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The Analysis of The Film "The Titanic"

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movie analysis of titanic

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Like a great iron Sphinx on the ocean floor, the Titanic faces still toward the West, interrupted forever on its only voyage. We see it in the opening shots of “Titanic,” encrusted with the silt of 85 years; a remote-controlled TV camera snakes its way inside, down corridors and through doorways, showing us staterooms built for millionaires and inherited by crustaceans.

These shots strike precisely the right note; the ship calls from its grave for its story to be told, and if the story is made of showbiz and hype, smoke and mirrors--well, so was the Titanic. She was “the largest moving work of man in all history,” a character boasts, neatly dismissing the Pyramids and the Great Wall. There is a shot of her, early in the film, sweeping majestically beneath the camera from bow to stern, nearly 900 feet long and “unsinkable,” it was claimed, until an iceberg made an irrefutable reply.

James Cameron's 194-minute, $200 million film of the tragic voyage is in the tradition of the great Hollywood epics. It is flawlessly crafted, intelligently constructed, strongly acted and spellbinding. If its story stays well within the traditional formulas for such pictures, well, you don't choose the most expensive film ever made as your opportunity to reinvent the wheel.

We know before the movie begins that certain things must happen. We must see the Titanic sail and sink, and be convinced we are looking at a real ship. There must be a human story--probably a romance--involving a few of the passengers. There must be vignettes involving some of the rest and a subplot involving the arrogance and pride of the ship's builders--and perhaps also their courage and dignity. And there must be a reenactment of the ship's terrible death throes; it took two and a half hours to sink, so that everyone aboard had time to know what was happening, and to consider their actions.

All of those elements are present in Cameron's “Titanic,” weighted and balanced like ballast, so that the film always seems in proportion. The ship was made out of models (large and small), visual effects and computer animation. You know intellectually that you're not looking at a real ocean liner--but the illusion is convincing and seamless. The special effects don't call inappropriate attention to themselves but get the job done.

The human story involves an 17-year-old woman named Rose DeWitt Bukater ( Kate Winslet ) who is sailing to what she sees as her own personal doom: She has been forced by her penniless mother to become engaged to marry a rich, supercilious snob named Cal Hockley ( Billy Zane ), and so bitterly does she hate this prospect that she tries to kill herself by jumping from the ship. She is saved by Jack Dawson ( Leonardo DiCaprio ), a brash kid from steerage, and of course they will fall in love during the brief time left to them.

The screenplay tells their story in a way that unobtrusively shows off the ship. Jack is invited to join Rose's party at dinner in the first class dining room, and later, fleeing from Cal's manservant, Lovejoy ( David Warner ), they find themselves first in the awesome engine room, with pistons as tall as churches, and then at a rousing Irish dance in the crowded steerage. (At one point Rose gives Lovejoy the finger; did young ladies do that in 1912?) Their exploration is intercut with scenes from the command deck, where the captain ( Bernard Hill ) consults with Andrews ( Victor Garber ), the ship's designer and Ismay ( Jonathan Hyde ), the White Star Line's managing director.

Ismay wants the ship to break the trans-Atlantic speed record. He is warned that icebergs may have floated into the hazardous northern crossing but is scornful of danger. The Titanic can easily break the speed record but is too massive to turn quickly at high speed; there is an agonizing sequence that almost seems to play in slow motion, as the ship strains and shudders to turn away from an iceberg in its path--and fails.

We understand exactly what is happening at that moment because of an ingenious story technique by Cameron, who frames and explains the entire voyage in a modern story. The opening shots of the real Titanic, we are told, are obtained during an expedition led by Brock Lovett ( Bill Paxton ), an undersea explorer. He seeks precious jewels but finds a nude drawing of a young girl. Meanwhile, an ancient woman sees the drawing on TV and recognizes herself. This is Rose (Gloria Stuart), still alive at 101. She visits Paxton and shares her memories (“I can still smell the fresh paint”). And he shows her video scenes from his explorations, including a computer simulation of the Titanic's last hours--which doubles as a briefing for the audience. By the time the ship sinks, we already know what is happening and why, and the story can focus on the characters while we effortlessly follow the stages of the Titanic's sinking.

Movies like this are not merely difficult to make at all, but almost impossible to make well. The technical difficulties are so daunting that it's a wonder when the filmmakers are also able to bring the drama and history into proportion. I found myself convinced by both the story and the saga. The setup of the love story is fairly routine, but the payoff--how everyone behaves as the ship is sinking--is wonderfully written, as passengers are forced to make impossible choices. Even the villain, played by Zane, reveals a human element at a crucial moment (despite everything, damn it all, he does love the girl).

The image from the Titanic that has haunted me, ever since I first read the story of the great ship, involves the moments right after it sank. The night sea was quiet enough so that cries for help carried easily across the water to the lifeboats, which drew prudently away. Still dressed up in the latest fashions, hundreds froze and drowned. What an extraordinary position to find yourself in after spending all that money for a ticket on an unsinkable ship.

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

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Film Credits

Titanic movie poster

Titanic (1997)

Rated PG-13 For Shipwreck Scenes, Mild Language and Sexuality

194 minutes

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson

Kate Winslet as Rose Dewitt Bukater

Bill Paxton as Brock Lovett

Kathy Bates as Molly Brown

Billy Zane as Cal Hockley

Written and Directed by

  • James Cameron

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Titanic Universe

  • Titanic Movie Summary

Andre Nolan

Beginning with treasure hunter Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton) searching the Titanic wreck for the fabled necklace named the Heart of the Ocean, the Titanic movie features actual footage of the wreckage. After recovering a safe that was thought to belong to first-class passenger Caledon ‘Cal’ Hockley, played by Billy Zane, Lovett hopes to find the Heart of the Ocean contained within. He finds nothing but soggy bank statements and a sketch of a naked woman wearing the necklace, and Lovett believes that he has hit a dead end.

A woman by the name of Rose Calvert (Gloria Stuart) sees Lovett on the news and contacts him. Lovett is uninterested in what she has to say at first but becomes intrigued when she tells him that she is the woman in the drawing. After being flown in to tell her story, we learn that Rose Calvert was once Rose DeWitt Bukater and was a first-class passenger on the Titanic. She begins telling her experience on the doomed vessel.

The movie begins with drifter Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) winning third-class tickets for the Titanic in a poker game. He and his friend Fabrizio catch the ship just as it is leaving. It also shows first-class passenger Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslett), her mother Ruth (Frances Fisher), and her fiance Cal Hockley. Rose is on the way to Philadelphia to marry Hockley, an arrangement made by her mother to protect her wealth status. Unhappy with this decision, Rose attempts to commit suicide by throwing herself from the Titanic.

She is confronted by Dawson, who convinces her to come up from the railing. Rose invites Jack to dinner as thanks, and after, Jack spirits her away to a third-class evening of dancing. Rose decides her future and asks Jack, an acclaimed artist to draw her nude wearing only the Heart of the Ocean.

The two then find their way to the cargo hold, and a rich man’s car is waiting for them. They make love in the back seat before the ship hits an iceberg.

As people begin boarding lifeboats, Jack is arrested and locked in the master at the arms office. Instead of boarding a lifeboat, Rose goes back to help Jack, and the two must fight for survival. Jack and Rose’s fiancé Cal finally convince her to board a lifeboat, and Cal assures her that he has arranged to get both men off the boat safely.

Cal double-crosses Jack, and Rose decides to return for him yet again despite her being urged to stay on the lifeboat. Rose finds Jack, and Cal chases them into the flooded first-class dining room with a pistol. Once they escape Cal, he returns the deck and boards a lifeboat after pretending to look after an abandoned child.

Rose and Jack go down with the ship, and Jack helps her onto a door that can support the weight of one person. While Jack is in the freezing water, they exchange loving words, and Jack dies of hypothermia. Once aboard the Carpathia, Rose gives her name as Rose Dawson. She sees Cal one more time frantically looking for her but hides her face in a blanket just as he looks in her direction. Rose then proceeds to do everything she and Jack promised to do together and lives her life.

Back on Lovett’s ship, Rose walks to the side, produces the Heart of the Ocean, and tosses it overboard. In the last scene, Rose is met by Jack on the grand staircase of the Titanic. They kiss and are applauded by those who were lost in the disaster. It isn’t known whether or not she is dreaming or if she dies (Jack told her she would die in her bed as an old woman), and James Cameron leaves this up to the viewer to decide.

Andre Nolan

Andre Nolan

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‘titanic’: thr’s 1997 review.

On Dec. 19, 1997, James Cameron's epic set sail in theaters nationwide.

By Duane Bygre

Duane Bygre

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On Dec. 19, 1997, James Cameron’s Titanic set sail in theaters nationwide. The 193-minute blockbuster epic went on to dominate the 70th Academy Awards, nabbing 11 wins including best picture. The Hollywood Reporter’s original review is below.

Paramount should replace that white mountain in its logo with an iceberg for the next several months. The studio will navigate spectacularly with its latest launch, Titanic , the most expensive movie ever created about what was once the largest moving object ever built.

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A daunting blend of state-of-the-art special effects melded around a sterling central story, Titanic plumbs personal and philosophical story depths not usually found in “event-scale” movies that, beneath their girth and pyrotechnics, often have nothing at their core.

Titanic , however, is no soulless junket into techno-glop wizardry but rather a complex and radiant tale that essays both mankind’s destructive arrogance and its noble endurance. 

Ultimately, we all know the horrible outcome of the Titanic sinking. We can recite the numbers lost and the awesome dimensions of the ship, and we can construct some sort of comparative scope for the catastrophe. But all these are mere quantifications and chit-chat regurgitation. 

Cameron, who wrote and directed the film, has put a face on that horrific happening; he has taken us beyond the forensics of the sinking and put us inside the skin and psyches of those who perished and those who survived. In both, we see facets of ourselves: In philosophical microcosm, Cameron shows that in the end — both the good and the bad endings — we’re all in the same boat.

Told in flashback as a single-minded fortune hunter (Bill Paxton) combs the Titanic’s wreckage with his state-of-the-art search ship in hopes of finding undiscovered treasure, the story is recalled by a 103-year-old woman (Gloria Stuart) who was a passenger on the ship’s ill-fated maiden voyage. Drifting back to that time in April 1912, we see the trip through Rose’s (Kate Winslet ) 17-year-old eyes. 

High-spirited and betrothed to a monied mill heir (Billy Zane), Rose is, nevertheless, despondent. Like a Henry James heroine, she finds that she is not suited for life in the gilded cage that society is shaping for her as the baubled wife of a leisured industrialist. She foresees her life as being measured out by serving spoons, and she wants no part of such a stuffy existence. Her ennui turns to deep depression, and she nearly ends it by diving into icy waters, where she is saved only by the wise grace of a third-class passenger, Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio ), whose joy for life and eagerness for living it to the fullest soon revitalize the young Rose. 

All the while, Cameron plants calamitous forebodings — the inadequacies of the life rafts, equipment shortages and the vanity of the ship’s creators and captain. Narratively, Titanic is a masterwork of big-canvas storytelling, broad enough to entrance and entertain yet precise and delicate enough to educate and illuminate. Undeniably, one could nitpick — critic-types may snicker at some ‘ 60s-era lines and easy-pop ‘ 90s-vantage hindsights  — but that’s like dismissing a Mercedes on the grounds that its glove compartment interior is drab. 

Unlike in most monstrosities of this film’s size and girth, the characters are not assembled from a standard stock pot. Within the dimensions of such an undertaking, Cameron, along with his well-chosen cast, has created memorable, idiosyncratic and believable characters. Our sympathies are warmed by the two leads: Winslet is effervescently rambunctious as the trapped Rose, while DiCaprio’s willowy steadfastness wonderfully heroic. On the stuffy side of the deck, Zane is aptly snide as Rose’s cowardly fiance, while Frances Fisher is perfect as a social snob, both shrill and frightened. Kathy Bates is a hoot as the big-hatted, big-mouthed Molly Brown — she is, indeed, indestructible. On the seamier side, David Warner is positively chilling as a ruthless valet. As the deep-sea treasure hunter, Paxton brings a Cameron-type obsessiveness to his quest. 

Also on the Oscar front, clear the deck for multiple technical nominations. Front and center is, of course, Cameron. A decided cut above other superstar directors in that he can also write, Cameron deserves a director’s nomination for his masterful creation — it’s both a logistical and aesthetic marvel. The film’s fluid, masterfully punctuated editing, including some elegantly economical match cuts, is outstanding: Editors Conrad Buff and Richard A. Harris deserve nominations, as does cinematographer Russell Carpenter for his brilliantly lit scopings ; his range of blues seems to hit every human emotion. 

Titanic ‘s visual and special effects transcend state-of-the-art workmanship, invoking feelings within us not usually called up by razzle-dazzlery . Highest honors to visual effects supervisor Rob Legato and special effects coordinator Thomas L. Fisher for the powerful, knockdown imagery. It’s often awesome, most prominently in showing the ship’s unfathomable rupture. The splitting of the iron monster is a heart stopper, in no small measure compounded by the sound team’s creaking thunders. Through it all, James Horner’s resonant and lilting musical score, at times uplifted by a mournful Irish reed, is a deep treasure by itself.  — Duane Byrge , originally published on Nov. 3, 1997.

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The Making of Titanic and the Titanic Sinking Scene Explained

The Making of Titanic — On the Set of James Cameron’s Epic

I t is easy to look back at the release of James Cameron’s Titanic and see that all things led to it being a record-breaking cultural phenomenon. The film’s massive budget, insane on-set stories, and unprecedented scale gained mainstream buzz before the film was even released.  The result was a film that impacted culture and cinema for decades to come. How was this massive project executed and what hurdles did Cameron face in creating it? Where was Titanic filmed and how? Let’s take a look at the making of Titanic .

Watch: How James Cameron Sunk the Titanic

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Where Was Titanic Filmed

Finding the locations.

Although most of the film occurs within the actual ship, creating Titanic required specific locations to film different aspects and perspectives of the ship. Where was Titanic filmed in the world?

The film was primarily shot in several locations: the Atlantic Ocean, Baja California Norte, Mexico, and Los Angeles, California. A few scenes were also shot in secondary locations such as Vancouver and Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

Let’s look at the primary shooting locations and what each one was used for in the Titanic filming process.

The Atlantic Ocean

James Cameron and a crew did a diving expedition down to the real RMS Titanic wreck before the script was even written or the making of Titanic  began. It was there that Cameron was overcome with the emotion and sense of loss that he would strive to recreate in the film. 

Where was Titanic filmed The Wreckage

Where was Titanic filmed  •  The Wreckage

During this expedition, Cameron and the crew shot the sequences of the divers finding a sketch from the remains of the Titanic. These shots were used earlier in the film.

Baja California Norte, Mexico

A majority of the film was shot in Baja California Norte, Mexico. This is where the massive Titanic movie set was built specifically for the movie. The facility is now known as Baja Studios (formerly Fox Baja Studios) was used to create a nearly life-size replica of the RMS Titanic. The ship replica was built within an enormous water tank that itself cost $40 million. 

Where was titanic filmed Titanic movie set

Where was Titanic filmed  •  Titanic movie set

This Titanic movie set was used to film the majority of the interior and exterior portions of the film. It was apparently so large that a zoning system had to be implemented to prevent crew from getting lost within the set. 

Los Angeles, CA

A good portion of the film was also filmed throughout Los Angeles County. Most notably, the Belmont Olympic Pool was used for many of the water scenes toward the end of the movie. The aftermath of the sinking of the ship was also partially shot at S.S. Lane Victory.

The Making of Titanic

Obsessive attention to detail.

James Cameron is quite reputable for various qualities as a filmmaker. Perhaps most notably is his relentless attention to detail and his desire to go above and beyond when it comes to accuracy.

This is especially true for the making of Titanic  as a historical period piece. This meant paying attention to the tiniest details of everything beyond the primary focus of the film. In particular, the setting and production design.

For example, small scale props such as silverware, ashtrays, and teacups were stamped with the White Star Line emblem to be historically accurate. 

Titanic movie making props

Titanic movie making  •  Props

The carpeting, wall paper, the furniture and even the davits used to lower the lifeboats were all created with painstaking detail under the direction of Cameron. These may seem like minor details that an audience may not even be able to spot, but James Cameron could and that’s what was important — creating the most historically accurate set possible. 

Furthermore, Cameron went as far as to give all of the film’s extras a background story and name. Yes, all 150 extras met with Cameron as he explained to them who their characters were, their relationships, and their back stories.

This attention to detail made every aspect incredibly accurate and filled with genuine life. 

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Was Titanic Filmed in a Pool

How they sunk the ship.

Some of the most notable scenes of during the making of Titanic were a result of incredible special and practical effects. Specifically, the sinking of the ship is still one of the most impressive aspects of the filming of Titanic . 

The life-size replica of the ship was split into various sections. This allowed for different sections to be used for different tilt angles depending on the progress of the ship's sinking. 

The Making of Titanic

The rear portion of the ship could rotate a full 90 degrees. They used this to capture the final moments of the sinking ship. The front of the ship could dip further into the water to capture the initial sinking. 

The practical effect of angling the set did the major lifting of selling the illusion of a sinking  ship. But there were other tools also used to drive it home. One was the  dutch angle  of the camera that made the tilt of the ship more severe.

The water line of the final shots were also composited to give an additional tilt to the sinking ship. 

Certain shots involved pieces of the ship that would break off or fall into the water. For these moments, miniatures were used to sell the sinking ship. 

How the Titanic was filmed

How the Titanic was filmed

Cameron’s ability to understand how to execute different shots of the sinking ship led to the use of various techniques. From different types of camera angles , to miniatures, to practical effects, the sinking of the ship in the making of Titanic was no easy feat. But it was something that pushed the envelope of what was possible to capture in cinema. 

James Cameron Movies: Ranked

James Cameron is responsible for making some of the largest scale films in cinema history. Interested to see where Titanic ranks among the rest of his movies? Check out our next article where we rank Cameron’s best films with the filmmaker in mind. 

Up Next: Best Cameron Movies →

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Inciting Event: Rose and Jack board and the ship leaves port.

First Plot Point: Jack and Rose meet when Rose contemplates suicide and Jack saves her.

First Pinch Point: Rose’s mother reminds her of what’s at stake if she endangers her engagement to Cal. The captain receives a warning about icebergs, but still decides to increase the ship’s speed.

Midpoint: Rose makes the decision to go with Jack when they land. Titanic collides with the iceberg.

Second Pinch Point: Water begins seeping into the room where Jack is imprisoned.

Third Plot Point: The ship’s bow goes completely under and the sinking begins in earnest.

Climax: The ship completely sinks and Rose and Jack are stranded in the freezing water.

Climactic Moment: Rose realizes Jack is dead and fulfills her promise to him by fighting to get to the whistle and be rescued.

Resolution: Rose dies as an old woman, after a life well lived,

Notes: The Second Pinch Point is a bit difficult to pinpoint here, since the entire second half is pretty “pinchy,” but I settled on what I did since it’s a clear and personal threat against one of the main characters and not just the ship in general.

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Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Gloria Stuart, and Frances Fisher in Titanic (1997)

A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic. A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic. A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic.

  • James Cameron
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Official Trailer

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Gloria Stuart

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Heart-Pounding Action on the High Seas

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  • Trivia (at around 2h 30 mins) The elderly couple seen hugging on the bed while water floods their room were the owners of Macy's department store in New York, Rosalie Ida Straus and Isidor Straus , 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. It was Mrs Straus who originally said "Where you go, I go" that inspired Rose's same line in the film.
  • Goofs (at around 40 mins) [acknowledged by James Cameron ] Jack claims to have gone ice fishing on Lake Wissota, near Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Lake Wissota is a man-made reservoir which wasn't created until 1917.

Jack : [to Ruth and other guests dining at their table] Well, yes, ma'am, I do... I mean, I got everything I need right here with me. I got air in my lungs, a few blank sheets of paper. I mean, I love waking up in the morning not knowing what's gonna happen or, who I'm gonna meet, where I'm gonna wind up. Just the other night I was sleeping under a bridge and now here I am on the grandest ship in the world having champagne with you fine people. I figure life's a gift and I don't intend on wasting it. You don't know what hand you're gonna get dealt next. You learn to take life as it comes at you... to make each day count.

Molly Brown : Well said, Jack.

  • Crazy credits In the final credits, the name of musician Ian Underwood is incorrectly reported as Ian Underworld.
  • Alternate versions When aired on TNT, the scene where Jack is drawing Rose is a different take. The board that he uses to write on is higher to cover up any of her nude body.
  • Connections Edited into Natural World: The Iceberg That Sank the Titanic (2006)
  • Soundtracks My Heart Will Go On (Love theme from Titanic) Performed by Céline Dion Music by James Horner Lyric by Will Jennings Produced by James Horner and Simon Franglen Celine Dion performs courtesy of 550 Music/Sony Music Entertainment (Canada) Inc.

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  • Jan 30, 2023

'Barbie' Joins the Billion-Dollar Film Club

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  • How long is Titanic? Powered by Alexa
  • Did Titanic sink on April 14th or 15th?
  • Was the wreck in the movie the real Titanic?
  • What is 'Titanic' about?
  • December 19, 1997 (United States)
  • United States
  • Titanic wreck, Titanic Canyon, North Atlantic, Atlantic Ocean (location)
  • Twentieth Century Fox
  • Paramount Pictures
  • Lightstorm Entertainment
  • See more company credits at IMDbPro
  • $200,000,000 (estimated)
  • $674,292,608
  • $28,638,131
  • Dec 21, 1997
  • $2,264,743,305

Technical specs

  • Runtime 3 hours 14 minutes
  • Dolby Digital

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Six Act Structure.

Story structure simplified., story structure analysis: titanic (movie).

Titanic. Movie Poster. Plot summary and story structure.

Released: 1997

Screenplay By: James Cameron

Directed By: James Cameron

Run Time: 187 Minutes

Character : Rose Dawson nee DeWitt Bukater

Plot summary of the 1997 film  Titanic  continues below…

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Titanic: Story Structure Analysis

Dramatic phase one: the setup.

All of the main characters are introduced. The story world and its mechanics are established. Foundations are laid for the main throughline, subplots and central conflict.


A character in an Imperfect Situation faces Oppressive Opposition as he pursues an Initial Goal. But when there is a Disturbance to his routine, he faces a Dilemma regarding his situation, and must assume a New Role.

Rose DeWitt Bukater, who is betrothed to a man she despises (the imperfect situation) at his and her mother’s insistence (oppressive opposition), struggles to come to terms with the arranged marriage (the initial goal). But when Cal and her mother continually insist on controlling her life, Rose runs to the back of the ship to commit suicide (the disturbance), meets the roguish Jack while contemplating her decision (the dilemma), and decides to befriend him instead of killing herself (the new role).

movie analysis of titanic

The Imperfect Situation: Rose is being forced into marriage with a man she dislikes. She is bored with her life and fed up with the stuffy rules governing her existence. If only she had been born poor.

Initial Goal: Rose is being forced to marry Cal against her will. She doesn’t want to but sees no way out of it.

Oppressive Opposition: Cal is a douchebag to Rose every chance he gets. 

He criticizes her taste in art. He orders her food for her and snatches cigarettes out of her mouth. I’m pretty sure if he had a mustache he’d twirl it. Meanwhile, her mother refuses to listen to any of Rose’s objections to marrying Cal, insisting he is a “good match” because he’s rich.

Turning Point Catalyst – The Disturbance:  Over dinner, Rose has a sudden realization how the rest of her life will play out. This prompts her to run to the back of the ship to commit suicide by jumping overboard.

Turning Point One – The Dilemma: Start Time: 36 of 187 minutes (19.2%) – Jack shows up and attempts to convince Rose that jumping into the Atlantic Ocean is a horribly stupid idea. She must choose between her terrible life, and heeding the advice of this charming, dirt-poor stranger.

The New Role: If Rose takes Jack up on his offer, she will become friends with a hobo. Eww!

Act Run Time: 45 out of 187 minutes (24.1%)


The character Learns the Rules of an Unfamiliar Situation and faces Incidental Opposition in pursuit of a Transitional Goal. But when he receives a Reality Check, he makes a Commitment to his New Role.

Act Start Time: 45 of 187 minutes (24.1%)

Rose learns about life on the other side from Jack (the unfamiliar situation) and is berated by her mother and Cal (incidental opposition) for trying to get to know him (the transitional goal). But when Cal reveals he had Lovejoy follow her, and her mother forbids her from seeing Jack again (the reality check), Jack sneaks back into first class and convinces Rose to be herself and have an affair with him (the commitment).

The Unfamiliar Situation: Jack enters Rose’s privileged but strict world, and Rose enters Jack’s poor but carefree world.

Titanic. Plot summary and story structure. Rose Dances while Jack cheers her on.

Transitional Goal: Rose begins to get to know Jack, however, they haven’t begun a relationship in earnest yet.

Incidental Opposition: Rose’s mother shows up while she and Jack are hanging out on the decks. Her mother’s disdain for Jack is palpable. Later, Jack goes to their fancy dinner party and, much to Cal’s dismay, charms everyone at the table (except Rose’s mother, of course). Afterward, Lovejoy follows Rose to Jack’s party and reports his findings to Cal.

Turning Point Catalyst – The Reality Check:  The next day, Rose faces the reality of the world in which she lives. Over breakfast, Cal tells her he knows where, and with whom, she went the previous evening. He flips out and flips the table to demonstrate it visually. He demands that as his wife in training, she will honor him. Rose’s mother arrives shortly thereafter and reveals to the audience that Rose’s father has left their family penniless. They argue over her engagement Cal and who is the selfish one in their relationship.

Turning Point Two – The Commitment: Start Time: 74 of 187 minutes (19.2%) – The same morning, Jack returns to first class to find Rose but is turned away by Mr. Lovejoy. Undeterred, Jack sneaks Rose into a room and confesses his feelings for her. Despite herself, she tells him to leave her alone. Over lunch, she remembers how boring her life will be when she sees a little girl being forced to be a lady by her mother. This prompts Rose to go find Jack on the bow of the ship. He gives her his patented “king of the world” treatment and Rose commits to her New Role by beginning a love affair with Jack. Her decision to be with Jack brings the new couple into the Central Conflict with Cal.

Act Run Time: 38 minutes of 187 minutes (20.3%)


The character is thrown in the middle of the Central Conflict and is placed at direct odds with the forces of antagonism. He undergoes a series of successes and failures as he works toward resolving the main throughline.


The character stumbles into the Central Conflict and faces Intentional Opposition in pursuit of a False Goal. But when there is a grave Turn of events, he has a Moment of Truth.

Act Start Time: 83 of 187 minutes (44.4%)

Rose shuns and infuriates Cal (the central conflict) who sends Lovejoy after her (intentional opposition) for starting an all-out relationship with Jack (the false goal). But when the ship strikes an iceberg and Cal frames Jack for the theft of the heart of the ocean diamond (the turn), Rose realizes Jack is innocent and turns her back on Cal and her mother to rescue him (the moment of truth).

The Central Conflict: Rose and Jack square off with Cal, Lovejoy, and the sinking ship.

False Goal: Rose attempts to have a relationship with Jack.

Intentional Opposition: Cal orders Lovejoy to find Rose, and she and Jack narrowly evade his pursuit. Cal finds the drawing of Rose in his safe and comes up with the awesome idea to frame Jack for a crime.

Turning Point Catalyst – The Turn:  Rose and Jack get busy. The lookouts spot an iceberg. After much communication throughout the ship to turn, they hit it anyway. Cal tells a steward he has been robbed and to fetch the master of arms. Rose and Jack overhear what is going on with the iceberg and resolve to tell Cal and her mother. When they return Cal orders Jack searched, and they find the diamond Lovejoy planted on him. Jack pleads with Rose to believe him. She doesn’t. Mr. Andrews tells the captain the ship will sink in an hour or two at most.

Turning Point Three – The Moment of Truth: Start Time: 108 of 187 minutes (57.7%) – Back in their stateroom, Cal slaps Rose to demonstrate what their married life will be like. Meanwhile, Lovejoy leaves Jack to die in the slowly flooding detention area of the ship.

While they make their way to the lifeboats, Cal and Rose’s mother make saucy remarks about the state of the ship. Rose tells her mother to shut up and that half the people on the ship will die. Cal tells Rose Jack’s drawing will be worth more in the morning, prompting her to realize he set Jack up. Rose bids her mother a final goodbye. Cal tries to stop her but she spits in his face and flees. She now realizes the person she must be moving forward and makes the decision to fight against adversity for what she believes is right.

Act Run Time: 35 minutes of 187 minutes (18.7%)

movie analysis of titanic


The character implements a Doomed Plan and faces Self-Inflicted Opposition in pursuit of a Penultimate Goal. But when an unthinkable Lowpoint occurs, he pulls himself together and discovers a Newfound Resolve.

Act Start Time: 118 of 187 minutes (63.1%)

Rose attempts to escape the ship with Jack (the doomed plan), by navigating the bowels of the sinking ship (self-inflicted opposition) and rescuing him from the detention area (the Penultimate Goal). But when the lifeboats are only taking women and Jack convinces Rose to go by herself (the lowpoint), she has a change of heart and jumps onto the lower decks to stay with him (the newfound resolve).

The Doomed Plan: Rose goes to the detention area to save Jack, but there won’t be any lifeboats for them to escape aboard. Not to mention he dies at the end anyway. She only manages to add a few extra minutes to his life. Fail.

Penultimate Goal: Rose attempts to save Jack from the detention area in the bowels of the ship.

Self-Inflicted Opposition: Rose’s trip into the heart of the sinking ship is her own doing. She could have just gotten on the lifeboat and left. All the hardship she encounters on her way is a result of her own decisions.

Turning Point Catalyst – The Lowpoint: The crewmen start shooting. Jack convinces Rose to board a lifeboat. Cal tells her he has an arrangement with a boat on the other side of the ship he will share with Jack. Rose is sad but agrees. Once Rose is on the boat being lowered into the ocean, Cal reveals to Jack that while he does have an arrangement with a boat, Jack won’t benefit from it. In your face, Jack.

Turning Point Four – The Newfound Resolve: Start Time: 138 of 187 minutes (73.7%) – Looking up at Jack, Rose decides she cannot leave him and jumps from the lifeboat onto one of the lower decks.

They run to each other and embrace. Rose reminds Jack that if he jumps, she jumps, mirroring their initial interaction at the Dilemma. She has decided nothing will come between her love for this guy she just met yesterday.

Act Run Time: 22 of 187 minutes (11.8%)


The character engages in a final confrontation with the forces of antagonism to resolve the Central Conflict. The main throughline and all additional subplots are resolved. The new status quo is established.


The character tries a Longshot and faces Ultimate Opposition while trying to accomplish the Ultimate Goal. But just when it seems All is Lost, he makes a Final Push against the forces of antagonism and either succeeds or fails.

Act Start Time: 140 of 187 minutes (74.9%)

Rose and Jack must stay aboard the sinking ship as long as possible, and evade the now murderous Cal (the longshot), to survive together (the ultimate goal). But when the decks erupt into pandemonium as the ship breaks in half and sinks (all is lost), Rose and Jack manage to find each other in the ocean and use a piece of wood to get Rose out of the water (the final push).

The Longshot: Rose and Jack evade Cal and go to the back of the ship in attempt to stay on board as long as possible to survive the sinking of the Titanic.

Ultimate Goal: Rose wants to survive the sinking ship with Jack.

Ultimate Opposition: Cal tries to shoot the lovebirds with Lovejoy’s pistol. I guess if he can’t have her no one can. The ship sinks into the deathly cold of the Atlantic. Rose and Jack are separated.

Turning Point Catalyst – All is Lost: The decks are in chaos as the last lifeboats are loaded. Rose and Jack encounter Mr. Andrews who confesses he wishes to stay aboard the ship. Jack’s friend, Tommy is shot by a bastardo as the band plays to the end. Numerous other passengers struggle with the fact they are about to die.

Turning Point Five – The Final Push: Start Time: 154 of 187 minutes (82.3%) – Rose and Jack make their way to the stern of the ship, knowing it is about to go under. Jack pulls Rose up onto the railing as the ship goes vertical.

As the ship slowly sinks, Jack tells Rose to hold his hand, kick, and not let go. She let’s go anyway. When Rose reaches the surfaces the world is in chaos, but Jack somehow manages to find her.

The reunited lovers swim away from the panicked masses. Rose gets aboard a piece of wood, but Jack can’t because he’s no good with physics. Rose tells Jack she loves him. He tells her she must live on to make babies and die an old lady. He makes her promise she will survive.

When the lifeboats finally come back, Rose awakens to find Jack is a handsome Popsicle.

The lifeboats pass her while she is saying her goodbyes to Jack’s corpse. She tries to scream for them to come back but has no voice. In a last-ditch effort, she swims over to a dead guy, steals his whistle and blows it. Hearing her, the lifeboats come about.


Having accomplished (or failed to have accomplished) the Ultimate Goal, the character is shown living in a New Situation.

Act Start Time: 178 of 187 minutes (95.2%)

Having survived the sinking of the ship through Jack’s ultimate sacrifice, Rose is shown to have honored her promise to him by not marrying Cal and living a full and happy life on her own terms.

The New Situation: Rose Prime gives the death toll in contrast to the number of survivors. Mr. Lovett, the leader of the expedition to find the missing heart-of-the-ocean diamond, finally “gets it”. Rose Prime throws the ridiculously expensive diamond into the ocean and watches it sink. We see Rose has lead a happy life through the pictures she conveniently displays on her nightstand. She either dies or falls asleep and is reunited with Jack and the other passengers aboard Titanic, who all offer a round of applause at her final kiss with Jack as the screen fades to white.

Titanic. Plot summary and story structure. Rose and Jack kiss aboard the Titanic while all the other passengers look on.

Act Run Time: 9 of 187 minutes (4.8%)

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Strengths of the Moview ”Titanic”

Titanic is a popular film that received acclaim from the industry and the audience. It was a colossal and unprecedented success upon the release, and it took more than a decade for another work by Cameron to overtake it. Although some consider the film overrated, its long-lasting impact and universal appeal attest to the quality. Those would be impossible without strong themes, memorable characters, and an engaging narrative.

Titanic ’s prominent themes include love, social inequality, and self-sacrifice, all tangled in a tragic event that resonated with many people by itself. The story concerns a love triangle involving two engaged members of the high society and a young man of low status. While the idea is not novel, the setting refreshes it and makes the dynamic of the relationship. Despite being short-lived, the feelings are genuine, and the final departure is rather emotional. The theme of social and financial inequality in a relationship remains relevant to new generations, although it has different manifestations nowadays. Meanwhile, almost all characters sacrifice something in the film, including their lives. It is an emboldening experience that makes the audience consider the value of what they hold dear. Overall, the themes of Titanic are effective due to their universality, lasting relevance, and emotional execution.

Titanic has a vast cast of characters, some of which existed in real life, but the focus is on the three fictional ones which comprise the love triangle mentioned before. Rose is an adventurous and somewhat fearless young woman who feels constrained by her elevated social status, reminiscent of classic literary works. Her infatuation with a low-class artist, Jack, invigorates her and enables her defiance of the family and fiancé. Both men are each other’s opposites, and it is fascinating to witness Cal’s jealousy unfold in the middle of the disaster. However, he realized that he had lost Rose’s heart forever, and he does some benevolent actions before exiting the scene. Meanwhile, Jack enjoys a loving and understanding relationship with Rose and later willingly sacrifices his life for her, fully aware that she will have someone else after him. Altogether, the characters are vivid, believable, and easily earn the audience’s sympathy or wrath.

Titanic has an engaging narrthat which contributed to the story’s overall strength. The film has a frame structure, starting and ending in the present, with the main events happening in the past. It provides a feeling of realism and proves to be especially effective at the end when we see the main heroine aged and regretful, and the ambiguity of her fate also intrigues the audience. The act of parting with the necklace could indicate Rose’s resolution to leave the events behind, but they seemed so important to her life that they could equal death. Interestingly, Jack managed to predict the circumstances of her passing, or his words left such a powerful impact on Rose that she decided to live accordingly. No matter the truth, the narrative devices enhance the themes and make the audience sympathize with the characters.

Summarizing everything, Titanic is an example of a filled hatch that won universal acclaim through the box office and numerous awards. Its achievements are based on the work’s immortal themes, striking characters, and narrative which supports them. Perhaps, other films surpass Titanic in those aspects, but what made it unique is the combination of the elements which transformed the film into an ultimate romance story in cinema.

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by James Cameron

Titanic character list, jack dawson.

Jack Dawson is a penniless artist who is able to board the Titanic after winning tickets in a lucky game of poker. Jack boards the ship with his Italian friend Fabrizio, and also befriends the fellow third-class passenger Tommy Ryan. Jack spots Rose on the ship's decks, and later saves her from taking her own life. At dinner, Jack impresses several of Rose's acquaintances in first class with his carpe diem attitude and zest for life. Rose's mother Ruth detests Jack, viewing him as a potential threat to Rose's impending marriage to Cal. Jack dies in the North Atlantic after saving Rose.

Rose Dawson Calvert

Rose Dawson Calvert is a 101-year old woman and the narrator of the film's main story, which she tells to Brock Lovett and his team of treasure hunters. As a 17-year-old girl, Rose traveled on the Titanic with her mother and her fiancé, Cal Hockley. Rose feels so suffocated by the circumstances of her life that she attempts suicide near the beginning of the film, and is only saved through Jack's interventions. After getting to know and falling in love with Jack, Rose eventually chooses to leave with him, not Cal, when she arrives in America, but Jack passes away when the ship sinks. Rose chooses to take Jack's name—Rose Dawson—upon arriving at Ellis Island.

Cal Hockley

Cal Hockley, the heir to a Pittsburgh steel fortune, attempts to control Rose's behavior and win her over with exorbitant gifts like the Heart of the Ocean diamond. Jealous and distrustful, Cal dispatches his valet Lovejoy to watch Rose's every move, and becomes furious when he learns that she has been cavorting below decks with Jack. Although Rose despises Cal, Ruth views him as a way to salvage what's left of their family name, after being saddled with debts. Cal eventually attempts to kill both Rose and Jack, and procures a lifeboat seat by grabbing an abandoned child and pretending she is his own.

Ruth DeWitt Bukater

Ruth is Rose's imperious, demanding mother, who seems to care about nothing but maintaining her own class status. Like Cal, Ruth attempts to control Rose's behavior, and transform her into an obedient and pliable society girl. Ruth's tries to compensate for her precarious financial position by holding men like Jack and "new money" like Molly Brown in contempt, and by behaving in a flagrantly elitist manner. Ruth frets over whether the lifeboats will be seated by class, causing Rose to choose to remain on the boat rather than leave with her.

Brock Lovett

Brock Lovett is an experienced treasure hunter who leads a team of submersibles down into the Titanic's shipwreck at the beginning of the film. Brock is at first searching for the Heart of the Ocean, a magnificent jewel worth more than the Hope Diamond, but instead finds a drawing of a woman who turns out to be Rose. Rose's story helps Brock realize that his motivating interest in the Titanic prevented him from comprehending the full scope of the human tragedy of the event.

Molly Brown

The character of Molly Brown—nicknamed the "Unsinkable" Molly Brown—is based on the American socialite and philanthropist Margaret Brown, who is best known for trying to persuade the fellow passengers on her lifeboat to turn around and look for survivors. As "new money," Molly is scorned by some of the other first-class passengers, like Ruth and her circle, but retains her warmth and humanity in a way that they do not. Molly sides with Rose in her feuds with Cal, helps Jack find a tuxedo to wear to dinner, and has little patience for the stultifying manners of the upper crust.

Captain Edward John Smith

Captain Edward Smith is based on the British Merchant Navy officer who served as the actual captain of the Titanic . The film shows Captain Smith to be a weak and pliable man, bending to the whims of J. Bruce Ismay, who wants the ship to reach New York a day ahead of schedule in order to make headlines. Smith speeds up the ship and casually ignores iceberg warnings, and is absent when the ship actually strikes the iceberg. Smith realizes that he and many others will die upon learning that the Carpathia will take four hours to reach the Titanic , and accepts his own death by stepping into the wheelhouse just before it floods.

Thomas Andrews

The character of Thomas Andrews is a British businessman and shipbuilder who is based on the real-life ship's naval architect. Unlike J. Bruce Ismay, who is selfishly obsessed with the ship's scale and marketability, Andrews is a humbler, kinder man who is aghast when the ship strikes the iceberg. Andrews tells Rose that he wanted to include more lifeboats on the ship, but was overruled by the White Star Line. As the Titanic's principal architect, Andrews is tasked with convincing Ismay, Captain Smith, and others that the ship will sink. The last time Rose sees him, he is staring at a clock above the mantel in the dining quarters, counting down the minutes until the ship goes under.

J. Bruce Ismay

J. Bruce Ismay is a character based on the chairman and managing director of the White Star Line. The film shows Ismay to be preoccupied with marketing the ship, urging Captain Smith to speed up so that they can arrive in New York early in order to attract favorable press. Ismay is among those who believe the ship is unsinkable, sputtering incredulously when Thomas Andrews tells him gravely that the ship will founder. Ismay sneaks onto a lifeboat being managed by First Officer William Murdoch, and was pilloried in the press as a coward for being the highest-ranking White Star Line official to survive the disaster.

William Murdoch

William Murdoch is the First Officer of the ship, who is in command when the ship strikes the iceberg. Murdoch must inform Captain Smith of the collision, and seems to feel guilty and responsible for not being able to avert the disaster. Murdoch is later tasked with loading the lifeboats, and allows J. Bruce Ismay to sneak onto one lifeboat unchallenged. However, a disgusted Murdoch later rejects Cal's bribes, throwing his cash back in his face. After shooting an innocent bystander in an effort to try to maintain order when loading the boats, Murdoch feels overwhelmed with guilt and desperation, and kills himself.

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Titanic Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer section for Titanic is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

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I suggest you use the "Contact Us" button located on the bottom, left-hand side of the page.

What is the central idea of Below Deck: A Titanic Story?

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describe two factors that impacted on specific community including evolution of risk socities in titanic movie

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Study Guide for Titanic

Titanic study guide contains a biography of James Cameron, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

  • About Titanic
  • Titanic Summary
  • Character List
  • Director's Influence

Wikipedia Entries for Titanic

  • Introduction
  • Pre-production

movie analysis of titanic

The Significance and the Esteem of the Film “Titanic” Critical Essay

The film “ Titanic ” represents the ship that was deemed unsinkable and occurrences on her 1912 maiden journey from Southampton, in the United Kingdom, to New York City, in the United States.

On the ship was a girl (Rose DeWitt Bukater, acted by Kate Winslet) engaged to a rich man (Caledon) that she never loved. Despite the engagement, Rose comes across a poor young man (Jack, acted by Leonardo DiCarprio) and they fall in love.

As they fight with class and Caledon’s opposition, the Titanic hits an iceberg and begins to sink gradually. The striking of the iceberg by the ship leaves the stars of the film (Rose and Jack) struggling for their lives as well as their love.

It was with some surprise that Stephen Rowley wrote the review on this movie (Rowley para. 1). Doing his review in September 1998, 8 months after the release of the movie Titanic , it was disorientating for Stephen Rowley to note that he enjoyed it.

This is owing to the reason that at some point in that era, the unrelenting cruelty that surrounds James Cameron’s movie “ Titanic ” has resulted in Stephen Rowley disliking the movie and all about it. Rowley dislikes Jack for falling in love with Rose, who was already engaged to Caledon.

James Cameron is an action director who is little known as director of romances. The beauty of the Titanic film is that Cameron came up with practical, yet distressing, sentimental subplots and incorporated them completely into the power of an action narrative.

It is hard to believe that James Cameron envisaged the love narrative involving the two characters (Jack and Rose) and ultimately decided the ideal backdrop would be the sinking of the Titanic (ship).

However, it is easier to believe that James Cameron began with the notion of how exhilarating the submerging scenes could be and afterward grafted the lovers into the events. Titanic shows this vividly, making it an excellent and outstanding antique disaster film (Rowley para. 1-2).

James Cameron has the benefit of making his movie after the wreckage of the ship was found.

This has brought about a great deal of fresh information that cheerfully directs to a series of events significantly more visually exhilarating when judged against the old representation of ship submerging under the effects of the iceberg and waves.

Cameron is inventive at operating his characters into the excellent positions to observe every one of the outstanding achievement.

The imagery in the movie astonishes, from the frightening instances like icy water chases around the hull to the film concluding views like the sinking of the ship undersea.

James Cameron excellently conveys all the peak points such as his tactical craftsmanship; perfect framing, redacting and choreography of activity ought to be carried out as an instance in film production.

These views get approximately an hour to glue a viewer to them, which is roughly the period taken by the ship to sink. James Cameron shows off his command of the medium, his elegant production design and his surprising visual outcomes. In this regard, the movie is a great success.

Nevertheless, Stephen Rowley rapidly rose to resent the movie and the success it bears since individuals appear to enjoy the movie at the instances that it is not good at all. This feature of the movie is just a bare minimum endeavour; it is compliant with the action.

Being a drama in its own capacity, Titanic has notably miniature integrity. Fundamentally, Titanic brings out a common, stale category of conflict romance (Rowley para. 2-3).

James Cameron fails to add any astounding notes to the hackneyed story, and his illustration of class domination is exceptionally schematic.

As a result of this class domination, I tend to think that a director from either Britain or Australia could have initiated the judgment of class with more niceness and positive reception.

The majority of character instances are oafishly awkward and apparent (like the manner in which Rose quickly identifies the lifeboat scarcity).

In Titanic , Caledon seems to be misplaced in the period of time; there is not a single flaw in him that could make an underprivileged character like Jack forcefully get away with his fiancée.

A film as huge as Titanic is effortless for critics to direct shots at, because there is a great chance of hitting the target. Blamed of being overindulgent, historically wrong and poorly written, Titanic has been severally spoofed. (Rowley para. 4-6)

Many people deem the film unpleasant, its striking portrayal of the submerging mocks the individuals that passed on in a disaster that shook the world.

Nevertheless, a film that has generated such a huge sum of money and that has arrested the attention of such a huge fan-base indubitably must have achieved the right thing.

Titanic has turned out to be one of the most triumphant, perdurable and best-cherished movie around the globe owing to three key points. To start with, the movie was anchored in a true historical event where real human beings were entailed.

Secondly, it displayed epic Computer-Generated Imagery of a huge magnitude. Thirdly, it narrated the personal tales of the individuals that had boarded the ship, instead of just a narration of the ship alone.

The submerging of the unsinkable ship has remained theatrically enthralling for more than one century (Rowley para. 5-7).

The impressive and perfect representation of the ship, the iceberg and the submerging accorded the movie the irresistible touch of a historical renewal, although an incongruously impressive one.

Nevertheless, what actually composes the movie is the cast of characters who boarded the ship as everyone is given time on the screen.

The rich girl (Rose) falls in love with the poor young man (Jack) with their short-lived affair being doomed and still rendered undying by the forthcoming disaster. Similar to Romeo and Juliet, Jack and Rose had a great conviction that they had found true love.

However, they hardly knew each other; they became infatuated and could try anything in their ability to safeguard their relationship.

For viewers, we have to suffer the pain of watching the two youngsters fall for each other, with the notion that their dreams and anticipations are nearly slipping off. As the years pass and Rose grows old, she still treasures the moments she shared with Jack and everything that he did for her.

Whereas the Titanic exhibits a number of flaws, it is not possible to disregard the significance and the esteem of the film.

Though I concur with Rowley that Titanic may not be a flawless movie, it has at least provided evidence that irrespective of how impressive and emotional it could be it is not beyond directing some criticism at itself.

Works Cited

Rowley Stephen. Titanic Review . 2012. Web.

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This Cheesy Alternate Ending to ‘Titanic’ Turned the Film Into an Afternoon Special

Scenes are cut for a reason.

The Big Picture

  • Titanic 's alternate ending changes a few things but ultimately doesn't work as well as the original ending.
  • The alternate ending includes cheesy dialogue that handholds the audience through the messages of the film.
  • The original ending to Titanic reflects the themes of the film in a much more meaningful and emotional way than the alternate ending.

James Cameron 's Titanic is perhaps one of the most timeless epic romances in the history of cinema. Its sweeping score, spectacular special effects, and romantic heart captured many people in 1997. It became the highest-grossing film of all time for years , only to be usurped by Cameron yet again with Avatar , another epic romance. But what many people may not know is that there was an alternate ending to the film. Deleted and alternate scenes are certainly common with any movie. But oftentimes we ask ourselves, why was this cut? Titanic's Blu-ray release collects a grand total of 30 deleted scenes. Considering the film is already over three hours , that is a lot of footage. Included in this is an alternate version of the ending. No, it is not too different from the ending we know and love, but it does change a few things. Most importantly, it is an ending that does not work nearly as well as the one in the finished film .

A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic.

What Is 'Titanic's Alternate Ending?

The film's alternate ending is set up the same way. This takes place directly after Brock Lovett ( Bill Paxton ) and Lizzy Calvert ( Suzy Amis ), Rose's ( Gloria Stuart ) granddaughter, are talking on the research vessel once Rose has ended her recount of events. The film cuts to Rose approaching the railing, just as she does in the theatrical version. She grabs the rail and pulls herself up so that she can look over into the ocean's dark depths. This is where the endings diverge. We all know the original ending: she tosses the necklace into the sea, watching it sink into the dark, its final resting place next to the wreckage and the 1,500 lost that night . The necklace sinking fades into the end sequence, where it is up to interpretation if Rose passes away or is dreaming.

In the alternate ending, Lizzy sees her grandmother climbing on the railing. After an exclamation, Lizzy and Brock both run to the scene, presumably thinking she might jump overboard like she was planning to while on the Titanic. Rose warns them to not come any closer, threatening to drop the necklace. Brock is shocked to see she has had the Heart of the Ocean the entire time she's been there on the research vessel. The others arrive at the scene. Brock asks her if he could hold it one time, and she lets him. She then throws it into the sea behind her. Brock and Rose share a laugh, and there is more implication of a romantic spark between him and Lizzy. Only then does the scene tilt to the stars and fade into the same final sequence where Rose ( Kate Winslet ) seemingly joins Jack ( Leonardo DiCaprio ) and the rest of the voyagers in either death or a dream. It may seem like a sweet sequence, and it works well on paper. Brock gets to hold the necklace one time before Rose throws it into the sea, both of them getting closure . It should work, but there are several reasons why it doesn't.

Why the Alternate Ending of 'Titanic' Doesn't Work

The main reason why this ending doesn't work is the cheesy dialogue that handholds the audience through the messages of the film. Brock, as he tries to barter with her for the necklace says, "I don't know what to say to a woman who tries to jump off of the Titanic when it's not sinking and then jumps back on when it is." Then as Brock holds the diamond in his hand, Rose tells him that he's "[looking] for treasure in the wrong place [...] only life is priceless, and making each day count." With that, she slowly pulls it from his grasp, James Horner 's score sweeps in, and she throws it into the water. There's a comedic moment where another character says "that really sucks, lady!" But the focus here is on Brock, who has finally moved on from the years he's spent obsessively searching for the necklace. This should reflect the themes set up in the film, and it does, but not in a good way. This alternate ending is essentially telling the audience what is happening word for word . The necklace means nothing in the long run. Brock should focus on the things right in front of him. This ending gives him the chance to see it, hold it, and move on. But in the theatrical cut, he already has moved on. The alternate ending is derivative of the scene before it.

In the scene that only takes a moment before the start of the ending, Brock and Lizzy are speaking as the submersibles are being loaded back onto the vessel. He presents the same cigar we see at the start of the film when the research team retrieves the safe, noting that he planned to smoke it when he found the diamond. He chucks the cigar overboard and says "three years, I thought of nothing except Titanic, but I never got it. I never let it in." That is the end of the scene, and it goes straight into the scene where Rose has the iconic moment to herself when she lets go of the diamond into the ocean. Yes, Brock gets to see the diamond in the alternate cut, but here it is much more meaningful , and it does not cheapen Brock's mournful moving-on scene in the moment before. Both Rose and Brock have something physical they let go of. She has the diamond, he has the cigar he was saving to smoke when he found it. Both items end up in the same place, and it is a wonderful thematic and visual parallel that does not seem out of place in the film like the alternate ending.

Alternate endings are usually always cut for some reason, for better or worse. Sometimes it's time. Sometimes there is sequel bait tagged on. In some countries, movies end differently than in other countries. Test audiences can be unfulfilled with an ending and cause it to be reshot. Sometimes they simply do not work, like here. Other times, it is hard to imagine why they would scrap such a perfect ending. As for Titanic, Cameron made the right choice with its ending. The alternate ending may be a fun look into how the movie could have ended, but it is only a cheesy, comedic mess in comparison to the emotional ending we all know.

Titanic is available to stream on Paramount+ in the U.S.

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The Titanic was a film like no other, offering audiences all aspects that they love to watch in one movie. It included a compelling love story based on a historical reference of the sinking of the Titanic. The Titanic offered a captivating story the was based on the real-life events on the sinking of the Titanic ship. It did all of this while also portraying the story with attractive protagonists that made the story even more appealing because it offered many generations to also see romance, and a love story the audience knew most likely wasn’t going to end well knowing the fate of the Titanic. The film was influenced by audiences need for tragedy and use of a real-life event, that was the sinking of the Titanic. The film influenced other films with its use of making a real-life event into a fiction love story, it made audiences feel that this event could have happened in the real-life event. The film impacted a whole generation with its captivating storyline, use of directorial skills, and character development.

The films story gave audiences hope that people that lived in two completely different worlds such as Jack being the poor guy, and Rose the rich girl could grow to fall in love so deeply regardless of their social status. It made people believe in love at least for the three hours and 14 minutes that the movie lasted. That is a powerful thing for a movie to achieve. It gives the idea that money does not matter and has nothing to do with happiness, but that love is what brings happiness. This especially was attractive to the younger teens that watched the movie countless times after its release. It also related to teens in the sense that they could relate to the rebellion that Rose was demonstrating to her mother and her finance. Rose’s mother did not want Rose to lose her fiancé because she did not want to lose the money that was in store if Rose did marry. The film made people of all ages believe that there was a thing such as true love out there, females especially thought that there might me a Jack for them and guys imagined that there might be a Rose out waiting for them also. Although the movie had great special effects such as the scene of the Titanic actually sinking, the emotions and the love story conveyed on screen is what really impacted the audience. In essence the people aboard the Titanic is what made the film so great, such as when they were all waiting for their death and the scenes that Cameron was able to capture of the passengers in their final moments of life.

The characters in the film also made it possible for audiences to fall in love with the film. James Cameron the director of the film made two great choices in the protagonist of the film with Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack, and Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt. When Leonardo was cast in the role he was still a relatively unknown actor, only starring in a few select films before the Titanic such as Romeo and Juliet. Cameron made sure the he cast Leonardo instead of a more well-known heartthrob knowing that Leonardo was the right man for the job, He also made sure the Jack was portrayed as the man of any woman’s dream with barely any flaws to his personality. Jack lite up the screen every time he was had a scene and that worked out for the film in the end because every girl fell in love with Jack just like Rose did.

James Cameron’s directorial skills is also what made the film what it is and why it made the impact that it did on our society. Cameron was a director that has much passion about the films that he makes. He did not skimp on the amount of money that was spent on the film, just the scene that demonstrates the ship sinking cost the studio $4.5 million. Cameron is a director that does not care whether he makes a profit on a film because he believes in his art which is movie making. He made sure that everything in the film looked as authentic as possible including the costumes that they wore to the most minimal detail that the average movie goer probably didn’t even notice. Cameron could capture the time period that the film was set in perfectly down to the last detail. Cameron was also very hands on with the film and made sure that he always worked as hard as he could on the film. He also worked his actors hard so that the film could look as authentic as possible, especially the scene where Jack and Rose were at the end in the water, since they had to be inside the cold water for hours on end. If anyone else had directed Titanic it would not have had the same impact that it did and still had had in our society. Cameron’s directorial skills took its audience to the movie itself, making its audience experience the movie and not just watch it.

Titanic had a great influence on the films that came after it, but not necessarily on the artistic way, instead making other filmmakers try to strive to gain the $1 billion that Titanic was able to reach worldwide that no other film had done before it. Unlike Cameron that could reach to that point with a love story, other filmmakers reached that point mainly with sequels. They would make already big hits in the box office, for example like the Harry Potter series into an even bigger film with the sequels that followed it (Corliss, R. 2012). A sequel would usually be the film that was able to hit the $1 billion mark at the box office. Cameron was able to achieve this without a sequel and not using the same format the films that followed the Titanic. The films that followed the hero usually prevails at the end while in the Titanic the ship sinks and the hero being Jack dies and the end. James Cameron was able to beat his own box office record with his film Avatar. Titanic changed movies forever in the way that movies now focused more on the money aspect than the story and art aspect of it. Titanic was one of the most expensive films to make, but it ended up paying off in the end since it did reach the $1 billion mark at the box office. Many films following that made tried making their films as big as possible in order to achieve that same goal, which made the films actually lack many of the things that made Titanic great such as the narrative and the originality of the film.

Titanic has proven to be a film great for all times, with its storyline that kept audiences all around the world entranced to the screen. Its characters on the screen that could perfectly capture the love that they felt towards each other regardless of the odds that they faced because of their social status. It made people believe in love and feel emotions that they were not necessarily expecting when the ship sank and most of the people died, including the hero of the film and Roses true love. James Cameron’s directorial skills and the amount of risk taking that he had on the film was also what made the film be as impactful as it was and still is to this day. He had such great attention to detail and cared so much about his film that he was able to capture the time period and its characters perfectly that really took the audience to the time period and really made them feel the story. He was also able to push his actors in ways that they would act totally authentic in their roles. Titanic also changed the way that people made movies, production studios focused more on the money aspect of movie making then before. Since Titanic was one of the most expensive movies to make, but it was also the highest grossing film in the box office having reach $1billion, they wanted to produce even more films of that magnitude after Titanic.

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by Robin Zutshi

Titanic, released in 1997, is an American epic romantic film that ends in a disaster. The film has been directed, written, co-produced, co-edited and partly financed by James Cameron. Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio are in the lead roles. And they belong to two different social classes who fell in love with each other in the film. The theme of the film is the love story between the two main protagonists which is infused with the human loss. The film was released worldwide in English language on December 19, 1997 and it was distributed by 20th Century Fox (international) and Paramount Pictures (USA). The characters in the film were Leonardo Dicaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Jane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Bernard Hill, Jonathan Hyde, Danny Nucci, Gloria Stuart, David Warner, Victor Garber, and Bill Paxton. The music was given by James Horner. It was the most expensive film ever made at that time. Titanic is basically a ship which unfortunately got hit with an ice berg and broke into two pieces, thereby drowned maximum of the passengers boarded on the ship.

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Ann Larabee , John A Dowell

This is a draft of a piece that will appear in sLaughter, edited Cynthia Miller and John Dowell.

Too Soon?: Laughing at Disaster on the Cinematic Titanic

The United States (or the U.S. for short) and Vietnam have always been different in many aspects, including culture and history, which directly affect the film industry of each country. While Hollywood has been the pride of the U.S. as the heart of the global cinema industry, Vietnamese cinema is far behind since the country suffers consecutive wars. As a result, these features lead to different portrayal of romantic relationship in Hollywood and Vietnamese romance films. However, it is impossible to compare Hollywood and Vietnamese on-screen romance without clarifying the contrasts between American and Vietnamese cultures that lead to on-screen contrasts. The word “culture” itself is already very complicated. Various researchers have defined it in different ways with numerous perspectives; therefore it is hardly able to point out exactly the distinctions between American and Vietnamese cultures. Recognizing the problem, this thesis proposes a solution by narrowing down the sphere of the word “culture” with theories from Geert Hofstede (1996) and Edward Hall (1977), two of the most well-known social psychologists in the world. Based on these concepts, the paper aims to build a firm basis to support further studying Hollywood and Vietnamese romantic films, thus finding the key contrasts of their on-screen romance. The sphere of research is limited among movies of the romance genre, which means movies of other genres such as horror, sci-fi or action are not included, even if they contain a romantic relationship in their plot. In short, the research aims to provide a creative approach to studying intercultural communication by analyzing films as a new form of mass media. Hopefully, the thesis will become an effective tool for those working in the fields of communication, culture, country or cinema, and an inspiration for those who are interested.

A Comparison of On-screen Romance in Hollywood and Vietnamese movies

2008, German Life and Letters

This article examines the extraordinary success of Roland Suso Richter's recent television mini-series Dresden (2006), one of a number of major television projects produced by Nico Hofmann's TeamWorx company, with the support of the television mogul Jan Mojto. It explores the way this and other productions have exploited both the recent upsurge of cultural interest in German ‘wartime suffering’ and the rediscovery of the disaster movie as a genre by Hollywood. Of particular interest to the discussion is the fact that Dresden avoided much of the controversy that often accompanies the representation of German wartime suffering. Yet while the film's presentation of the bombing of the city was largely accepted by critics, its use of certain genre conventions proved more troubling. Specifically, the manner in which Dresden employs James Cameron's 1997 epic disaster film Titanic as an intertext is examined, along with a number of films by Steven Spielberg, whose production company, DreamWorks, TeamWorx clearly sees as a role model. The controversy the film did generate, it is suggested, is due to the problematic ideological connotations the film's intertexts bring with them, a cultural context that tests the limits of contemporary German ‘normalisation’.


Andrew Wells

2013, Journal of British Studies

The apparent lack of representations of the Titanic disaster in Britain between the start of the First World War and the end of the 1950s was due, not to a lack of interest, but to active resistance to such representations. Shipping interests, the press, government, and the public all opposed portrayals of the catastrophe, but their opposition depended much on the medium by which the sinking was to be represented, on the broader international context, and on the nature and status of individual memories of the events of 1912. Questions of fact, fiction, national prestige, and the ethics of representation dominated the first half century of the Titanic's cultural history in the United Kingdom.

Sinking Feelings: Representing and Resisting the Titanic Disaster in Britain, 1914-ca.1960

Despina Kakoudaki

2002, Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies

Spectacles of History: Race Relations, Melodrama, and the Science Fiction/Disaster Film

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Analysis of the Visual Work in the Movie "Titanic" by James Cameron

Analysis of the Visual Work in the Movie "Titanic" by James Cameron essay

Analysis of film elements

  • Cameron, J. (Director). (1997). Titanic [Motion picture]. United States: Paramount Pictures.
  • Janicker, R. (2004). The Sinking of the Titanic: An Iceberg for Cultural Studies. Discourse, 26(2), 99-118.
  • Boushel, M. (1999). 'I'll never let go': titanic and the ethics of spectatorship. Camera Obscura, 14(2 42), 60-97.
  • Jones, E. (1998). Titanic and the making of James Cameron: the inside story of the three-year adventure that rewrote motion picture history. New York: Newmarket Press.
  • Albornoz, L. (2012). James Cameron's Titanic and the myth of the male hero. Revista De Estudios Norteamericanos, 16, 55-67.
  • Ingham, R. (2000). Finding a place for Titanic in our film and history classes. Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies, 30(1), 68-74.

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10 Questions About Titanic You're Embarrassed To Ask (But May Be Wondering)

Posted: November 23, 2023 | Last updated: November 23, 2023

  • James Cameron and his crew captured footage of the real Titanic wreckage, which was incorporated into the movie. Cameron's desire to visit the shipwreck inspired the film.
  • Gloria Stuart, a relatively unknown actress, portrayed the elderly Rose in Titanic. She is most well-known for her movies in the 1930s.
  • The grave of a "J. Dawson" in a cemetery in Halifax, Canada has created theories that Jack's body was recovered. However, it is likely just a coincidence.

Decades after its monumental success, many are still curious about James Cameron's Titanic but may be embarrassed to ask some questions if the answer seems like they should be obvious. Titanic is a cinematic landmark that was nominated for a record-breaking 14 Oscars and won 11, including the 1998 Best Picture award. The historical fiction epic depicts the romance between first-class passenger Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) and third-class artist Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio), on the doomed maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic.

The movie's historical basis prompts questions not only about production but also about the real story behind Titanic . Even after the movie's 25th anniversary, not all viewers are clear on which parts of the movie actually happened, and some mysteries about the original characters still remain. The most common questions about the cinematic masterpiece Titanic should have seemingly all been answered by now, but there is always more to learn.

Related: Titanic Ending Explained: What Happens To Rose At The End (Original & Alternate Version)

Did Titanic Use Real Footage?

Answer: yes..

James Cameron and his crew undertook many dives to capture footage of the real Titanic wreckage, which was incorporated into the movie. These shots are used when the fictional crew who are trying to salvage treasure from the sunken ship, and Rose herself, visit the site. Cameron, who has been fascinated by the deep ocean since a young age, has said that wanting to visit the Titanic site is what inspired the movie: “I made ‘Titanic’ because I wanted to dive into the shipwreck, not because I particularly wanted to make the movie" (via CNN ).

Related: Every James Cameron Movie Ranked From Worst To Best

Who Plays Old Rose?

Answer: gloria stuart..

When viewers try to remember who played an elderly Rose in Titanic , they might search their minds for a famous name, when the answer is a relatively unknown actress. Gloria Stuart is most well-known for movies made in the 1930s, including The Invisible Man (1933) and Roman Scandals (1933). She left acting to raise a family and came back to it in the 80s. She won a Screen Actors Guild Award and was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars for playing Rose. Born in 1910, Gloria Stuart passed away on September 26, 2010.

Was Jack Ever Found?

Answer: probably not..

Theories have arisen of Jack's body being recovered because there is a real grave for a "J. Dawson" at the Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax, Canada. This cemetery is famously the resting place of more than 100 victims of the Titanic. The grave bearing the same name as DiCarpio's famous character has imbued the site with a kind of mysticism. However, the name is likely a coincidence. Smithsonian Magazine answered the question of what happened to Jack's body by reporting an experiment of how a pig's body was dropped to the bottom of the ocean and devoured by smaller carnivores in similar conditions.

What Happened To Rose's Mother?

Answer: unconfirmed, but likely never saw rose again..

Rose and her mother, Ruth (Frances Fisher), have a difficult relationship, with Ruth pressuring Rose to marry the abusive Cal Hockley (Billy Zane) in order to maintain their social status. Rose's father is dead and the family's money has run out, and Ruth is horrified by the idea of having to work for a living. Before Ruth boards a lifeboat, she and Rose have a final confrontation. Rose calls her mother out on her selfish concerns about the lifeboats being too crowded when half the people on board are going to die. Rose then says "Goodbye, Mother," with an air of finality, and leaves as her mother disembarks the ship.

In the aftermath, Rose adopts a new identity and probably chooses not to contact her mother; their farewell had an air of finality, and Rose wants to start a new life. Ruth likely believed that Rose died in the sinking. What happened to Rose's mother next is unconfirmed, whether she was forced to live a less decadent life or found another way to maintain her wealth.

Why Didn't Rose Run Away Before?

Answer: she needed jack to convince her she could..

Rose is depicted as completely miserable in her upper-class life and is dreading her marriage to Cal. She is so desperate to escape that she nearly throws herself off the boat early in the movie, but is stopped by Jack. After surviving the movie's events, she severs any contact with her old life and goes on to be an actress, have many adventures, and start her own family.

Related: Titanic's 10 Best Quotes

Discussing her attempted suicide with Jack, he poses the question: "What could've happened to this girl to make her think she had no way out?" Rose may not have yet believed she could survive on her own and thought that running away was not an option. She originally plans to leave the Titanic with Jack, but after his death, makes her way on her own. She tells her granddaughter and the others years later that Jack saved her "in every way a person can be saved." She was referring not only to Jack saving her from drowning but from her misery.

Who Is Kathy Bates' Character?

Answer: margaret brown, known as the "unsinkable molly brown.".

Kathy Bates plays Margaret Brown, an American socialite and philanthropist who spent time on board the Titanic. The movie is inaccurate in having Rose state that the first-class milieu called her " Molly," as she was called "Maggie" by her friends during her lifetime, only being called "Molly" after her death. However, she did try to convince the people in her lifeboat to go back for survivors, as is shown in the movie.

Related: Titanic: The Actress Who Almost Played Molly Brown

Did Rose Die At The End?

Answer: not completely clear..

Many still ask what happens to Rose at the end of Titanic . After throwing the invaluable "Heart of the Ocean" diamond necklace into the sea above the Titanic's wreckage, she goes to bed. In a vision of some kind, a young Rose arrives at the Titanic's grand staircase where Jack and the other victims are waiting for her. This scene could have been a dream or an afterlife for Rose, but it has never been confirmed which it is.

Were Third Class Passengers Really Locked Downstairs?

Answer: no, but they faced other obstacles..

While the depiction of third-class Titanic passengers being locked downstairs when the Titanic began to sink is a myth, other factors were responsible for the majority of deaths being among third-class. Rosie Waites reported (via BBC ) that there were already locked gates in place before the collision with the iceberg, which were intended to keep third-class and first-class separate due to immigration laws at the time. There were also no lifeboats on the third-class deck, which meant passengers had to navigate a maze of corridors to get to the first- and second-class parts of the boat.

Why Didn't Jack Get On The Door?

Answer: anyone's guess..

One of the biggest debates surrounding Titanic is whether Jack could also have fit on the door that Rose used as a life raft, so he would've been saved from freezing to death in the water. MythBusters famously produced an episode in 2012 and concluded that Jack and Rose could have both survived, but only if they'd tied Rose's life vest to the underside of the board to increase its buoyancy . However, Cameron himself addressed Titanic's ending and said this was not possible, because Jack and Rose did not have the clarity of mind to accomplish this (via TIME ).

What Is The Lesson Of Titanic?

Answer: be prepared for anything and live your best life..

Since the disaster of the Titanic, ocean liners have implemented strict rules about the number of lifeboats and vests and the necessity of clear evacuation procedures. However, these standards were in place long before Cameron got to work, and his movie wasn't going to teach any new lessons about aquatic safety. Titanic is ultimately meant to convey the tragedy of the event, while including an original story about Rose taking control of her own life, inspired by her brief romance with Jack . It is far more than a "real-life event movie," which is why it is not too focused on accuracy.

Sources: Smithsonian Magazine, BBC, TIME

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‘Rustin’ Review: A Crucial Civil Rights Activist Gets His Due

Colman Domingo carries this biopic of a March on Washington organizer, the first narrative feature from Michelle and Barack Obama’s production company.

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A line of actors in 1960s period dress; some are standing, some are seated next to rotary telephones.

By Manohla Dargis

Every so often an actor so dominates a movie that its success largely hinges on his every word and gesture. That’s the case with Colman Domingo’s galvanic title performance in “Rustin,” which runs like a current through this portrait of the gay civil-rights activist, a close adviser to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pacifist, ex-con, singer, lutist, socialist — Bayard Rustin had many lives, but he remains best known as the main organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It was Rustin who read the march’s demands from the podium, remaining near King’s side as he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.

At once a work of reclamation and celebration, “Rustin” seeks to put its subject front and center in the history he helped to make and from which he has, at times, been elided, partly because, as an openly gay man, he challenged both convention and the law . His was a rich, fascinatingly complex history, filled with big personalities and tremendous stakes, one that here is primarily distilled through the march, which the movie tracks from its rushed conception to its astonishing realization on Aug. 28, 1963, when a quarter million people converged at the Lincoln Memorial. It was the defining public triumph of Rustin’s life.

After a little historical scene-setting — via images of stoic protesters surrounded by screaming racists — the director George C. Wolfe, working from a script by Julian Breece and Dustin Lance Black, gets down to business. It’s 1960, and King (Aml Ameen) is exasperated. Several activists have asked King to lead a mass protest against the forthcoming Democratic National Convention. Sighing, King directs his eyes upward as if beseeching a witness from on high and politely declines: “I’m not your man.” A few beats later and his gaze is again directed up, but now at Rustin, who’s towering above King, challenging him.

The protest, Rustin explains, will send a message to the party and its nominee, the front-runner John F. Kennedy. Unless the Democrats take a stand against segregation, Rustin says with rising passion and volume, “our people will not show up for them.” His directness and body language nicely dramatize Rustin’s gifts as a strategist, which reach a crescendo when he sits down, so that now it’s him who’s looking up at King. Swayed by Rustin’s forceful argument, King agrees to lead the protest, enraging establishment power brokers like the head of the N.A.A.C.P., Roy Wilkins (a miscast Chris Rock), and the U.S. Representative for Harlem, Adam Clayton Powell Jr. (a ferocious Jeffrey Wright, taking no prisoners).

Five minutes into the movie, and you’re hooked; everything works in this punchy opener. Yet while Domingo, the unfortunately underused Wright and most of the rest of the cast keep charging forward, the movie soon sags under the weight of its central personality and the monumental history it condenses in under two eventful hours. As it straddles the personal and the political, it struggles to do justice to Rustin, whose life story emerges in frustrating piecemeal, along with an anemic love affair, nods at past hurdles, hints of future milestones and appearances by various major players. Carra Patterson shows up as Coretta Scott King; a vivid Michael Potts pops in and out as the labor organizer Cleveland Robinson .

Powell and Wilkins succeed in derailing the 1960 protest, causing a rift between King and Rustin. The story picks up three years later shortly before Rustin begins organizing the 1963 march, shifting the movie into high gear with bustling characters, clacking typewriters and ringing phones. At their best, these scenes underscore how the civil rights movement was a titanic communal effort . Yet partly because the movie also wants to be a great-forgotten-man-of-history story, the larger movement fades amid the clamor of what can seem like a one-man show. It suggests, for one, that Rustin originated the idea for the march when, in a 1979 interview, he specifically credited his mentor A. Philip Randolph (Glynn Turman) — whose March on Washington Movement dates to the 1940s — with its creation.

The largest problem with the movie is that it’s finally too conventional, formally and politically, to do full justice to the complexities of either the civil-rights movement or Rustin, a socialist whose activism was rooted in his Quakerism and was informed both by his moral beliefs and by economic analysis. When Rustin and other activists on the Left first planned the march, economics was at the fore. “The dynamic that has motivated” Black Americans in their own fight against racism, the plan read , “may now be the catalyst which mobilizes all workers behind the demands for a broad and fundamental program for economic justice.”

Whatever its flaws, “Rustin” can’t help but move you with its images of so many people joined in righteous harmony. The optimism of its moment feels very distant from the fractiousness of our own, yet it lifts you, as does Domingo’s fantastically alive turn. From the second that Rustin sweeps into the movie, throwing open his arms to King — and, by extension, welcoming the future they will help make — the actor seizes hold of you. He grabs you with his expressive physicality and then pulls you closer with the urgency, yearning and luminous sincerity that openly plays across his face. It’s such a lucid, persuasive, outwardly effortless performance that you may not even notice he’s carrying this movie almost by himself.

Rustin Rated PG-13 for adults being adults and sometimes smoking. Running time: 1 hour 46 minutes. Watch on Netflix .

An earlier version of this article misspelled the given name of the star of the film “Rustin.” He is Colman Domingo, not Coleman.

How we handle corrections

Manohla Dargis is the chief film critic of The Times, which she joined in 2004. She has an M.A. in cinema studies from New York University, and her work has been anthologized in several books. More about Manohla Dargis

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The Titan is a carbon fibre and titanium submersible and is used to explore the wreck of the Titanic.

Missing Titanic submersible: what is the Titan tourist sub and what might have happened to it?

The five-person craft has 96 hours of oxygen on board and can dive to depths of 4km to explore wreckage of the Titanic

  • Missing Titanic sub – latest updates

Search and rescue teams are racing to find a tourist submersible that went missing with five people on board during a dive to explore the wreck of the Titanic.

Contact with the Titan submersible was lost 1 hour 45 minutes into its dive on Sunday afternoon, according to the US Coast Guard. Here’s what we know about the vessel and what might have happened.

What is the Titan sub and what can it do?

The Titan is a research and survey submersible that can carry five people, usually a pilot and four “mission specialists” who can include archaeologists, marine biologists or anyone who can afford the experience as a tourist.

Made of “titanium and filament wound carbon fibre”, the 6.7-metre (22ft) craft weighs 10,432kg (23,000lbs), equivalent to about six average-size cars, and is capable of diving to depths of 4,000 metres (13,120ft) “with a comfortable safety margin”, according to operator OceanGate. It uses four electric thrusters to move around, and has a battery of cameras, lights and scanners to explore its environment. OceanGate says Titan’s viewport is “the largest of any deep diving submersible” and that its technology provides an “unrivalled view” of the deep ocean.

It has a 96-hour bottled oxygen supply, as of roughly 6am Sunday local time, according to David Concannon, an adviser to trip operator OceanGate, which would in theory last until Thursday morning . However, that limit would be affected by the breathing rate of those inside the craft, especially if there are tourists onboard with limited diving experience.

What might have gone wrong?

It is too early to say what has happened but experts have offered several of the most likely scenarios, from becoming tangled in wreckage of the Titanic, to a power failure or an issue with the sub’s communications system.

The wreckage of the Titanic, which lies about 3,800 metres (12,500ft) down on the ocean floor is surrounded by debris from the disaster more than a century ago. “There are parts of it all over the place. It’s dangerous,” said Frank Owen OAM, a retired Royal Australian Navy official and submarine escape and rescue project director.

Contact was lost 1 hour 45 minutes into the Titan’s trip, suggesting the crew may have been close to, or at, the bottom, says Owen. The Titan has a maximum speed of three knots, but would be slower the deeper it goes.

In the case of becoming tangled, or a power or communications failure, the Titan would be equipped with drop weights, which can be released in an emergency, creating enough buoyancy to take it to the surface. The Titan has an array of signals, lighting, reflectors and other equipment it can use once on the surface to attract attention.

Another scenario is that there has been a leak in the pressure hull, in which case the prognosis is not good, said Alistair Greig, a professor of marine engineering at University College London.

“If it has gone down to the seabed and can’t get back up under its own power, options are very limited,” Greig said. “While the submersible might still be intact, if it is beyond the continental shelf, there are very few vessels that can get that deep, and certainly not divers.”

Chris Parry, a retired rear admiral with the British Royal Navy, told Sky News a seabed rescue was “a very difficult operation”.

“The actual nature of the seabed is very undulating. Titanic herself lies in a trench. There’s lots of debris around. So trying to differentiate with sonar in particular and trying to target the area you want to search in with another submersible is going to be very difficult indeed.”

What can be done to find it?

US and Canadian aircraft are searching the area, as well as large ships, but the hunt was “complex” because crews do not know if the vessel has surfaced, meaning they must scour both the surface and the ocean depths, said Rear Admiral John Mauger, first district commander of the US Coast Guard, overseeing the search-and-rescue operation.

Concannon said officials were working to get a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that can reach a depth of 6,000 metres (about 20,000ft) to the site as soon as possible.

These ROVs are dropped over the side of a vessel, to which it is connected by a “umbilical cord” that enables a pilot to operate its thrusters and also relay data in real-time from its sonar and camera systems.

However, the amount of wreckage of the Titanic on the ocean floor means it could take time to discern what is debris and what is the Titan. The search teams do at least have a starting point; the vessel’s position would have been tracked until the moment contact was lost.

The company’s managing director, Mark Butler, told the AP: “There is still plenty of time to facilitate a rescue mission, there is equipment on board for survival in this event,” Butler said. “We’re all hoping and praying he comes back safe and sound.”

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