Director: James Cameron
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane
Plot: A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic.
The elderly couple seen hugging on the bed while water floods their room were the owners of Macy's department store in New York, Ida 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. In this film it is Rose who states "where you go, I go" but it was actually Ida who says this when refusing a lifeboat without her husband.
The scene in which Rose meets Jack to thank him for saving her life was improvised by the two actors at James Cameron's request, and the spitting scene was almost all ad-lib. Cameron also credits Kate Winslet with writing the heart-wrenching "This is where we first met" line during the final sinking, as well as suggesting Rose spit in Cal's face rather than (as scripted) jab him with a hairpin. No one told Billy Zane about this change, however, and his reaction to the spit is genuine.
When James Cameron was writing the movie, he intended for the main characters Rose DeWitt Bukater and Jack Dawson to be entirely fictitious. It was only after the script was finished that he discovered that there had been a real "J. Dawson" who died aboard the Titanic. This "J. Dawson" was trimmer Joseph Dawson, who had been born September 1888 in Dublin, Ireland. His body was salvaged and buried at Fairview Lawn cemetery in Nova Scotia with many other Titanic victims. Today, his grave stone (#227) is the most widely visited in the cemetery.
River Phoenix was James Cameron's first choice to play Jack Dawson. The studios wanted Matthew McConaughey to play Jack, but James Cameron insisted on Leonardo DiCaprio. Johnny Depp was offered the role of Jack Dawson, but turned it down, and considers it a big regret.
James Cameron went on the dives to the real Titanic himself, and found it an overwhelming emotional experience to actually see it. He ended up spending more time with the ship than its living passengers did.
The hands seen sketching Rose are not Leonardo DiCaprio's, but director James Cameron's.
The scene where Cal and Rose have a coffee and the scene where Cal has a tantrum and flips a table were ad-libbed by Billy Zane, therefore, Kate Winslet's reactions were natural.
With her nomination for Best Supporting Actress at age 87, Gloria Stuart became the oldest person to ever be nominated for an Oscar.
Following her grueling experience on the film, which included a rigorous filming schedule as well as experiencing many hardships and bruises, Kate Winslet said, "You'd have to pay me an awful lot of money to work with James Cameron again." Leonardo DiCaprio also acknowledged it was a tough shoot, yet he stated that he would certainly like to make another action movie with Cameron.
Many of the "core extras" used for the movie took on characteristics of actual survivors. One scene where two little girls are loaded onto a lifeboat and the man says, "It's only for a little while" is based on testimony from one of the girls who survived.
The movie's line "I'm the king of the world!", was ad-libbed by Leonardo DiCaprio
The piece of wooden paneling that Rose floated on after the sinking is based upon a genuine artifact that survived the sinking and is on display at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
James Cameron forfeited his $8 million director's salary and his percentage of the gross when the studio became concerned at how much over budget the movie was running.
During the sinking scene, the priest reciting a passage from the Bible did exist on the Titanic. He is believed to be Father Byles of second class.
Was #1 at the U.S. box office for a record fifteen consecutive weeks, from 19 December 1997 to 2 April 1998. Was the highest grossing film in box office history with a worldwide gross of US$1.8 billion until it was surpassed by Avatar (2009). Both films were directed by James Cameron.
A recent investigation showed that if Titanic had hit the iceberg head-on, she would have survived. Though damaged she would not have sunk and would have reached New York -- maybe a day or two late.
James Cameron got the idea to do the film after watching A Night to Remember (1958) which recounts the final night of the Titanic. He spent five years doing research on the Titanic and its fate.
James Cameron infamously threatened to fire anyone who would dare get out of the tank for a bathroom break while shooting the lifeboat scenes, leading to more than a few actors (including Kate Winslet) relieving themselves in the water.
Considerable controversy arose when James Cameron depicted the suicide of First Officer Murdoch. While Cameron did apologize to Murdoch's family members for the upset the scene caused them, he still kept the shot in the film, stating simply that while no one could prove that it did happen, neither could anyone prove that it didn't. Murdoch's body was never recovered, but it is generally agreed that he either froze to death in the water or went down with the ship.
Even though the film brought them great fame, both Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet are now embarrassed by their performances in this film. Winslet called her American accent "awful" and feels that her acting "could have been better", while DiCaprio called himself a "young punk" in this film.