Jaws (1975). Okay, I’m cheating. This isn’t one shot, it’s a few shots. For brevity, let’s look at Brody (Roy Scheider) throwing chunks of fish into the water, mouthing off at his crew mates. If we look at the shot, there is a ton of space to the left of Brody, where the blood from the fish chunks is visible in the open water. If we are using our analytical brains, this is a sure fire warning that something is going fill that frame: It’s a set up. But the tone of the scene (a hacked off crew member that cannot swim, having a moan) misdirects us, so when the shark does appear behind Brody, it’s a shock. I know it’s cliche to talk about the rubber shark (or sharks), and Spielberg’s well documented problems (and concerns) whist filming, but I’m going to anyway: He thought the shark looked dumb, he was worried audiences would laugh, the shoot was a nightmare (Spielberg decided to go for realism and shoot in open water, rather than a tank, leading to bouts of sea-sickness for crew and cast) etc..etc.. But this is the first scene in which we see the shark, and the results are quite stunning, holding up even today. The scene is testament to Spielberg’s skills as a director, and his ability to adapt to and overcome limitations.
Cousins, Mark ‘The Story of Film’, Pavillion, 2011