Sharks have been terrorizing big screen beaches for decades—way more than they do in real life, actually. But in Hollywood, you have to be more than just a regular old shark to get a fin up on the humans. Sometimes, being a movie shark means you’re a smarter predator. Other times, it leads you to make very bad shark choices.

Be sure to check out our video above highlighting the smartest (and some not-so-smart) sharks from movies—from Jaws and Deep Blue Sea to Sharknado and beyond. We’ve also provided a digestible list below, with a few bonus sharks for good measure. We’re starting with the top of the class, then it’s a long swim down from there.

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Deep Blue Sea

Shark Smarts Grade (out of 5): 5 Shark Teeth

These geniuses were genetically enhanced in search of a cure for Alzheimer’s, but the treatment turned them into the raptors of the sea. They weren’t able to stop LL Cool J, because no one can, but they were able to get his bird. RIP.

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The Shallows

Shark Smarts Grade (out of 5): 4 Shark Teeth

The Shallows starred Blake Lively as a surfer who gets trapped at sea by a great white on the prowl. This shark is a special one. Sharks sometimes patrol areas to find food but they’re not stalkers, they usually tire of chasing one potential snack after awhile. This one hunts Blake for hours, making it a special kind of predator that’s driven by purpose, not hunger.

Sand Sharks

Shark Smarts Grade (out of 5): 4 Shark Teeth

They evolved to swim through sand. That’s pretty damn smart.

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Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus

Shark Smarts Grade (out of 5): 3.5 Shark Teeth

This mega-shark is a survivor, managing to stay alive after the supposedly deadly attack by a giant octopus in the last “mega-shark fights something” movie. That alone makes it smarter than the average shark. But it also manages to outsmart the U.S. Navy—while gorging itself on giant crocodile eggs and a nuclear reactor. The megalodon can multitask.

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Jaws: The Revenge

Shark Smarts Grade (out of 5): 3.5 Shark Teeth

Most of the sharks from the Jaws franchise are kinda basic. “We see you, we bite you” sort of thing. But the shark from Jaws: The Revenge has a little something extra. It’s a psychic connection with Ellen Brody, wife of Police Chief Martin Brody from the original film. It might not have saved it from getting blown up, but being a Shark Medium definitely gives this fish an edge.

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The Meg

Shark Smarts Grade (out of 5): 3 Shark Teeth

You’d think a prehistoric mega-shark that survived millions of years below a frozen ozone layer would be the greatest of beings. But instead of going on a world-chomping rampage of swimming tourists, the two megalodons (yes, two) spend the rest of the movie just swimming around. You can’t be a smart shark if you don’t use your wits for a higher purpose—eating thousands of tourists swimming just 15 feet above you.

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Shark Night 3D

Shark Smarts Grade (out of 5): 2.5 Shark Teeth

These sharks weren’t smart enough to avoid getting kidnapped by the dozens and thrown into a saltwater lake. That said, they do seem to enjoy hunting humans for sport.

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Two-Headed Shark Attack series

Shark Smarts Grade (out of 5): 2 Shark Teeth

The first two-headed shark is pretty clever—you’d have to be to negotiate splitting your meal in half—but it seems like the more heads this shark gets, the less intelligent it becomes. You’d think that having more brain power would turn these sharks into unstoppable killing machines. But it just makes them easier targets.

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Shark Tale

Shark Smarts Grade (out of 5): 1 Shark Tooth

Unlike the others films on this list, Shark Tale isn’t a horror movie—apart from every time you stare into fish Will Smith’s horrifying eyes—but the mobster sharks definitely make the cut for being some of the least clever fish this side of Shrek’s swamp. They’re at the top of the food chain (literally, they’re basically cannibals in this world) and yet they keep being foiled by a tiny fish. That looks like Will Smith.

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Sharknado series

Shark Smarts Grade (out of 5): 0 Shark Teeth

These sharks never learn. Instead, they get caught in tornado after tornado... for six movies straight.

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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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DISCUSSION

DaddyRoundRound
DaddyRoundRound

Don’t forget that in Deep Blue Sea, they were so smart that they were able to defy their own physiology and swim backwards without drowning

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