The RMS Titanic was a British transatlantic liner that sank in 1912, causing approximately 1,500 deaths. At the time of her maiden voyage, she was the largest ship to have ever sailed the seas. Construction started in March 1909 in the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Ireland and was completed a few months before the big trip—enough time for rumors to spread about the luxurious White Star Liner being "unsinkable". Then, said ship set sail for New York, hit an iceberg on the fourth day, and sank in less than three hours. Its fate has inspired at least 36 movies, including a Nazi propaganda film, a classic British disaster drama, a giant Box Office Bomb about raising the wreckage that became a major Creator Killer and Franchise Killer, two cartoonified versions in which Everyone Lives (with a sequel for one of them), James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster Titanic, and at least two porn parodies.
Throughout the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, millions of emigrants wanted to go to America to start a new life, and the mail services in Europe needed a swift and reliable means of transporting hundreds of thousands of letters and packages across the Atlantic. Various ship lines in Great Britain, the United States, and eventually Germany would answer the call with large, steam-driven ships, but the most famous of these lines, Great Britain's Cunard and White Star, would be the big dogs, constantly competing against each other for emigrant passenger tickets (the real bread and butter of the trade, rather than first-class passengers) and the profitable license to carry the mail to and from Britain. Hence the initials RMS on ships that held that license — Royal Mail Steamer.
But in the late 1890s, the Norddeutscher Lloyd and Hamburg America Lines threatened to encroach into Cunard and White Star's competition with the launch and maiden voyages of the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse and Deutschland* , two liners of unprecedented size, speed (with Kaiser running at a then-unheard-of speed of 22.35 knotsnote , and Deutschland traveling even faster) and luxury. In response, the Cunard Line, which had always placed speed and reliability as paramount for their ships, produced the 787 and 790-foot long Lusitania* and Mauretania in 1907. These liners had top speeds of over 24 knots, thanks to their four turbine engines (the first class of ocean liners to be exclusively turbine-driven, after the comparative experiment with Cunard's liners Carmania and Caronia over the cost-effectiveness of the turbine in 1905) and were the largest liners in the world both in physical size and massnote , as well as among the first to have elevators (or "lifts" as the British know them) for passengers.
White Star, seeing the threat Cunard's new "Greyhounds of the Atlantic" presented to the company, quickly drafted a response. As opposed to Cunard, White Star prided itself on comfort and luxury rather than pure speed (as that tended to come at the cost of passenger capacity, and resulted in a tendency to vibrate uncomfortably). Part of this was granting modest luxuries to third class, which included linens, silverware, waiters who brought their food, and free postcards on their menus, so that they could praise White Star to their friends and relatives back home. As such, they sought to build two, possibly three, liners that were at least ninety feet longer than the Lusitania and Mauretania, and by far more luxurious than both put together.
The answer was the Olympic-Class of ship: 52,000 ton, 882-foot long superliners with the capacity for 3,000 passengers and crew, three lifts in first-class and one for second-class, and two reciprocating high-pressure engines for the two "wing" propellers, with a low-pressure turbine for the smaller, central propeller, increasing cost-effectiveness in steam economy by reusing steam wasted by the reciprocating engines. For luxury, the ships boasted promenade decks for each class; their cabins for third and second class were just as good as second and first-class cabins on other ships, and the first-class rooms were just as splendid as any suite at the best hotels in the world, with the most expensive suite of cabins went for hundreds of thousands of American dollars in 2020 money, with private baths for more first class cabins than any other ship afloatnote . As the popular ships of the day had four funnels, a fake funnel was added on at the back; this also doubled as a large ventilator for the engineering spaces, reducing the number of ventilator cowls on deck, producing a clean outline, whereas the Mauretania and Lusitania's deckhouse roofs, with their multitude of cowls, looked cluttered in comparison.
Safety was also considered in the design: a double-bottomed hull to contain flooding in the event of running aground; fifteen bulkheads that went two decks above the waterline (any two of which could flood with bulkheads above the floodwater to spare that divided the ship into sixteen watertight compartments); in the event of a collision, or in the impractical probability of the first four compartments flooding the ship would still float, acting as its own lifeboat until help could arrive; and above all, in the event of the worst, the ships boasted a new davit design that could hold up to 68 lifeboats, but for various reasons (cosmetics, impracticality, cost, etc.) the number was reduced to 20, which was still four boats beyond the legally required 16 for ships 10,000 tons and over in the British Board of Trade regulations.
Impractical being the operative word. Certainly, unpredictable things might happen, but as a major passenger tragedy had not befallen any White Star ship in some forty years, there was little reason for anyone in the shipping industry to be overly concerned beyond academics.
And so it became known in the shipbuilding world that the Olympic-Class were "unsinkable", and the public bought it and ran with it. After all, in an age where men were flying, and one person communicating with someone else on the other side of the world in real time, and horses were losing buyers to the horseless carriage, the idea of a ship that could not be sunk was hardly unimaginable.
And so the first ship, RMS Olympic, set sail in 1911, and the response was so successful that White Star ordered a third ship, Britannic.
It was in this environment that the middle child, Titanic, rose to prominence. On her maiden voyage, starting at Southampton, England and Cherbourg, France on April 10th before going off to Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland, she was loaded with not only hundreds of emmigrants from both the Continent and the British Isles, but some of the wealthiest aristocrats, by title or by position, on both sides of the Atlantic. John Jacob Astor IV, heir to the Astor Railroad fortune and his barely 19-year old bride Madeleine were returning home from their extended honeymoon.note Also on board were the Strauses, Isidor and Ida, co-owners of the world-famous Macy's Department Store in New York, Denver socialite Margaret "Molly" Brown and Archibald Butt, a friend and advisor to President William Howard Taft, along with scores of other members of the 1912 rich and famous. White Star was also represented on board, with managing director J. Bruce Ismay, Harland & Wolff's head designer Thomas Andrews, and nine luckynote builders from Harland & Wolff known as the "Guarantee Group" traveling to observe the general performance of the new ship.
And at the helm, was Captain Edward John Smith, "The Millionaire's Captain," or "EJ" to friends and family, and White Star's favorite officer, who took out every new ship of the line on her maiden voyage for the past decade and a half. At the age of 63, Smith planned to retire. If not after this voyage on Titanic, then certainly after Britannic's in the spring of 1915. While the majority of the crew were hired at Southampton in the days prior to the voyage, which was a common practice at the time, Smith's officers were a handpicked collection of White Star's best.
Titanic's maiden voyage almost ended in disaster just as it was starting. As the ship was leaving Southampton, its powerful suction pulled a nearby vessel, the SS City of New York, from its moorings and into Titanic's path. Captain Smith quickly ordered Titanic's port propeller into reverse, and the resulting wash pushed the New York away from Titanic, giving several tugs time to usher it safely away. The near collision still delayed the start of Titanic's journey by an hour. When the maiden voyage finally got underway, the first three days were calm and without incident. Titanic was crossing the Atlantic at a brisk pace and there was talk on board of a potential early arrival.
But the winter of 1911-12 was unusually warm, and the threat of icebergs breaking off from the glaciers of Greenland and northeast Canada was more dire than usual, with a thicker density of icebergs and pack ice farther south than usual. Titanic's wireless operators received a number of ice warnings, but due to the nature of their employ, only sent a few to the bridge. Nevertheless, enough were passed along that Captain Smith ordered a course further south to go around what he believed was the greatest concentration of ice.
On the day of the disaster, the operators were trying to clear a large backlog of messages that had accumulated as their equipment had broken down the day before. This made Senior Wireless Operator Jack Phillips a bit irritable, and when nearby ship Californian tried to warn them of an ice field right in their path, Phillips told him to shut up, as the Californian was so close they were interfering with Titanic's signal to the mainland (the Titanic also had much more sensitive radio equipment than the Californian; the message nearly blew out Phillips' ear drums). The operator on the Californian then turned in for the night and shut down his equipment, and thus the one ship within 15 miles of the Titanic would not hear of the disaster until morning.
On Sunday, April 14th, at 11:40 PM ship's time, the majority of passengers and Captain Smith had gone to bed. It was a new moon and the sea as smooth as glass, highly unusual for the typically swell-filled North Atlantic. These circumstances made the prospect of finding icebergs almost impossible, without the light of the moon or the whitewash of waves breaking at the waterline of the iceberg. Normally, the lookouts would be equipped with binoculars, but a last-minute change to the command structure resulted in the binoculars being misplaced at Southampton. So it's a testament to Frederick Fleet's eyes and dedication that he saw the iceberg when he did (really more of a black mass where starlight wasn't), his co-watchman Reginald Lee ringing the bell as Fleet telephoned the bridge.
The officer on duty on the bridge, First Officer Murdoch, saw the iceberg too, and ordered "Hard a-starboard" (technically to Port, or a Left Turn, but Titanic used tiller commands according to British Merchant Navy regulations and so the directions were reversed), and ordered all stop on the engines. Murdoch then ordered the turn reversed and engines stopped, bringing the bow back towards the iceberg. While seemingly counterintuitive, this order, known as "porting around," was the standard collision-avoidance maneuver for the time, reducing the ship's speed while swinging the stern away from the hazard - as an analogy, picture driving a car and having to slow down and change lanes to avoid a hazard in your current path; simply turning away could mean presenting the ship's entire side to be ripped open as her existing momentum would stretch the turning radius out to be farther than that of the ordered turn.
It has been speculated by some that had Murdoch simply left the engines alone, Titanic could have either missed the iceberg entirely, or collided with greatly reduced damage. This is disputed, and porting around was the standard collision-avoidance action for a reason (not to mention that Murdoch would have gone down in history as the guy who rammed an iceberg with a cruise ship, which isn't good for one's reputation). But what was done was done, and less than forty seconds later, Titanic hit the iceberg.
Most of the passengers never noticed the collision, or felt little more than a slight rumbling bump. The first sign to the passengers that something was amiss came minutes later, when the engines were suddenly stopped. Thomas Andrews, the designer, never even knew of the accident until Captain Smith ordered him to go down below to examine the damage. After midnight, Andrews returned with the news, and it wasn't good. Six compartments had been breached: the forward peak, all three cargo holds, and boiler rooms 5 and 6. Titanic could float with any two compartments, or the four foremost compartments, flooding. Any more, and the ship would sink. The engineers were able to fix Boiler Room 5's two or so feet of damage and began pumping, but for every gallon the engineers pumped out, Titanic took on 15 more. Andrews informed the captain that Titanic would sink in less than two hours.
Over those next two hours, the crew rushed to launch the lifeboats while Senior Wireless Operator Jack Phillips worked frantically to get the word out, right up to the very end. The closest ship to respond to the distress call, the Cunard Line's RMS Carpathia, instantly rushed to Titanic's aid,note but was four hours away. The lifeboat launchings were extremely chaotic and disorganized. Titanic had never had a lifeboat drill and only had enough boats to accommodate barely half those on board. Captain Smith, upon realizing the scope of the emergency, gave vague orders and became so disconnected that he didn't bother to find out if they were being carried out. His command of "Women and children first" was interpreted by Murdoch to mean "Women and children first, let men in if there's room," while Second Officer Lightoller took it to mean "Women and children only." Neither officer was informed of the rated capacity of the lifeboats, and erred on the side of caution. Furthermore, the ship did not appear to be in immediate danger, which made passengers reluctant to leave it on a small rowing boat in the middle of the night. All of which meant that boats built for 65 were often lowered only half-full.note Due to the chaotic nature of the evacuation, and the limited time in which they were launched, it has been speculated that even had there been enough lifeboats for all on board, only a small additional number would have been saved. The last boats were launched less than ten minutes before the ship went under. At 2:20 AM local time, Titanic broke apart and slipped beneath the waves, and the some-odd 1,500 men, women, and children left behind died of hypothermia in the 28°F (-2°C) water within half an hour. Only one lifeboat went back to look for survivors, and only found six. This is another point of contention about the disaster, but it's usually agreed that many desperate swimmers trying to climb into the lifeboats could have resulted in them capsizing, dooming even more survivors. With little to do but wait, the survivors were picked up by RMS Carpathia at dawn. Within hours, news of the disaster started to spread to newspapers across the globe. However, it would not be until the Carpathia's arrival in New York three days later that the true scope of the sinking was clear.
After the disaster, new legislation was passed on both sides of the Atlantic to ensure that such a tragedy couldn't happen again, and the Titanic became another piece of pop culture until 1985, when a joint French and American team found the wreckage, and the following year the Woods-Hole Oceanographic Institute sent a team, lead by discoverer Dr. Robert "Bob" Ballard, to dive and photograph the wreck.
Today, the wreck lies in two big chunks, with smaller chunks consisting of the middle section over a 15mi2 area. The bow is mostly intact and still resembles a ship, whereas the stern is a jumbled mess of decking and hull plating.note The wreck itself is being consumed by iron-eating bacteria, and, assuming that those don't finish her off, recent sonar scans show that dunes that dwarf the ship are slowly being blown her way by the currents, ensuring that the whole site will eventually be buried.
There is much controversy concerning the near-constant dives on the wreck and the issue of salvaging artifacts from the site, and the damage the efforts do to the wreckage (the team that retrieved the ship's bell destroyed the crow's nest while doing so, which until then had been virtually whole and intact; and on one of the dives with the Russian Mir, a sub accidentally damaged a deckhouse with its propeller). Some equate the salvaging with Grave Robbing, and that the ship should be left to (no pun intended) rust in peace. Others claim that such comparisons are invalidated by the treatment of similar legendary disaster sites such as Pompeii, and that it is important to document the wreck site as clearly and thoroughly as possible while the ship still exists.
Current international legislation prohibits tampering with the wreck of the ship itself, but the debris field containing thousands of artifacts ranging from pots and pans to shoes to tableware to dolls to wreckage is more or less free rein from which the Salvor-in-Possession Titanic, Inc. (now Premier Exhibitions) is able to collect items, which can be seen in museums and traveling exhibitions the world over.
The Titanic museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland, overlooks the very shipyard where she and her big sister Olympic were built side by side. The museum's four exterior corners are built to the exact size and shape of the ship's hull. The exhibits focus on the construction of the ship and life in Belfast at the time she was being built, as well as the actual disaster and the events which followed; permanently docked just outside the building is the Nomadic, the much smaller vessel which transported second- and third-class passengers to the ship as it waited to sail and then escorted Titanic out to sea. Meanwhile in Cobh, Ireland, her last port of call, a Titanic "trail" guides visitors around the city to important locations connected with the ship, such as the former White Star Line office, and the city garden includes a large memorial.
- Saved from the Titanic (1912): The film was made shortly after the disaster. It starred actress and model Dorothy Gibson, who actually was on the ship and wore the clothes she wore on the ship when making the movie. The prints were destroyed in a fire in 1914 and the film is lost. Gibson, still recovering from her traumatic experience, was reluctant to do the project, but was coerced into it by her manager. Contemporary critics noted that the actress looked strained and on edge throughout the film. Dorothy Gibson was so traumatized by the sinking and her subsequent appearance in Saved from the Titanic that she retired from show business after the movie was completed.
- In Night and Ice: (1912): Originally titled In Nacht und Eis, an early example of a "mockumentary," reenacting the ship's crossing, iceberg collision, and sinking aboard the German luxury liner Kaiserin Auguste Viktoria, along with some laughable by today's standards model footage shot in the Baltic Sea. Unlike the Dorothy Gibson film made a few months prior, this film survives. A copy was rediscovered in 1998 and preserved by the F.W. Murnau Foundation.
- Atlantic (1929): A very early talkie and one of the first sound British films. The film is a very loose adaptation of the sinking, based on a contemporary play titled The Berg. Due to a threatening letter from White Star Line, the original studio that released the film changed the ship's name (and subsequently the film's title) to a fictional "SS Atlantic."note The film, while a bit primitive and sloppily made on a low budget, can be seen as a very early prototype of the Disaster Movie sub-genre, establishing various tropes and clichés that would be imitated by subsequent films in the decades to follow. Like many talkies of the time, this film was shot in three separate languages; English, German, and French, each version utilizing a different cast of actors. This was common before dubbing came to popularity as a more cost-effective way to release sound films internationally.
- Titanic: A 1943 drama film made in Nazi Germany as an anti-British propaganda piece. However, the film was promptly censored and withdrawn after scenes of disaster and panic turned out to be a hot bed for Unfortunate Implications and it was banned in Germany by Joseph Goebbels. Taking cues from the earlier 1929 version, this film further established and cemented many conventions and tropes that were followed up by future Titanic films, like interweaving a fictional love story amongst real historical events and portraying J. Bruce Ismay as the villain. It also takes some weird liberties with the facts for the sake of propaganda—in this film Titanic is the fastest ship in the world, John Jacob Astor is a British Lord who is plotting a hostile takeover of White Star Line, and Ismay pushes Capt. Smith to go faster than necessary as a publicity stunt for the company in an attempt to raise White Star stock prices to fight off the takeover. The ship's sole German crew member, the righteous and incorruptible (and entirely fictional) First Officer Petersen, tries in vain to prevent the inevitable disaster. The special effects, using a model 6 meters long, were good enough to be reused in A Night to Remember however.
- Titanic: "They just didn't care" would be a good way to describe this 1953 Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck movie, which concerns itself more with a fictional custody battle between two catty first class passengers than the actual ship and the subsequent disaster.
- A Night to Remember: (1958) A docu-novel and later film that has aged remarkably well, and even today is considered one of the most accurate portrayals of the sinking put to film. The largest error is that this film shows Titanic sinking whole, which was the prevailing theory until the actual wreck was discovered in 1985.
- "The Sinking of the Titanic": (1975) A experimental-classical musical piece composed by Gavin Bryers, which takes the legend of the Titanic's band playing until the very end and imagines the band's final performance reverberating throughout the waters of the Atlantic as the ship goes under.
- S.O.S. Titanic: (1979) a British/American co-production miniseries using the same docudrama template as A Night to Remember, but covering the ship's entire voyage. Its historical authenticity is marred by lousy special effects, recycled stock footage from the 1958 film and some wildly inaccurate filming locations, which consisted mostly of the very art-deco liner RMS Queen Mary and a couple of luxury hotels in England. The fact that many actors are wildly miscast and look distinctly like they're from The '70s doesn't help the matters either. The film was aired on American television in its entire 144 minute length (excluding commercials) and was released theatrically in Europe as a 100 minute feature.
- Raise the Titanic!: (1980) Based on the Clive Cussler novel of the same name. Against the backdrop of the Cold War, a team led by Dirk Pitt sets out to find and raise the ship, believing a rare mineral to be on board. The film was one of the most notorious financial and critical flops of the 1970's/1980's, sunk producer Lew Grade, the director of the movie, and ITC Entertainment, and led to an embargo from Cussler regarding his novels until Sahara, which had an even worse reaction from him. This is the final film about the Titanic made and released before the wreck was discovered.
- "Titanic": This 1983 Chick Tract is set aboard the famous ship, and concerns a man named Chester who wants to get rich and is hostile towards efforts to convert him to Christianity.
- Titanica: (1992) An IMAX documentary by Stephen Low and originally narrated by Leonard Nimoy, this was also the second ever IMAX exclusive film, done when the format was in complete infancy. This film features how the deep-dives to the Titanic work, and also features interviews from survivors Frank Goldsmith and Eva Hart. This is also the first of several films featuring the Titanic to also feature the research vessel Akademik Mstislav Keldysh, which is one of the primary vessels dealing with the Titanic wreck and would be featured again in both of James Cameron's Titanic films: the 1997 smash, and Disney's Ghosts of the Abyss.
- Titanic: (1996) Another "they just didn't care" version (this time a TV miniseries) which features historical inaccuracies in nearly every scene, removing several figures from the sinking, and have completely out-of-left-field scenes such as Tim Curry raping someone. Noteworthy for being the first production to show the Titanic splitting in two before the sinking.
- Titanic: Adventure Out of Time: (1996) A video game (yes, Titanic has even inspired a video game) about a British agent who had a failed mission aboard the ship. After he's killed in the London Blitz, he's somehow sent back in time to the night of the sinking and given a chance to complete his mission, with the possibility of changing history. Notable for its graphics capturing every detail of the ship, to the point that several documentaries of the late 90s used the game to depict the sinking.
- Titanic: (1997), James Cameron's multi-billion blockbuster that launched Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet into super stardom. Unlike other films, which generally use an existing ocean liner for the set, Cameron worked to literally build the ship itself and get every possible detail right, from the layout of the boat deck to the patterns on the fine china. Currently rivals A Night to Remember as the most accurate depiction of the sinking, as it includes the ship visibly breaking in two. The second of at least 3 films about the Titanic to use the research/submersible vessel Akademik Mstislav Keldysh; like Titanica, deep dives are shown in detail at the very beginning of the movie, and the main character retells her story on board the Keldysh. Unfortunately, Cameron wasn't one to let the facts get in the way of a good story - while no one can accuse he and his creative team of not doing the research at all, many liberties were taken, including the erroneous portrayal of Murdoch.
- Titanic: The Legend Goes On: One of the cartoonified versions, featuring a gender-flipped version of the 1997 film's romance, recycled animation, and a rapping dog. Seriously. Also ripped off a bunch of Disney Animated Canon films in the character designs.
- The Legend of the Titanic: Another cartoonified version, featuring another ripoff romance, singing mice, a giant octopus who saves the ship, and everyone lives. And it has a sequel, In Search of the Titanic. You can't make this stuff up. All three movies earned scathing reviews from The Nostalgia Critic, with Youtube personality AniMat giving The Legend of the Titanic his "Seal of Garbage".
- And from SNL's TV Funhouse, Titey, the purported Disney version.
- Ghosts Of The Abyss: (2003) A follow-up by James Cameron on the Titanic (this one was done by Disney rather than Paramount or Fox), once again operating from the Keldysh, which was his base of operations for Titanic 1997 regarding dives (and was featured in the film) and had previously been the base of operations for Titanica 5 years earlier. This one also had a dive on September 11th, which got woven into the film.
- Titanic: A 2012 miniseries by Julian Fellows to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking. It's essentially "Downton Abbey at Sea." Aired in four parts, the series pretty much rehashes all the other fictional accounts of the Titanic disaster, filled with fictional characters, melodramatic intrigue, painful historical inaccuracies, and shallow caricature portrayals of actual historical persons onboard. It is also noted for a bizarre and unnecessary "Rashomon"-Style narrative.
- Titanic: Blood and Steel: A 2012 12-part TV series also made to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking, which focuses on Titanic's construction at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Ireland. Filled with Foreshadowing as to Titanic's eventual fate, the series follows metallurgist Dr. Mark Muir as he helps build the Titanic in the face of White Star's (unsubstantiated accusations of) cost-cutting measures, Belfast's class, political and religious divides, and his own past with the city.
- Saving the Titanic deviates from the usual Titanic formula by dramatizing the efforts of the engineering and boiler room crews on board as the ship sank.
- SOS: The Titanic Inquiry is a 2012 BBC TV movie which is a bit of a variant as it is a dramatization of the British Board of Trade inquiry of the disaster in which the crew of the Californian were grilled about their actions that night.
- Titanic: Honor and Glory: A video game currently stuck in development. The original concept was to feature a story arc in which the protagonist must solve a crime he didn't commit, and also serve as a learning tool capturing every detail of the ship. The creators have been conducting exhaustive research into the sinking, even creating a real-time video of the sinking using the game's engine. Their YouTube channel is an absolute gold mine of information about the ship, the sinking, and the history around the same in the form of both informational videos and podcasts. However, after internal strife, the project is currently being reevaluated. A side project Britannic Patroness Of The Mediterranean has been released, in which players can tour Titanic's doomed sister Britannic.
- The aptly titled Voyage of Despair revolves around four robbers attempting to steal a strange artifact. This wouldn't be anything that interesting... if it weren't for the fact that this is a Call of Duty: Zombies map. Needless to say, the cause of the sinking is very much different.
- Titanic: a musical with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston and a book by Peter Stone. It opened on Broadway in 1997 (incidentally, the same year as James Cameron's take) and swept that year's Tony Awards, winning all five categories it was nominated for (including Best Musical and Best Score).
- Titanic — In Her Own Words is a 2014 BBC Radio documentary that takes the transcriptions of the Morse Code messages sent to and from the ship during the disaster, as well as the Morse traffic that happened around it, and uses voice synthesis technology to present the messages as a conversation between all the different ships and the Cape Race Lighthouse. The result is both heart-rending and chilling.
- The Sherlock Holmes Stories of Edward D. Hoch: In "The Adventure of the Dying Ship", Sherlock Holmes is travelling aboard the Titanic and solves a murder as the sip is sinking. He also witnesses the last moments of Historical Domain Character Jacques Futrelle: a mystery author who perished in the sinking.
- The Titanic is what set off the plot of Downton Abbey: Lord Robert's two closest heirs were on board and died in the sinking, leaving the next possible heir to his title and estates (and more importantly, his wife's money) a distant cousin who works as a solicitor.
- The Doctor Who Christmas special "Voyage of the Damned" takes place on board a replica of the ship, which was built by an alien race to experience "primitive cultures." The Doctor lampshades the inherent Tempting Fate - "Did anyone tell you what it was famous for?" Naturally, it meets with disaster, though it's closer to The Poseidon Adventure than the actual disaster or any of the works based on it.
- Chapters 35 and 36 of Gardens of Time revolve around the Titanic.
- Ghostbusters II: Played for Laughs when a ghostly version of the ship arrives in New York in 1989, and ghosts start disembarking. "It's some dock supervisor down at Pier 34 on the Hudson. The guy's going nuts." "What's the problem?" "He says the Titanic just arrived." Made even funnier by the dock supervisor being played by Cheech Marin. *shrug* "Better late than never!"
- The heroine of the Danielle Steel novel No Greater Love takes charge of her younger siblings after surviving the disaster but losing her parents and fiance.
- The Visual Novel Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors is set on the restored Britannic (though it's identified by its original name "Gigantic"). Actually, while a backstory event takes place on the actual restored Britannic, the events of the game take place in a replica built in a building in the desert of Nevada. References to the Titanic's sinking as well as the Britannic's own are prevalent, including correctly identifying the Carpathia's role and mentioning an urban legend that it was actually Olympic that sank.
- From Time to Time, sequel to Time and Again, has the protagonist aboard the Titanic to try to prevent the collision. Another time agent's actions cause it.
- In Millennium (written in 1983, two years before the wreck was found), co-protagonist Louise says the wreckage was never found because the whole ship was brought forward in time.
- Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?: During their first clash ten years before the events of the show, Dr. Maelstrom's end goal was to float and steal the sunken ship, while Carmen (an ACME agent at the time) worked frantically to catch up to and stop him before he succeeded. The wreck was mentioned to have been found by Dr. Ballard the day after Maelstrom's arrest.
- Lady Marjorie of Upstairs Downstairs is revealed to have perished in the disaster.
- Supernatural: In "My Heart Will Go On", Balthazar (off-screen) travels back in time and prevents the Titanic from sinking, creating an alternate timeline where the Earth's population is bigger because the people who would have died didn't and had descendants, plus other differences like Céline Dion never became famous and is nothing but a destitute lounge singer because the 1997 film was never made. Balthazar claims he did it because he hated the 1997 movie and Celine Dion, which may be true, but the real reason was that Castiel wanted to increase Earth's population so that there would eventually be more souls to bolster Heaven in its war against Hell. Atropos forces them to go back and ensure the Titanic sinks, restoring the timeline.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL: Umimi Habera (Brooke Walker) has a monster card called Supercolossal, Unsinkable Superliner - Elegant Titanic (Unsinkable Titanica). Despite its name and appearance, it doesn't get destroyed.
- Time Bandits: Kevin and the titular bandits briefly visit the ship right before it hits the iceberg. This is Played for Laughs, as Randall asks for champagne with plenty of ice.
- One chapter of Jigsaw puts you on board, right at the crucial moment.
- The 1.5 Mod for Empire Earth II lets you build the Titanic from the Modern Age onward. It's the biggest unit in the game and has a carrying capacity of 500 (the last transport can carry less than 30), but has no defenses. And instead of voicelines, it plays snippets of "My Heart Will Go On".
- Just a Pilgrim: Set in a world where the oceans have dried up due to the sun expanding sooner than predicted (as in, several billion years ahead of schedule), the pilgrim and the refugees he's accompanying come across the wreck of the Titanic and use it as an improvised fortress against wasteland raiders.
- Jour J: One story sees the Titanic saved because a young boy was looking through his telescope and spotted the iceberg in time. The boy would later become a journalist who exposed Al Capone meeting with criminals (preventing Prohibition). World War II is prevented when the Titanic still sinks sometime in the 30s, taking two men named Einstein and Hitler with it. The journalist ends up as President but uses ever more extremist means to preserve his utopia, and when he voluntarily euthanizes himself at age 100 on a space station, the Earth is on the brink of a medical disaster due to the population being unable to resist antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
- In Cavalcade, Robert and Jane Marryot's son Edward honeymoons on the Titanic, and doesn't survive. It's the first major tragedy for the family in the film, the second being World War I.
- The Time Tunnel: The first episode has them travel back in time using the titular time tunnel to the Titanic. The last episode also has them go to the Titanic at the very end after they just did their latest adventure so it would lead to summer reruns. (The exterior ship footage is recycled from the 1953 film version.)
- The ship makes an anachronistic appearance in Holmes & Watson, where it is the site of an attempted assassination of Queen Victoria, who died eleven years before the Titanic set sail.
- In Goodbye, Mr. Chips, one scene has the school learning about the sinking of the Titanic, and that the father of one of the students was on board. The whole school celebrates when the news comes through that he got off safely. (In a sobering epilogue to the scene, the narrator adds that in the end, due to the war that broke out a few years later, the father outlived his son.)
- At the end of A Scholar of Magics, set in an alternate history, one of the characters travels to America on the Titanic. It's mentioned in passing that this is not the ship's first voyage and that the crew are hoping to break their own speed record.
- Wolf in Shadow is set after a great cataclysm greatly altered the shape of the Earth and crashed civilization. Just how much alteration the cataclysm caused is underlined when the protagonist comes across the wreck of the Titanic in the middle of the desert he's crossing.
- The Big Bus: The oil tycoon known as Ironman is part of a conspiracy to discredit any source of energy other than oil. He mentions his grandfather causing the Titanic disaster.
- Night Gallery: In "Lone Survivor", a ship picks up an amnesiac man in a lifeboat labeled from the Titanic, even though it has been three years since it sank. Eventually, the man remembers his past. He was a crewmember on the Titanic who cowardly got on the lifeboat by disguising himself as a woman, but when he jumped in, his weight made the lifeboat's ropes come loose and it fell into the water. While he was able to hold on, everyone else fell out and died. He found out that for his cowardice, he was damned into a form of the Flying Dutchman to float on the ocean forever and only be picked up by ships doomed to sink. The ship that picked him up is revealed to be the RMS Lusitania. It gets sunk by the German U-boats and the man is cast adrift in a lifeboat again, only to be picked up by the SS Andrea Doria.
- Family Guy: The episode "Stewie, Chris, & Brian's Excellent Adventure" features Stewie and Brian taking Chris back in time in an attempt to help him with a history test. At one point, they end up on the Titanic. The ship is inaccurately depicted leaving London rather than Southampton, and the iceberg collision occurs during dinner rather than late at night.
- Briefly referred to on Star Trek: Voyager when Tom Paris comes up with a way to upgrade Voyager's internal defenses based on Titanic's design. Captain Janeway points out that Titanic sank.
A sad lady, a silent lady, are you now asleep?
Can we learn from your sorrow to share?
Teach us to understand and certainly to care.
That never again will there ever be a gray lady, an elegant lady,
Slip unwillingly into the sea.