Best Shark Movies

Best Shark Movies

Written by Kenneth Sawyer, In Entertainment, Published On
October 24, 2023

Shark movies have for a considerable time been a fundamental element of cinematic thrill, exploiting the inherent fear that dwells in the hearts of many for the supreme predators prowling beneath the ocean’s surface. Over time, this genre has witnessed its share of triumphs and failures, but a handful of films have successfully emerged as frontrunners, crafting enduring imprints on viewers and establishing their positions as exemplars of spine-tingling underwater terror.

My Favourite Shark Movies


“Jaws” (1975), the patriarch of them all, unquestionably merits the foremost acknowledgment. Directed by Steven Spielberg, this iconic film forever altered the landscape of summer blockbusters. Despite grappling with a temperamental animatronic shark, the film’s success translated into box office returns of over $476.5 million. Set in a New England town plagued by a great white shark, “Jaws” hinges on the battle between human folly and nature’s unforgiving might. As the town’s mayor prioritizes tourism over safety, a trio of unlikely heroes – police chief Martin Brody, marine biologist Matt Hooper, and grizzled fisherman Quint – set out to hunt the relentless predator. Spielberg’s adept pacing and suspense-building make “Jaws” a true masterclass in tension, cementing its status as the ultimate shark movie.

The Shallows

Following in its wake, “The Shallows” (2016) stands as a testament to modern blockbuster finesse. Director Jaume Collet-Serra crafts a minimalist thriller as Blake Lively’s character finds herself stranded on a rock, mere feet from shore, yet circled by a relentless great white shark. With impeccable tension and a gripping performance by Lively, the film showcases the director’s deft touch in maximizing the fear factor. “47 Meters Down” (2017) capitalizes on a similar scenario, plunging Mandy Moore and Claire Holt’s characters into the depths after a shark diving expedition goes awry. Stranded on the ocean floor, they must navigate darkness, dwindling oxygen, and lurking sharks, creating a visceral experience that claws at primal fears.

Deep Blue Sea

“Deep Blue Sea” (1999) offers a more unconventional twist on shark terror. In a tale of genetic tampering gone awry, scientists striving to cure Alzheimer’s inadvertently create hyper-intelligent mako sharks that turn on their creators. The film’s blend of action and absurdity, embodied in Samuel L. Jackson’s iconic monologue, make it a memorable entry in the genre. Similarly, “Bait” (2012) plunges unsuspecting patrons and robbers into a flooded supermarket during a tsunami, pitting them against ravenous great white sharks. The film’s unlikely premise marries suspense and absurdity in a deluge of aquatic mayhem.

The Meg

On the more fantastical side, “The Meg” (2018) offers a gargantuan spin on shark horror. Featuring a 75-foot-long megalodon, the film enlists Jason Statham to thwart the resurrection of this prehistoric beast from the Mariana Trench. The global cast and spectacle-driven approach cater to international audiences, earning the film a spot as a true blockbuster shark epic.

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Open Water

However, not all shark movies bask in the glow of larger-than-life scenarios. “Open Water” (2003) and its sequel, “Deep Blue Sea 3” (2020), ground their narratives in a grittier reality. “Open Water” traps an American couple in shark-infested waters after a diving mishap, their struggle for survival exacerbated by the palpable authenticity of real sharks. On the other hand, “Deep Blue Sea 3” returns to the franchise’s roots, portraying scientists on a man-made island facing off against bull sharks in an action-packed B-movie spectacle.

In the realm of shark movies, these seven films have etched their mark in cinematic history. Whether evoking primal fears, embracing fantastical narratives, or delivering unadulterated suspense, these films encapsulate the diverse appeal of the genre. From Spielberg’s ground-breaking classic to modern hits, these movies showcase the enduring power of shark cinema to captivate and terrify audiences worldwide.


  Which is the inaugural shark-centric film?

The seminal shark movie is “Jaws,” helmed by Steven Spielberg and unleashed in 1975. This cinematic masterpiece set the gold standard for shark films, leaving an indelible mark on popular culture.

  Are there any shark movies inclined towards humor?

The “Sharknado” series specializes in outlandishly comical portrayals of shark assaults, renowned for their surreal and tongue-in-cheek comedic flair.

  Which shark film embraces a more fantastical angle with an enormous shark?

“The Meg” (2018) introduces a whimsically imaginative dimension to shark horror, featuring a gargantuan 75-foot megalodon. Bolstered by Jason Statham’s lead, the movie strives to thwart the revival of this ancient Mariana Trench predator, captivating audiences worldwide.

  How did “Jaws” fare financially despite challenges with its mechanical shark?

Overcoming hurdles with its animatronic shark, “Jaws” reaped remarkable box-office triumph, amassing a staggering $476.5 million. Stephen Spielberg’s masterful direction and gripping narrative propelled the film into a pioneering cinematic spectacle.

  Is “Jaws” based on real events?

“Jaws” isn’t a true story, but it drew inspiration from actual shark attacks in New Jersey in 1916. The novel by Peter Benchley, on which the movie is based, also drew from these incidents.

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