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Titanic (1997 movie) facts for kids

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The film poster shows a man and a woman hugging over a picture of the Titanic's bow. In the background is a partly cloudy sky and at the top are the names of the two lead actors. The middle has the film's name and tagline, and the bottom contains a list of the director's previous works, as well as the film's credits, rating, and release date.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by James Cameron
Produced by
  • James Cameron
  • Jon Landau
Written by James Cameron
Music by James Horner
Cinematography Russell Carpenter
Editing by
  • Conrad Buff
  • James Cameron
  • Richard A. Harris
Distributed by
Release date(s) November 1, 1997 (1997-11-01) (Tokyo)
December 19, 1997 (1997-12-19) (United States)
Running time 195 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $200 million
Money made $2.257 billion

Titanic is a 1997 American romantic disaster film directed, written, produced, and co-edited by James Cameron. Incorporating both historical and fictionalized aspects, it is based on accounts of the sinking of RMS Titanic in 1912. Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio star as members of different social classes who fall in love during the ship's maiden voyage. The film also features an ensemble cast of Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Gloria Stuart, Bernard Hill, Jonathan Hyde, Victor Garber, David Warner, Suzy Amis and Bill Paxton.

Cameron's inspiration for the film came from his fascination with shipwrecks. He felt a love story interspersed with the human loss would be essential to convey the emotional impact of the disaster. Production began on September 1, 1995, when Cameron shot footage of the Titanic wreck. The modern scenes on the research vessel were shot on board the Akademik Mstislav Keldysh, which Cameron had used as a base when filming the wreck. Scale models, computer-generated imagery and a reconstruction of the Titanic built at Baja Studios were used to recreate the sinking. The film was co-financed by Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox; Paramount handled distribution in the United States and Canada while 20th Century Fox released the film internationally. Titanic was the most expensive film ever made at the time, with a production budget of $200 million. Filming took place from July 1996 to March 1997.

Titanic was released on December 19, 1997. It was praised for its visual effects, performances (particularly those of DiCaprio, Winslet, and Stuart), production values, direction, score, cinematography, story and emotional depth. Among other awards, it was nominated for 14 Academy Awards and won 11, including Best Picture and Best Director, tying Ben-Hur (1959) for the most Academy Awards won by a film. With an initial worldwide gross of over $1.84 billion, Titanic was the first film to reach the billion-dollar mark. It was the highest-grossing film of all time until Cameron's next film, Avatar (2009), surpassed it in 2010. A number of re-releases have pushed the film's worldwide total to $2.257 billion, making it the second film to gross more than $2 billion worldwide after Avatar. In 2017, the Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".


In 1996, aboard the research vessel Akademik Mstislav Keldysh, Brock Lovett and his team search the wreck of RMS Titanic. They recover a safe they hope contains a necklace with a large diamond known as the Heart of the Ocean. Instead, they find only a drawing of a young nude woman wearing the necklace. The sketch is dated April 14, 1912, the same day the Titanic struck the iceberg that caused it to sink. After viewing a television news story about the discovery, centenarian Rose Dawson Calvert contacts Lovett, identifying herself as the woman in the drawing. Hoping she can help locate the necklace, Lovett brings Rose aboard Keldysh, where she recounts her experiences as a Titanic passenger.

In 1912 Southampton, 17-year-old Rose DeWitt Bukater, her wealthy fiancé Caledon "Cal" Hockley and Rose's widowed mother Ruth board the Titanic. Ruth emphasizes that Rose's marrying Cal will resolve the family's financial problems and maintain their upper-class status. Meanwhile, Jack Dawson, a poor young artist, wins a third-class Titanic ticket in a poker game. After setting sail, Rose, distraught over her loveless engagement, climbs over the stern railing, intending to commit take her own life. Jack coaxes her back onto the deck and they develop a friendship. Jack soon admits that he has feelings for Rose. When Cal and Ruth object, Rose rejects Jack's attentions, but returns to him after realizing she has fallen in love.

Rose brings Jack to her state room and requests he draw her nude, wearing only the Heart of the Ocean. On the forward deck, they witness the ship's collision with an iceberg and overhear its officers discussing its seriousness. Cal discovers Jack's sketch and an insulting note from Rose in his safe, along with the necklace. When Jack and Rose return to warn the others about the collision, Cal has Lovejoy slip the necklace into Jack's pocket to frame him for theft. Jack is confined in the master-at-arms' office. Cal puts the necklace into his own overcoat pocket.

With the ship sinking, the crew prioritize women and children for evacuation. Rose finds and frees Jack, and they make it back to the deck, where Cal and Jack urge Rose to board a lifeboat. Intending to save himself, Cal lies that he will get Jack safely off the ship and wraps his overcoat around Rose. As her lifeboat is lowered, Rose, unable to abandon Jack, jumps back onto the ship. Cal grabs Lovejoy's pistol and chases Jack and Rose, but they escape. Cal realizes the necklace is still in the coat he gave Rose. He poses as a lost child's father to board a lifeboat.

Jack and Rose return to the deck. The ship's stern is rising as the flooded bow sinks; the two desperately cling to the stern rail. The upended ship breaks in half and the bow section sinks. The stern slams back onto the ocean, upends again and sinks. In the freezing water, Jack helps Rose onto a wood transom panel among the debris, buoyant enough only for one person, and makes her promise to survive. Jack dies of cold shock, but Rose is among six people saved by the one returning lifeboat. RMS Carpathia rescues the survivors. Rose avoids Cal and her mother by hiding among the steerage passengers and giving her name as Rose Dawson. Still wearing Cal's overcoat, she discovers the necklace tucked inside the pocket.

In the present, Rose says she heard that Cal died after losing his fortune in the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Lovett abandons his search after hearing Rose's story. Alone on the stern of Keldysh, Rose takes the Heart of the Ocean, which has been in her possession all along, and drops it into the sea over the wreck site. While she is seemingly asleep in her bed, her photos on the dresser depict a life of freedom and adventure inspired by Jack. A young Rose reunites with Jack at the Titanic's Grand Staircase, applauded by those who died that night.

Main cast

Actor Role
Leonardo DiCaprio Jack Dawson
Kate Winslet Rose DeWitt Bukater
Billy Zane Caledon Hockley
Kathy Bates Margaret "The Unsinkable Molly" Brown
Frances Fisher Ruth DeWitt Bukater
Bernard Hill Captain Edward J. Smith
Victor Garber Thomas Andrews
Jonathan Hyde J. Bruce Ismay
David Warner Spicer Lovejoy
Michael Ensign Benjamin Guggenheim
Danny Nucci Fabrizio De Rossi
Jason Barry Tommy Ryan
Bill Paxton Brock Lovett
Gloria Stuart Old Rose (Rose Dawson Calvert)
Suzy Amis Lizzy Calvert
Lewis Abernathy Lewis Bodine
Eric Braeden Colonel John Jacob Astor IV
Bernard Fox Colonel Archibald Gracie IV
Ewan Stewart First Officer William Murdoch
Jonathan Phillips Second Officer Charles Lightoller
Ioan Gruffudd Fifth Officer Harold Lowe


RMS Titanic 3
The movie was based on the RMS Titanic (pictured in 1912).

The movie scenes of the ship's journey were taken on the Akademik Mstislav Keldysh in July 1996. Principal photography for Titanic began in September 1996. The location was at the newly-built Fox Baja Studios. The poop deck was built on a move-able machine. This allow it to rise from zero to ninety degrees in a few seconds. This was used during the sinking scene of the movie. Many props were made of foam rubber. The material was used for the safety of the stuntmen. On November 15, the boarding scenes were recorded. Cameron decided to build his RMS Titanic on the starboard side. This was because weather data showed north-to-south winds. This caused the funnel smoke to move in one direction.

A full-time etiquette coach was hired. He taught the cast on the manners of the upper class during the year 1912. However, several critics noticed that some cast members were not very good. They also noticed the two main stars on the movie were not well trained.

Filming was scheduled to last 138 days. However, it grew to 160. Many cast members came down with colds, flu, or kidney infections. This happened during the many hours they spent in the cold water. Winslet, who also had these symptoms, decided she would not work with Cameron again unless she earned "a lot of money". Several other cast members left the movie. Three stuntmen broke their bones. The Screen Actors Guild decided to begin an investigation. They concluded that there was nothing unsafe going on on the set.

The movie's budget reached $200 million. Fox executives were worrying. They suggested an hour of different scenes to be removed from the three-hour movie. Cameron did not accept this. He told Fox that if they want to remove some scenes out that they would need to fire him. The executives did not want to start over. This would mean they will loose their entire investment.


Cameron wrote Titanic while listening to the work of the Irish new-age musician Enya. After Enya declined an invitation to compose for the film, Cameron instead chose James Horner. The two had parted ways after a tumultuous working experience on Aliens, but Titanic cemented a successful collaboration that lasted until Horner's death. For the vocals heard throughout the film, Horner chose the Norwegian singer Sissel Kyrkjebø, commonly known as "Sissel". Horner knew Sissel from her album Innerst i sjelen, and particularly liked how she sang "Eg veit i himmerik ei borg" ("I Know in Heaven There Is a Castle"). He tried around 30 singers before choosing Sissel.

Horner wrote the end theme, "My Heart Will Go On", in secret with Will Jennings because Cameron did not want any songs in the film. Céline Dion agreed to record a demo at the persuasion of her husband René Angélil. Horner waited until Cameron was in an appropriate mood before presenting him with the song. After playing it several times, Cameron declared his approval, although worried that he would have been criticized for "going commercial at the end of the movie". Cameron also wanted to appease anxious studio executives and "saw that a hit song from his movie could only be a positive factor in guaranteeing its completion".

Box office

Including revenue from the 2012, 2017 and 2023 reissues, Titanic earned $674.3 million in North America and $1.583 billion in other countries, for a worldwide total of $2.257 billion. It became the highest-grossing film of all time worldwide in 1998, beating Jurassic Park (1993). The film remained so for twelve years, until Avatar (2009), also written and directed by Cameron, surpassed it in 2010. On March 1, 1998, it became the first film to earn more than $1 billion worldwide and on the weekend April 13–15, 2012—a century after the original vessel's foundering, Titanic became the second film to cross the $2 billion threshold during its 3D re-release. Box Office Mojo estimates that Titanic is the fifth-highest-grossing film of all time in North America when adjusting for ticket price inflation. The site also estimates that the film sold over 128 million tickets in the US in its initial theatrical run.

Titanic was the first foreign-language film to succeed in India, which claims to have the largest movie-going audience in the world. A Hindustan Times report attributes this to the film's similarities and shared themes with most Bollywood films.


At the Golden Globes, Titanic won Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song. Winslet and Stuart were also nominated. The film garnered fourteen Academy Award nominations, tying the record set in 1950 by Joseph L. Mankiewicz's All About Eve and won eleven: Best Picture (the second film about the Titanic to win that award, after 1933's Cavalcade), Best Director, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Sound (Gary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson, Gary Summers, Mark Ulano), Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Original Dramatic Score, Best Original Song. Winslet, Stuart and the make-up artists were nominated, but lost to Helen Hunt in As Good as It Gets, Kim Basinger in L.A. Confidential and Men in Black. Titanic was the second film to receive eleven Academy Awards, after Ben-Hur (1959). The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King matched the record in 2004.

Titanic won the 1997 Academy Award for Best Original Song, as well as four Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. The soundtrack became the best-selling primarily orchestral soundtrack of all time, spending sixteen weeks at number-one in the United States, and was certified diamond for over eleven million copies sold in the United States alone. It was also the best-selling album of 1998 in the US. "My Heart Will Go On" won the Grammy Awards for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for Television.

Titanic also won various awards outside the United States, including the Awards of the Japanese Academy as the Best Foreign Film of the Year. It eventually won nearly ninety awards and had an additional forty-seven nominations from various award-giving bodies around the world. The book about the making of the film was at the top of The New York Times' bestseller list for several weeks, "the first time that such a tie-in book had achieved this status".

Titanic has appeared on the American Film Institute's award-winning 100 Years ... series six times.

AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Rank Source Notes
Thrills 25 A list of the top 100 thrilling films in American cinema, compiled in 2001.
Passions 37 A list of the top 100 love stories in American cinema, compiled in 2002.
Songs 14 A list of the top 100 songs in American cinema, compiled in 2004. Titanic ranked 14th for Céline Dion's "My Heart Will Go On".
Movie quotes 100 A list of the top 100 film quotations in American cinema, compiled in 2005. Titanic ranked 100th for Jack Dawson's yell of "I'm the king of the world!"
Movies 83 A 2007 (10th anniversary) edition of 1997's list of the 100 best films of the past century. Titanic was not eligible when the original list was released.
AFI's 10 Top 10 6 The 2008 poll consisted of the top ten films in ten different genres. Titanic ranked as the sixth-best epic film.

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Titanic (película de 1997) para niños

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