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"Are you ready to go back to Titanic?"
"It's been 84 years, and I can still smell the fresh paint. The china had never been used. The sheets had never been slept in. Titanic was called the 'Ship of Dreams', and it was. It really was."
Rose Calvert, 1996

In 1996, a group of deep-sea treasure hunters led by Brock Lovett search for a valuable diamond that supposedly went down with the RMS Titanic. They recover the safe of the passenger who owned it, only to discover an exquisite drawing of a beautiful woman wearing the diamond on the night Titanic sank. An elderly woman, Rose Dawson Calvert, calls the team after seeing the drawing on a television news report, claiming to be the woman in the drawing. The team brings her out to the middle of the North Atlantic, where she begins to tell her story about the ship of dreams...

Titanic tells Rose's story in flashback, recounting her time in a Star-Crossed Lovers dynamic with artist Jack Dawson. Unfortunately, they both happen to be aboard the ill-fated eponymous ocean liner, which struck an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage in 1912. Interlaced with this story are various other subplots, both historical and fictional, canvassing passenger life and the decisions and mistakes made by the authoritative figures aboard that culminated in one of the most infamous tragedies of The 20th Century.

As such, Titanic's story leaps and bounds across genres, combining a historical docudrama, a Romeo and Juliet-esque romance, and a disaster movie with the scope and resources of an epic, fueled by cutting-edge technology ahead of nearly any film that came before it. The result was the most expensive movie ever made at the time, turning into the highest-grossing film ever made at the time, going on to dominate the awards season and become one of the biggest cultural touchstones in cinematic history.

Directed by James Cameron, this movie won a record-tyingnote  11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and launched the A-list careers of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Its 14 nominations are also in a three-way tie for the record (and it's the only one of the three films to not be about Hollywoodnote ).

The film, after a well-publicized production cycle that overran its budget and schedule with the film ending up costing $200 million to produce, casting doubts on its box office chances, was released in theaters on December 19, 1997. Its original theatrical run lasted more than nine months, not ending until October 1, 1998. It was number-one at the American box office for a still-standing record of fifteen consecutive weeksnote , finally knocked off by Lost in Space on the first weekend of April 1998. Many of its longevity weekend records still stand today, even with over two decades of inflation. It was the first film in history to gross over $1 billion; in the quarter-century since, it has been joined in that lofty club by over 50 other films. But it's still one of only a handful of billion-dollar grossers to be stand-alone, as opposed to being part of a series, franchise or cinematic universe.note 

It's one of the few films of such significant length (195 minutes) that when it was released on VHS, it needed two cassettes to contain the entire film, and several passes on the disc format to get it on one disc at high quality (see Visual Compression below). As of 2023, it is the 4th highest-grossing movie of all time, both in raw numbersnote  and adjusted for inflation.note 

The film was re-released theatrically in 3D on April 4th, 2012, ten days before the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking.

Including all of its theatrical releases, Titanic grossed $659,363,944 in North America and a further $1,542,283,320 internationally, for a total of $2,201,647,264 worldwide.

For those who are interested in reading the original screenplay and treatment, click here


I'M THE KING OF THE TROPES!!!:

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  • 13 Is Unlucky: Lifeboat 13 almost got crushed by lifeboat 15 being lowered on top of it.
  • The '90s: The present day of the film, with old Rose recounting the tale, takes place in 1996.
  • Abandon Ship: Naturally, as the film is centered around one of the most famous maritime evacuations in history.
  • Abuse Mistake: When Rose tries to commit suicide, Jack talks her out of it. However, she slips and nearly falls to her death. After a struggle where Jack manages to drag Rose to safety, albeit accidentally tearing her dress and falling on top of her in the process, some crewmen investigating Rose's screams assume he's trying to rape her.
  • Abusive Mom: Rose's mother is emotionally abusive to her daughter, berating her whenever she steps out of line.
  • Accidental Aiming Skills: Rose with the ax. Not only was her aim bad, but her eyes were closed. There's a goof in that Kate actually hits Leo's hand with the axe!
  • Action Girl: Rose has occasional glimpses of it when she doesn't have Jack around.
  • Act of True Love: Jack does everything he can to save his beloved's life, culminating with his letting her float on one of the few available planks while he froze to death with most of his body in the water.
  • Actor Allusion: Cal's fight with Rose quotes Twin Peaks, Billy Zane's biggest previous role.
    Rose: I'd rather be his whore than your wife.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Molly Brown and Thomas Andrews both snigger at Rose's suggestion to Ismay that he read about Freud's theories of the "male preoccupation with size."
  • Adventurous Irish Violins: The film expresses and celebrates the optimistic resilience and joy of Irish culture through persistent use of this trope throughout its musical score.
  • Afterlife Welcome: One of the interpretations of the ending is that Rose dies and is welcomed into the afterlife by everyone she knows who has predeceased her.
  • Against the Grain: Rose struggles with expectations to marry and embarrasses her mother after smoking and making remarks about Freud in front of Mr. Andrews and Mr. Ismay. She further defies expectations by leaving her old life behind out of respect for Jack’s final wishes.
  • Age Cut: Present Rose is an old lady reflecting on her time aboard the doomed ship. The movie is a series of flashbacks of her 17-year-old self.
  • All for Nothing: For Brock and his crew, who spent years researching Titanic to find the Heart of the Ocean, but they never find it because Rose doesn't tell them she had it. In the alternate ending, they do find out and watch her drop it into the ocean, causing Brock to laugh.
  • Alternate DVD Commentary: Has a RiffTrax. It is delicious.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • The Statue of Liberty is seen at the end, as it should, having been erected in 1886, and had turned green around 1906. However, the statue was actually unlit between 1902 and 1916 as it was under the jurisdiction of the War Department. It also has the gold torch installed for its centenary in 1986.
    • Jack mentions ice fishing on Lake Wissota, near Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Lake Wissota is a man-made reservoir created in 1917.
    • Rose mentions Sigmund Freud's ideas on the male preoccupation with size to Bruce. Freud did not publish the work relating to this until 1920 in "The Pleasure Principle." Also, up until 1919, Freud relied solely on data from females.
    • When Jack and Rose are talking about going to the Santa Monica Pier, Jack says they will "ride on the roller coaster until we throw up" but the roller coaster was built in 1916.
    • Colt first offered the M1911 for civilian sales in August of 1912, at the time a special run of 100 pistols made exclusively for select members of the National Rifle Association before being opened to the general public the following year, and not nickel plated. However, Mr. Lovejoy's nickel-plated pistol is not an M1911, it is an M1911A1, introduced in 1926 with a curved mainspring housing, shorter hammer and cutouts beside the trigger. A Colt Model 1902 or Colt Model 1903/1908 Pocket Hammerless would have been more period appropriate.
    • During the Sunday service, the First Class passengers sing "Eternal Father, Strong to Save," using a version of the lyrics that weren't written until 1940.
    • Jack's backpack is a Swedish Army bag that was not issued until 1939.
  • Animal Motifs: Rose has a butterfly hair comb, representing her becoming her own person. She lampshades it in the extended ending.
  • Anyone Can Die: Once the ship starts going down, characters start dropping like flies, including Jack himself.
  • Arc Words: "You jump, I jump." Jack first says this when he meets Rose, establishing that because he has seen her about to jump off the stern, he must jump after her. Later he repeats it to show that he wants to make sure she's alright in her relationship with Cal. Finally, Rose says it after she jumps out of the lifeboat to be with him as the ship sinks.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Rose describes how she truly feels, likes she's screaming in a crowded room and no one can see her, Jack asks her point-blank if she loves Cal.
  • Art Imitates Art: Almost every long shot of the Titanic is a recreation of Ken Marschall's paintings, even the shot of Carpathia arriving to rescue the survivors and the shot of the bow section of the wreck at the end.
  • Artistic License – Geography: When Titanic departs Southampton, she seems to reach open water upon clearing the dock. Any ship leaving Southampton must travel through the Solent and pass the Isle of Wight before reaching the English Channel, a distance of about twenty miles.
  • Artistic License – History: While James Cameron did put in a lot of effort to research the sinking, he would later admit that he did often think as a screenwriter rather than a historian. See his use of historical license here.
  • Artistic License – Music: In addition to the anachronistic lyrics of "Eternal Father, Strong to Save" (see above), the hymn starts in the second verse, goes through the third and fourth, and ends with the first. This was likely done to end the scene with the line "for those in peril on the sea," foreshadowing what's about to happen later that night.
  • Artistic License – Ships: Despite having access to original blueprints from Harland & Wolff, James Cameron still used a number of artistic licenses in his set.
    • Titanic seems to be going at half-ahead as she departs Southampton. A ship leaving port would be moving much more slowly, as the maritime pilot needs to disembark once they had cleared the harbor.
    • When Rose runs to the stern in her suicide attempt, we first see her on the A Deck Promenade, then entering the aft well deck from B Deck. There was no easy path from A Deck to B Deck in that area, as these were separate promenades for First and Second Class, respectively.
    • Coming from Molly Brown's cabin on E Deck, Jack enters the Grand Staircase from the boat deck level and is on the A Deck landing when he sees Rose. However, her cabin is on B Deck, one level below.
    • If you look closely at the elevator panel, showing which floor the elevator is currently on, there appears to be a stop for the boat deck. The elevators did not stop at the boat deck, as that was where the machinery for them was located.note 
    • The master-at-arms's office did not have portholes. However, the room serving that purpose on Olympic did have a porthole.
    • Additionally, the passengers seem to "know" that the ship doesn't have enough lifeboats, and the lifeboats weren't launched at full capacity. Back then, protocol whenever a ship sank was for lifeboats to ferry passengers to and from rescue ships.note  However, the Titanic sinking was one of the events that changed protocol so that ships would have enough lifeboats for everyone on board.note  Nevertheless, Thomas Andrews does mention that he had designed the boat deck to accommodate more lifeboats, but was overruled.
    • When Titanic leaves Southampton, all three of her propellers start immediately. The wing propellers used reciprocating engines while the central propeller was powered by a turbine, which ran on excess steam that had already passed through the other two engines. It was not used while maneuvering as it needed time to build up enough steam, typically when the reciprocating engines were running at half-ahead.
    • There wasn't actually a watertight door and passage separating Boiler Room 6 from the cargo hold. It did lead to the firemen's passage for the main stairway in the peak. The cargo hold was directly above this.
    • After the collision, the Countess of Rothes asks a steward why the engines stopped and Thomas Andrews passes them holding blueprints. Andrews's cabin was on A Deck while the Countess was on B Deck, meaning he would have gone down a deck before going back up to get to the bridge.
    • The directions that Thomas Andrews gives Rose to find Jack do not correspond to any actual part of the ship. He says "Take the elevator to the very bottom, go to the left. Down the crewmen's passage. Then go right, then left again at the stairs. You'll come to a long corridor." Taking the elevator to the bottom would bring you to E Deck, as Rose says, and going left would take you to Scotland Road, a long corridor that spanned nearly the full length of the ship. There was no passage for crew only in that area.
    • Speaking of Scotland Road, E Deck is already flooded by the time Rose gets there. Later, Jack and Rose make it to Scotland Road, which is identified as such in the script, and it's not yet flooded, suggesting it is one deck above where it should be.
    • When the Third Class passengers are locked behind the gates, Fabrizio somehow ends up in the First Class reception area on D Deck when the crew attempts to use the doors to load the lifeboats, then ends up back on E Deck below with the other passengers.
  • Artistic License – Space: The end scene has an inaccurate night sky mirrored from the middle, so constellations that shouldn't be visible appear twice. When Neil deGrasse Tyson brought this up at a dinner, James Cameron said, "Last time I checked, Titanic sold $1.3 billion worth of tickets, worldwide. Imagine how many more tickets we would have sold if we'd gotten the sky right." It was still corrected for the 10th anniversary DVD release, with Tyson's help.
  • As Himself:
    • Dr. Anatoly Sagalevich and the crew of the Keldysh appear as themselves.
    • The Titanic herself appears as the opening scenes were filmed at the actual wreck site.
  • As You Know: Played for drama.
    Ruth: This is not a game. Our situation is precarious. You know the money's gone.
    Rose: Of course I know it's gone! You remind me every day!
    • Lightoller tells Captain Smith that the lack of wind will make it harder to spot icebergs, as it means no breaking water at the base, something that both of them as experienced sailors would be aware of.
    • Thomas Andrews also reminds Captain Smith that Titanic was designed to stay afloat with the first four compartments breached, likely to emphasize the seriousness of the damage, and also likely for the benefit of Ismay, who's clearly oblivious as to the implications of the damage that the ship has taken.
    • Captain Smith reminds Phillips that CQD is the standard distress signal.
    • Subverted Trope for the scene where the Keldysh crew explain Rose, a survivor, how the sinking happened with the help of 3D animation. The Keldysh people are either skeptical of Rose's claims, or believe that she must have forgot a lot of it after 84 years.
  • Ate His Gun: Cal is mentioned by Rose to have died this way when he lost his riches after the 1929 Crash.
  • Audience Surrogate: Rose's granddaugther, Lizzy.
  • Auto Erotica: A thousand beds on board, and Jack and Rose consummate their love in the back of a car.
    • Being a movie coping with the changing of Edwardian era to the horrors and delights of the Twentieth Century, their love-making in the backseat heralds the use of cars as make-out places. In fact, one of the Edwardians' nicknames for automobiles was "brothels on wheels".
  • Award-Bait Song: One of the most famous ever recorded, Céline Dion's "My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme From Titanic)".
  • Badass Longcoat: Rose's pink jacket, once the ship starts sinking, looks like one of these. She even takes it off just as she is about to wade into the water with the ax to free Jack in typical action-heroine fashion. Later, Cal's jacket, which looks merely okay on him, looks badass on her once she starts wearing it, perhaps because it is a few sizes too big for her and thus looks longer and thicker on her. The ship's officers and Thomas Andrews also look pretty badass in their full-length overcoats.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: When Old Rose begins her tale, it sounds as though she doesn't remember much. In actuality, she has a very vivid memory of the Titanic, leading to the page quote.
    Rose: It's been 84 years...
    Lovett: Just tell us what you can —
    Rose: Are you going to let me tell the story or not, Mr. Lovett? (beat) It's been 84 years... and I can still smell the fresh paint. The china had never been used. The sheets had never been slept in.
  • Battle Butler: Lovejoy.
  • Big Bad: Both Caledon Hockley and Lovejoy, in many different ways, are antagonistic forces to Jack and Rose.
    • People are still deliberating whether the iceberg counts.
  • Big "SHUT UP!":
    • Rose does this in the second half when she's had enough of her mother's self-centered attitude.
    • Jack and Rose do it to a White Star employee who complains about them breaking down the door to free themselves from a sealed portion of the ship.
  • Bilingual Bonus: During the party in third class, one of Jack's Swedish bunkmates asks Rose, "Talar fröken svenska?", which translates to "Does the lady speak Swedish?"
  • Bitch Slap: Cal strikes Rose with one that visibly and audibly hurts after he has Jack arrested.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Jack freezes to death, but not before he makes Rose promise to live a happy, fulfilling life of her own. Her fulfilling of this promise is made clear in the scene of Rose's death, where she passes away satisfied with her life surrounded by photos taken throughout the years of her life of happiness. Rose meets him again when she finally passes away. If you pay attention to her dream, she enters a room filled with passengers and officers (Captain Smith is visible) that died on the ship, and they all look at her as if to say "nice of you to join us" — evidence that she dies and joins the rest of the dead on the "ship of dreams". If you want to see it that way.
  • Blasphemous Boast: Early on, Cal says of the titular ship that "God himself could not sink this ship." Turns out that God loves a challenge.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Rather than kill Jack, Lovejoy just leaves him to drown handcuffed to a pipe in a cabin below decks. Killing him outright would have stopped any possibility of Jack escaping and coming back to take Rose away from Cal again. Justified, as Jack was a steerage passenger and Lovejoy likely suspects that his odds of survival were non-existent if he were to escape.
  • Break the Comedian: Molly Brown spends most of the voyage with a chipper attitude and a sense of humor, even during the early moments of the sinking she tries to keep a cool head until the final moments where she's clearly shaken from witnessing the chaos and despair from her lifeboat. She gets even worse after she tries to convince the officer and the women on her boat to go back and rescue the people in the water, only to be shot down by the officer.
  • Break the Haughty: Between her forbidden romance with Jack and enduring the sinking, this rather thoroughly applies to Rose. Also to her mother later in the film.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Rose and Jack's first conversation is about how the fall from the ship won't kill Rose, but Jack mentions about how cold the water is. Guess what ends up killing him.
    • This whole bit of dialogue existed purely to foreshadow the dangers and horrific deaths that two-thirds of the ship's occupants were going to suffer mere days later. If you jumped overboard, especially from the stern as it climbed ever higher, you'd probably be killed by the impact (or by the design of the life jackets, which was such that it would break your neck if you hit the water feet first). If you jumped from lower down, or otherwise got into the water without maiming yourself, then you'd probably drown or freeze to death.
    • The deleted scenes have a payoff to Tommy's comment about Rose: "You're as like to have angels fly out your arse as get next to the likes of her." When Rose comes to the third-class common area and leaves with Jack, Tommy and Fabrizio laugh in disbelief.
    • Jack mentions that he sold drawings for ten cents apiece in Santa Monica. Later, Rose gives him a dime when she commissions the drawing.
    • During dinner in First Class, Jack is asked how he takes his caviar, to which he replies that he never liked it, to which Rose smirks. In a deleted scene from their time on the Boat Deck, when Rose expresses a wish to run away and become an artist, Jack teases her by saying that being poor means no hot water and "hardly ever any caviar." She then snaps back that she actually hates caviar.
    • Jack and Rose sing the song "Come Josephine in My Flying Machine." One of Rose's photos shows her climbing into the cockpit of a Curtiss JN biplane.
    • Jack tells Rose that they'll ride horses like cowboys, with one leg on each side. The last photo of Rose that we see at the end shows her doing just that.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Jack uses a French accent when Rose invites him into her stateroom.
    Rose: Don't artists need good light?
    Jack: Zat is true, but I am not used to working in such...'orrible conditions!
  • Burial at Sea: Jack's body is committed to the deep after he dies, with Rose promising she'll never let go.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Rose runs into several first class passengers during her suicide attempt, with all of them simply gawking at a clearly distressed woman rather than helping her. One of them even seems incredulous that she nearly spilled his drink.
  • Call-Back: At a first-class dinner, Jack Dawson describes life as being based on luck, prompting a response from Cal Hockley that "A real man makes his own luck." During the sinking, when Cal is filling his pockets with money to potentially bribe his way into a lifeboat, he comments, "I make my own luck." His valet, Lovejoy, responds "So do I" while revealing a concealed firearm.
  • The Cameo:
    • Anatoly Sagalevich, the creator and pilot of the MIR submersible, appears during the scenes on the Keldysh.
    • Anders Falk, who filmed a documentary about the sets for the Titanic Historical Society, is one of the Swedish immigrants in Jack's cabin.
    • Edward and Karen Kamuda, then-President and Vice President of the Society, appear on the promenade when Jack is teaching Rose how to spit.
  • Cassandra Truth: In a deleted scene, wireless operators Jack Phillips and Harold Bride are trying to clear a large backlog of messages using a tenuous connection with the mainland after spending the entire day fixing the wireless. However, the SS Californian, which is stopped nearby, attempts to warn them of the heavy ice pack into which the Titanic is steaming. Unfortunately, the message nearly blows out Phillips' eardrums,note  and he thus replies with "Keep out! Shut up! I am working Cape Race!" Cyril Evans then shuts down his equipment and goes to bed. To be fair to Phillips he and Bride have spent the entire day fixing the wireless and were clearly not looking forward to the all nighter especially when the bulk seemed to be coming from petty first class passengers, if that one Bride read aloud was anything to go by.
  • Characters Dropping Like Flies: 1500-ish people died when the real ship sank, so no surprise.
    • Happens literally when supporting characters like the Master-at-Arms, followed by the Dahl family are literally dropping to their deaths when they lose their grip on the railing and hit the ship or drown in the ocean.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Done literally with Lovejoy's pistol, which he shows to Cal when Cal is emptying the safe.
    • Chief Officer Henry Wilde's whistle, which he uses multiple times during the sinking, saves Rose's life.
    • Jack teaching Rose how to spit later helps her when Cal tries to force her into a lifeboat.
    • The car Jack and Rose have sex in is seen being loaded onto the ship while in Southampton.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The girl who Cal finds was prominently featured in an earlier deleted scene where Jack and Rose make it to Scotland Road. She is shown to be with her large family trying to get to the boat deck.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Earlier in the film, Jack teaches Rose how to "spit like a man", and she doesn't do too badly for a first try. Much later in the film, when the ship is sinking, Cal grabs her by the arm and refuses to let her go to Jack. So what does she do in order for him to let go of her? She "spits like a man" right in his face.
    • It's actually a Throw It In, as Rose was scripted as simply jabbing Cal with a hatpin before Cameron realized the spitting would be a neat callback.
    • Also, to an extent Jack's drawing skills, which become pivotal to the plot.
  • The Coats Are Off: Rose initially wears a pink longcoat during the sinking, but takes it off when she sees that the water has risen in the deck where Jack is.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: A TV interview with Brock regarding his expedition, where he shows the drawing of young Rose on camera, just so happens to be on the TV in the home of old Rose for her to see it (complete with trope-staple "Turn that up" when overheard) so she can identify herself in that drawing to Brock.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Jack and Rose burst through a door to escape the lower tunnels of the ship. A dismayed steward then tell them that they're going to have to pay for the damage. As he's evacuating the sinking ship.
  • Compensating for Something: Rose says at one point that the works of Freud should be of interest to Ismay because of how big he built the Titanic, implying that (at least she thinks) Ismay is this.
  • Cool Guns: Lovejoy's nickel-plated engraved M1911, especially since they weren't widespread enough at that time for a custom order to have been easy or inexpensive to get in 1912. In a deleted scene Rose reveals that Lovejoy is an ex-Pinkerton agent so it not too hard to imagine that Lovejoy used connections from his Pinkerton career to “acquire” said gun at a “reasonable” price.
  • Cool Old Lady: Elderly Rose. Molly Brown, too, although she's more middle-aged than old.
  • Cowardice Callout: Implied when Ismay gets a collective Death Glare from all the survivors when he boards Carpathia. He looks very ashamed afterwards.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Averted. Nice old lady Rose has a cute little white Pomeranian dog, showing that she's affectionate and soft, but without the implications of a cat.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Cal.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • James Cameron appears several times in the film as a third class passenger. Here he is getting checked for head lice in Southampton. He can also be seen when Jack and Fabrizio are looking for their cabin, during the party in steerage, and when Murdoch shoots Tommy.
    • Kevin De La Noy, the director of production, appears in the film as Third Officer Pitman.
  • Creator's Culture Carryover: When Rose asks Thomas Andrews where she may find Jack, he tells her to take the elevator to the bottom, despite being an Irishman who would say lift. In the following scene, a crewman does indeed correctly say "lifts." Then again, Andrews may have said it for Rose's benefit, since she's American.
  • Crowd Panic: As Titanic begins her final plunge, everyone still on board begins a massive movement towards the stern, pushing and shoving each other in a desperate effort to reach higher ground.
  • Dangerous Key Fumble: Rose and Jack are trapped behind a metallic gate as it floods. One of the cabin crew fumbles the keys while trying to help, before shouting "I dropped the keys! I'm sorry!" and running away. Cue Jack attempting multiple times to retrieve them and open the gate while the freezing cold water rises.
  • Dark Reprise: The music that plays during the sinking (aside from that played by the actual musical trio, of course) consists heavily of the main theme of the movie, but in a darker and more frantic tone.
  • Dated History:
    • The sinking was made to be as accurate as possible as it was understood in the mid-90s. After the movie was released, James Cameron continued to make expeditions to the wreck to gain a better understanding of the sinking. It has now been determined that the ship broke apart between the second and third funnels, and at a much lower angle than depicted in the film. Cameron has since joked that he now needs to reshoot the entire sinking.
    • As in every depiction of the ship, the central propeller is shown to have four blades. However, in the 2000s, a design notebook that belonged to Thomas Andrews was found at Harland & Wolff's offices, and in it was a note which suggests the central propeller actually had three blades.note 
    • The Chinese passenger is based on a group of Chinese men that were thought to be travelling in steerage at the time the movie was made. It was later discovered that they worked as stokers in the ship.
  • Dead Artists Are Better: Cal taunts Rose that Jack's sketch will be worth a lot more in the morning, when the ship has sunk.
  • Death by Adaptation: An interesting example. Rose's personal maid Trudy is an entirely fictional character who dies in the sinking to emphasize that belief of how self-centered the rich elite were. In reality, all of the women servants in first class (maids, cooks, etc) survived. Only two male servants survived.
  • Death Glare: When Rose's mother puts Jack's lifestyle down in front of everyone at the table, Molly Brown gives her one of these, as her lifestyle was similar to his only a short time ago.
  • Death of a Child:
    • Remember that young French mother with her baby asking Captain Smith where she should go? Yeah... don't worry, you'll see them again.
    • About three times you also see a curly-headed Irish girl named Cora, who doesn't look much older than seven. You don't originally see her death on-screen, but in the final scene where Rose is surrounded by all those who perished on the Titanic, she's the first person you see. However, a deleted scene does show her and her parents, screaming and crying, trapped behind a third-class gate and being submerged by water. Cameron explains it was cut because it was just a bit too upsetting.
    • An Irish woman is shown putting her two children to bed and telling them that everything is going to be all right in the lower decks, while the water slowly starts to rise. In an earlier scene, you see them below deck, the mother reassuring her children that it will be their turn to go up to the boats soon.
    • Another woman caresses her son just before the ship breaks up, telling him that it'll all be over soon.
    • Although they don't get any on-screen deaths, several dogs are seen boarding or being taken for walks on the ship. In the lifeboats, no dogs. Do the math. (In real life, three dogs actually survived the sinking, when their owners refused to get into lifeboats without their pets.)
    • Rose and Jack attempt to save a stranded boy in third class as the water is rushing in, soon to be retrieved by his father — only to head right to where the water's pouring in.
  • Death Song: Rose sings "Come Josephine" to keep Jack from waking up, but in the deleted scene the song continues in the background to symbolize the dead people's souls going to heaven.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The time period's ideas about social class are a major theme of the movie.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Remember that blonde chick who dances with Fabrizio in third-class? She was written as an opposite counterpart to Rose, a girl who finds her love interest in her class and follows her strict parents' orders without question (down to refusing to go with Fabrizio once the ship begins to sink, despite the fact that he knows the way to the lifeboats better). She's also the blonde girl who hangs on the railing before falling to her death. The film's script identifies her as Helga Dahl (a name she indeed responds to in deleted scenes). The bulk of her scenes in the movie were cut, so it's likely only the most die-hard fans will know anything about her.
    • Third Officer Herbert Pitman and Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall only get a handful of appearances. During the sinking, Boxhall says, "Bloody pull faster, and pull!", while Pitman does not get any lines at all.
  • Determinator: Jack didn't give up where many people did. And as a result, Rose survives thanks to his efforts.
  • Diamonds in the Buff: Rose posing for her portrait. She gives Jack the Heart of the Ocean necklace, and says:
    Rose: Jack, I want you to draw me like one of your French girls. Wearing this.
    Jack: All right.
    Rose: Wearing only this.
    Jack: [choke]
  • Didn't See That Coming: Brock and company were so (justifiably from their research) convinced the Heart of the Ocean sank with Titanic that they never foresaw the possibility that it hadn't gone down with the ship and thus wouldn't be in Hockley's safe.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Jack accepts an invitation to dinner in first class, and Molly Brown points out that he is definitely not dressed for the occasion.
  • Digital Head Swap: The film had one of the first examples of this as Leo and Kate's faces were superimposed onto their stunt doubles in the scene where they are running down a flooded hallway. It's noticeable as the scene is done in slow motion.
  • Dirty Coward:
    • Despite the focus on all the noble victims willing to Face Death with Dignity, everyone Jack and Rose meet as they attempt to escape the ship leaves them to their fate, one crew member even sneering a "To hell with you!" at a hysterical Rose. (To be fair, she did break his nose.)
    • In real life, Ismay was branded as this for years after he survived the wreck. This is in no small part to the media owned by William Randolph Hearst, who had a falling out with Ismay earlier. Among his nicknames were "the coward of the Titanic" and "J. Brute Ismay".
    • William Murdoch, the ship's First Officer, was cited by survivors as a hero of the disaster, risking his life on numerous occasions to get people into lifeboats and dying in the tragedy. A statue was even raised in his honour at his birthplace. Despite this, Cameron portrayed him as a coward who took bribes to let the rich jump the lifeboat queues, then blew his brains out in a belated fit of remorse after accidentally killing a passenger. Murdoch's Scottish descendants raised hell and Cameron eventually issued a grudging apology.
    • Robert Hichens is portrayed as one. While his arguments for not saving anymore people are logical, his body language (and the script and commentary) heavily imply that he refused to go back out of fear for his own safety rather than anyone else’s. The fact that he becomes increasingly stubborn and paranoid as the film goes on only confirms this.
    • One young man from steerage is caught hiding under a blanket in a lifeboat, pretending to be a woman.
    • Caledon Hockley attempts to charm, bribe, force and manipulate his way into a lifeboat. Sadly, his last attempt succeeds, though he accidentally saves the little girl as well, by placing her into a boat.
  • Disaster Movie: Of the ship's sinking.
  • Disposable Fiancé: Cal.
  • Disproportionate Restitution: Cal has Lovejoy offer Jack a token sum of cash for his assistance in preventing Rose falling off the ship's stern.note 
    Cal: I think a twenty should do it.
    Rose: Is that the going rate for saving the woman you love?
    Cal: (amused) Rose is displeased! What to do?
  • Distant Reaction Shot:
    • As Jack and Rose start to make love in the cargo hold, we get a distant shot of the ship steaming through complete blackness. Somewhere up ahead is the iceberg with which she is going to collide.
    • About midway through the sinking, one of the rockets fires and the scene cuts away to show the ship and exploding rocket as a tiny blip of light in the vastness of the ocean, emphasizing how isolated they are from rescue.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Jack fights Lovejoy in a deleted scene and gets to punch him in the stomach like he did to him. "Compliments of the Chippewa Falls Dawsons!"
  • Domestic Abuser: Cal.
  • Don't Come A-Knockin': Jack and Rose inside a car, with one of them putting their hand against the steamy window.
  • Doomed by Canon: "Canon" defining history in the real world. People in the film constantly say that the vessel shouldn't be able to sink, and it eventually does by law of what actually happened.
  • Double Standard:
    • A historically-accurate one — if you were on the Titanic, you had a Y chromosome, and you weren't a big shot, you were more likely to be summarily left behind to go down with the ship, even if there was room for you in the lifeboats. (Granted, things weren't all that much better for big shots with Y chromosomes; only a third of the men in first-class survived, while the number of surviving third-class women was much larger.) Precedent for this practice had been set by the disaster of HMS Birkenhead in 1852, 60 years before Titanic's maiden voyage, although the latter would become the most famous example. note 
    • Although rescue efforts on the Titanic famously prioritized women and children, this practice is not and has never been maritime law. Most shipwrecks have been "every man for himself" events in which women and children tend to fare much worse. Take, for example, the sinking of SS Arctic in 1854 and the SS Atlantic in 1873. In both of these disasters, all the women and all but one child (on the Atlantic) died.
    • The officers are also shown applying different interpretations of Captain Smith's command for "women and children first". Lightoller ONLY allows women and children on the lifeboats, while Murdoch and Wilde both allow men on the lifeboats if there are no women or children waiting in the vicinity.
  • Double Take: The chief engineer, upon noticing that the engines were ordered full astern.
  • Downer Ending: For most of the people on the ship. Literally.
  • The Dragon: Lovejoy, Cal's valet and bodyguard.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Rose tells her mother and Cal that "something serious has happened" after she and Jack witness the Titanic striking the iceberg. In response, Cal tells her that his two most important things have disappeared and that one of them, Rose, is back. He then has the Master of Arms search Jack for the other, the Heart of the Ocean (which Lovejoy slipped in his coat pocket to frame him).
  • Dressing to Die: Some of the men (including American millionaire Benjamin Guggenheim) are seen returning to their rooms to change into their formal suits when they realise that they're going down with the ship. The captain also goes to put on his Captain's hat and jacket, parts of the official regalia not usually worn when actually captaining a ship but for ceremonial purposes, when he chooses to stay on the bridge.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Rose reveals at the end of the film that Cal committed suicide after losing his fortune in the 1929 Stock Market crash. ("Or so I read.")
    • First Officer William Murdoch — but this isn't 100% historically accurate. There are contradictory eyewitness accounts concerning the real Murdoch's fate, so it's possible that he really did commit suicide as depicted in the film. Murdoch's hometown steadfastly disagrees, of course, and celebrates Murdoch as a local hero. Second Officer Lightoller last saw Murdoch on the roof of the Officers' Quarters trying to deploy one of the collapsible boats by himself, and believed he was crushed when the forward funnel collapsed. The accounts of an officer shooting a passenger and then himself are contradictory, uncorroborated, and came from people who didn't know Murdoch from Adam. Additionally, a contemporary folk song written about the sinking claims it was Captain Smith who shot himself.
    • Rose is driven to attempted suicide in order to escape her Arranged Marriage with Cal. The Deleted Scene makes it look more gradual than the final cut.
  • Drowning Pit: The sinking ship becomes this after the collision, especially for the occupants of the lower decks.
  • Dudley Do-Right Stops to Help: Jack and Rose hide in the lower decks to keep a low profile from Cal and Lovejoy. Then they hear a child screaming as the water starts closing in on them.
    Rose: We can't leave him.
  • Dutch Angle: Used practically while filming to simulate the tilt of the ship's deck as it sinks.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Rose says "I love you" to Jack only once, when they're both slowly freezing to death.
  • The Edwardian Era: The 1912 scenes.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: One of the Mirs spots a doll's head in the debris field. Inspired by Robert Ballard's account of Alvin coming across a doll's head during their exploration of the wreck.
  • Ending by Ascending: In Rose's Dying Dream, she climbs the grand staircase one last time to where Jack is waiting for her.
  • Enormous Engagement Ring: Rose tells Jack that Cal is worse than her boyfriend and shows him the engagement ring from him. He tells her that if she had jumped off the boat, she would have gone straight to the bottom.
  • Epic Launch Sequence: The eponymous ship leaving Southampton, with an enormous crowd cheering on. The film also omits the Real Life near-collision with another ship, so the launch proceeds without a hitch.
  • Epic Movie: The film is truly grand in scale as it aims to recreate the RMS Titanic and the sinking.
  • Ethereal White Dress: During the final scene, Rose is wearing a white dress (a version of the one she wore to dinner and the Steerage party) in her vision of being back aboard the Titanic.
  • Everybody Smokes: Many of the characters in 1912 smoke like chimneys, with cigarettes for the steerage passengers and cigars for the first class elite. Even Rose smokes, much to her mother's disapproval, as it was not considered acceptable for women to smoke until the 1920s.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Rose's Compensating for Something joke (see above) draws snickers from likable characters Molly and Thomas Andrews; while Ismay, Ruth, and Cal (all varying degrees of unlikable) are confused or appalled.
  • Exact Words: Old Rose technically doesn't lie when Lewis asks if she and Jack 'did it' after the portrait sketch. Jack was, as Rose puts it, very professional. What Old Rose really meant was that they didn't 'do it' immediately after the sketch was completed. They 'did it' later after they'd been chased down into the cargo holds by Lovejoy's pursuit.
  • Expy Coexistence: The Heart of the Ocean shares an identical backstory to the Hope Diamond, which was cut from a diamond belonging to the King of France that was known as the Blue Diamond of the Crown or French Blue and disappeared in 1792 during the revolution. Brock refers to the Hope Diamond by name as well, saying that the Heart of the Ocean would be far more valuable if it was found.
  • Extremely Cold Case: The kickstarter premise sees Brock Lovett trying to find the "Heart of the Ocean" diamond 84 years after it was lost in the sinking. As part of this quest, he interviews main character Rose Dewitt Bukater, the only remaining survivor of the 1912 scenes who is one month shy of 101 years old.
  • Face Cam: During Jack and Rose's dance.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • Benjamin Guggenheim famously said, "No, thank you, we are dressed in our best and are prepared to go down as gentlemen. But we would like a brandy!". However, when he's confronted with the ice-cold water about to take his life, he clearly regrets his decision. Cameron wanted the film to "contradict" other portrayals where everyone met their fate bravely and nobly, undermining the very real chaos and horror of the sinking.
    • The band. Made all the more touching when you remember that this particular movie death is a reconstructed historical fact.
    • The couple portrayed holding each other in bed as the room floods was Isidor and Ida Straus, the founders and original owners of Macy's Department Stores. Ida refused to leave her husband when offered a lifeboat seat. They gave her seat to their maid, and remained on the ship together.
    • Part this, part Heroic BSoD, Captain Edward J. Smith decides to face death at the helm of the ship that would have been his last command. Although it is not entirely certain that he really was going to retire. There's a story that says he was planning to retire after the next big White Star steamship, the Britannic, entered service.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Cal aboard the Carpathia and searching for Rose (or Jack) after the sinking. He's looking right at Rose and doesn't realize it's her (because of her huddling under her blanket). He doesn't even bother to circle around and get a look at the survivor's face. Can be justified in-story by Cal being Stupid Evil (and probably also dealing with his own shellshock from surviving the sinking and thus not thinking clearly).
  • False Reassurance: Cal tells Rose that he's made an arrangement with an officer and will be able to get Jack off safely. As she's being lowered, Jack realizes there is no arrangement, to which Cal assures him that there is but not for him.
  • Fanservice: While teenage girls might have had to drag their boyfriends to see a period love story, those guys did get to see Kate Winslet naked. Sounds fair enough.
  • A Father to His Men: The foreman/lead stoker in the boiler room (Frederick Barrett). As the watertight doors are closing, he stands next to one, screaming at and beckoning his 'lads' to get out, staying as long as he could until he was forced to leave himself lest he get locked in the flooded compartment.
  • Fiery Redhead: Jack tells Rose that if she doesn't break free, sooner or later the fire in her is goin' to go out.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Near the end, Brock throws his celebratory cigar (which he was saving for when he found the diamond) into the ocean after accepting that he'll never find the diamond. Rose similarly throws the diamond into the ocean a few minutes later.
  • Flashback: The story is being recounted by the elderly Rose, although there are a number of scenes that she did not witness and is unlikely to have known the details of.
  • Flash Forward: When Jack is drawing Rose, the movie cuts to her as an old lady.
  • Flipping the Bird: Rose to Lovejoy, as she and Jack are escaping him in the elevator. At the time the film was released, some critics and fans complained that this was anachronistic, but in truth the middle-finger gesture is Older Than Dirt.
  • Flipping the Table: Cal does this the morning after Rose's "exertions in third-class"...and then immediately afterward makes himself presentable and calmly walks out. Yeah...he's not entirely stable.
  • Food Porn: Certain shots linger on the food being served in First Class.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • The ship crashes into an iceberg and sinks. Even if you know nothing about the Titanic, the movie opens with its wreck at the bottom of the sea, and the Keldysh crew puts together a 3D animation of how the Titanic sank for the benefit of the audience. It is a testament to Cameron's talent that he still manages to make the collision with the iceberg look uncertain and suspenseful, in spite of all this.
    • For all Rose's trials and tribulations aboard Titanic, the audience already knows she will survive. Averted, however, with Jack whose fate is left unrevealed until late in the film, thanks in part to old Rose giving her surname as Calvert rather than either DeWitt Bukater (her maiden name) or Dawson.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: From some Swedish background passengers — "Åh herre Gud, det är ju vatten överallt!" ("Oh Lord God, there's water everywhere!")
    • Fabrizio curses quite a bit in Italian, especially when Tommy dies. After he and Jack win the Titanic tickets in the Southampton pub, Fabrizio randomly shouts "Figlio di puttana!" which translates roughly into English as "son of a bitch!"
  • Foreshadowing:
    • You could make a drinking game out of how many times the cast mentions that it would be very, very bad if the Titanic sinks.
    • It is also made very clear several times before the actual collision that the problem for the passengers if the boat were to sink is not drowning, but the freezing cold temperatures in said water. More specifically: Jack dissuades Rose from committing suicide by pointing out how agonizing it would be to fall into the freezing cold water. Jack dies of hypothermia after falling into the water.
    • During Jack and Fabrizio's poker game, there's a pocket knife among the bet items, just in case you were wondering how Fabrizio just happened to have one to cut the boat ropes with during the sinking.
  • Formal Full Array of Cutlery: Jack is confused by the amount of cutlery laid out for dinner in First Class. When he quietly asks Molly Brown if it's all for him, Molly replies "Just start from the outside and work your way in."
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Rose is phlegmatic, Jack is sanguine, Cal is choleric, and Ruth is melancholic.
    • The present day characters — Lizzie is phlegmatic, Brock is choleric, Lewis is sanguine, and Bobby is melancholic.
      • It can even be applied to the four most prominent surviving crew members featured in the film: Lightoller is Choleric, Fleet is Melancholic, Bride is Sanguine, and Joughin is Phlegmatic.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: "When the ship docks, I'm getting off with you," Rose announces to Jack after having known him for what, two days? Somewhat understandable in that Rose is only seventeen, and doesn't really understand what she would be in for. She is also desperately unhappy in her life, and Jack is a way to escape it. It should also be noted that this comes right after Jack and Rose have consummated their relationship. Being from those times, it was likely that Rose assumed that they would marry — otherwise, she wouldn't have slept with him at all. Also, the film makes clear that Rose's only other option is to stay with Cal, so her statement can easily be interpreted as her indicating that she wants to escape Cal. Truth in Television: Transatlantic ocean liners like the Titanic, the Olympic, or the Lusitania and the Mauretania were nicknamed "love boats" at the time, because many couples met and fell in love during the 6 or so days that it took to cross the ocean. The unrealistic part is that in the movie, they are of different classes.
  • Frame-Up: Finally having had *enough* of Jack, Cal and Lovejoy frame him for the 'theft' of the Heart of the Ocean while he was sketching Rose. Obviously, it's the word of a poor steerage passenger against a 'respectable' First-Class elite and the Master of Arms sides with Cal. Jack is detained, Rose is left in doubt as to his innocence (at least until Cal foolishly gloats about it later), and Cal can celebrate having bested this upstart and punishing him with a false prison sentence once they reach New York. The irony is Cal's plan would have worked if the ship hadn't hit the iceberg and begun sinking.
  • Framing Device: Brock Lovett and his crew trying to recover the Heart of the Ocean necklace, and listening to Rose relate her story aboard the Keldysh.
  • Freud Was Right: "I think you'll find his insight on the male preoccupation with size quite interesting."
  • Funny Background Event: Look in the wardrobe mirror, and you'll see Lovejoy sneaking a few glances at the nude drawing of Rose while Cal fumes over it.
  • Futureshadowing: The film opens with an extended tour of the ship's remains at the bottom of the ocean.

    G - N 
  • Gallows Humour:
    • Jack: "I intend to write a Strongly Worded Letter to the White Star Line about all this."
    • Tommy: "If this is the way the rats are goin' that's good enough for me."
    • Lewis: "Oops, somebody left the water running."
    • In a deleted scene, the Astors are waiting in the gymnasium while the gym instructor refuses to put on a life jacket, resulting in this exchange.
      McCawley: Well, I won't wear one, sir. It'll just slow me down, impede my stroke.
      Astor: Right you are, Mr. McCawley. It is 700 miles to shore, so you wouldn't want to have anything to impede your stroke.
    • (from a Deleted Scene) Lewis: "Wait a second, I wanna get something straight; You were gonna kill yourself by jumping off the Titanic? All you had to do was wait two days!"
    • (from a Deleted Scene) Bride: "Maybe we should try that new distress call. S.O.S. It may be our only chance to use it."
    • As they're rowing away from the ship, Molly Brown says to Ruth, "Now there's something you don't see everyday."
    • When the orchestra is playing during the sinking to try and calm the passengers, one musician complains how no one is listening. The leader quips, "They don't listen to us at dinner either," and encourages them to continue playing — which happens to be the 'Galop infernal' from Orpheus in the Underworld. This in turn leads to Tommy quipping as he dashes past, "Music to drown by. Now I know I'm in First Class."
    • As they're hanging on for dear life on the stern, Rose says, "Jack, this is where we first met!"
  • Gambling Brawl: Subverted. Jack wins a game of poker fair and square, and the guy who lost seems like he's about to start a fight with Jack when he instead punches his friend for betting their tickets away. Hilariously, them failing this gamble ended up saving their lives.
  • Gemstone Motifs: A recurring motif for Rose is a blue diamond, represented by the Heart of the Ocean necklace her fiance Cal gifts her. Cal probably chose it because it's rare, expensive and linked with royalty ("It's for royalty. We are royalty, Rose"), though blue diamonds are also associated with mental clarity and strength, which Rose gains over the film. Blue diamonds are also sometimes associated with trust and loyalty / devotion, which are both qualities present in her relationship with Jack (not Cal).
  • The Ghost: Dave and Barry, the partners who are financing Brock's expedition. He gets a call from then after they recover the safe and tries to reassure them that the diamond can still be in the wreck.
  • Going Down with the Ship: Of all the stories about how Captain Smith died, the film uses the most agreed-upon one that he was on the bridge for the final plunge. Thomas Andrews is also shown to be staying in the First Class smoking room.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Bruce Ismay wants to make headlines in New York with his ship. Later, after learning that the ship is going to sink with thousands on board: Captain Smith: "I believe you may get your headlines, Mr. Ismay."
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: For the first-class passengers, at least.
  • Grande Dame: Rose's mother and a number of the other female passengers are tragic variations on the character type, while "Molly" Brown is a subversion.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: In Real Life, Carpathia ran into a thunderstorm and fog before arriving in New York on a rainy night. This bleak weather is mirrored with Rose and the survivors losing their loved ones and is contrasted with the uplifting mood one gets from blue skies and sunshine. The latter occurs during Titanic's voyage.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: How Jack saved Rose. She never told the story before, not even to the man she met and married after the disaster or her children and grandchildren.
  • Hand Signals: After finding Rose on the back of the stern, Jack motions that he's getting closer so that he can toss his cigarette over the railing.
  • Hand Sliding Down the Glass: A non-lethal version; the camera shows a car in the cargo hold with the windows fogged up. A hand slaps against the glass and slides down. No poison gas; just Jack and Rose engaging in some Auto Erotica.
  • Hand Wave: How did they get that safe out of the Hockley's staterooms and to the surface? Well, that ROV had robot arms, so that must be how they did it. Let's just ignore the fact that there's no way it had enough power to lift a heavy metal box full of equally-heavy water, or the fact that the doorways were barely wide enough for the ROV even when it wasn't carrying anything.
    • The safe is later seen being hoisted from the water onto the Keldysh by one of its cargo cranes, maybe they had a long enough cable to reach the Titanic and the ROV was able to just get it into the net.
  • Happily Failed Suicide: After her suicide was stopped by Jack, Rose goes on to live a long and full life.
  • Hate Sink: A lot of them, such as most of the crew and First Class passengers. But the big ones are Cal, Lovejoy, Ruth, Ismay and Hichens.
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: Rose's reaction to seeing Jack's drawing of the "One-Legged Prostitute".
  • Hello, Sailor!: Joked about. The two lookouts in the Titanic's crow's nest observe Rose and Jack making out on the deck below them. When one of them notes that the young couple must be a lot warmer than the two of them, his crewmate retorts that if that's what it takes, he'll have to pass.
  • Her Heart Will Go On: Trope Namer.
  • The Hero Dies: Jack himself at the end.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Captain Smith realizes just how many people there are still on board while almost all of the boats are gone.
    • Thomas Andrews, Master Shipwright of Harland & Wolff, who led Titanic's design team, having apologized to Rose for "not building you a stronger ship", stands alone in the stateroom and had taken off his life vest (which he gave to Rose). He takes a moment to adjust with almost loving gentleness a timepiece on the mantle. This is based on the real-life account of a witness who last saw Andrews in the stateroom just staring at a clock as the Titanic reached its death throes.
    • One of the officers (Murdoch) has a My God, What Have I Done? moment after firing into the crowd with his revolver, and commits suicide immediately afterward.
  • Heroic Bystander: Chief Baker Charles Joughin. Amidst the chaos of everyone running towards the stern, he takes the time to help Rose up when she falls into the well deck. During the final plunge, he successfully pulls up someone over the railing to save him from falling into the water. In a deleted scene, he is also shown throwing deck chairs into the water so that they can be used as flotation devices.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Jack. The scene where he clings to the wreckage while Rose lays on top of it is frequently derided, but it's likely he did it so she wouldn't be exposed to the freezing water. Rose gets on, but when Jack tries to as well, he almost flips the wreckage (a fairly flat piece of wood), and they clearly have to give up. Rose is almost in the water as it is, and adding Jack's weight would half-immerse both of them. Since Rose barely survives, she certainly would have frozen with the added exposure before the search party came by.note  It's also implied that Jack knows his situation is fatal. In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment he nods, twice — as if setting in his mind the fact that he's not going to make it. He then turns his efforts into keeping Rose hopeful (and as sane as can be in such a situation).
      • Ironically, despite all the second-guessing about whether or not Jack would fit on the door — which was actually larger than the real thing would've been, at least one (Chinese third-class) passenger survived by doing exactly what Jack did — holding onto a piece of wreckage until rescue arrived later that morning. This is shown in a deleted scene.
    • Chief Engineer Joseph Bell and his entire staff remain at their posts in the engine room until the very end, ensuring the ship has power until literally the last moment. The engineers also kept her trimmed laterally, pumping water from one side of the ship to the other to keep her on an even keel — she's the only liner to go down nearly level. This allowed all of her boats to be used, saving hundreds of lives. Andrea Doria wasn't so lucky: she rolled over, making half her boats useless.
  • Hero of Another Story: Once they send out the signal that the Titanic is sinking, the closest ship responding (RMS Carpathia) is four hours away at top speed. They arrive in three and a half, having pushed their ship to its absolute limits while dodging the same icefield that sank the Titanic. While they arrive too late to save the people in the water, it should be noted that the people in the lifeboats also had hypothermia with three already dead by the time the ship found them, so the Carpathia's race across the sea likely saved many lives.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Jack and Fabrizio seem to have been good friends before their adventure on the Titanic.
  • Hidden Depths: Everyone considers Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor to be the best symbols of feminism in Cameron's work, but what about our plucky heroine Rose?
  • High-Voltage Death: Right before the ship breaks apart, we see the engineers trying to keep the circuit breakers in. One of them gets hit by a jet of water just as he grabs a breaker, electrocuting him and shorting out the ship's power for good.
  • Historical Domain Character: Many. There is the Unsinkable Molly Brown, Captain Smith and the rest of the officers, Ismay, Andrews, Gracy, J.J. Astor, the band, the Countess of Rothes... Pretty much everyone who's named but not a main character, with only two or three exceptions.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Like many other dramatizations of the disaster, Captain Smith is shown to be a gentle and kindly old man who is pressured by Bruce Ismay to keep going at full speed into an ice field to make headlines (which would never actually happen because even if Titanic shaved one day off its seven day journey, it would still be much slower than many other ships that could cross the ocean between four and five days), when in reality Smith disregarded the ice warnings and kept the ship's speed up at his own volition. To be fair, according to The Other Wiki, linked here, Smith was simply following the standard practices of the time, when iceberg warnings were regarded as mere advisories; an iceberg had not sunk a ship in over a decade prior; and it was believed that icebergs posed no danger to a ship of such significant size. (A 1907 impact with an iceberg, in which the ship involved was able to continue on to port under its own power, seemed to bear out this belief.)
  • Historical In-Joke:
    • A very obscure one: Rose is mentioned to have eventuality settled in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. One of the First Class casualties, Walter Donald Douglas, is buried in Cedar Rapids, and his second wife, Mahala (who is buried with him), was the first survivor to board the Carpathia.
    • Jack and Rose finally hook up in the back seat of a car held in storage. Yes, there really was one on the Titanic... but it may not have been fully assembled.
    • According to the movie, the last thing lookouts Frederick Fleet and Reginald Lee were doing in the crow's nest before spotting the iceberg was looking at Jack and Rose laughing and giggling. Maybe if they hadn't been distracted by them, they would have seen it sooner.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Pretty much all the crew members are depicted as incompetent at best and outright negligent or cruel at worst, except Smith (who, ironically, held the most responsibility, for not understanding how to captain a vessel the size of the Titanic, made even worse because he had already commanded her nearly-identical sister ship the Olympic):
    • First Officer William Murdoch goes from an upstanding officer who was still trying to launch a lifeboat (a job for twelve men) by himself when he died to accepting bribes (though he later rejects it), shooting two men trying to rush the lifeboats, and then shooting himself in remorse. During the initial aftermath of the collision, Murdoch organized the boat parties and sent boats on their way on the starboard side of the ship, saving directly or indirectly the lives of three-quarters of the night's survivors. His family were not amused. James Cameron made a (begrudged) formal apology to them and donated £5,000 to a memorial in Murdoch's hometown in Scotland.
    • Second Officer Charles Herbert Lightoller becomes a nervous martinet instead of a hero who kept a couple dozen people alive on an overturned Collapsible B was apparently a reaction (or overreaction) to the common criticism of his over-the-top heroic portrayal in A Night to Remember (it is sometimes said that this was because Lightoller himself was an adviser to ANTR, but he actually died a few years before that film; the adviser was Fourth Officer Boxhall, who is played by Simon Crane but not named in Cameron's film).
    • J. Bruce Ismay is shown displaying total disregard for safety by pushing for a speed record the White Star Line already knew it couldn't win. The entire purpose of the three massive luxury ships — the Olympic, the Titanic, and the Britannic — was to beat Cunard and other rivals when it came to luxury and technological novelties (and even that's subjective), not speed, as they knew they couldn't beat the Lusitania and the Mauretania on speed. Arriving early would have led not to applause but to both complaints from (wealthy and influential) passengers, whose hotel reservations and travel bookings were for the following day, and annoyance from the US Customs office in New York (and pissing them off would be very bad for business). It should, therefore, surprise nobody that the whole speed thing is fiction. To its credit, the film does, however, show Ismay attempting to help people into the lifeboats, even pulling aside a fleeing passenger or two who were about to start trying to find another or otherwise walk off in a panic. Ismay actually did these things to the best of his ability, and only got onto a lifeboat himself (one of the last to go) when there was no one left nearby to call over (as they were all heading for the stern). A lot of Ismay's bad reputation came solely from this single decision in his life, compounded by an outright smear campaign by newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst, with whom Ismay had had an unrelated falling-out several years before the disaster. Whether or not he deserves it is entirely up for debate.
    • The film shows several of the crew keeping the Third Class passengers locked down in the lower decks so that the upper classes can be seated in the lifeboats first, even when they're begging to be let out, and there's a scene where Jack, Fabrizio, and Tommy have to batter their way through a gate with a bench while the stewards shout for them to stop. This did not happen in real life; the gates were there for US immigration purposes to prevent the spread of disease and often weren't even locked, and as soon as the life boats started to be lowered an order was given for all the gates to be opened, with several of the crew directing/guiding passengers to the upper decks. Third Class passengers did suffer a higher death rate than First and Second, but a lot of that can be blamed on the confusing design of the ship which made it difficult to get to the top deck where all the lifeboats were, particularly if the passengers didn't speak or read English; it wasn't because the crew wrote them off as worthless and left them to die.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • In-universe example during the Present Day sequences after Bodine expresses incredulity that Smith had the iceberg warning in his hands and yet still ordered more speed. Brock's personal opinion is that Smith's decades of maritime experience — one of the very reasons Ismay and White Star selected him to captain Titanic's maiden voyage — was ironically his worst asset in this particular scenario.
      Brock: 26 years of experience working against him. He figures anything big enough to sink the ship they're gonna see in time to turn. The ship's too big with too small a rudder. It doesn't corner worth a damn. Everything he knows is wrong.
    • During his attempts to shoot Jack, Cal slips on a chunk of the Grand Staircase balustrade he'd just blasted off when his first shot missed. This costs him valuable seconds, allowing Jack and Rose to maintain a narrow lead in their flight down into the sinking ship.
  • Hollywood Darkness: After the ship's lights go out near the end of the sinking, everything is bathed in a blueish tint to make the action visible to the viewers. Since Titanic sank on a moonless night, this part would have been nearly pitch black in Real Life.
  • Hollywood Kiss: Jack and Rose.
  • Homage Shot: James Cameron took visual cues and lines from previous Titanic films, particularly A Night to Remember. These include Thomas Andrews hanging his head on the mantel in the smoking room, Wallace Hartley joking that the passengers don't listen to them at dinner anyway, Ismay saying "This is most unfortunate" after being told of the collision, and a little girl reacting to the distress rockets being fired. One deleted scene features Lowe finding a young man wrapped in a blanket, evidently to look like a woman. Molly Brown's line "Why do they insist on announcing dinner like a damn cavalry charge?" was taken from the 1953 film. He also based a number of shots of the ship and the sinking on Ken Marschall's paintings.
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • It's very romantic that Rose throws the Heart of the Ocean away at the end, but she could have used it to give herself, or at least her children who are supporting her, a better life.
      • The Alternate Ending does directly address in-universe why Rose never sold the Diamond: Because it would mean letting Cal 'win' and Rose couldn't bear that.
        Old Rose: The hardest part about being so poor was being so rich. But every time I thought of selling it, I thought of Cal. And, somehow, I made it without his help.
    • Rose twice turns down a place in a lifeboat to stay on a ship that she knows will soon sink so she can be with Jack, a man she has known for about two days.
    • The White Star Line themselves — they could have had twelve more lifeboats, but went without them because they thought it would make the deck look cluttered.
  • Hope Spot: After the ship sinks, Chief Wilde begins blowing his whistle to signal the lifeboats to return. Jack reassures Rose to wait just a little longer. However, only Fifth Officer Lowe returns.
  • Hufflepuff House: Second Class is only mentioned once in the film, when the Master-at-Arms is called away to handle a mob at the Second Class purser's office. That said, we do spend quite a bit of time with the ship's orchestra, as they travelled as Second Class passengers, and Father Thomas Byles is given significant focus during the final moments of the sinking.
  • I Am Very British: Sixth Officer Moody's polite, "Thank you" reply to Lookout Fleet's frantic warning.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: "I saw that in a nickelodeon once, and I always wanted to do it."
  • I Need a Freaking Drink:
    • In a deleted scene, an Irish couple give Jack and Rose a swig from a hip flask, saying it will take the chill away.
    • The baker Charles Joughin, when he's clinging to the railing of the stern and has just watched a falling man bounce off the propeller, pulls out a hip flask and takes a hefty swig. (Truth in Television, as the real Joughin spent half the night helping people get off the ship and the other half getting drunk; against all the odds, all the booze in his system probably saved his life when he finally went into the water.)
    • After he and his valet change into their best evening wear to go down with the ship, Benjamin Guggenheim asks a steward for a brandy.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Rose. "Wasn't I a dish?" (It's true!)
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: Subverted, where Rose says "I'm so cold," and later, "I can't feel my body." It's already a foregone conclusion that she survives, as she is the narrator for the whole movie, plus she's drenched and floating on a bit of wreckage in the icy North Atlantic; she's not just mystically drifting closer to mortality.
  • Iconic Outfit: Practically all of Rose's outfits became iconic following the film's release, especially:
    • The black and white pinstripe boarding suit with a wide-brimmed purple hat.
    • The beaded and embroidered red dinner dress.
    • The blue velvet dress during the "flying" scene.
    • The pink embroidered coat with a pink satin and white chiffon sash dress during the sinking.
    • The Heart of the Ocean diamond and necklace.
  • Impoverished Patrician: Following the death of her father, Rose and her mother fell on hard times. This is the reason why Rose's mother wants her daughter to marry Cal.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Of all the children that we see in the film, the little girl who Cal finds by the electric winch is the only one who survives. She manages to survive Collapsible A getting swamped by the final plunge and also appears to be from steerage, where the majority of children perished.
  • In the Style of: James Horner's score is largely based on the musical stylings of Enya. In particular, the anthemic music heard when Titanic launches is very similar to Enya's composition "Book of Days". This was at James Cameron's request, as he used many of her recordings as placeholder music during editing.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Subverted. When Brock is talking about the sinking of the Titanic, he says "I never let it in."
  • Inexplicable Language Fluency: Jack and the Swedish men understand each other well enough that Olaf is able to bet his tickets for all Jack and Fabrizio's money.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Rose's beauty gets talked up a lot. Which is not to say that Kate Winslet is not a beautiful woman.
    "Ah, forget it, boyo. You're as like to have angels fly out your arse as get next to the likes of her." [though this is as much a comment on her social status as her beauty]
    "Congratulations, Hockley, she's splendid."
  • Insert Cameo: Besides the cameos mentioned above, James Cameron is the one who is sketching Kate Winslet with the Heart of the Ocean (note that a different, more detailed sketch is used for the one found in the present).
  • Insistent Terminology: During dinner, Ruth asks Jack how the accommodations are in steerage. White Star Line had done away with using the term, which carried connotations of cramped, unsanitary, and squalid conditions. They referred to their lowest class exclusively as Third Class, and granted modest luxuries by ensuring their facilities were clean, serving three hot meals a day, and housing passengers in cabins with doors that were just as nice as Second Class cabins on other ships. Ruth's usage of the term is a subtle jab at Jack's background, while Cal's usage of "third class" demonstrates an attempt to be diplomatic and respectful (which he fails at).
  • Instant Thunder: Averted. In the Distant Reaction Shot where a distress rocket explodes over the ship, we see the flash and hear the explosion a few seconds later. On the DVD commentary, it's mentioned that James Cameron accurately calculated the seconds until the explosion would be heard.
  • Insurance Fraud: An ironic, unintentional variation. After he fails to find Rose among the survivors, Cal and his father naturally assume the Heart of the Ocean went down with the ship and file a secret insurance claim. Neither of them realize Rose is still alive and still has the diamond, so that means the Hockleys technically committed insurance fraud without knowing it (nor would they ever find out).
  • Inter-Class Romance: In Jack's words, Rose is a spoiled brat and an indoor girl, while he sleeps under bridges and goes wherever he wants. That said, Rose and her mother are suffering from a series of debts, so they're not actually as wealthy as they appear.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Jack and Rose first meet when he stops her from jumping off the back of the ship.
  • Intimate Artistry: Rose asked Jack to sketch her wearing only the Heart of the Ocean necklace and nothing else. Rose's willingness and desire to have Jack sketch her naked showed her trust in him, compared to the distaste and fear she felt for her fiance Cal Hockley, and the sketch itself conveyed Jack's feeling for Rose through his expression of art. The discovery of the sketch at the start of the film is what sets the plot in motion, and symbolizes their love surviving even after the ship itself has sank.
    Rose: Jack, I want you to draw me like one of your French girls. Wearing this.
    Jack: All right.
    Rose: Wearing only this.
  • Ironic Death: The Titanic herself suffers this fate. Heralded by many as the 'unsinkable ship' the Titanic set sail on her Maiden voyage in 1912 where she struck an iceberg, split in two, and sank off the coast of Newfoundland. Ironic death indeed.
  • Ironic Echo: The exchange between Ismay and Captain Smith.
    Ismay: [over afternoon tea] The press knows the size of Titanic, now I want them to marvel at her speed. We must give them something new to print. This maiden voyage of Titanic must make headlines.
    Smith: [upon realizing the ship will sink in two hours] Well, I believe you may get your headlines, Mr. Ismay.
    • A deleted scene has a payoff to a line by Lovejoy. Before leaving Jack in the master-at-arms' office, Lovejoy punches him in the gut and says, "Compliments of Mr. Caledon Hockley." In a deleted scene, the two fight in the flooding First Class Dining Saloon. Upon subduing Lovejoy, Jack hits back with "Compliments of the Chippewa Falls Dawsons!"
  • Ironic Echo Cut: The film briefly cuts from Jack and Rose partaking in the lively steerage party to show Cal and the other "masters of the universe" having a boring chat about business and politics.
  • It Has Been an Honor: The band.
    Wallace Hartley: Gentlemen, it has been a privilege playing with you tonight.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: "Oh, it is a little slut, isn't it?"
  • It Will Never Catch On: Rose collects Picasso paintings and has read the works of Sigmund Freud, of whom nobody has heard.
    Cal: "Something Picasso"? He won't amount to a thing. He won't, trust me. At least they were cheap.
  • It's All About Me: While it is clear that Ruth, in some way or another, cares for Rose, she prioritizes her own desires for Rose over what Rose actually wants, and is more than willing to allow Cal to abuse Rose as long as it means Ruth gets her riches. As soon as she is in the lifeboat, it is safe to assume that she sees the error of her ways.
  • It's All Junk: The "Heart of the Ocean" now really is the heart of the ocean. Also, passengers are seen hauling luggage and other prized possessions with them to the lifeboats early on, but once the danger becomes obvious the only things people struggle to take along are life vests. A special exception is made for one of the little girls in Lifeboat No. 2 (the boat Rose gets in and then jumps out of), who is allowed to take her rag doll with her (though of course in any real sense, the doll takes up no room at all).
  • It's Probably Nothing: When the engines stop after the collision, the Countess of Rothes asks a steward if anything has happened. He replies that they've likely thrown a propeller blade.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Rose's mother is not a nice person. She is completely insistent that Rose marries Cal, even when Rose adamantly tells her in some indirect way that she is selfish, frowns upon Margaret Brown for being new money, Jack for his class and it's pretty clear that she has an indifferent variation of the It's All About Me attitude trope. But at the end of the day, she still loves Rose and is doing what she thinks is best for her and the last we see of her in the extended Carpathia sequence further suggests she might have taken a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: Cal's single act of kindness was ensuring that an orphan girl would get on a collapsible. But even then, that was just so he could also get a spot on the boat. A later scene shows him pushing people away who are desperately trying to get on the boat. note 
  • Jerkass: Several of them.
    • Cal.
    • Lovejoy as well, since he doesn’t have much of a personality aside from agreeing with almost everything from Cal’s point of view.
    • Several of the other historical characters, Quartermaster Hitchens, the officers and several third class stewards count, but they do have their reasons.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Quartermaster Robert Hitchins was in charge of lifeboat 6 (of which Molly Brown was a passenger). He was a less than heroic character in both real life and the movie, but in the movie he states that they cannot go back to rescue the people in the water because they would swarm the boats and condemn them all in the process. It sounds heartless and cruel, but rowing a boat into a crowd of over 1,000 drowning and desperate people would have caused exactly that.
    • Cal has an identical moment earlier when he's preventing the panicking people from getting onto the lifeboat. Again, it sounds cruel, but again, he's right — the collapsible was swamped and was tipping dangerously at that point. If all those people had gotten on, the boat would probably overturn and kill them all.
  • Just in Time: A fireman barely escapes through the watertight door before it seals off the boiler room — a second later and the door would have crushed his legs.
    • In reality, he would have either lost his legs, or had to escape via Scotland Road: The last 20 inches of the automatic watertight bulkhead doors were a freefall to ensure the two-ton doors dropped in place with a watertight seal.
  • Karma Houdini: Both played straight and subverted at the same time. Cal, Ruth and Ismay, the three least likeable main characters all survive the sinking, but not only have they all lost what they valued the most, the latter two are clearly struggling with Survivor's Guilt whilst Cal commits suicide a few years later.
    • Subverted with Ismay. In real life, he received a fair amount of harsh criticism from William Randolph Hearst and the rest of the American press for surviving and was labelled by most as a coward. Lord Mersey, who was a judge in the British inquiry, shielded him from harsh treatment and blamed Titanic's body count on Captain Stanley Lord of the Californian.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Although Cal makes it off of the boat safely despite the expectations of the audience, we learn in the epilogue that he lost everything in the 1929 stock market crash and committed suicide, plus, as far as he knew, Rose was dead and the diamond, which could've saved his wealth was lost forever. Karma moves slowly, it seems.
  • Killed Offscreen: Real-life survivors such as Ismay, Molly, Lightoller, etc., who die during the 84 year time skip between 1912 and 1996. which is a matter of historical record. Rose briefly mentions what happened to Cal. While we don't know what happened to Ruth, it's safe to say she's long dead by the time the story begins.
  • Kill the Poor: When told that half the people on the ship are going to die, which will primarily consist of third-class passengers, Cal says that it won't be the better half that perishes. In fact, keeping the third class passengers waiting behind locked doors to drown while the wealthy ones are placed on lightly-occupied rescue boats is even more reminiscent of this. A case of Artistic License – History, as in fact more women and children from Third Class survived than men from both First and Second Class combined. Contrary to what is portrayed in the film, Third Class passengers were not locked below decks as a matter of policy, although some survivors reported being prevented from leaving steerage. It did work against them that many were not English speakers, and they were located lower down in the ship, meaning the water reached them first.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    Rose: When the ship docks... I'm getting off with you.
    Jack: This is crazy.
    Rose: I know. It doesn't make any sense... that's why I trust it.
  • Language Barrier:
    • When Rose is searching for someone to help her get Jack out of the Master at Arms office, she comes across a panicking Russian man. When she tries to talk to him, he just says "Nyet, nyet." and runs off.
    • Jack and Rose are trying to escape the rapidly-flooding ship when they run into a man who yells at them in a language they can't understand and then runs into a hallway. Jack and Rose try to warn him not to go that way, but he can't understand them and gets swept away by a rush of water when a door bursts open.
    • Families, especially the immigrants traveling to America in third-class, were unable to escape the ship because they couldn't read the English signs that were clearly pointing the ways toward the boat deck.
  • Large Ham: Billy Zane, doing what he does best.
  • Lessons in Sophistication: Jack is put through one by Molly Brown, since after saving Rose he is invited to the Captain's Table. She gets him a tux, teaches him some conversational gambits, and tells him he shines up like a new penny.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Rose, big time!
  • Lifesaving Misfortune: The whole reason why Jack and Fabrizio manage to get tickets for the Titanic in the first place is because two Swedish guys named Sven and Olaf bet their own tickets in a poker game Jack and Fabrizio won five minutes before the Titanic left Southampton. If Jack and Fabrizio didn't both die in the ship's sinking, Sven and Olaf most likely would have.
  • Liquid Courage: One person wearing all white (Charles Joughin) can be seen climbing all the way up the stern and drinking from a hip flask. He's one of the people who is on the top of the stern. This was actually Truth in Television - Charles Joughin, the chief baker, refused his spot on the lifeboats, tossed deck chairs to be used as floatation devices, got absolutely smashed, then rode the ship down like it was an elevator.
  • Lockdown: First Officer Murdoch closes the watertight doors when the hull is breached by the iceberg in an attempt to contain the flooding. It doesn't work.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: The Calverts knew nothing of Rose's true origins. She never spoke to her husband or to her children and grandchildren about her presence on the Titanic or about Jack Dawson. Learning all of this is just as much of a surprise for them (or at least them as represented by Lizzy) as it is for Brock and his team.
  • Long Last Look: After declaring that Titanic has no more than two hours left, Thomas Andrews begins walking around the First Class Lounge and the Grand Staircase, no doubt realizing that his crowning achievement will soon be at the bottom of the Atlantic.
  • Lots of Luggage: We see Old Rose bringing lots of luggage onto the Keldysh in her Establishing Character Moment; then, when she goes into her flashback, Young Rose does exactly the same thing boarding the Titanic. For Young Rose, this makes sense, as she and her mother are moving to the United States with Cal; however, Old Rose is merely visiting the crew of the exploratory ship.
  • Love Theme: "My Heart Will Go On", heard repeatedly during Jack and Rose's scenes.
  • Love Triangle: Jack, Rose, and Cal.
  • MacGuffin: The Heart of the Ocean. The framing device is centered around Brock and his team trying to find it.
  • Magic Countdown: It's estimated that 37 seconds transpired between the sighting of the iceberg and the collision. Here, it takes two minutes before the collision happens.
  • The Magic Poker Equation: The poker game at the Southampton pub. In order, Fabrizio and Olaf both have worthless hands, Sven has two pair, and finally, Jack wins with a full house.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Jack Dawson is a rare male example of the MPDG trope: a mysterious, handsome, appealing, artistic, free-spirited boy who, because we see him entirely from Rose's perspective, has very little of his interior life or character motivation beyond how he relates to Rose shown. All his actions throughout the film relate to Rose and are as much about defining her character as they are about his. His "big speech" moment is not about him, it's all about Rose and how he sees her as a beautiful creature trapped in her world who'll die if she can't break free.
  • Match Cut: James Cameron loves this, and there are several joining the wreck with the brand-new ship of the past, or old and young Rose, but most especially the iconic scene of Rose and Jack kissing on the bow, where their figures dissolve to the prow of the wreck in the present.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Rose either dies or dreams and goes to the Titanic as it once was. It's purposefully up to interpretation. While James Cameron refused to clarify the scene, Gloria Stuart revealed in an interview that Rose died.
  • Meaningful Background Event: When Captain Smith and J. Bruce Ismay are discussing the ship's speed, a woman in the background repeatedly glances at their conversation. This woman is meant to be Elizabeth Lines, who later testified that she saw the two talking about increasing the ship's speed the day before the disaster.
  • Meaningful Echo: "I'll never let go" is said when Jack is holding Rose over the precipice, and when Rose is holding Jack in the ocean.
  • Melodrama: The story of Rose and Jack's romance is as dramatic and larger-than-life as the disaster they end up in.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Invoked by Molly Brown — "What's the matter with you? It's your men out there! There's plenty o' room for more!" Also see Double Standard, above.
  • Missed Him by That Much: After the survivors are rounded up and they're picked up by the passenger ship. Cal comes down to the lower deck in search of Rose. He's mere inches from finding her (She has her back to him and in a cloak) but ultimately gives up, assuming she died in the ocean. In a deleted scene, he finds another red-haired woman and initially thinks it's her; this is what alerts Rose to the fact that Cal is nearby so she can turn away.
  • Money Is Not Power: Cal tries to bribe his way off the doomed ship. While it appears to work initially, the money is thrown back in his face when it matters most.
    First Officer Murdoch: Your money can't save you any more than it could save me!
  • MRS Degree: Rose's mother says, "But the purpose of university is to find a suitable husband. Rose has already done that."
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: It's a historical epic with both Spectacle and a heartfelt love story. Hence it appeased to a broad enough audience to become the highest-grossing movie ever.
  • Murder-Suicide: William Murdoch shoots and kills a fictional third-class Irish passenger, then commits suicide from guilt. This is a Historical Villain Upgrade, as William Murdoch on the real ship was regarded as a hero and was last seen helping passengers. The filmmakers had to take an apology to Murdoch's hometown as a result.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Quite literally, Cal's plan to get Rose back.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: William Murdoch's reaction to shooting Tommy, who dies instantly — he kills himself from the guilt.
  • My Greatest Failure: Played with with Thomas Andrews, who accepts his fate and elects to go down with his ship. Especially tragic as much of the oversight regarding the ship's shortcomings were not the fault of the real Andrews.
    Mr. Andrews: I'm sorry that I didn't build you a stronger ship, young Rose.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: How Rose gives her name to the Carpathia sailor taking roll call of the survivors and revealing to the audience that she adopts Jack's surname.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer portrays Molly as an extra who watches the Titanic sink.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • A small example with Captain Smith. As the Titanic is sinking, Smith is approached by a Third Class French woman who is cradling a baby, and asks him "Captain, where should I go?" The Captain simply blanks her and walks away. Later on, after Titanic has sunk, Fifth Officer Lowe has commandeered a lifeboat in order to rescue survivors struggling in the water; one of the floating corpses his light crosses is that of the same woman with her infant still in hand, both of them frozen to death. If Smith had not ignored them and had simply told her to get into a boat, she and her child could have easily avoided death.
    • Rose and Jack arguably bear some culpability for the sinking. Their giggling and making out on the deck catches the eyes and amusement of the lookouts (and Murdoch too). If they hadn't been watching the young lovers' antics, they might have sighted the iceberg about sooner and avoided it in time. However, if you look closely, the iceberg is just coming into view when we see the lookouts' POV, making it doubtful Jack and Rose had much of an impact on the sighting.
    • If Rose had not jumped out of her lifeboat back onto the sinking ship to be with Jack, Jack would have had the floating door to himself, so he would have survived and they could really be together.
      • Debatable. Cal was going to leave Jack to die on the ship (or even alternately have had Lovejoy quietly kill /knock Jack out just to be sure). There's no guarantee Jack would have taken refugee on the stern during the final sinking, that he'd had survived long enough to make it into the water, or if he'd have been able to find the floating door or another piece of debris.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Subverted. Kate Winslet nude for Jack's painting of Rose only earned a PG-13. Reportedly, Cameron worked with the editors and the MPAA to determine just how many seconds and frames he could get away with and keep it PG-13. It helps that, despite immense sexual tension, nothing actually happens in the scene. The subsequent Auto Erotica scene is far more censored in comparison.
    • It also helps that only one of her breasts is exposed, with the other being covered by Jack's drawing board.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: After seeing the iceberg collision and overhearing the officers discussing the damage, Rose decides they need to tell Cal and Ruth out of genuine concern. When they return to the cabin, Cal frames Jack for stealing the diamond, sending him to the lower decks.
  • Nobility Marries Money: Rose gets engaged to Cal. Rose's father got her family into debt, and their family name is their only real asset now.
  • Noodle Incident: After Brock finds that the diamond isn't in the safe, Lewis says "The same thing happened to Geraldo, and his career never recovered." However, this is actually a reference to when Geraldo Rivera opened a vault belonging to Al Capone in a much-hyped television special in 1986, only to find that there was nothing inside.
  • Nostalgia Heaven: Rose either dies or dreams and goes to the Titanic as it once was. It's purposefully up to interpretation. While James Cameron refused to clarify the scene, Gloria Stuart revealed in an interview that Rose died.
  • Not a Game: Rose's mother when she takes her to task for allowing her infatuation with Jack to threaten the betrothal to Cal and their financial future.
  • Not Helping Your Case: When Jack is being framed for stealing the diamond and he is protesting this, Lovejoy points out that his coat belongs to another passenger. All Jack can do is sheepishly say he was going to return it.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Jack saves Rose from falling off the back of the ship and pulls her to safety, accidentally falling on top of her in the process. Her clothes are torn and she's visibly terrified from the ordeal. At that moment, the crewmembers (attracted by Rose screaming for help when she slipped) run up and see them.

    O - Z 
  • Obvious Stunt Double: A meta-example of sorts. While Jack is drawing Rose in-story, James Cameron did the sketch in question, with his hands being filmed making it. Not very obvious. What is obvious is that another artist was then hired to redo the sketch, as the one that is drawn by Cameron doesn't look much like the sketch seen at the film's beginning. So a stunt double for a stunt double, in a sense. Also, note the way the scene is cut: Winslet and DiCaprio weren't on set together when she was naked. When Rose is about to drop her robe, the scene jumps to a behind the back cut with Winslet's body double, and when the camera is behind Jack to show Rose lying on the couch naked, that's a double of DiCaprio.
  • Of Corset Hurts: Rose wears them but doesn't like it, leading to the obligatory "tightening the corset laces" scene, in which her mother lectures her on the restrictions that constrained a young lady in proper society as she laces the garment.
    • According to research by James Cameron, corsets were going out of fashion by 1912 and most girls of Rose's age didn't wear them, so Rose's mother forcing her to wear one at all is also symbolic of their relationship.
  • Off with His Head!: Referenced. Brock mentions that the Blue Diamond of the Crown, which later became the Heart of the Ocean, disappeared in 1792, about the same time King Louis XVI "lost everything from the neck up."
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: How many of the crew members featured in the film survived aboard the overturned lifeboat. This was shot for an extended version of the rescue, but was cut from the film.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Jack and Fabrizio have one when they win the tickets for Titanic...only to learn she departs in five minutes.
    • Andrews, Ismay, and Captain Smith poring over the blueprints of the ship after the collision with the iceberg, each coming to the realization that the ship will sink and there is nothing they can do to stop it.
    • This image of Benjamin Guggenheimnote  witnessing the water rise within the ship as it is sinking.
    • Frederick Fleet and Reginald Lee, the two lookouts in the crow's nest, when they spotted the iceberg, followed by the bridge crew, followed by the engine room crew when the bridge suddenly orders "full astern" and, back on the bridge, the crewman at the helm is given the order "hard to starboard" (which means the opposite of what you think it means, as it turns the rudder to port).
      Fleet: Bugger me!
    • Jack, seeing the first water start seeping into the cabin where he's been left alone and handcuffed to a pipe:
      Jack: Oh, shit!
      • Doubles as a Call-Back to Jack saying the exact same thing earlier when they were being chased through the lower decks by Lovejoy, though the context then was far more light-hearted.
    • Cal's expression when the first funnel starts to collapse. Fabrizio as well seconds before it falls right on him.
    • Jack gets a more mild one in when he overhears Captain Smith and Thomas Andrews discussing just how severe the damage to the ship was, simply stating in appropriately-worried tones, "Oh, this is bad."
    • And then when Rose asks Andrews what's happening:
      Rose: Mr. Andrews, I saw the iceberg, and I see it in your eyes. Please tell me the truth.
      Thomas Andrews: [takes Rose aside] The ship will sink.
      Rose: [beat] You're certain?
      Thomas Andrews: Yes, in an hour or so, all this will be at the bottom of the Atlantic.
      Cal: What?
      Thomas Andrews: [Rose's eyes widen] Please, tell only who you must. I don't want to be responsible for a panic. And get to a boat quickly. Don't wait. You... remember what I told you about the boats? [Rose nods]
    • Lightoller has one when he gets chewed out by Andrews for lowering boats half-full. He looks at one of the lifeboats he just launched, and realizes just how many more people are on board the ship.
      Lightoller: Please. I need more women and children please!
  • Older Than They Look: Many people can only hope to look as good as Rose does when they hit the big 100. Gloria Stuart, who played Older Rose, was 86 at the time of filming. They did try to age her with makeup and Stuart was apparently not very amused by the result. Even so, comparing her in the film to photos of when she was really 100 will reveal noticeable differences.
  • One-Woman Wail: Sissel Kyrkjebø's ethereal voice croons with a sad tone in many scenes, particularly on tracks such as "Never an Absolution" and "Hymn to the Sea."
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: There are Irish characters in this film. And if you're Irish, you will be in stitches when they start talking. A more literal example occurs with the elevator operator; he fakes a British accent when talking to Rose, and is revealed to actually have an Irish accent as he panics.
  • Out of Focus:
    • As is the case with most Titanic stories, Third Officer Pitman is not given any lines or characterization. This is due to Pitman being one of the first people to evacuate, therefor not being present for many important moments.
    • Jack's friends Fabrizio and Tommy disappear for much of the second act as most of their scenes (such as helping Jack sneak into the First Class section of the ship) were deleted, with even an entire subplot about Fabrizio finding his own love interest ending up on the cutting room floor.
  • Outrun the Waterfall: Jack and Rose, after being forced into a lower level.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Jack in a tuxedo, though fairly justified due to a tux being a status symbol in 1912. At the Grand Staircase, Cal clearly sees Jack and gives a "good-day-to-you-sir" nod without recognizing him. Even one of the stewards, who held the door for him, doesn't recognize Jack the following morning when he's in his normal clothes. Notably averted by Thomas Andrews, who is greeted by Jack in regular clothes and, after only a slight pause, smiles and acknowledges Jack by name.
  • Parents Suck at Matchmaking: Of the many suitors that Rose's mother had to choose for her daughter, it just had to be Cal and no one else. The closest we see Rose calling her out on this is her question: "How can you put this on my shoulders?"
  • Passed in Their Sleep: Rose may have passed away peacefully in her sleep at the end (it's purposefully left ambiguous, though Gloria Stuart said in interviews this was her interpretation).
  • Patience Plot: Invoked after the Titanic sinks and the few remaining survivors who went into the ocean are rescued; stranded hundreds of miles from shore and unable to communicate, Rose narrates that the survivors in the life boats could only wait to see what happens. They're eventually rescued by another steamer, the Carpathia.
    Old Rose: After that we could only wait. Wait to die, wait to live, wait for an absolution that would never come.
  • Peerless Love Interest: Jack is told, "Ah, forget it, boyo. You're as like to have angels fly out your arse as get next to the likes of her."
  • Photoflood Lighting: The hallways were rather dazzlingly lit for a 1912 ocean liner. In reality, the strength of the lightbulbs installed on the ''Titanic' ranged from a measely 15 to 25 watts.
  • Please Wake Up: "Jack, there's a boat! Jack..."
  • Potty Emergency: 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.
  • P.O.V. Cam:
    • The first view of the iceberg is done this way.
    • We briefly see Rose's eye view as she runs down the hall on E deck.
    • Again when she sees the lifeboat when she's on the door.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Possibly the only noble thing Cal does in the film is rescuing the crying girl by getting her into a lifeboat. Obviously this was just to save his own hide by pretending to be the girl's single father. The girl is still seen in Cal's boat after the sinking but it's implied she reunited with her father, who somehow survived throughout the whole ordeal.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • Lewis Bodine: "Incredible. There's Smith and he's standing there and he's got the iceberg warning in his fucking hand, excuse me, his hand, and he's ordering more speed."
    • Frederick Fleet: "Bugger me!"
    • Jack: This is horseshit!
    • Cal: "It's the goddamn English doing everything by the book!"
    • Rose: "I'm through being polite, goddammit!"
    • In a deleted scene where Jack and Lovejoy fight:
      Lovejoy: You little shit!
  • Preppy Name: The film provides two great examples of American preppy names, with both being derived from the two main heritages common to this trope, Dutch and British. The first is Rose DeWitt Bukater, which as well as being elaborately double-barrelled, also reveals her Dutch heritage. The second is Caledon Hockley which sounds inherently grand and reveals a British heritage (Hockley being an old-English word for a small hill).
  • Pretty in Mink: This was likely more for historical accuracy than anything else. Also, a poster for "Ghosts of the Abyss" showed a woman wearing an ermine cape and muff.
  • Production Foreshadowing: Jack uses the term "I see you" in the exact manner as it would later be used in Avatar, which was already written.
    Rose: You have a gift, Jack. You do. You see people.
    Jack: I see you.
  • Public Exposure: Rose poses nude while Jack sketches her.
    Rose: I believe you are blushing, Mr. Big Artiste. I can’t imagine Monsieur Monet blushing.
    Jack: He does landscapes.
  • Rage Breaking Point:
    • When Rose goes back inside the ship to rescue Jack, she is refused by a bellboy holding a working elevator from descending further down into the already-sinking ship, causing Rose to finally snap, leading to this exchange:
      Bellboy: I'm sorry, miss, but the lifts are closed.
      Rose: (beat) I am THROUGH being polite, goddamnit!! (shoves the man into the elevator) Now, take me down!!
    • Later on, Jack has his own breaking point when a bureaucratic guard refuses to open a locked gate barring the third class passengers from reaching the outside, leading him to lose his temper and, with the help of Fabrizio and Tommy, break a bench off the floor and use it as a battering ram (all while the guard constantly protests before Tommy decks him).
  • Real Time: The film switches to a more-or-less real-time narrative from the moment the Titanic hits the iceberg to the ship's sinking.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: There have been constant complaints about how hard to believe it is that the lights were on up until the ship broke in half, or that the guys in the machine room kept working while the ship sank, or how they "screwed up" the turning orders, or even that the Statue of Liberty shouldn't be there. When you do the proper research, it turns out that James Cameron got every single one of those things right.
    • Titanic was (partially) American-owned, but British-flagged (hence her "RMS" prefix, for "Royal Mail Steamer") and British-crewed. As such, she followed British Merchant Navy procedures, including "tiller" commands for steering, i.e. ordering "starboard" for a turn to port. Murdoch in the film (as in real life) recognizes that simply turning away will rip open the ship's entire starboard side. He orders a turn away from, then back towards, the iceberg while reversing the engines. This maneuver is called "porting round," is intended to swing the ship's stern away while only presenting the bow to the hazard, and is exactly the right move in that situation. Had the iceberg been spotted thirty seconds sooner, Murdoch would have saved the ship with survivable damage, but the manuever was executed too late.
    • Some viewers complained that Rose giving someone "the finger" was anachronistic. In fact, the gesture has been in use for centuries.
    • Old Rose and Lizzy apparently travel by helicopter to the Keldysh in the middle of the North Atlantic. The Titanic wreck site lies about 600km south-southeast of Newfoundland, and the Sikorsky S-61 has a range of over 800km.
    • In her video essay, "Is Titanic Good, Actually?" Lindsay Ellis argues that the disaster itself would come across this way in the film if it weren't so well-known: a ship considered "unsinkable" ends up sinking on her maiden voyage, causing the deaths of 1,500 people, including her captain, who was planning to retire...
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Captain Smith and Thomas Andrews.
  • Reclining Venus: The odalisque position is evoked when Rose asks Jack to draw her a nude portrait while wearing nothing but her blue diamond necklace, Rose reclining on the couch.
  • Rescue Romance: Jack rescues Rose when she attempts suicide. She falls for him, and upon telling her story 84 years later, says that he saved her in every way a person could be saved.
  • Retirony: As mentioned above, most rumors agree that the voyage of the Titanic was supposed to be Captain Edward J. Smith's last command before retirement.
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Several First Class passengers, Ismay, Cal and the woman who wants Lightoller to hold the boat so she can get her luggage from her room.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: Cal and Jack. It's the trope image on the page
  • Riddle for the Ages: Is Rose really asleep in the finale, or is she dead?
  • Right Now Montage: As the ship is sinking, different people in all parts of the ship are shown reacting to the imminent ends of their lives.
  • Rising Water, Rising Tension: Almost inevitably, Jack and Rose's final escape from the doomed ship involves a race through rooms slowly filling with water (and starting to tilt at an alarming angle).
  • Rule of Funny: Rose remembers things that were said when she wasn’t even in the room.
  • Runaway Fiancé: Rose fakes her death in the Titanic disaster and changes her name to escape her engagement. Before the ship went down, she told her intended that she'd rather be Jack's whore than his wife. Before that, she wanted to kill herself so she didn't have to marry him.
  • Saw It in a Movie Once: Jack says this to Rose after he meets her at the Grand Staircase and kisses her hand.
  • Say My Name: Ye gods. Make a Drinking Game out of the number of times Jack and Rose say each other's names, (Rose saying Jack's name = 80 times, Jack saying Rose's name = 50 times) and you'll be thoroughly plastered by the time the first hour is over.
  • Scare Chord: As the iceberg looms out of the darkness.
  • Scenery Porn: The ship itself, especially the Grand Staircase. Becomes Scenery Gorn when it sinks.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: First Officer's Take That! response to Cal's attempt at Screw the Rules, I Have Money! (see below)
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Cal tries to play this. Doesn't work. However, there's also a deleted scene of a possible Real Life case where a wealthy couple, Sir Cosmo and Lady Lucille Duff-Gordon, who were in Lifeboat 1 which had twelve people in it, bribed the oarsmen to not go back and pick up survivors. In reality, though, the money they gave to the crewmen was to give them financial support after their rescue, as the sailors' salary was officially cut off at the time of the sinking, but they would still be held financially liable for all of their White Star-issued uniforms and gear, plus they had lost most or all of their worldly possessions with the ship, so they were at far more of a loss financially than the wealthy Lord and Lady. Sir Cosmo actually promised to cover their losses to the company, and he never raised any objection to rescuing others. The entire episode was a malicious tabloid rumor.
  • Second-Face Smoke: Rose does this to her mother.
  • Self-Plagiarism:
    • Cameron uses a line from Avatar (which he'd already written):
      Rose: You have a gift, Jack. You do. You see people.
      Jack: I see you.
    • The shot of Rose looking up at Jack and Cal as she's lowered down in the lifeboat is taken from the ending of Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
  • Sex Equals Death: Jack and Rose make love in the backseat of the Renault in the cargo hold. He ends up freezing to death only three hours later.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The frame story in the present day involving the researchers. They are looking for the Heart of the Ocean, thinking that it had gone down with the ship. The reason why Rose is even there is because she claims to have useful information, but in telling her story she never even mentions that she had the diamond all of these years and throws it into the bottom of the ocean.
  • Shamed by a Mob: Ismay receives a walk of shame onboard Carpathia, with many of the widows giving him a Death Glare.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Applies more to Jack, but there you go.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Old Rose makes her last narration to Brock and the Keldysh crew when she describes the drawing scene. They do not appear again until Rose finishes her story with her rescue.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Cameron shows his research by having mentions be made of Cunard's steamship, the RMS Mauretania, one of the Titanic's rivals on the Transatlantic route. Cunard also owned and operated the Carpathia.
    • James Cameron uses many visual cues, references, and lines of dialogue from numerous other Titanic films.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Cameron and the set designers conducted exhaustive research on the ship, from the measurements of the individual rooms, to the carpet designs to the china patterns, even going to Harland and Wolff — the original ship builders themselves — to look up rare blueprints and never-before-seen photographs from construction to make sure they had every possible detail. In fact, Ken Marschall — the foremost expert on the Titanic design and the painter of almost every painting of either the Titanic wreck or the sinking in the past 30-odd years (seriously, he seems to be on call whenever a documentary needs a painting) is quoted as saying that he didn't call their set a "set", to him, it was the Titanic.
    • According to one of the tie-in books, Cameron personally logged more time with the ship's wreckage than did any of its actual passengers.
    • In fact, the movie set may even have provided two new explanations for things that happened in the sinking of the real ship:
      • Movie production produced a new alternative theory as to why the Grand Staircase is missing at the real wreck: when the set was flooded during filming, the staircase set piece (which was supposedly built to real life specifications) began to break away from its framework. If the construction of the set was accurate, then, the new theory goes, the real Grand Staircase simply floated out of the ship while it was sinking and eventually disintegrated, rather than being eaten by microbes afterward.
      • Furthermore, there has been some debate as to why Funnel No. 1, the forward funnel, toppled first, when there were many factors in the design that should have made that impossible: per design specifications, the funnels were designed to lean backwards, so they should have all fallen forward at the same time if they fell at all, or they should have fallen to the side — but only if the ship was listing considerably, which it wasn't. It was during filming that the answer to why Funnel No. 1 fell about ten minutes before the others fell was discovered: to get Collapsible Boats C and D on the starboard side into position, some of the guy-wires that held the funnel in place had to be removed, thus removing needed support later on as water weighed the bow down.
    • The Swedes who lose their tickets to Jack not only speak fluent Swedish, but also use the right accent for a working-class person in the early 1900s.
    • In Southampton, one of the warehouses is labeled "Red Star Line," which was a member of the International Mercantile Marine Company alongside White Star.
    • As Titanic is putting to sea, Jack and Fabrizio see a pod of dolphins racing alongside the bow. On close inspection, these are short-beaked common dolphins, which can be spotted in the waters near Ireland.
    • The drunk cook that Rose meets on the stern just before the ship goes under is Charles Joughin, who really was a cook, and who really did go back to his cabin to drink after the lifeboats were gone, and really did ride the stern of the Titanic right down into the water. He was one of the very few survivors that were taken from the water, and most doctors consider his survival a miracle, since the alcohol would have lowered his core temperature, making him more susceptible to hypothermia (and not, as often assumed, turn his blood into anti-freeze). He was the last person to go into the water and scoffed at the idea of suction that Jack was afraid of. He said that he gently stepped off into the water and didn't even get his head wet, which probably helped him stay warm.
    • When Molly Brown is introduced, you can see Benjamin Guggenheim, the Duff-Gordons, and the Astors walking by her, as they all boarded the ship at Cherbourg.
    • Cameron conducted extensive research into the etiquette of the period to make sure the actors had the right mannerisms. When Rose excuses herself during lunch, Ismay, sitting at the head of the table, stands up. This was expected for a man to do at the time.
    • The scene between J. Bruce Ismay and Captain Smith is based on testimony from passenger Elizabeth Lines. If you look closely, you can see a woman sitting in the background who glances at their conversation.
    • At one point in the film, Jack is shown walking past a child playing with a top while several passengers look on; this is a reference to a well-known photograph from the voyage.
    • Bride delivers an ice warning from the Noordam, which was one of the ships that warned Titanic about the ice field they were approaching.
    • Even the dogs seen being brought aboard or walked on deck are breeds known to have been on board the real ship. The black French bulldog seen being walked by a steward is a lookalike for Gamin de Pycombe, a champion of his breed and one of the few dogs to appear in surviving Titanic photographs.
    • In a deleted scene in which the Californian tries to warn Titanic about the ice field, Bride laments that they're going to be up all night sending messages. The day before the disaster, the ship's wireless set had broken down and Phillips and Bride took it upon themselves to repair it. This resulted in a large backlog of messages that they were trying to clear, and the Californian's message came at just the wrong moment.
    • Captain Smith writes the ship's position as 41°46' N, 50°14' W, which was their inaccurately-determined position.
    • When assuming command of the bridge, Murdoch asks Lightoller if he ever found the binoculars for the lookouts, to which he replies that he hasn't seen them since they left Southampton. The original second officer, David Blair, is believed to have mistakenly taken the key to the locker where the lookouts' binoculars were kept when he was removed from the command roster.note 
    • The guns that the ship's officers carry are Webley Revolvers, which are what the officers actually used on board.
    • The coat that Jack "borrows" to speak to Rose belongs to "A L Ryerson." Arthur Larned Ryerson was an actual first class passenger.
    • When the engines are reversed, the central propeller simply stops. This is correct. The central engine was incapable of going into reverse, only the wing propellers could.
    • On Lifeboat 6, there is only one man on board besides Hitchens and Fleet. Arthur Peuchen was allowed on when it was realized that there were not enough able seamen in the boat.
    • A steward berates Jack and Rose for breaking a door, saying they'll have to pay for it. This was something that actually happened during the sinking. Richard Norris Williams broke down a door to free a trapped passenger, and a steward threatened to fine him for damaging White Star Line property.
    • While waiting for a lifeboat, John Jacob Astor cut open a life jacket to show his wife how they work and reassure her that they were safe. A deleted scene shows him doing this in the gymnasium.
    • In a deleted scene, when Lifeboat 14 goes back for survivors, they bring aboard a Chinese passenger who they find kneeling on a door. There were eight Chinese passengers on board Titanic, six of whom survived, and one of them was indeed rescued by Lowe.
    • When Rose arrives in New York and gives her name as "Rose Dawson," it is dark and everyone except Rose has an umbrella to ward off the rain. This is historically accurate; the Carpathia docked in New York at 9:30 p.m. on April 18 in a heavy downpour.
    • There's only one woman left in Cal's lifeboat by the time they are rescued. This is a nod to Rhonda Abbott, the only woman saved from the water.
    • In a blink and you'll miss it moment, the Countess of Rothes can be seen steering the lifeboat she’s in from a distance. This did in fact happen that night. The Countess of Rothes took command of the tiller to help the crew rest. Tom Jones, who was in command of the lifeboat, became good friends with the Countess after the disaster.
    • After Cal tries to bribe Murdoch, there is a shot of the bridge in which lights atop the wings flicker. This is a reference to the Titanic attempting to signal the Californian via Morse lamp.
    • The scene in which Lightoller asks Captain Smith if they should get the women and children into the boats first is based on his actual testimony. According to Lightoller, he yelled over the steam venting "Hadn't we better get the women and children into the boats, sir?", to which Smith simply nodded in the affirmative.
    • Jack telling Rose that falling into freezing water feels like being stabbed by "a thousand knives" comes from a testimony by Lightoller who described himself going into the water during the sinking with the same analogy.
  • Sinking Ship Scenario: The second half of the film focuses on the sinking.
  • Skewed Priorities: A steward actually tries to object to Jack and Rose having broken through a door to get to the upper levels of the ship when the Titanic is already sinking.
  • Slow Doors: The watertight doors that seal off individual compartments to contain flooding. Justified because the doors have to be strong enough to withhold many tonnes of seawater, and give time for the occupants to evacuate.
  • Smash Cut: A First Class steward tries to reassure Rose that the order to put on life jackets and come up to the boat deck is just a precaution. The scene then cuts to the Third Class stewards throwing open doors and telling the steerage passengers to come up top with little to no explanation of what's happening. This helps showcase the divide between the First and Third Class, as the First Class stewards were able to provide hands-on assistance to the passengers while the Third Class stewards had to handle large groups as quickly as possible.
  • Sock Slide Rink: When Jack invites Rose into the hold after going through a stuffy dinner party with the wealthy of the ship to dance with the lower class passengers. She removes her shoes to get more traction while dancing with Jack.
  • Soft Glass: Averted in a deleted scene, where Jack and Lovejoy end up coming to blows. Lovejoy's head is smacked into a glass pane, causing him to bleed. It's the reason why he has a bloody head when he is seen as the ship comes apart.
  • Soft Water: Averted. Many passengers fall from the decks into the water, and many choose to try jumping once the lifeboats are gone and the stern begins rising. The sound and visual makes it clear that they are likely injured or killed by the impact. (Nor does being in water protect swimmers from something striking them from above, such as a snapped cable, a funnel, or the stern of the ship.)
  • Something Only They Would Say: Brock's curiosity in Rose is instantly piqued when she refers to the Heart of the Ocean by name, as everyone who knows about the diamond is supposed to either be dead or on the Keldysh.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Naturally, the string quartet playing as the ship goes down.
  • Spectacle: The film is heavily reliant on this for its emotional impact; it loses a lot when not seen in a movie theater or when you're someone who pays more attention to the ship than to the characters.
  • Spirited Young Lady: Outwardly, Rose is everything a well-brought-up girl should be, poised and well-mannered, but she dreams of riding, chewing tobacco, and spitting like a man. Despite her high-class upbringing, she is very witty. After she tells Mr. Ismay that Dr. Freud's ideas about the male preoccupation with size might be of particular interest to him, Molly Brown calls her a "pistol". When the ship is sinking, she loses all her lady-like qualities and shouts that she's through being polite.
  • Spiteful Spit: In Cal's face by Rose.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Jack and Rose.
  • Stealth Insult: Common with Cal and Rose's mother towards Jack and people they consider lesser than themselves. An example is, upon seeing Jack in a suit, Cal mentions he could "almost pass for a gentleman". Jack, of course, turns it back at him just as stealthily with, "Almost," in a tone that implies, "But I'm not enough of a douchebag."
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Some peoples' reaction to the fact that the ship has hit an iceberg.
  • Storyboarding the Apocalypse: The researchers' animation of the sinking serves this purpose for the audience.
    • A more low-key one with less fancy CGI when Andrews is explaining to Ismay and the officers what exactly is going to happen in the next two hours.
    • In a small-scale tag-team example, Rose and Jack take turns describing precisely how they'd die if they jump off the stern, Jack trying to scare her out of jumping and Rose trying to convince him to leave her to it.
  • Straight to the Pointe: During a party below decks that Jack takes Rose to, she demonstrates how tough she is by going up en pointe. She does this while only in her stocking feet without the support of toe shoes. According to DVD Commentary by the film crew, there was some debate as to whether such a feat would actually be believable (for the scene, Kate Winslet was hoisted up with wires). Rose even lampshades its difficulty beforehand.
    Rose: So you think you're big, tough men? Then let's see you do this!
  • Strongly Worded Letter: Jack quips that he's going to write one to White Star.
  • Stupid Evil: Cal willingly passes up an opportunity to escape on a lifeboat after bribing First Officer Murdoch for another chance to separate Rose and Jack and indirectly arrange the latter's death. When that doesn't work, he then wastes even more time trying to murder both of them by chasing them down the grand staircase with a pistol. When he finally tries to get on the lifeboats again, the situation has deteriorated to the point where Murdoch tells him to eff off and throws his money back in his face. It's mostly by chance that Cal survives the sinking at all.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: During the scene on Sunday morning when Rose, her mother, and Cal are seen attending the first class church service, the hymn they are singing is "Eternal Father, Strong to Save." Not only has this been the Navy Hymn for decades, the lyrics were originally written for a student about to sail for America while the name given to the tune, Melita, is that of an island (Malta, today) where the Apostle Paul washed up after a shipwreck. The final lines of all but the last verse are "Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,/For those in peril on the sea!" and it's one of the lines heard most audibly in the movie. To top it off, Sunday is actually the day before the sinking.
  • Symbolic Serene Submersion: During a montage showing the destruction of the ship when it is partially submerged, one particularly artsy shot shows a drowned woman's body floating weightless in the newly-subaquatic main hall, her face obscured by her billowing dress and hair.
  • Take a Third Option: Onboard the RMS Carpathia, Rose finds out that Cal has survived and is looking for her. She gives the people there a false name and quickly turns her face, allowing her to avert the undesired marriage to Cal without taking more drastic options.note 
  • Talk to the Fist: Tommy delivers one to the crew member still yelling at them after the third-class passengers break down the gate.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: Jack convinces Rose not to jump off the ship into the icy waters below.
  • Tear Jerker: In-Universe, at the end of Rose's story, we see not only her granddaughter crying, but even the ROV pilot, who vocally thought she was a fraud.
  • Technology Porn: Who gets more screen time, Kate Winslet or the Titanic?
    • Well, the film is named after the most vital participant, the ship herself.
      • And the fact that every 1912 frame Post-Southampton and Pre-Carpathia has some part of the ship in it. Yes, lifeboats count.
    • A deleted scene in the Marconi room lovingly displays the wireless equipment of not just the Titanic but also the Californian. Cameron mentions in the deleted scenes commentary that he wanted to portray the wireless operators as the hackers or computer nerds of their day.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Brock gets his celebratory cigar and the crew breaks out the champagne right before they crack open the safe, only to find that the diamond isn't in there.
    • Cal Hockley says, "God Himself could not sink this ship." Guess what happens at the film's climax?note 
    • As they get on board at the last second, Jack says "We're the luckiest sons of bitches in the world!"
    • In a deleted scene, the gym instructor asks Ruth if she would like to try the rowing machine, to which she replies, "I can't imagine a skill I would need less." Guess what she ends up doing that night...
  • That Woman is Dead: Rose identifies herself as "Rose Dawson" to a customs agent in New York after being rescued.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Rose returns to the master-at-arms' office with an axe to cut Jack free. He suggests that she do some practice swings at the cabinet. Poor Jack is clearly terrified after he tells her to hit the same mark she just made, and she misses by six inches.
    Jack: Okay, that's enough practice.
    • Even though Benjamin Guggenheim and his Valet Face Death with Dignity they cannot hide the horror on their faces as the water comes rushing in and they know they’re in for a few excruciating minutes before they die.
    • As the crew is readying the lifeboats, Thomas Andrews asks where the passengers are, only for Wilde to say they've gone back inside because of how cold it is. Andrews looks at his watch and see just how short on time they are.
  • Those Two Guys: Fabrizio and Tommy.
    • Also the two lookouts, Frederick Fleet and Reginald Lee.
    • In the deleted scenes, the wireless operators Jack Phillips and Harold Bride.
  • Timeshifted Actor: Kate Winslet and Gloria Stuart as Rose. This was the first of two occasions in which two actors were nominated for an Oscar playing the same character; the second was for 2001's Iris, with Kate Winslet also being nominated.
  • Together in Death:
    • The film ends with Rose (possibly) dying and being reunited with not just Jack but everyone who died that fateful night; the rest of the passengers applaud as the two embrace. This trope is also averted when you realize that Rose did not reunite with her late husband, the father of her children, but with Jack, her true love.
    • Also noteworthy is Ida Strauss, the elderly woman who decided to die with her husband Isidor instead of taking a place on a lifeboat, a course of action that would have almost certainly resulted in her having to live on without him. A deleted scene has her saying (as she did in Real Life) "We've been together for forty years, and where you go, I go." Their last scene is of them in a bed, holding hands, as the water begins to pour in.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: In order to maintain the panicking masses on deck, Murdoch pulls out a gun and shoots at anyone who tries to jump forward. A stumbling passenger knocks Tommy towards Murdoch, who fatally shoots him by reflex. Immediately realising his mistake, Murdoch sucumbs to a brief Heroic BSoD, before shooting himself.
  • Trash the Set: The set was actually sunk for the final moments of the film.
  • Two-Act Structure: Neatly divided in half by the ship hitting the iceberg. The first part is Jack and Rose's Star-Crossed Lovers romance and the efforts of both Cal and Rose's mom to put a stop to it. Then at the midpoint the Titanic strikes the berg, and it's all about the ship sinking. (In this way it follows the grand tradition of epic disaster movies such as The Towering Inferno.)
    • One of the DVD releases takes this quite literally, with the first disc featuring the film up to Captain Smith's Cliffhanger style line "I believe you may get your headlines, Mr Ismay," then cutting to a title card saying "Insert Disc 2."
    • When the film came out, some cinemas had an interval around that same moment.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Rose towards the end, even when she is battered and has bits of ice forming in her hair and eyebrows.
  • Unperson: At the end of the film, Bodine says that there is no public record of Jack anywhere. Justified, as Jack Dawson was never actually on the official passanger manifest due to having won the tickets in that last-minute card game (to say nothing of his previously established vagabond-esque background). Old Rose lampshades this to Bodine in-universe.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Rose, in an aspect that often gets missed from discussion but is an important part of the text. Cameron's driving thesis in the film that to 'really get' something like the sinking of the RMS Titanic, we must give ourselves over to feeling and narrative beyond fact and documentary. Rose's unreliablity in her recounting of the tale is signalled clearly in a few ways, the most obvious being the fact that she doesn't reveal to her audience that she has the diamond. The dialogue that first take us into the flashback also signal stress sense-memory beyond cold factual accuracy:
    Rose: It's been eighty-four years...
    Lovett: Just try to remember anything, anything at all.
    Rose: Do you want to hear this story or not, Mr. Lovett? [he smiles] It's been eighty-fours years. But I can still smell the fresh paint. The sheets had never been slept in. The dishes had never been used...
  • Unwanted Assistance: In a deleted scene, Ismay attempts to help lower a lifeboat in a panic but is halted by Lowe, who tells him to get the hell out of the way.
  • Upper-Class Twit: A lot of them. Special mention goes to Rose's mother, who, as the ship is sinking, lets it be known that she expects a cup of tea when she returns to her room (in her defense, she doesn't know the ship is sinking yet) and asks if the lifeboats are to be seated according to class.
    • J.Bruce Ismay establishes himself as one fairly quickly (" When can we get underway, damn it!?"), and doesn't grasp how serious the situation is until Thomas Andrews pretty much has to spell it out for him.
    Andrews: From this moment on, no matter what we do, Titanic will founder.
    Ismay: (incredulously) But this ship can't sink!
    Andrews: She's made of iron, sir! I assure you, she can.
    • A more minor example occurs when a Second Class woman rather stupidly asks Second Officer Lightoller to hold the boat while she runs back and gets something from her cabin. His response is to pick her up and all but dump her in the boat, sharply telling her to "Sit down!".
  • Uptown Girl: Rose DeWitt Bukater is, in Jack's words, a spoiled brat and an indoor girl, while he sleeps under bridges and goes where he pleases. She's trapped in that lifestyle and he just wants to make sure she's okay, but she tells him that it's not up to him to save her.
  • Vehicle Title: Like many films before it, Titanic, who is much a character as any of the cast, provides the title.
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: Jack says "Whoo!" twice in the trailer.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Cal, after Rose jumps back onto the ship to be with Jack. By the end of the scene, he's giggling when he realizes the irony of him losing the Heart of the Ocean.
  • Visual Compression: The film's 195-minutes runtime necessitated breaking the film into two parts on VHS. That issue was initially resolved for the original single-disc DVD release, but the compression technology was very primitive; the disc was non-anamorphic and resulted in a substantial loss of detail, with the image being 640 pixels wide & 272 pixels tall. The color grading was also off. For later DVD releases, the film was split onto two discs, with the divide occurring at the same point as the VHS release, thus allowing for superior image quality. The film was finally presented properly on one disc in 2012 with the Blu-ray debut (though the 3D release was still issued on two discs, due to the picture format requiring more space).
  • Visual Pun: The first class dogs are shown being brought to the stern in order to defecate. This area of the ship is known as the poop deck.
  • Waistcoat of Style: Most of the men wear one, often with a nice hat.
  • Wangst: Discussed In-Universe. Rose believes Jack must think of her as crazy for trying to throw her life away, despite having tons of money. Jack, however, replies that he merely wondered what could have happened to her to make her think she had no way out.
  • Waxing Lyrical: In a bizarre retroactive version of this, Jack's first line of dialogue is a line from Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone":
    When you got nothing, you ain't got nothing to lose.
  • Wham Shot: Downplayed example, but Cal leaving his stateroom for the last time during the sinking — and removing the Heart of the Ocean from the safe before locking it. This explicitly confirms the Diamond wasn't in the safe during the sinking and when specifically it was removed. Cameron also intentionally stages it so that your attention's on the safe itself rather than on the more important action (i.e. Cal pocketing the Diamond in his coat).
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Averted; the fate of a surprising number of minor characters and extras can be known either by reading the script or really paying attention to the background in the movie, or by being a Titanic nut and looking at books documenting the passengers and crew who were on the ship.
    • Played straight with Ruth; while she's clearly long dead by the time the expedition takes place, Rose doesn't even specify how she dies, let alone cope with Rose being "dead."
    • Also, Jack's Swedish roommates are last seen in the water hanging on to Collapsible B in a deleted scene, however, they are not shown amongst the dead or survivors.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Seeing the differences in how various crewmen react to facing almost certain death. This especially applies to the engineers remaining in the engine room fighting in vain to save the ship, and the musicians playing to the bitter end.
  • Women Are Wiser: When Jack and Rose go in the elevator to escape Lovejoy, Jack blows a raspberry at him while Rose simply gives him the finger.
  • Worth It: Even when he's minutes away from freezing to death, Jack tells Rose that winning the ticket was the best thing that ever happened to him, as it led him to her.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Brock's reaction in the alternate ending when he finds that Rose actually had the diamond on her the whole time.
  • You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: In a deleted scene, Ismay begins to panic and intervenes with the lowering of a lifeboat. Lowe orders him to back off, prompting Ismay to deliver this threat.
    Bruce Ismay: Don't you know who I am?!
    Harold Lowe: You're a passenger, and I'm a ship's bloody officer! Now stand back and do as you're told!
    Bruce Ismay: Yes, quite right...
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: As a reward for all his previous loyalty, Cal leaves Lovejoy to die when the ship starts to sink. Granted, the man was a jerk, but that's still pretty harsh.
    • A deleted scene explains this a bit more. After Cal realises Rose has the Heart of the Ocean, he turns to Lovejoy and tells him he can have the stone if he can retrieve it. While Cal returns to the boat deck, Lovejoy decides to go after the stone. However, Jack and Rose manage to get away, which is why he's still on the ship. He was looking for them.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Jack tries to convince Rose that she knows, deep down, that he didn't take the diamond.
  • You No Take Candle: Fabrizio is unable to speak proper English.
  • Younger Than They Look: Rose looks very mature for a 17-year-old. Kate Winslet was actually 21 when she played her.

"I'll never let go...I promise."

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Titanic's Opening Music

Titanic opens with a simple music piece that emotionally conveys the sad loss of the ship & its passengers.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / OneWomanWail

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