knit woolen watch cap
  • Semi-hexagonal rimless eyeglasses with gold-toned arms and bridge
  • Large gold open ring with round black onyx stone
  • Alsta Nautoscaph Superautomatic stainless steel dive watch with 36mm case, black unidirectional bezel, black dial (with luminous hour indices and 3 o’clock date window), and stainless “porthole”-cutout link bracelet

Shop Hooper’s Look

Price and availability current as of June 26, 2023.
It wasn't until the 1980s that Levi's added hand pockets to their standard trucker jacket, so you'd need to find a vintage Type III for the true Hooper look.
Hooper's favorite heather gray crew-neck raglan-sleeved sweatshirt remains a staple nearly a half-century later, available at every price point whether you're looking for a no-frills sweatshirt or something more elegantly constructed and intentional for warmer summer weather.
Budget sweatshirts: Elevated sweatshirts: Prices and availability current as of June 26, 2023.
Alsta's reissued "Hooper watch": Seiko alternatives: I believe the SRPE03 (possibly not the SRPF03) can be fitted with this Hooper-like metal rally bracelet: Budget-friendly alternatives: Prices and availability current as of June 26, 2023.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Check out the movie and read Peter Benchley’s source novel.

I also recommend this excellent Primer article by Chris Scott that finds updated alternatives to each major character’s costumes.

The Quote

If we’re lookin’ for a shark, we’re not gonna find him on the land!

One comment

  1. Lex

    Awful book by a terrible writer (not half the man his father was!) but a fantastic concept and great film.

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