Sharks are some of the most iconic sea creatures. They’ve been around much longer than most aquatic animals.
Sharks have also been the focus of numerous scientific research and experiments. These studies have uncovered lots of interesting facts about these monstrous sea dwellers.
For instance, did you know that sharks do not have bones? Unlike other bony fish, a shark’s body is entirely made up of cartilaginous tissues. Such fish are classified in a special group called ‘elasmobranchs.’
Another fascinating fact about sharks is how efficient they are at detecting the presence of potential prey within their domain. Although they have great eyesight, sharks mostly detect objects around them using a complex electro-sensory system supported by receptors around their head and snout area. These receptors are located within jelly-filled sensory organs known as the ampullae of Lorenzini.
But while science has played a significant role in revealing previously unknown facts about sharks, it’s movies that have actually brought these facts to life, so to speak. In fact, there are lots of shark-themed movies that predate many authority studies on these animals.
In this post, we take a quick look at the ten best shark movies ever made.
10. Dark Tide (2012)
IMDB Rating: 4.3/10
Dark Tide follows a traumatized shark expert named Kate Mathieson (Halle Berry) who must confront her own fears to lead a major sea expedition.
After her colleague dies in a shark attack under her command, Kate decides to take a hiatus from diving as the memories of her deceased colleague constantly replay in her mind. But then her bills start to mount and her once-fledging business is threatening to come crumbling down on her.
In a sudden twist of events, Kate’s estranged husband Jeff Mathieson (Oliver Martinez) presents her with a lucrative deal, which includes leading an adventure-seeking millionaire businessman and his son on a dive into the most shark-infested sections of the water, known as “Shark Alley.” The opportunity is simply too good to pass up. However, Kate knows too well that this seemingly thrill-seeking quest might turn out to be her worst adventure ever.
9. Jaws 3-D (1983)
IMDB Rating: 3.7/10
Jaws 3-D is the third installment in the Jaws film franchise. The underlying theme is the power of a mother’s instincts and the lengths moms are willing to go in protecting their offspring from danger.
A young great shark strays into a sea-themed park managed by Calvin Bouchard (Louis Gossett Jr.). Marine biologists working at the park attempt to capture the shark and keep it in captivity.
Then the shark’s mother gets wind of her offspring’s predicament and breaks into the marine park, prepared to raise hell.
8. Jaws 2 (1978)
IMDB Rating: 5.8/10
Jaws 2 takes place several years after ferocious shark attacks left the residents of Amity Island horrified. But even before the scars of those attacks can dry out, terror seems to have returned to the island when Sheriff Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) discovers a man-eating shark lurking on the beaches. In the wake of this discovery, Mayor Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) embarks on a mission to rid the island of its blood-stained reputation.
A diving pair disappears and it becomes apparent that the situation might get even chillier than it was years ago. Still, some residents prefer to treat this disappearance as an isolated case.
But Sherriff Brody is increasingly becoming concerned about the safety of Amity. He warns against holding a sailing competition but his pleas fall on deaf ears. Then the worst happens.
7. 47 Meters Down (2017)
IMDB Rating: 5.7/10
Vacations have a way of turning into disasters when we least expect them to. And no shark movie puts that statement into a better perspective than 47 Meters Down.
In this film, two young sisters Kate (Claire Holt) and Lisa (Mandy Moore) travel to Mexico for a vacation. On Kate’s suggestion, the sisters go diving in shark-infested waters. But the two sisters find themselves trapped in a diving cage underwater, with blood-thirsty great white sharks circling them.
Then like in a bad dream, the cage breaks away from its attached boat, sending the adventure-seeking sisters flying down into the ocean floor. They now have two fears to contend with – getting ripped by marauding great whites or drying from insufficient oxygen supply.
6. The Reef (2010)
IMDB Rating: 5.8/10
A sailing trip to Indonesia goes horribly wrong when the boat capsizes. Staring death in the face, some of the passengers decide to risk swimming to an island nearby.
Their survival instincts are commendable. But as the helpless passengers are about to find out, their only worry isn’t the sheer length and breadth they’re about to swim to safety.
They must also navigate the waters carefully to avoid getting eaten by a great white shark stalking them.
5. The Meg (2018)
IMDB Rating: 5.6/10
Previously thought to have gone extinct, a monstrous shark known as the Megalodon reappears unannounced and attacks a deep-sea submersible, disabling it and trapping the crew.
Now, the world’s best deep-sea rescue diver Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) is hired to save the trapped crew from the jaws of the 75-foot prehistoric shark.
What seems like a routine duty call turns out to be Jonas’ career-defining rescue mission ever.
4. The Shallows (2016)
IMDB Rating: 6.3/10
The Shallows tells the story of a medical student named Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) who’s still reeling from the death of her mother.
Craving for solace, Nancy travels to a secluded beach. She’s fully aware of the dangers that lurk in the waters nearby. But driven by the need to shake off her grief, Nancy decides to hit the waves.
Suddenly, a great white shark appears from nowhere and attacks her, forcing her to swim to a giant rock 200 yards away from the shore. She’s injured and terrified. However, she must quickly figure out a way to swim to the shore and escape the prying eyes of the shark that’s now circling her.
3. Open Water (2003)
IMDB Rating: 5.7/10
Open Water was inspired by the real-life events surrounding the disappearance of a thrill-seeking American couple on a scuba-diving trip around the Great Barrier Reef.
In this film, Daniel (Daniel Travis) and Susan (Blanchard Ryan) set off on what promises to be their most adventurous scuba-diving trip ever. The couple is part of a larger group of divers.
All other divers emerge from the deep sea except for Daniel and Susan. To make matters worse, no one seems to detect the missing coupe. Their woes are further compounded when an error in headcount suggests that everyone has returned so the boat departs.
When the couple finally emerges, they realize everyone else has left. They now find themselves trapped in the shark-infested waters and must fight for their survival.
2. Deep Blue Sea (1999)
IMDB Rating: 5.9/10
A team of researchers on an isolated research center is on a mission to find the cure for Alzheimer’s disease. A huge part of their research work entails harvesting the brain tissues of genetically modified sharks.
However, trouble ensues when the facility’s executive (played by Samuel L. Jackson) is sent to investigate the progress with the experiments.
The sharks begin to fight their creators, and the scientists must fight to stay alive as well as prevent the sharks from escaping into the deep sea.
1. Jaws (1975)
IMDB Rating: 8.0/10
Jaws is not only the first movie in the Jaws film franchise. It’s also unarguably the critics’ favorite.
The film follows a man-eating great white shark that repeatedly terrorizes the waters of Amity Island. After the shark kills a young woman, Police Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) thinks it’s a great idea to close the beaches. However, Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) fears that doing so would cripple the island’s vibrant tourist industry.
It appears Brody’s only options are to hunt down the blood-thirsty shark. With the help of Ichthyologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and ship captain Quint (Robert Shaw), the trio embarks on what turns out to be an epic encounter with the monstrous creature.
Although multiple accounts portray sharks as scary monsters thirsty for human blood, studies have shown that sharks rarely attack unprovoked.
And as you shall find from the above-listed shark-themed movies, it’s usually humans that draw first blood.