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Jaws 2
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
John Williams

Varèse Sarabande

Release Date:
October 8th, 1991

Also See:

Audio Clips:
1. Finding the "Orca" (Main Title) (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

6. The Catamaran Race (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

13. The Big Jolt! (0:31):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

14. End Title, End Cast (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Regular U.S. release, but out of print and selling for $50 or more as of 2000.


Jaws 2
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Sales Rank: 224828

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Buy it... if you have lost patience with the original Jaws score's famous themes and want to hear them integrated into a strong set of fresh and surprisingly optimistic new ideas from John Williams.

Avoid it... if you live and die by the two-note rhythm representing the shark, because Williams does his best to minimize its application to only the most necessary of circumstances in the sequel.

Jaws 2: (John Williams) The classic 1975 Steven Spielberg film Jaws expended all the possible avenues that the topic of a realistic predatory shark could have explored, and the director (and majority of crew) was dead set against the idea of a sequel. Universal Studios, however, enthusiastic about its discovery of the newfound concept of a summer blockbuster, enlisted the co-writer of the first film to conjure a (PG-rated!) reprise of the limb-tearing menace from that narrative to reap additional profits in 1978. While Spielberg and other key people refused to be involved in Jaws 2, actor Roy Scheider wasn't as lucky, reportedly forced by contract to appear in the film against his will. Ultimately, the vacation town of Amity is once again terrorized by a man-eating shark that is intent on not only sinking boats this time, but making them explode. So ridiculous are the ambitions of shark #2 that it tackles an entire helicopter for lunch. The obligatory scene of confrontation between Scheider and the beast offers an even more unlikely method of shark annihilation than the "mythbusted" conclusion to the previous film. In short, the majority of the $20 million budget for Jaws 2 was spent conjuring new scare tactics (some of which, like the water kite sequence, actually quite adept), reinforcing the rigid character traits from the first film, and, despite the lack of striking nudity this time around, dwelling upon the teenage hormones of Amity's youth as they flirt their way towards a quick demise. The concept would fuel two more features in the subsequent decade, and all these sequels managed to accomplished was to confirm the classic status of Spielberg's original. Among the few major players from Jaws to return was composer John Williams, though he too had reservations about the assignment, using the opportunity to awkwardly dismiss his interest in scoring sequels (which, in retrospect, is a bit strange). His music for the 1975 production had earned him a well-deserved Academy Award, launching the composer into a career-changing series of blockbuster scores that he was in the midst of when he returned for Jaws 2. One aspect of this sequel score that Williams really emphasizes (more than others, despite similar claims about all his sequel works) is its differences compared to the prior score. The composer was stuck with the same dilemma of re-conceptualizing his ideas for the franchise in an effort to approach it from a fresh new angle and, more than most other parts of the production, he actually succeeded in providing Jaws 2 with an interesting new sound while remaining loyal to the basic elements of the first score.

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Both primary themes from Jaws return in the sequel, but only in the bare minimum number of circumstances to address related action on screen. The buoyant (perhaps not the best word there) theme for the "Orca" is heard immediately upon the discovery of the boat by divers to the site of its sinking, and this fragmentary application of the idea by Williams is welcomed. The main theme and its underlying thumping rhythm for the shark is a far more frequent element of Jaws 2, though not in the same keen sense with which Williams had applied it in Jaws. Sequences involving the animal sometimes go without fully developed statements of the rhythm, and usage of the overlying theme on brass is withheld to only the most frightening moments. Many of the action and suspense scenes are handled with more anonymous, dissonant strikes and ambience than in the previous work. Also very different is the amount of above-water music of bright enthusiasm in Jaws 2. While the first film was highlighted by its own few cues of high adventure for the full ensemble, Williams treats the catamaran and other open seas scenes here with a dedicated theme of pure optimism. The bubbly, accelerated, and jovial nature of this theme accompanies the carefree actions of the teens in the plot, heard three times in the score (including the "End Cast" sequence). The brilliance of the seas is conveyed in "The Catamaran Race" and "The Open Sea" with the kind of majesty that one would have expected from Erich Wolfgang Korngold or Basil Poledouris, though Williams' style of addressing this shimmering scenery is distinctly rooted in his own sound. The more popular new theme in Jaws 2 is ironically one that is only employed once in full in the picture, and it is the remarkable piece that closes it after Scheider has once again proved victorious. The sense of relief in "End Title" is carried with a spirit of New England Americana that you would expect to hear in one of Williams' lofty concert compositions. It was obviously the composer's way of saying farewell to the concept with the undeniably triumphant tone of his own voice. Among the other aspects of note in the score for Jaws 2 is the employment of harps. In "Finding The 'Orca' (Main Title)" and "Ballet for Divers," the composer uses fluttering harp figures to establish an environment of mystery for the sea. Although not original in concept, Williams employment of the instrument here is intelligently engrained in some of the score's best, slightly dissonant unease. Overall, Jaws 2 is a strong sequel score that introduces enough new material to sustain itself outside the shadow of its predecessor, and its outstanding final track is worth the search for the score's only CD release, an out of print album from 1991. **** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For John Williams reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.74 (in 69 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.59 (in 338,238 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3.22 Stars
Smart Average: 3.18 Stars*
***** 90 
**** 124 
*** 105 
** 79 
* 61 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Not Bad
  Mark Malmstrøm -- 8/28/09 (1:43 a.m.)
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 41:11

• 1. Finding the "Orca" (Main Title) (3:15)
• 2. The Menu (1:48)
• 3. Ballet for Divers (2:56)
• 4. The Water Kite Sequence (2:52)
• 5. Brody Misunderstood (2:48)
• 6. The Catamaran Race (2:08)
• 7. Toward Cable Junction (3:44)
• 8. Attack on the Helicopter (1:56)
• 9. The Open Sea (2:03)
• 10. Fire Aboard and Eddie's Death (3:25)
• 11. Sean's Rescue (2:55)
• 12. Attack on the Water Skier (2:41)
• 13. The Big Jolt! (4:39)
• 14. End Title, End Cast (3:25)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes extensive information about the score and film, albeit in tiny type.

  All artwork and sound clips from Jaws 2 are Copyright © 1991, Varèse Sarabande. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 8/14/09 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2009-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.