The UK cinema was cut by 37 seconds to get a "PG" rating with heavy edits made to Sean's death and shots of bloody bodies in the shark's mouth during attacks. The cuts were restored in the video version and the certificate upgraded to a '15' (later '12' for the DVD release).
The AMC, BBC, and Theatrical Releases all consist of an ending in which after Ellen rams the Neptune's Folly into the shark. The shark begins to bleed heavily and eventually sinks into the ocean. In the AMC version, this ending is extended with extra footage of Ellen forcing the boat into the shark, which is just reused footage seen earlier in the film. The AMC version also contains over 4 scenes not seen in any other version, including a scene with Michael and Jake singing on a porch, Ellen and Hoagie talking around cruise ships, Hoagie Gambling in the Casino, an Extended Scene of Ellen and her family driving the a taxi. The BBC Version is basically the DVD R1 Version, but the film is unmatted and includes the ending of the shark sinking down after being rammed at the end. The extended shots of the ending seen in the AMC Version are not in this version. The Encore and DVD Versions (Universal and Goodtimes DVDs) consist of an ending where the shark explodes on impact and reuses footage from JAWS 1. Jake is seen living at the end. (Jake did not live in the BBC, AMC, and Theatrical Version) The BBC Airing is most accurate copy to the Theatrical Version. The only difference between the BBC and Theatrical is the BBC is sped up and in the end, results to appear only 1 hour and 22 min. If the BBC was not sped up, it would be exactly the same as the Theatrical Version.
As of March 2014, AMC broadcasts have reverted to using the common ending (shark explodes/Jake lives).
In the original ending Jake (Mario Van Peebles) is eaten, and the shark is bloodily impaled by the front of the ship. In the alternate ending the shark is speared on the end of the boat as usual but blows up instantly. A long shot from the original Jaws movie shows the headless shark drifting towards the bottom. Cut back to the surface where the three survivors are clinging to bits of the broken ship and Jake is floating around, bleeding. This version also misses out a 30 second section of shots showing the shark perspective from behind the boat as it follows then dives, before reappearing in front of the boat. The original ending was seen in the U.S. theatrical release and and can be seen on network television airings, while the re-edited version was shown in theaters overseas, and can be seen on some cable television airings, and on home video releases.
Some British TV screenings have featured much un-doctored footage of the shark where you can see the machinery driving it. A six by three foot hole in the shark's stomach is clearly visible during the submersible attack and almost every shot in the following chase shows the machine protruding from under the shark. This is in large part due to the fact that the film was shot in 4:3 and matted for widescreen for theatrical exhibition, meaning that viewers were able to see the full picture, including areas that the filmmakers didn't want you to see!
The syndicated televsion version features a voice over during the opening credits in an attempt to make sense of what the viewer is about to see. Other deleted scenes feature Jake and Mike singing and playing guitar on the porch, Ellen telling Mike a strange joke, and more scenes of Ellen and Hoagie walking around doing nothing!
The version on AMC has another scene in the casino with Hoagie gambling.
Home video versions, in which Jake doesn't die, run 91 minutes, two minutes longer than the theatrical version.