Titanic (1997 film)

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Titanic is a 1997 American romantic drama film directed, written, and co-produced by James Cameron about the sinking of the RMS Titanic. It stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio as Rose DeWitt Bukater and Jack Dawson respectively, members of different social classes who fall in love aboard the ill-fated 1912 maiden voyage of the ship. Bill Paxton plays Brock Lovett, the leader of a treasure hunting expedition, while Gloria Stuart has the role of the elderly Rose, who narrates the story in 1996. The film was both a critical and commercial success, winning eleven Academy Awards including Best Picture, and became the highest grossing film of all time, with a total worldwide gross of US$1.8 billion.

Critical reception

The film garnered mostly positive reviews from critics. It has been a "Certified Fresh" film on Rotten Tomatoes, with 83% overall approval from critics and 79% from users.[37] The film received a 74/100 metascore on Metacritic, classified as a generally favorable reviewed film. Metacritic users also awarded it with a 7.4/10 average rating.

Roger Ebert has said, "It is flawlessly crafted, intelligently constructed, strongly acted, and spellbinding.... 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 sad saga." It was one of his top ten films of 1997

James Berardinelli explains, "Meticulous in detail, yet vast in scope and intent, Titanic is the kind of epic motion picture event that has become a rarity. You don't just watch Titanic, you experience it." It is his second best movie of 1997.

Some reviewers felt that the story and dialogue were weak, while the visuals were spectacular. Kenneth Turan's review in the LA Times was particularly scathing. Dismissing the emotive elements, he says, "What really brings on the tears is Cameron's insistence that writing this kind of movie is within his abilities. Not only is it not, it is not even close." Barbara Shulgasser of San Francisco Examiner gave Titanic one star out of four, citing a friend as saying, "The number of times in this unbelievably badly-written script that the two [lead characters] refer to each other by name was an indication of just how dramatically the script lacked anything more interesting for the actors to say."

Titanic suffered backlash from many after its release. In 2003, the film topped a poll of "Best Film Endings," and yet it also topped a poll by The Film programme as, "the worst movie of all time." Parodies and spoofs abounded and were circulated around the Internet, often inspiring passionate responses from fans of various opinions of the film.

  • Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater: A first-class socialite, seventeen-year-old Rose is forced to become engaged to Caledon Hockley so she and her mother can maintain their high status after the death of her father. Feeling trapped, Rose becomes suicidal, but she soon discovers a whole new lease on life when she meets Jack Dawson.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson: A penniless artist who travels the world, Jack wins tickets to the RMS Titanic in a card game. He is attracted to Rose's beauty and convinces her out of an attempted suicide. His saving of her life brings him into first-class society for a night, and he shows her a carefree way of life of which she had often fantasized but never realized of doing.
  • Billy Zane as Caledon "Cal" Nathan Hockley: The quintessential arrogant and snobbish first-class man, Rose's fiancĂ© Cal becomes increasingly embarrassed, jealous, and cruel over Rose's friendship with Jack. He gives Rose the diamond The Heart of the Ocean as a reminder of her feelings for him.
  • Frances Fisher as Ruth DeWitt Bukater: Rose's widowed mother, who is marrying her off to ensure their high-class status. She loves her daughter but believes marriage to Cal is the right thing to do. The epitome of the shallowness and hypocrisies of high-class society, she scorns Jack, even though he saved her daughter's life.
  • Kathy Bates as Margaret Tobin "Molly" Brown: Brown is depicted as being frowned upon by other first-class women, including Ruth, as "new money" due to her sudden wealth. She is friendly to Jack and gives him a dining-suit when he is invited to dinner in the first-class saloon.
  • Victor Garber as Thomas Andrews, Jr.: The ship's designer, Andrews is depicted during the sinking of the ship as standing next to the clock in the first class smoking room. He gives Rose a life jacket so she doesn't drown in the icy water, and is last seen looking at his watch and adjusting the clock in the same room, accepting his fate.
  • Bernard Hill as Captain Edward John Smith: The film depicts the captain of the RMS Titanic as retiring to his quarters when the ships hits the iceberg. He goes into wheelhouse as it sinks, dying when the water bursts through the windows.
  • Jonathan Hyde as J. Bruce Ismay: Ismay is portrayed as an ignorant first-class rich man, who does not know who Sigmund Freud is. He cowardly takes the opportunity to get into a lifeboat, and looks back, guilt-stricken, as his ship sinks.
  • David Warner as Spicer Lovejoy: An ex-Pinkerton constable, Lovejoy is Cal's English bodyguard who keeps an eye on Rose and is suspicious of the circumstances of Jack's rescue of her.
  • Danny Nucci as Fabrizio De Rossi: Jack's Italian friend who comes aboard the RMS Titanic after winning a card game.
  • Jason Barry as Tommy Ryan: An Irish third-class passenger who befriends Jack and Fabrizio.
  • Bill Paxton as Brock Lovett: A treasure hunter looking for The Heart of the Ocean in the wreck of the RMS Titanic in the present. Time and funding to his expedition is running out.
  • Gloria Stuart plays the 100-year old Rose Dawson Calvert: She comes to give Lovett information regarding The Heart of the Ocean, after he discovers a nude drawing of her in the wreck of the RMS Titanic. She narrates the story of her time aboard the ship, mentioning Jack for the first time since.
  • Suzy Amis as Lizzy Calvert: Rose's granddaughter, who accompanies her on her visit to Lovett.
  • Lewis Abernathy as Lewis Bodine: Lovett's geeky friend, who expresses doubt at first whether Rose is telling the truth.
  • Eric Braeden as Colonel John Jacob Astor IV: A first-class passenger whom Rose calls "the richest man on the ship". The film depicts him and his 19-year-old wife Madeleine as being introduced to Jack by Rose in the first-class saloon.
  • Bernard Fox as Colonel Archibald Gracie: The film depicts Gracie making a comment to Cal that "women and machinery don't mix," and congratulating Jack for saving Rose from committing suicide.
  • Ewan Stewart as First Officer William McMaster Murdoch: The film's most controversial depiction, Murdoch shoots and kills men who try to enter a lifeboat under Smith's order of women and children first, before committing suicide out of guilt.
  • Jonathan Phillips as Second Officer Charles Lightoller: The film depicts him arguing with Captain Smith that it would be difficult to see the icebergs with no breaking water.
  • Ioan Gruffudd as Fifth Officer Harold Lowe, the only officer who led a lifeboat to retrieve survivors of the sinking.
Several crew members of the Akademik Mstislav Keldysh appear in the film, including Anatoly Sagalevitch, creator of the Mir submersibles. Anders Falk, who filmed a documentary about the film's sets for the Titanic Historical Society, cameoed in the film as a Swedish immigrant who Jack Dawson meets when he enters his cabin, and Ed and Karen Kamuda, then President and Vice President of the Society, were extras on the film. [source]


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