Top 33 Best Shark Movies To Watch In 2023

Shivam ParasharShivam-Updated Jan 6, 2023

Top 33 Best Shark Films To Watch in 2023


Ever since filmmaker Steven Spielberg's 'Jaws' hit the screens worldwide back in 1975, the audience has been enamored by the sight of the mighty sharks on celluloid.


However, the success of the film soon ended up typecasting sharks as malicious villains and human-eating predators, in the motion pictures that followed.


Be that as it may, within no time, the notoriously intense, gory, and campy shark features went on to amass a mini-cult following of their own.


So, even if there were only 73 unprovoked shark bites recorded globally in 2021, there have been a plethora of shark movies to seek your teeth into over the years.


Not only have the shark-obsessed viewers been introduced to intense thrillers and pulpy horror flicks, but they have also made peace with a ton of ridiculous titles featuring the massive creature.


While there are plenty of shark features out there, not all of them are worthy of being mentioned in our story.


In fact, most of the projects are often loaded with outdated special effects and cheap gore, both of which have ceased to provide any excitement even to the shark fanatics of today.


However, we have been able to come up with a compilation that comprises both stirring survival flicks and family dramas that aim to do justice to the sub-genre.


Even though some of these credits will instill the natural fear of the unknown in you, there also are several additions that will duly inform you about the characteristics and significance of sharks as a part of our ecosystem.



33. The Shark Hunter (1979)


The Shark Hunter (1979)


Director Enzo G. Castellari's Italian adventure drama film tells the story of a reclusive person on a Caribbean island who is dedicated to destroying sharks.


Soon after, he gets himself involved in a hunt for buried treasure. But, will he be able to get his hands on it?


Also known as Guardians of the Deep, this project may not find appreciation among those who have dedicated their lives to the protection of sharks.



32. Meters Down: Uncaged (2019)


Meters Down: Uncaged (2019)


A group of four teenage girls decides to go on a mission to explore an underwater Mayan settlement. However, a trip that promises to be adventurous turns out to be dreadful after the girls accidentally enter the enclave where the great white sharks prey.


This Johannes Roberts-helmed feature film, which adopts a similar concept and sense of claustrophobia as The Descent in a way, is a sequel that barely has anything in common with the previous installment of the franchise.


While 47 Meters Down: Uncaged does not carry a fresh concept or plot structure at all, it can be seen at least once courtesy of the director's undeniable efforts at making a shark movie.




31. Bait (2012)


Bait (2012)


Fans who are more than willing to try a fun creature feature might just find an exciting watch in Bait.


The motion picture illustrates how a freak tsunami ends up trapping local shoppers and residents at a coastal Australian supermarket inside a building.


While the tsunami was a challenge big enough, the people within the establishment get the shock of their lives when they figure that they have to deal with a deadly and unwanted visitor, which, unfortunately, happens to be a 12-foot Great White Shark.


Bait thrives on its eclectic cast of characters, solid visual effects, and crisp editing. So, if you'd like to see a shark preying on Australians, this might turn out to be the film of the day for you.




30. U.S.S. Indianapolis: Men Of Courage (2016)


U.S.S. Indianapolis: Men Of Courage (2016)


Who would have thought that in a mainstream motion picture headlined by the talented Nicolas Cage, it'd be sharks and a war setting that would turn out to be the center of attraction?


The story follows the fate of an American navy ship that is taken down by a torpedo launched by a Japanese submarine during the Second World War.


We see how the Navy officers struggle to survive as their ship sinks in the shark-infested waters. Even though the premise is of a shark feature, this Mario Van Peebles directorial venture does a fair job of exuding the vibe of a war epic that also emphasizes the sinking of the U. S. S. Indianapolis.




29. The Meg (2018)


The Meg (2018)


Jason Statham, who is known for his stylized and over-the-top action flicks, headlines this mildly entertaining creature feature. The movie showcases how Statham's Jonas Taylor, a competent deep-sea diver, is hired to save the members of an underwater research facility from a 75-foot prehistoric shark.


While The Meg is certainly not among the finest shark motion pictures out there, you'd be amazed to learn that it is, in fact, one of the top-grossing shark attack projects of all time.


Its tent-pole sequel is readying itself to hit the cinemas in 2023, and we simply cannot wait for it to make it to this list as well.




28. Meters Down (2017)


Meters Down (2017)


This motion picture introduces us to two sisters, played by actors Mandy Moore and Claire Holt, who go cage diving on a rather structurally-questionable boat.


However, their vacation soon turns into a total disaster after they end up getting trapped in a diving cage underwater.


If that isn't frightening enough, they stumble upon predatorial sharks soon enough to make things interesting for the viewers.


While the sequel seems inclined towards showcasing violent shark attacks, 47 Meters Down believes in building the tension satisfactorily.


Needless to mention, a fair amount of suspension of disbelief is required for shark enthusiasts to truly enjoy this one for what it's worth.




27. The Reef (2010)


The Reef (2010)


Luke is looking forward to sailing to Indonesia with his friends. However, what neither he nor the others on his boat are looking forward to is for their ride to abruptly capsize.


Alas, they can't stop the inevitable from happening! In order to survive, a few members see no other option but to risk swimming to a nearby island to fetch help.


However, their plan is thwarted when a great white shark starts trailing them relentlessly. Based on the true story of Ray Boundy's shark attack experience from 1983, The Reef strives to focus on what one could do if one finds themselves in a situation as cumbersome as depicted in its screenplay.




26. Open Water (2003)


Open Water (2003)


Partially based on the true story of Tom and Eileen Lonergan, Open Water aims to track the journey of a couple who decides to go on a scuba diving trip.


However, the unthinkable happens when the boat that they were on forgets to haul them back and, thus, leaves them stranded in the ocean.


Needless to say, the couple soon discovers that they are actually in shark-infested waters. While Open Water does its best to underscore the horrors of a shark attack, it gives equal importance to the subplot that shows the couple struggling to survive at sea.


Given the fact that this hellish situation did occur for a real-life pair, it does give the feature film an extra edge and perhaps makes the viewers relate to the tragedy.




25. Jaws 2 (1978)


Jaws 2 (1978)


While Jaws was an instant classic and a box office blockbuster, Jaws 2 is amusing enough to make it to this list.


The story traces the journey of the shocked residents of Amity who are, yet again, forced to face a man-eating shark who begins to lurk on the seemingly safe beaches of the town.


Even though the motion picture opened to strictly mixed reviews, it was more than welcomed by the fans of the first installment.


That said, the tagline of this feature, "Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water..." has become one of the most popular ones in the history of mainstream filmmaking.


It is not surprising then that it has been parodied several times by cinema enthusiasts all over.




24. Deep Blue Sea (1999)


Deep Blue Sea (1999)


This Renny Harlin-helmed motion picture depicts the many messy ways in which a bunch of super-smart sharks can attack people.


The story outlines the journey of a group of researchers who do their very best to find a long-due cure for Alzheimer's disease.


However, they decide to excel by relying a bit too much on the process of modifying shark brains genetically.


Needless to mention, the genetically modified creatures turn smart enough to hunt down the very people who ended up giving them an edge.


Deep Blue Sea, which stars the ultra cool Samuel L. Jackson in a pivotal role, provides its viewers with interminable entertainment.


However, besides Jackson's performance, there are quite a few sequences that keep this science fiction horror feature going.




23. Zombie (1979)


Zombie (1979)


Even though it isn't technically a shark movie, Zombie has one specific scene which justifies its presence on our list.


The motion picture tells the story of a group of strangers who seem to be looking for a young woman's father who has been missing for quite some time.


Together, they arrive at a tropical island; one where they chance upon a doctor who appears to be desperately searching for the cause and cure of a recent epidemic of the undead.


The sole reason we decided to welcome this Italian feature film on our list is that it includes an underwater setting in which a zombie can be seen fighting a shark.


This particular sequence from the movie even went on to garner views on YouTube.




22. Galapagos: Realm of Giant Sharks (2012)


Galapagos: Realm of Giant Sharks (2012)


This 53-minute-long documentary, which is the place to be for underwater life enthusiasts, provides the viewers with exactly what its title promises.


The viewers get to see the waters around the Galapagos islands populated by massive sharks.


That said, what led to the making of this documentary was the fact that the scientists wished to examine what it is really that brings all these giant whale sharks to this specific location in such large numbers.



21. Shark Dive (2015)


Shark Dive (2015)


While you may never really dream of getting up, close and personal with sharks in the real world, you do get to do it via your respective television screens.


All thanks to famed cinematographer Andy Brandy Casagrande, this feature endeavors to depict what these underwater creatures are really like to its enamored viewers.


What is worth mentioning about Shark Dive is the fact that it has almost entirely been shot underwater. Needless to say, we get to see some breathtaking shots of not just the sharks but also elephant seals, sea lions, and manatees, respectively.



20. Shark Tale (2004)


Shark Tale (2004)


This computer-animated feature film traces the journey of an underachieving fish who falsely claims to have slaughtered the son of a shark mob boss.


The fish claims so with the aim to command respect in his community. In order to keep up with the masquerade, he even teams up with the mobster's other son Lenny.


Even though Shark Tale opened to mixed reviews from film critics, it was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 77th Academy Awards.


It features the voices of stalwarts such as Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Renée Zellweger, Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, and Martin Scorsese.



19. Sharks 3D (2004)


Sharks 3D (2004)


Sharks 3D is yet another noteworthy attempt by oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau to come face-to-face with a wide variety of the ocean's ultimate predators.


Not only do we get to see the infamous white sharks here but there is ample footage of hammerhead and whale sharks as well.


Even though one might feel that it may carry basic information about the lions and tigers of the ocean, Sharks 3D works best if you allow yourself to just flow with its crisp runtime; all while soaking in the knowledge that it provides.



18. st Century Shark (2008)


st Century Shark (2008)


This is a documentary about a shark that is as fearsome a hunter as it could possibly be. So, allow us to familiarize you with the daring Tiger Shark who has the capability of attacking and swallowing almost any target it sets its eyes on.


However, even though shark has teeth that can bite into and eat almost anything, they still happen to be in danger in today's age and world.


Needless to mention, 21st Century Shark takes an important step in exploring the lives and communities of Tiger Sharks; all while emphasizing the environmental pressures that have started to cost these creatures their very lives.



17. Rise of The Great White Shark (2017)


Rise of The Great White Shark (2017)


Rise of The Great White Shark does, indeed, aim to depict the phenomenal rise of the Great White Shark some 11 million years ago, following a string of dramatic transitions that transpired in Earth's oceans and climate.


The documentary familiarizes the viewers with the rich history of the great white shark by adding ample footage of the almost mythical creatures.


Aside from the obvious, it also brings to light a ton of details about other sea life such as seals.


It is not surprising then that this feature was an outcome of a decade of ambitious filming.



16. Shark Nation (2013)


Shark Nation (2013)


Shark Nation is a documentary feature that does a commendable job of elucidating that the shark population in the world has declined by more than 90 percent, primarily due to overfishing in the oceans.


However, it also lets its viewers know that there is still perhaps one place in the world that, thankfully, comprises a healthy ecosystem for sharks, and that is the Bahamas.


Thanks to the strong laws that are dedicated to the protection of sharks in these waters, the creatures have really been found to prosper in the region in the true sense of the word.


So, we suggest that you give this feature a try as it is a satisfactory attempt at showing what happens when people try to protect sharks.



15. Tiger Shark (1932)


Tiger Shark (1932)


This classic feature film from the early 1930s tells the story of a tuna fisherman, Mike, who, despite losing a hand in a shark attack, decides to continue working.


However, after a young fisherman is killed in a shark attack, Mike takes the responsibility to deliver the news to his only family member, who happens to be his sister.


This American pre-Code melodrama romantic film is arguably the most distinctive mainstream project to make it to our list, and that is precisely why shark enthusiasts need to give it a try.



14. The Shallows (2016)


The Shallows (2016)


Director Jaume Collet-Serra introduces us to the gutsy and gorgeous Nancy Adams, who travels to a desolate beach following the demise of her beloved mother.


She decides to go surfing without realizing that a great white shark is lurking in the vicinity. Needless to say, the terrified viewers see Nancy get attacked, which leaves her stranded on a rock 200 yards from the shore with absolutely no one around to lend her a helping hand.


Even though the premise is straightforward, its execution is aided by Jaume Collet-Serra's diligent direction and Blake Lively's effective performance; each of which helps in making The Shallows a must-watch for the fans of shark attack features.



13. Soul Surfer (2011)


Soul Surfer (2011)


This Sean McNamara directorial venture is as much a shark movie as it is a heartfelt family drama. The story follows a young surf champion, Bethany, who, unfortunately, ends up losing an arm after getting brutally attacked by a shark while surfing.


While all may feel lost, her unbreakable faith in God, her family, and her friends help her in being strong enough to surf again.


Based on Bethany Hamilton's autobiography, titled Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board, Soul Surfer tells an inspirational tale that has been executed in the most authentic manner for the big screen audience.



12. Blue Water, White Death (1971)


Blue Water, White Death (1971)


Can there be anything more exciting for shark enthusiasts the world over than stumbling upon a documentary whose entire focus is on the great white sharks?


Directed by Peter Gimbel and James Lipscomb, Blue Water, White Death was released to favorable reviews and was appreciated for the excitement that it was able to generate among those who saw it.


The title, which was broadcast on television at various times during the 1970s and 1980s, does not strive to diminish the reputation of sharks; something that one must give the makers credit for.



11. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)


The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)


Ardent fans of cinema across the globe are well and truly aware of the fact that filmmaker Wes Anderson's projects are known for their aesthetic appeal and staging, irrespective of what the genre is.


Many would be glad to learn that The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou follows the exact tropes that distinguish his work from other mainstream directors.


This motion picture traces the journey of Steve Zissou and his partner who seem to be working on a documentary.


However, after the latter gets killed by a shark under mysterious circumstances, Steve and his team set off on an expedition to hunt down the predator and avenge their friend's untimely death.


There is a possibility that you might not find this cult classic in any other story on shark movies.


Nevertheless, its storyline depicts Bill Murray's relentless quest to find and destroy a jaguar shark; therefore ascertaining that this flick deserves a place on our list.



10. Kon-Tiki (2012)


Kon-Tiki (2012)


Helmed for the screen by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, this adventure historical drama motion picture tracks the journey of Thor Heyerdahl, who decides to undertake a 4300-mile voyage across the Pacific Ocean using a balsawood raft.


His sole aim is to verify his theory on Polynesian ancestry. However, he ends up meeting obstacles in the form of storms, sharks, and other perils during the course of his journey.


Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards, Kon-Tiki was the top-grossing feature of Norway in 2012 and also the most expensive project produced in the country to date.



9. Finding Dory (2016)


Finding Dory (2016)


In this direct sequel to Finding Nemo, director Andrew Stanton makes sure to introduce us to an amnesiac blue tang fish, Dory, who only has fuzzy memories of her past.


However, she decides to set off in search of her long-lost parents with the help of her friends, clownfish Marlin and his beloved son Nemo.


During the course of the storytelling, we also see Dory encountering one of her childhood friends Destiny, who happens to be a nearsighted whale shark.


Finding Dory set numerous records at the box office and turned out to be the third-highest-grossing feature film of 2016.


The computer-animated comedy-drama adventure was a thought-provoking and humorous film project that added a rather poignant chapter to its predecessor's journey.



8. Playing with Sharks (2021)


Playing with Sharks (2021)


Photographer Valerie Taylor has been a true pioneer in both underwater filmmaking and shark research. An icon of the underwater world, she takes the onus on herself to inform a rather misinformed world about sharks.


In fact, it'd be safe to say that a lot of what we know about the misunderstood creatures today has been made possible due to her extraordinary efforts.


Therefore, "Playing with Sharks" not only helps us follow Taylor's daring expeditions but also allows us to witness how passionate a shark protector she is.



7. Of Shark and Man (2015)


Of Shark and Man (2015)


This documentary feature tells the story of a thirty-two-year-old man who seems to be caught up in a dead-end job in England's industrial north.


With his life seemingly going nowhere, he takes a call to risk everything to tell an inspiring, untold story; one that would find him in the middle of sixty of the world's most dangerous sharks.


Stunningly beautiful and daring, this rather underrated passion project is a genuine love letter to not only Planet Earth but also the terror-inducing sharks.


The feature, which aims to tell a man's journey of striving to get as close as possible to the world's biggest bull sharks, is a must-see for shark and sea aficionados.



6. Sharkwater Extinction (2018)


Sharkwater Extinction (2018)


Written and directed by Rob Stewart, this documentary tells a thought-provoking story that tries to expose the illegal fishing industry and the inevitable threats that it poses to the survival of the world's sharks.


While it certainly does end up changing our stereotypical opinion of sharks, Sharkwater Extinction is as informative as a documentary could possibly get.


This visually arresting feature traces one man's journey of trying his best to make the people aware of the dangers of illegal fishing and how it hampers the water world.


Needless to mention, Sharkwater Extinction is as emotional as it is relevant.



5. Mission Blue (2014)


Mission Blue (2014)


This documentary provides you with an opportunity to get acquainted with the life and work of oceanographer, marine biologist, and environmentalist Sylvia Earle.


It showcases her seeking out whale sharks and getting involved in a much-needed discussion about ocean conservation, all while aiming to raise public awareness about marine protected areas known as Hope Spots.


Earle's journey is dedicated to traveling the world to let people know that it is extremely important to save the oceans and seas from both overfishing and toxic waste.


As viewers, we empathize with her and understand her relentless endeavor to fight for the lives under the sea.



4. Sharkwater (2006)


Sharkwater (2006)


This documentary feature is dedicated to those who share an affinity for Planet Earth. It follows an investigation that aims to cast light on how significant the existence of sharks is to the ecosystem.


However, on the flip side, the makers also track how humankind's actions have unfortunately led to the mass destruction of shark species worldwide.


While the focus is rightfully on sharks, Sharkwater also provides its viewers with an opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful places on the planet.


What truly stands out about this documentary, however, is the fact that it goes on to bust a lot of myths about sharks.



3. This Is Your Ocean: Sharks (2011)


This Is Your Ocean: Sharks (2011)


In this documentary, three of the world's top artists do their best to shatter your preconceived notions about sharks.


You get to dive into the spectacular world of sharks and discover that they might actually not be as despicable and dangerous as the many motion pictures across the globe show them to be.


In the process, you also get a glimpse of the crystal clear waters of the Bahamas, which is one of the last shark sanctuaries on the planet.


Moreover, as you sit through this feature, you'll understand why it's vital to protect the ocean's remaining sharks.



2. Jaws (1975)


Jaws (1975)


This all-time classic is credited with launching the successful career of Steven Spielberg and, consequently, turning him into one of the most inspiring filmmakers in cinema history.


The story tracks the journey of a police chief, a marine scientist, and a fisherman, who come together after a white shark ends up terrorizing the inhabitants of a quiet island named Amity.


Even though the production of Jaws was a tad rocky, the title went on to become one of the most influential blockbusters of all time.


The film, which spawned multiple sequels, was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and went on to win three of them.


Also, it is no secret that the success of Jaws ended up hurting the reputation of sharks forever.



1. Finding Nemo (2003)


Finding Nemo (2003)


Helmed for the screen by Andrew Stanton, this critically and commercially successful computer-animated comedy-drama adventure motion picture is definitely worth watching.


The screenplay tracks the journey of a timid clownfish who takes the help of a forgetful fish to embark on a journey to bring back his son, who has been abducted from the Great Barrier Reef and dispatched to Sydney.


Finding Nemo, which became the highest-grossing animated title at the time of its theatrical release, was also nominated for three deserving Academy Awards.


It did end up winning the trophy for the Best Animated Feature, thus becoming the first Pixar project ever to do so.


This breathtakingly wonderful feature will make you connect with the creatures of the seas more than you might want to connect with the people around you.




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