Appears in: Jaws (1975), Jaws 2 (1978), Jaws 3-D (1983), Jaws: The Revenge (1987)
Scariest moment: As Brody (Roy Scheider) and Quint (Robert Shaw) attempt to bring a ripped-up cage onto their boat, the Orca, the massive Great White suddenly pops out of the water and smashes its head on the vessel, causing the Orca to tip.
Weakness: Exploding scuba tanks.

In 1974, novelist Peter Benchley's Jaws emerged as a best seller, an unlikely thriller about a killer great white shark and the few men brave enough to battle it. As an enjoyable page-turner, Benchley's book works just fine, but it wasn't until Steven Spielberg endured a hellish shoot to complete his 1975 blockbuster adaptation that the homicidal fish officially earned its scary stripes.

Mostly kept off the screen—the unintended result of the animatronic shark's steady malfunctions on set—Spielberg's underwater antagonist strikes fear in viewers' bone through mere suggestion, be it a camera shot beneath swimmers' dangling legs or composer John Williams' iconic score. When Jaws does finally show his face and razor-sharp teeth, so to speak, the shocks are ferocious.