The Jaws franchise, born out of the imaginative mind of author Peter Benchley and brought to life by legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg, has left an indelible mark on the world of cinema.
Despite the kind of influence the movie has left in the minds of the audience, you can’t deny the fact that the entire franchise is a treat to watch. Is it for the faint of heart? Technically no. So, you have to tread the situation with the ultimate caution.
If you are a fan of the Jaws franchise and have been wanting to watch the movies in order, this article has all the relevant information that you potentially need to know.
Jaws Movies in Order
To date, four Jaws movies have been released. So, if you want to indulge in each of these releases, it looks like you’d first need to familiarize yourself with the individual movies and the eventual release dates of those movies too.
Here’s a breakdown for you:
- Jaws (1975)
The journey begins with the iconic Jaws (1975), a film that not only redefined the horror genre but also set the standard for the summer blockbuster. Spielberg’s masterful direction and John Williams’ haunting score combined to create an atmosphere of suspense that permeated the screen.
If you have not watched the movie previously, be assured that it is centered around the seaside community that’s terrorized by a giant great white shark. Being trapped inside the unknown and with lurkers underneath the deep depths of the water is something that none of the audience expected to witness in a movie that was released in 1975.
Given how early in the history of cinema the movie was released, it didn’t come out without its fair share of mechanical issues. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that the director, writers, and cinematographers did an excellent job with the final product.
Spielberg’s creative decision to minimize the shark’s screen time, relying on suspenseful music and unseen terror, added to the film’s suspense. Jaws became a cultural phenomenon, catapulting Spielberg to stardom and forever changing the landscape of Hollywood.
- Jaws 2 (1978)
Following the success of the first Jaws movie, it led to the ever-evolving growth of not just the franchise but also Spielberg’s credibility as a director. The sequel to the movie was released three years after the release of the initial movie and it left an even deeper mark in the minds of the audience without any compromise.
Jaws 2 (1978) attempted to recapture the magic of its predecessor while introducing new elements to keep the narrative fresh. Roy Scheider reprised his role as Chief Martin Brody, now facing skepticism from the community as he warns of another shark threat.
The kind of novelty that was showcased in the first movie was lacking somehow in the sequel. However, despite a few of the shortcomings, Jaws 2 maintained tension through a combination of underwater cinematography and thrilling set pieces.
Some of the audience complained that the sequel didn’t experiment and deter much away from the first movie, making them both seem very similar, both in terms of the representation and the screen appearance. Despite mixed reviews, Jaws 2 managed to maintain the franchise’s financial success.
- Jaws 3-D (1983)
Taking the criticism from the sequel in a healthy way, Spielberg wanted to include something new in the third movie in the Jaws franchise. The third installment in the franchise thus ended up being the first movie that explored the elements of three-dimensional technology.
Set in a SeaWorld park, the film introduced a new cast, led by Dennis Quaid, and featured a more visually ambitious approach. The use of 3D promised to immerse audiences in the terror of the shark attacks. However, there were some setbacks.
The fans didn’t seem too keen on the “too artificial” appearances that came up with the 3D technology. It doesn’t take away from the fact that the movie was a huge success nevertheless. However, it does showcase that meeting every fan’s demand is never an easy task for a movie creator.
Critics and audiences alike were disappointed, and Jaws 3-D stands as a cautionary tale of the pitfalls of prioritizing technology over storytelling. Despite its shortcomings, the film still managed to turn a profit, further solidifying the fact that the Jaws franchise will forever remain a success.
- Jaws: The Revenge (1987)
The final release in the Jaws franchise (until now) is the one released in 1987. This somehow marked the final chapter, which ended up being a disappointment for the fans, who were expecting to explore more of the underwater world.
Lorraine Gary reprised her role as Ellen Brody, the widow of Chief Martin Brody, who becomes convinced that a vengeful shark is targeting her family. Spielberg was determined to make this the best in the series, so he gave the Sharks a personal vendetta to fight against, further solidifying the story arc.
Jaws: The Revenge faced widespread criticism for its implausible plot and lackluster special effects. The film became a symbol of franchise fatigue, with many questioning the necessity of continuing the Jaws legacy.
This again goes to show that it’s never possible to appease all the fans. While some of the fans couldn’t get enough of the final chapter, some of the fans were harsh critics of what went wrong and didn’t work out in the last movie. Nevertheless, it did end up leaving a legacy in the prospect of cinema and creating movies that everyone resonates with, to this day.
What is the Cultural Impact of the Jaws Franchise?
The Jaws franchise has left a permanent mark on popular culture, shaping perceptions of sharks, influencing filmmaking, and becoming a cultural touchstone that transcends the boundaries of the cinematic world.
With how impactful the movie was, it isn’t surprising that discussions about the franchise’s revival have become a matter of discussion from time to time. Both filmmakers and studios have time and time contemplated bringing the franchise back, however, nothing has amounted to anything at all.
Given how far we have come within the digital world and with the advancements in technology, it would make sense if a movie like Jaws came into being at present. It would not have to be a specter of disappointment if the movie was created now.
While no direct sequel or reboot has materialized, the ongoing interest in returning to the world of Jaws reflects the enduring impact and nostalgia associated with the original film.
Jaws Movies – Cast and Character Guide
The cast and characters are what made the Jaws movies a huge success, especially paired with the background music, cinematography, and direction.
If you are starting your movie marathon for watching the Jaws movies and you want to have a comprehensive character guide, here’s a breakdown.
Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) – Jaws (1975), Jaws 2 (1978)
He is the central protagonist in the first two films in the franchise and probably the character that the audience connected to the most. He faces the responsibility of protecting the community from shark threats, showcasing courage and determination in the face of danger.
Quint (Robert Shaw) – Jaws (1975)
Quint is the seasoned shark hunter who’s hired to capture the great white shark. Despite his presence in just the first movie, you can’t deny the fact that his character brought a level of depth to the movie’s course and even the personal experience that he brings in the movie’s storyline is harrowing to listen to.
Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) – Jaws (1975)
Matt played the role of a marine biologist, who is in a constant battle against the white shark. Again, despite his role in just the first installment, his character holds a lot of significance to the progression of the movie.
Ellen Brody (Lorraine Gary) – Jaws (1975), Jaws 2 (1978), Jaws: The Revenge (1987)
Ellen portrays the role of Chief Brody’s wife in the Jaws franchise and is one of the most common recurrent roles in the franchise. Her character evolves from a supportive spouse to a central figure facing shark threats, particularly in Jaws: The Revenge. It is quite refreshing to watch.
Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) – Jaws (1975), Jaws 2 (1978)
Like the character’s name, Mayor Vaughn is the appointed mayor of the Amity Islands. In the first two films, he is reluctant to close the beaches despite the shark threat, often prioritizing economic interests over public safety. So, if you have to villainize a character, it has to be him.
Hoagie Newcombe (Michael Caine) – Jaws 2 (1978), Jaws: The Revenge (1987)
Hoagie isn’t introduced until the second installment but he sticks around until the third movie in the franchise and thus becomes a pivotal character in the mix. He is introduced as a pilot in the movie, who somehow ends up getting involved with Chief Brody’s wife, Ellen in the second movie in the franchise.
Pretty much all the cast and characters in the Jaws franchise have outdone themselves with the way they have breathed their skills and talent into the roles they have portrayed. It is quite refreshing to watch on screen.
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