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Viewer's Guide For Jaws: What to Know, Where to Stream the Classic Spielberg Franchise

You're gonna need a bigger screen...


Show me the way to go home! I'm tired and I want to go to bed!

With Jaws pushing the big 5-0 this summer, it seems like the perfect time for us to announce that all four entries in the shark-centric film franchise (based on the novel of the same name by Peter Benchley) are now streaming on Peacock.

Nearly half a century after it birthed the concept of the modern summer blockbuster, Steven Spielberg's maritime thriller about a seaside hamlet terrorized by an apex predator of the deep still has the power to make us skittish about a day trip to the beach.

For More on Jaws:
Model Who Posed As Ill-Fated Swimmer for Iconic Jaws Poster Preaches Shark Protection
How Steven Spielberg's First Theatrical Movie (and Box Office Bomb) Led to Jaws
Steven Spielberg Recalls How a Man Puked on the Theater Floor During an Early Screening of Jaws

Where Can You Stream All Four Jaws Movies?

Peacock is currently streaming Jaws (1975), Jaws 2 (1978), Jaws 3-D (1983), and Jaws: The Revenge (1987) right now.

Had history taken a different route, the now-celebrated storyteller may have seen his Hollywood career fizzle out before it even began. The challenge of shooting on open water forced the production to adopt a more Hitchcockian approach with the animatronic shark (lovingly nicknamed "Bruce" by the crew), which continuously broke down amidst the harrowing shoot.

"I was naive about the ocean, basically. I was pretty naive about mother nature and the hubris of a filmmaker who thinks he can conquer the elements was foolhardy, but I was too young to know I was being foolhardy when I demanded that we shoot the film in the Atlantic Ocean and not in a North Hollywood tank," Spielberg admitted to Ain’t It Cool News in 2011 (via Entertainment Weekly).

Instead of giving us all shark, all the time, Spielberg & co. opted for a more suspenseful intimation of something large and deadly lurking just below the waves. That necessity of having to limit the beast's screen-time paid off big at the box office; Jaws became the highest-grossing movie of all time until a little project called Star Wars rolled around two summers later.

As you may or may not know, Universal Pictures produced a total of three follow-ups — Jaws 2 (1978), Jaws 3-D (1983), and Jaws: The Revenge (1987) — each one more bonkers than the last. 

Spielberg declined to be a part of them, which, according to Movies Go Fourth author David Edlitz, explains why the filmmaker "retained tighter creative control on the sequels to his Jaws-with-dinosaurs film Jurassic Park" several decades later.

Who directed Jaws 2? What to Know About the Sequel

The sophomore chapter in the blockbuster shark saga was helmed by French filmmaker Jeannot Szwarc, who, like Spielberg, had served as director on Rod Serling's Night Gallery. However, it is worth noting that Szwarc replaced John D. Hancock after the latter was fired a month into production (his vision for the sequel was apparently much darker).

Roy Scheider returned to play Amity Police Chief Martin Brody, who investigates another series of grisly great white attacks. Scheider was joined by two other familiar faces: Lorraine Gary (Brody's wife, Ellen) and Murray Hamilton (Mayor Larry Vaughn). How the town allowed Vaughn to remain in charge after the events of the first movie remains a mystery to this day.

Oh, and John Williams came back to score the thing, which is pretty cool.

During that aforementioned chat with Ain’t It Cool News, Spielberg admitted that he would have been more than happy to helm the sequel if the first shoot hadn't been so unbelievably miserable. 

"I would have absolutely jumped at the chance to own the sequel because I knew that when I was walking away from the sequel, I was walking away from a huge piece of my life that I helped to create, but it wasn’t a hard decision to walk away from it."

Jaws 2 released on June 16, 1978 and grossed a respectable $208 million worldwide against a budget of $20 million.

Who directed Jaws 3-D? What to Know About Part 3

Okay, here's where things kind of go off the rails for the Jaws franchise.

Veteran production designer Joe Alves (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Escape from New York) stepped into the director's chair for the eye-popping Jaws 3-D, which features no returning cast members.

With that said, the story does revolve around Brody's eldest son, Mike (Dennis Quaid), who springs into action when SeaWorld is threatened by another hungry shark. The bonkers premise makes a lot of sense when you factor in the knowledge that producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown originally envisioned the movie as a National Lampoon's-style spoof entitled Jaws 3-People 0

John Hughes (of The Breakfast Club fame) co-wrote the screenplay and a pre-Gremlins Joe Dante was on board to direct before the producers got cold feet and decided to go in a more traditional sequel direction.

Louis Gossett Jr. and Leah Thompson co-starred alongside Quaid. Jaws 3-D dove into theaters on July 22, 1983 and grossed nearly $88 million globally against a budget of $18 million. The whole 3-D gimmick was an extension of what other studios were doing at the time with releases like Friday the 13th Part III and Amityville 3-D.

Who directed Jaws 4: The Revenge? What to Know About the Final Jaws Film

If you thought the threequel was crazy, just you wait.

Jaws 4subtitled The Revenge — went absolutely balls-to-the-wall with a plot in which the Brody family is followed to the Bahamas by a shark seeking revenge on behalf of the shark killed in the first movie.

Joseph Sargent (The Taking of Pelham One Two Three) directed the film, which saw the return of Lorraine Gary as Ellen Brody. Lance Guest (The Last Starfighter) inherited the role of an adult Mike from Quaid, while Michael Caine accepted the role of pilot — and suspected drug smuggler — Hoagie Newcombe.

Fun fact: Caine could not accept his Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Hannah and Her Sisters because he was busy shooting this movie. Still, the financial compensation made up for it. He was paid $1 million for two weeks of work and used that money to buy his mother a house. "I haven't seen [the movie]," Caine famously said, "but I've seen the house it bought my mother and it's marvelous."

Jaws: The Revenge hit theaters on July 17, 1987 and made $20 million at the box office against a budget of $23 million — the lowest of the entire series.

Originally published Jul 6, 2023.