Ranking The ‘Jaws’ Franchise, From One To Chum

Picture this: the summer of 1975, a sleepy coastal town, and a killer great white shark lurking beneath the waves. It’s a moment in cinematic history that left audiences worldwide in sheer terror and awe. Today, we embark on a thrilling voyage through the waters of the Jaws film franchise. Our journey takes us from the soaring highs of the original Spielberg masterpiece to the less impressive sequels. Each cinematic voyage will be accompanied by mini-reviews and star ratings, so fasten your seatbelts, and let’s dive right in.

1. Jaws (1975) ★★★★★

Our voyage begins with the undisputed king of summer blockbusters. Directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg, “Jaws” is an indelible part of cinematic history. Spielberg assembled a stellar cast featuring Roy Scheider as the troubled police chief, Richard Dreyfuss as the marine biologist, and the unforgettable Robert Shaw as the grizzled shark hunter. With its iconic score, unforgettable characters, and unparalleled mastery of suspense, it’s not just the best in the franchise; it’s a defining moment in film history.

The Jaws 1975 poster. A woman is swimming in the ocean, and we can see the shark swimming up towards her from the depths.
Jaws (1975), Universal Pictures, Fair Use

2. Jaws 2 (1978) ★★★☆☆

Our next stop is “Jaws 2,” where Roy Scheider returns as Chief Brody, alongside Lorraine Gary as his wife Ellen Brody, to protect Amity Island from yet another aquatic menace. While it may not reach the sublime heights of the original, this sequel delivers the chills and thrills that we yearn for. Brody’s unwavering determination keeps the Jaws legacy afloat, albeit not at the same depth as the original.

The Jaws 2 poster, from 1978. A woman is water skiing, not realising that the shark is behind her.
Jaws 2 (1978), Universal Pictures, Fair Use

3. Jaws 3-D (1983) ★★☆☆☆

Fast forward to the ’80s, a decade of 3D movie experiments. “Jaws 3-D” attempts to ride the wave of the era and falls short. Dennis Quaid and Bess Armstrong headline this instalment, but this time, our finned foe invades a sea-themed amusement park. Sadly, it lacks the suspense and storytelling finesse of its forebears. While it might provoke a chuckle or two, it’s far from being the best in the series.

The Jaws 3D Poster, 1983. A townscape, with a large shark head emerging from water behind it. In front, people are under attack and water skiing away from a shark. In large 3D writing, in bright red and yellow, 'JAWS 3-D' is branded across the poster.
Jaws 3D (1983), Universal Pictures, Fair Use

4. Jaws: The Revenge (1987) ★☆☆☆☆

As we continue our journey, we arrive at “Jaws: The Revenge” – a plummet into the abyss of cinematic missteps. Lorraine Gary reprises her role as Ellen Brody, embarking on a quest to defeat a shark with a personal grudge that miraculously follows her from Amity Island to the Bahamas. The plot’s ludicrous twists, coupled with lacklustre suspense and a less-than-convincing shark, drag this instalment to the murky depths.

Ellen Brody on a boat, holding a sharp spear up towards a menacing shark that has jumped up through the water. Writing: "JAWS: THE REVENGE" in blood red, and "This Time, It's Personal" in white.
Jaws: The Revenge (1987), Universal Pictures,
Fair Use

The Action Reloaded’s Verdict

The Jaws franchise began its journey majestically. Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic, “Jaws,” is a cinematic masterpiece that’s never lost its bite. However, as with many long-running series, the sequels encountered treacherous waters. “Jaws 2” valiantly sailed forward, but “Jaws 3-D” and “Jaws: The Revenge” found themselves trapped in a whirlpool of absurdity and diminishing quality.

As fans of suspense, fear, and timeless storytelling, let’s not overlook the fact that the original “Jaws” will forever stand as a fin-tastic classic, while “Jaws: The Revenge” is merely reduced to chum.

Discover related articles or explore the thrills and chills of our Action Reloaded horror page.