STEVEN Spielberg may have expertly captured the horror and fear of encountering the might of a great white shark, but an online video has apparently filmed something Spielberg never managed: an actual, real-life face-to-face meeting with the dreaded fish.

While the Jaws director had to rely on pneumatically powered prop sharks, Australian Terry Tufferson simply jumped from Manly's Jump Rock in Sydney Harbour and came face-to-face with a shark almost immediately.

However, online commentators have raised suspicions about the footage, with many believing Tufferson's 15-minutes of internet fame to be a fake or a marketing ploy from GoPro.

In the film, soon after jumping from the rock, a friend of Tufferson's can be heard shouting: "Shark! Shark! Behind you". Tufferson goes under water and - emerging from the murky water - a great white shark appears. Tufferson instantly garbles an underwater scream.

The shark swims past Tufferson a few times as he makes his way back to the shoreline, where he climbs onto the rocks unscathed.

The sensational short film has quickly become the matter of huge debate online, with YouTube commentators questioning whether Tufferson's clip is real.

Many YouTube posters highlighted that at the 0:59 mark the shark flashes briefly in the centre of the screen and then suddenly shifts to the left of the frame.

Another individual noted, snidely: "Well done film editing.  Shark conveniently in shallow water."

Still, there were a number of people who believed the close encounter was genuine, stating that Tufferson had been incredibly lucky to have swam so close to the great white shark and not been harmed.

As the debate rages, have a look for yourself to see what you make of Tufferson's close shave.

One commentator, Joshua Berg, simply concluded: "Real or not, I'd guess advertising GoPro = Big $$$ right now."

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