Before announcing development of this film, director James Cameron shot footage of icebergs off the coast of Nova Scotia under the pretense of making a film titled “Planet Ice”.
When James Cameron decided to include real footage of the Titanic’s remains on the seabed, he did not want to simply shoot from inside a submersible as had been done for the IMAX documentary Titanica. To allow filming from outside the sub, Cameron’s brotherMike Cameron and Panavision developed a deep-sea camera system capable of withstanding the 400 atmospheres of pressure at that depth.
The deep-sea camera held only 12 minutes’ worth of film, but each dive took many hours. To make the best use of his resources, James Cameron had a 1/33 scale model of the wreck constructed and used it to rehearse each dive. The Russian sub operators would walk around the model ship holding model subs in their hands as Cameron explained the shots he wanted.
12 dives were necessary. On the last two dives, shots were taken by sending a remotely operated vehicle into the wreck; James Cameron had intended using this device only as a prop.
For some wreck interior shots, a set was constructed and submerged.
James Cameron went on the dives to the real Titanic himself, and found it an overwhelming emotional experience to actually see it. He ended up spending more time with the ship than its living passengers did.
Most of the decor on the ship was either reconstructed by or under the supervision of researchers of the White Star Line, the original company which constructed and furnished the Titanic.
When Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) is preparing to draw Rose (Kate Winslet), he tells her to “Lie on that bed, uh I mean couch.” The line was scripted “Lie on that couch”, but DiCaprio made an honest mistake and James Cameron liked it so much he kept it in.
In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #83 Greatest Movie of All Time. This was one of the newest entries on the list (from films which were released between 1997 and 2005).
June 2008 Ranked #6 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Epic”.
The movie’s line “I’m the king of the world!” was voted as the #4 of “The 100 Greatest Movie Lines” by Premiere in 2007. The same was voted as the #100 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).
Jack Davenport was considered for the role of Caledon ‘Cal’ Hockley but was deemed too young.
The scenes during which Thomas Andrews chastises Second Office Charles Lightoller for sending the boats away without filling them to capacity is the only scene in the entire film in which the actors’ breath was not digitally added in later.
The engine room scenes were partially filmed aboard the WWII ship SS Jeremiah O’Brien. Smaller railings and catwalks were installed to make the engines appear bigger.
During the sinking of the actual Titanic, there was concern that the davits might not be strong enough to lower the boats fully loaded, although they had in fact been tested under such a weight. The davits in the film, which can be seen flexing under the weight, were made under the same dimensions as originally designed by the White Star Line.
Production of the film began in 1995 when James Cameron shot footage of the real wreck of the Titanic. He was able to persuade 20th Century Fox to invest in the film by convincing them that the publicity surrounding a real-life dive to the wreck would be really beneficial to the production.
The staircase is not actually technically accurate being slightly larger in the film than it was in real life. This is because people in 1997 were actually a bit taller than in 1912 so they would have looked out of place on a staircase that fit the correct dimensions.
The scene in which Rose meets Jack to thank him for saving her life was improvised by the two actors at James Cameron‘s request, and the spitting scene was almost all ad-lib. Cameron also credits Kate Winslet with writing the heart-wrenching “This is where we first met” line during the final sinking, as well as suggesting Rose spit in Cal’s face rather than (as scripted) jab him with a hairpin.
At the departure scene the extras were filmed on a green screen in a parking lot.
A model was used for the ship in the background during the poker scene so the onlookers are missing.
Most of the ocean which extras were jumping into was 3 feet deep.
When the scene where a wall of water bursts through a doorway was first shot, James Cameron said that the 40,000 gallons of water dumped into the corridor set were not enough, and asked for triple that amount. The set had to be rebuilt to stand up under the additional weight of water.
James Cameron was adamant about not including any song in the film, even over the closing credits. Composer James Horner secretly arranged with lyricist Will Jennings and singer Céline Dion to write “My Heart Will Go On” and record a demo tape which he then presented to Cameron, who responded very favorably and included the song over the closing credits. The song went on to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Although a sizable publicity campaign had already been prepared, the release of the film was delayed from summer to Christmas 1997 as some elements in post-production (especially the special effects) took longer to complete than anticipated.
As a result of the additional financing, this became the second co-production between Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox to win the Best Picture Oscar, afterBraveheart.
The “full-size” ship exterior set was constructed in a tank on a beach south of Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico. Construction started on the 85th anniversary of the real Titanic’s launch – May 31, 1996 (see also A Night to Remember). To reduce costs, the number of instances of some repeated components (such as windows) was reduced, and other parts (such as the funnels and lifeboats) were built at 90% scale to produce the correct visual appearance. The set was oriented to face into the prevailing wind so that the smoke from the funnels would blow the right way.
20th Century Fox acquired 40 acres of waterfront south of Playas de Rosarito in Mexico and started building a brand new studio in May 31 1996. A 17 million gallon tank was built for the exterior of the reconstructed ship, providing 270 degrees of ocean view. The ship was built to full scale but production design removed redundant sections on the superstructure and the forward well deck so that it would fit the tank. The remaining sections were filled in digitally. The lifeboats and funnels were shrunk by 10%. While the boat deck and the A-deck were full working sets, the rest of the ship was steel plating. Contained within that was a 50 foot lifting platform for the ship to tilt during the sinking sequences, whilst towering above that was a 162 feet tall tower crane on 600 feet of railtrack. This was used as a construction, lighting and camera platform.
All the scenes where there is an exterior sunset shot were filmed at the Fox Studios set in Baja California, Mexico. The set was constructed specifically for the film, as no studio was large enough at the time to encompass the almost full-scale replication of the ship.
In the scene where the water comes crashing into the Grand Staircase room, the film makers only had one shot at it because the entire set and furnishings were going to be destroyed in the shot.
In the scene in the beginning where the captain orders full-speed ahead and the shot moves down into the boiler room, the set was really just about three boilers but the film makers had huge mirrors installed to visualize a great big long room. (In this scene you can see workers shoving in coal, and about 20 feet down the room you can see the mirror image of the workers).
The only real decks were the boat deck and A deck, with a facade of plating and lighted portholes completed only on the starboard side. So many lights were required that cinematographer ‘Russell Carpenter’ commented: “And you walk inside, and 70 miles of one kind of cable and 70 miles of another kind all add up to this Terry Gilliam vision of the telephone company of the 1950s.”
Only the starboard side of the exterior set was completed. In the scenes portraying the ship at the Southampton dock, all shots were reversed to give the appearance of the port side of the ship, as it was actually docked in 1912. This required the painstaking construction of reversed costumes and signage to complete the illusion, which was achieved by reversing the image in post-production. One cast member joked, “I wasn’t dyslexic before starting this show. I am now.”
The entire set was mounted on hydraulic jacks and could be tilted up to 6° intact within the depth of the tank.
To achieve tilt angles beyond 6°, the “underwater” parts of the facade were simply detached from the set and the support structure adjusted accordingly.
After the ship breaks in half, the bow section sinks rapidly. To film this, the full-size set was in fact divided into sections. But the bow section would not sink fast enough, due to its own buoyancy and the narrow clearance between it and the tank. James Cameronobserved that once “God’s 10,000,000 kW light” had risen they would have to wait until the next night, and suggested sinking the set, letting the air space between the two decks fill with water, then raising the set again and quickly sinking it before the water ran out. This worked.
The detached stern section of the full-size set was moved onto a separate tilting platform which would allow it to be rapidly turned vertical for the final phase of sinking. There were 10 takes, each requiring 100 stunt players to fall from or along the set while 1,000 extras were attached to the railings by safety harnesses.
In some shots the apparent tilt angle was steepened using various tricks such as tilting the camera and horizon.
Interior shots also involved hydraulically tilted sets in tanks (in various studio soundstages).
A 1/8 scale model of the ship’s stern was also used.
Gloria Stuart, being only 86, was aged by makeup to play Rose at age 101. She did not find this a pleasant experience.
In preference to hiring new extras all the time and repeatedly having to fit them for clothes and coach them in proper 1912 mannerisms, a group of 150 “core extras” was hired who would stay with the picture through the entire production. They and other performers learned proper 1912 behavior in a 3-hour course from Lynne Hockney, who was also the film’s choreographer. Hockney also produced a video “Titanic Etiquette: A Time Traveler’s Guide”, which was then left playing continuously in the wardrobe department.
On the final night of shooting in Nova Scotia, one or more pranksters mixed PCP (angel dust) into the clam chowder served to the cast and crew. 80 people were taken ill, many hospitalized with hallucinations. Bill Paxton felt listless for two weeks after the incident.
The name of the character Caledon Hockley derives from two small towns (Caledon and Hockley) near Orangeville, Ontario, Canada, where James Cameron‘s aunt and uncle live.
The bedtime story the Irish mother tells her children is the story of “The Children of Lir,” an old Irish folktale about children turned into swans. That is, unless it’s actually the story of “Tir na nOg, Land of eternal youth and beauty”, an Irish folktale where no one ages.
At $200 million, the movie cost more than the Titanic itself. The cost to construct the ship in 1910-1912 was £1.5 million, equivalent to $7.5 million at the time and about $120 to $150 million in 1997 dollars.
After filming, the remains of the full-size set were sold as scrap metal.
That’s real Beluga caviar in the first class dining room sequence. After sampling it,Jonathan Hyde said he “made an acting decision on the spot that Ismay was a big eater”.
The first class lounge was deemed to be too expensive a set to be built. As a miniature of it was required for the flooding scenes, one was built to quarter of the real size. This was then greenscreened as background for the scenes where the actors were seen sitting in the lounge.
Mark Lindsay Chapman was fired and rehired twice, and survived an accident where he was struck by a boat and had to be pulled from the water.
On the set of Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio‘s pet lizard was run over by a truck, but with some TLC, Leo nursed him to health.
The most expensive first-class suite on the Titanic cost $4,350, the equivalent of about $75,000 today.
James Cameron forfeited his $8 million director’s salary and his percentage of the gross when the studio became concerned at how much over budget the movie was running.
When James Cameron was writing the movie, he intended for the main characters Rose DeWitt Bukater and Jack Dawson to be entirely fictitious. It was only after the script was finished that he discovered that there had been a real “J. Dawson” who died aboard the Titanic. This “J. Dawson” was trimmer Joseph Dawson, who had been born September 1888 in Dublin, Ireland. His body was salvaged and buried at Fairview Lawn cemetery in Nova Scotia with many other Titanic victims. Today, his grave stone (#227) is the most widely visited in the cemetery.
As is the case with many 20th Century Fox films, the film cans for the advance screening and show prints had a code name. Titanic’s was “Baby’s Day Out 2.”
In 1998 it became the first film since 1966 to win the Oscar for Best Picture but not be nominated for its screenplay (the previous film to hold this “honor” was The Sound of Music.
Titanic is the most Oscar-nominated film (with 14 nominations) not to win in any acting categories.
Gloria Stuart was the only person who worked in the production of the film who was actually living in 1912.
This was the first movie to win both the Academy and MTV Movie Award for Best Picture.
Came eighth in the UK’s Ultimate Film, in which films were placed in order of how many seats they sold at cinemas.
Early in production, this film’s brief “decoy” working title was “Planet Ice”.
A number of scenes are arranged and in some cases scripted almost identically to similar sequences in A Night to Remember. This is particularly true of these scenes: – Thomas Andrews telling Capt. Smith the sinking is “a mathematical certainty”; – The Titanic’s band preparing to depart at the end, only to turn around and regroup as Hartley begins playing “Nearer My God to Thee” by himself (though a different version of the song is used in the 1958 film). – A shot of Ismay in a lifeboat as the Titanic sinks behind him. – Thomas Andrews looking at a painting as Titanic prepares to sink – Andrews encountering a man by the Grand Staircase and telling him the ship is doomed (in this film, he tells Rose).
Was the highest grossing film in box office history with a worldwide gross of US$1.8 billion until it was surpassed by Avatar. Both films were directed by James Cameron.
The drawing Jack made entitled “Lady Bijou” wasn’t really just any picture. They got the idea from an old 1933 photograph taken by Brassai called “Bijou”.
The film was initially budgeted at $135,000,000, but going two months over schedule required asking Paramount Pictures to contribute an additional $65,000,000 in exchange for U.S. distribution rights.
Shay Duffin, who played the pubkeeper in England, is related to one of the original Irish workers who built the Titanic.
The original release date was 25 July 1997. When Harrison Ford, whose upcoming film, Air Force One, was scheduled to be released the same day, found out, he demanded that Paramount push the release date to a different time. Paramount, who had distributed many successful films of Ford’s agreed, being worried that Ford would never do another film for them again.
Reba McEntire was offered and had accepted the role of Molly Brown, but due to later schedule conflicts, had to turn it down.
Ranks first in the Academy Award Most Nominated Films List with 14 nominations, tying with All About Eve.
Kate Winslet was one of the few actors who didn’t want to wear a wetsuit during the water scenes; as a result, she got pneumonia, and nearly quit the production as a result. However, Cameron persuaded her to stay.
Rose laughs during the flying scene when Jack sings “Come Josephine in My Flying Machine,” as if she recalls the song from before. This is because a deleted scene shows the two characters singing it as they come out of the 3rd class dance.
The “Sinking” coat was a size 8 while the rest of the gowns were a size 4. It was so large to make Rose seem more vulnerable in the sinking scenes.
At the party in steerage, a foreign-speaking man is speaking with Rose and she says “I’m sorry, I can’t understand you.” The man is Swedish, probably a friend of Sven’s, and he’s saying to her “Talar fröken svenska?” In English that translates to “Does the miss/lady speak Swedish?” which she obviously doesn’t.
When the stern of the ship is vertical, Chief Baker Joughin (Liam Tuohy, in white) is drinking from a flask. Joughin was one of few to survive the freezing water, allegedly due to the alcohol (but this is disputed as unlikely since alcohol is known to accelerate hypothermia, not to help resist cold). The scene was added after Liam showed the flask to James Cameron explaining that it was a family heirloom as old as the Titanic itself.
The Swedish phrases that Sven and his buddy exchange during the card game translate into the following: “I can’t believe you bet our tickets!”. “Shut up!”. When grabbing Jack by the throat: “You damn weasel!”. And after punching his buddy in the face: “You damn idiot! What the hell are we gonna do? I’m gonna kill you!”.
One of the Swedes in the beginning of the film, Erik Holland, is really Norwegian, and currently works as a doorman at a nightclub in Stavanger, Norway. The other, Jari Kinnunen, is an actor from Finland. His Swedish is so heavily accented as to be incomprehensible to Swedes.
Was #1 at the U.S. box office for a record fifteen consecutive weeks, from 19 December 1997 to 2 April 1998.
Dolores O’Riordan was asked to both act in and compose music for the movie, but refused both offers due to the birth of her son.
The hands seen sketching Rose are not Leonardo DiCaprio‘s, but director James Cameron‘s. In post-production, Cameron, who is left-handed, mirror-imaged the sketching shots so the artist would be appear to be right-handed, like DiCaprio.
Was the first film to be filmed at Fox Studios Baja.
The car in which Jack and Rose make love was a Renault owned by the Carter family.
The character of Rose is partially based on California artist Beatrice Wood, who died in 1998 at the age of 105.
The elderly couple seen hugging on the bed while water floods their room are the owners of Macy’s department store in New York; Ida and Isidor Strauss, both of whom died on the Titanic. Ida was offered a seat on a lifeboat but refused so that she could stay with her husband saying, “As we have lived together, so we shall die together.” There was a scene filmed that depicted this moment but was cut from the final version.
In the movie, Jack is a 3rd class passenger on the Titanic who sneaks his way up to first class with the hopes of never getting caught. In the real disaster in 1912, Third Class Passenger Hilda Maria Hellström, really did sneak up to first class out of curiosity and never got caught, however she was in her 3rd class cabin when the Titanic hit an iceberg and ended up surviving the sinking by boarding one of the last lifeboats to leave, Collapsible C.
The “ale” in the below decks party was actually root beer.
Both Leonardo DiCaprio and Jason Barry both injured themselves while filming the scene in which their characters pull up a bench in third class and use it to smash a gate open. Leo threw out a shoulder, and Jason caught himself in the chin with the bench.
Jack has a line during the first class dinner scene in which he asks Molly Brown which utensils to use for what. Because of the enormous amount of time spent shooting the scene, having to provide different angles and coverage for all the cast members at the table, Leonardo DiCaprio was so worn out towards the end that he picked up a fork and asked Kathy Bates “Which one of these do I use to lobotomize myself?”
During World War I, Titanic’s former Second Officer Charles Lightoller served in the Royal Navy Reserve in multiple vessels (including 3 commands). Despite his distinguished record (he would be decorated twice for valor in combat), he would never command a merchant vessel for White Star or any other shipping line. After leaving merchant service, he owned a small motor yacht for much of the rest of his life. His was one of the many private citizens who helped in the evacuation of British and Allied forces from Dunkirk, France; he and his two sons would be credited for evacuating approximately 130 Allied personnel in the dangerously overloaded vessel.
The most expensive movie to be filmed in the 20th century with a budget of $200,000,000.
Approximately 120 tons of water (triple what had been initially planned) were released for Eric Braeden‘s final scene. Braeden said that he has never been more terrified in his life than when he was preparing for it, as there was obviously no possible physical rehearsal.
Many of the “core extras” used for the movie took on characteristics of actual survivors. One scene where two little girls are loaded onto a lifeboat and the man says, “It’s only for a little while” is based on testimony from one of the girls who survived.
When Jack sneaks onto the first-class deck in search of Rose, we see a young boy playing with a top as his father looks on. The father is played by Titanic historian and author Don Lynch, of the Titanic Historical Society, who served as a consultant on the film. The scene is based on a famous photograph taken aboard Titanic during the second leg of the voyage, between Cherbourg and Queenstown (the photographer, Fr. Francis Browne, a Jesuit priest, left the ship when it docked briefly in Ireland). The boy, 6-year-old Robert Douglas Spedden and his father Frederic O. Spedden of Tuxedo Park, NY survived the sinking, but the boy died three years later in an auto accident in Maine, one of the first recorded in the state.
The engine master says, “All ahead full,” and we hear someone yell, “All ahead full!” in the background. That is actually director James Cameron‘s voice.
Rose says “Jack” 80 times, not counting when she calls him “Mr. Dawson”, but counting both Kate Winslet and Gloria Stuart. Jack says “Rose” 50 times.
James Cameron drew all the pictures in Jack’s sketchbook. In fact, the hands seen sketching Rose wearing the necklace are not Jack’s but Cameron’s. Since he is left-handed and Jack right-handed, the shots were mirror-imaged in post-production (see also the goofs entry).
James Cameron originally wanted Enya to compose the score for the film and even went so far as to assemble a rough edit using her music. When Enya declined, Cameron hiredJames Horner (who had composed the music for Cameron’s previous film Aliens) to write the score. Horner stated that the tensions with Cameron were so high during post-production of “Aliens” that he assumed he and Cameron would never work together again. However, Cameron was so impressed with Horner’s score from Braveheart that he was willing to forget the past experience. According to some accounts, Horner independently decided the film’s score should be done in Enya’s style. As a result, several pieces of the score sound very similar to some well-known Enya songs, in particular her theme song for Far and Away (Book of Days).
In the scene of Rose looking through the corridors for Jack, the water used was actually from the Pacific Ocean at the Baja California, Mexico set. The water was so cold that when Rose gasps when she first dives into the water, it was actually Kate Winslet‘s genuine reaction to the frigid ocean.
A 162-foot crane originally intended for construction and lighting was mounted on railway tracks and used for most high-level exterior shots, rather than expensive helicopters. The camera platform was big enough for a gyro-stabilized Wescam, a Steadicam and a hand-held camera. James Cameron directed atop it to be able to see the entire set.
Long shots showing the whole ship’s exterior were produced by Digital Domain. A 1/20 scale model was filmed and computer-generated images of people, ocean and smoke were added. For one scene, James Cameron instructed them to “imagine we’re making a commercial for White Star Lines and we need beautiful shots sweeping around the ship from a helicopter.”
The rooms that Caledon Hockley, Rose DeWitt Bukater and Ruth DeWitt Bukater occupied (B52, B54 and B56) were actual rooms on the real Titanic. They were originally booked by J.P. Morgan, but he canceled before the ship sailed. Morgan had a controlling interest in International Mercantile Marine, a conglomerate that owned the White Star Line. Bruce Ismay booked the rooms following Morgan’s cancellation. (See Goofs.)
Rose, in her old age, owns a Pomeranian. A Pomeranian was one of only three dogs known to have survived the disaster. As the real ship sank, a passenger freed dogs from their kennels and a survivor later recalled a French bulldog swimming in the ocean. James Cameron filmed scenes portraying the doomed animals but cut them.
The completed film ignores the freighter Californian, which had stopped for the night due to the ice hazard and was within sight of the Titanic throughout the sinking (the Californian’s warning had been received and sent to the bridge but was not placed in the chartroom). An early version of the script included a scene on the Californian, but James Cameron cut out the subplot after filming it to shorten running time. The two actors in the scene on the Californian were Adam Barker as radio operator Cyril Evans and Peter John White as Third Officer Groves.
This was the first time the Best Song Oscar (for “My Heart Will Go On”) was won by a non-musical Best Picture winner. Best Song Oscar had been won by Best Picture winner only twice before (Going My Way and Gigi, both musicals).
In the movie the original script included scenes of newlywed couple Daniel and Mary Marvin, Daniel being a cameraman and son of Henry Marvin, co-founder of the movie production company American Mutoscope & Biograph. Daniel Marvin died aboard the Titanic, but not without photographing some of the only existing film of the liner.
Even though the actors wore waterproof makeup for the scenes shot in the aftermath of the sinking, they constantly required touch-ups, as chemicals in the pool they shot in would wash the makeup off.
As a joke in the edit suite, James Cameron had a razor blade with a label that said “Use only if movie doesn’t work”.
The first film to be released on video (DVD/VHS) while it was still being shown in theaters.
Harland and Wolff, the Belfast shipyard who built the Titanic in 1909, opened up their private archives to the production, sharing blueprints that were long thought lost.
All the artifacts were created from scratch by Peter Lamont‘s production design team to recreate the newness of everything on the ship.
For the safety of the stuntmen, most of the props were made of foam rubber.
The schedule was originally meant to last 138 days but grew to 160 – 20 days short of 6 months.
To sink the Grand Staircase into the purpose-built 5 million gallon tank, 90,000 gallons of water were dumped through it as it was lowered into the tank. Such was the volume that the staircase was ripped from its steel-reinforced foundations.
The post-sinking scenes were shot in a 350,000 gallon tank where the frozen corpses were created by applying a powder on the actors that then crystallized when exposed to water. Wax was applied to hair and clothes to create a wet look.
The original carpet manufacturers were persuaded to make an 18,000 square foot reproduction of the original weave that was on the ship.
The film contains over 100 speaking parts and over 1000 extras, all of whom needed to be dressed in lavish period costume.
Paramount had to send out replacement reels to theaters who had literally worn out their copies.
Of the special effects houses involved, VIFX were responsible for the icy, visible breath of the passengers floating in the water after the ship sank. They also worked on the engine room sequence and a lot of the workers seen therein. POP Film handled digital face replacements and matte paintings, Banned from the Ranch took care of some underwater shots, CIS Hollywood were responsible for sky replacements and bluescreen composites, whilst Digital Domain – James Cameron‘s own company – dealt with the bulk of the big showcase special effects.
Egg white was used for the initial spitting sequence, but petroleum jelly was used in the sequence where Rose spits on Cal.
Rose’s chiffon dress which she wears for the latter part of the film was designed to look just as good wet as dry. Costume designer Deborah Lynn Scott had about 24 of them made.
This was the first film to be nominated twice for an Academy Award, for the portrayal of the same character. Kate Winslet received an Best Actress nomination for her role as Rose. Gloria Stuart received an best supporting nomination for her portrayal of the older Rose. The next time this happened was with the movie Iris, which also starred Winslet.
Most of the stuntmen in the engine room scenes were only about 5 feet tall to make the engine room look a lot bigger.
Fay Wray was originally offered the role of the older Rose but turned it down, saying, “I think to have done this film would have been a tortuous experience altogether”. Hollywood legend Ann Rutherford also turned it down.
Titanic survivor Millvina Dean was asked if she would like to attend the premiere but she refused, stating that watching A Night to Remember was painful enough to watch.
The name of the band seen playing at the party in 3rd Class is Gaelic Storm.
At the end of the movie, when Rose meets Jack on the Grand Staircase, the time displayed on the clock is the same time the ship sank, at 2:20 AM.
Robert De Niro was offered the role of Captain Smith but turned it down due to a gastrointestinal infection at the time.
The most-voted-for film on IMDb that is not on the Top 250 List.
Jack’s portrait of the one-legged prostitute is actually visible for two frames as he turns the page to his sketch of “Madam Bijoux”. James Cameron decided not to show the portrait as he thought the audience would imagine something better.
James Cameron wrote the role of Lewis Bodine with his friend Lewis Abernathy in mind. When he couldn’t find an actor to play the part, he went to Lewis and asked, essentially, if he would he play himself. Lewis replied, “If you want to f*** up your movie by casting me buddy, alright.”
Lorcan Cranitch was the first choice for the role of Thomas Andrews after James Cameron was impressed with his performance as DS Jimmy Beck in “Cracker”. Victor Garber was cast after Cranitch turned the role down.
Gloria Stuart who was 87 at the time of the film’s release, lived to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its release at age 97. She became a real life centenarian on July 4th, 2010.
Composer James Horner said the first rough cut he saw of the film was 36 hours.
The first Best Picture Academy Award winner to be produced, directed, written, and edited by the same person (James Cameron).
In the film, Molly Brown lends Jack a tuxedo that she has most likely purchased in Europe for her son who is supposedly the same size as Jack. The real Molly Brown did indeed have a son, Larry, who was 24 at the time that the Titanic sank.
When Jack prevents Rose from committing suicide, he shares a story about how he once fell into freezing cold water while ice fishing and how it feels like “being stabbed with a thousand knives all over your body.” This was an actual quote from a Titanic survivor describing the temperature of the North Atlantic water.
The piece of wooden paneling that Rose floated on after the sinking is based upon a genuine artifact that survived the sinking and is on display at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, though it was scaled larger to provide sufficient buoyancy as a life-raft for Rose.
The first film James Cameron ever directed that did not include or mention nuclear weapons.
At the TED conference in February 2010, James Cameron stated: “Secretly, what I wanted to do was I wanted to dive to the real wreck of ‘Titanic’. And that’s why I made the movie”. The statement brought laughter and applause.
Several scenes show all four funnels smoking but the fourth funnel was actually just for show. The White Star Lines competitors all had four and they did not want to lose face. It was designed as additional storage space that was used on the first trip for livestock.
James Cameron met his fifth wife, Suzy Amis, on the set of this film. Of all his marriages, theirs has lasted the longest.
James Cameron supervised all of the underwater shots of the Titanic himself.
Despite the fact that this was filmed in Super 35, “Filmed in Panavision” is listed in the end credits.
James Cameron instructed the actors playing the officers to keep order amongst the extras in the sinking scenes. Jonny Phillips ad-libbed the moment when he whips around with the gun and shouts “keep back, or I’ll shoot you all like dogs!” After the take, James Cameron ran up to him and told him it was great and to do it again, and Phillips asked “What did I say?”, having been too caught up in the moment to realize what he was doing.
The scale model of the under water wrecked ship, has been on display in the Titanic museum in Branson, MO for a number of years. In August 2011, it will be removed and taken back to Hollywood where it is to be used to film the new Titanic 3-D movie.
Upon sighting the iceberg, the ship’s officers shout ‘Hard a starboard’ at the helmsman, but the helmsman turns the wheel to port. The ship did actually alter course to port and then Murdoch attempted to ‘starboard the ship’ to swing the stern clear of the iceberg. Titanic’s steering followed the old British practice (derived from sailing ships) that turning the wheel to starboard would make the rudder and thus the ship turn to port. Conversly, turning the wheel to port as the helmsman is shown doing would make the ship turn to starboard.