Follow TV Tropes


Film / Saving the Titanic

Go To
Because for some, a tale about the crew members most people tend to overlook is a dozen times more compelling than a sappy love story.

What is she compared to the sea?
Chief Engineer Joseph Bell

Take the oft-portrayed RMS Titanic tale, depict it in the point of view of crew members people mostly overlook in favour of Star-Crossed Lovers or affluent passengers, i.e. the engineering and boiler room crew, sprinkle it with drama and you'll end up with a film like this.

Narrated by Liam Cunningham and starring David Wilmot and Ciarán McMenamin, Saving The Titanic is a 2012 Irish-German Docudrama revolving around the efforts of the ill-fated ship's engineers and stokers at keeping the ship afloat for as long as she possibly could, buying passengers some time to board the lifeboats. Told In Medias Res, Leading Fireman Frederick Barrett (McMenamin) is summoned by the White Star Line to be part of an inquiry on the sinking, in hopes that the company would paint a rosy picture of what happened during that fateful night. This film is also notable for being more about a particular group of people on board (i.e. the aforementioned crew) than on the usual cast of characters typical of a Titanic drama.


The show provides examples of:

  • Artistic License – History: Given how not much is known about the engineers and stokers' actions during the actual disaster, this was to be expected. The coal bunker fire theory popularised by Senan Molony and implied to be a major factor for the disaster in the film was thoroughly debunked by a number of Titanic scholars and enthusiasts such as YouTuber and White Star Line fan Spammals and the Titanic Honor And Glory dev team. The photographic blemish as seen in Titanic - The New Evidence could be dismissed as just that, a blemish, rather than a warped section of the hull indicating an Achilles' Heel which may have exacerbated things, if that was a contributing factor at all.
  • Ascended Extra: Whilst the firemen, trimmers and engineers were hardly even extras in Real Life for their valiant efforts, Saving The Titanic strove to give them justice and memorialise them as opposed to a few minutes of screen time in most portrayals.
  • Advertisement:
  • Conspicuous CG: Though it wasn't all that bad, and CGI shots of the ship were used sparingly anyway, with the live-action scenes mostly confined to shots of the ship's interior and engine/boiler rooms.
  • Covers Always Lie: There was no waves or clouds at the night of the sinking.
  • Downer Ending: None of the engineering crew made it, and neither did the electricians survive the ordeal. A few firemen and trimmers did make it out alive, Barrett included.
  • The Ghost: It sure makes you wonder where Captain Smith, J. Bruce Ismay and Molly Brown, let alone Jack Dawson or Rose Bukater, were in the film. But that isn't what the story is about.
    • Recurring Titanic figure Thomas Andrews does make appearances though, and with Smith sort of absent in the story, Engineer Bell became something of an Expy for the captain, like when Andrews informs him that the ship is a lost cause and must be abandoned by any means possible.
  • How We Got Here: The film starts in New York where Barrett is summoned to testify and recount his experiences on board.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Disgusted at being Used All Along in exchange for being portrayed by White Star as "heroes", Barrett leaves the offices, while his colleague Paddy gleefully accepts the offer.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: