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  • Actor Shipping: One of the most famous examples of this trope. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet have been shipped since 1997.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Near the end of the film, Rose tells her granddaughter and the others that Cal "married of course and inherited his millions", implying that Cal's father may have been giving him an inheritance if Cal married and started a family. This would mean that if Cal and Rose married, they both would have benefited financially from the arrangement. Is Cal's obsession with Rose and determination to have her motivated by a desire to acquire his inheritance? Or simply wanting to have a beautiful wife and conform to society's expectations? Or some twisted form of actual affection (see Jerkass Woobie entry below)? Or all three?
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    • Made possible for everyone but Jack and Rose when you watch the extensive deleted scenes. The Strausses' refusal to part, a joking-in-the-face-of-death J.J. Astor, the grim parting later between him and Gugenheim (something Cameron even had to create, as no one witnessed such an exchange and survived to tell about it), a shell-shocked Ismay's known dressing-down by Lowe and Ismay's apology, Ismay later entering his PTSD phase on the Carpathia, Lightoller balancing survivors on the upturned collapsible, Cal's frantic response to the woman he thinks is Rose, her shell-shocked mother looking into the faces of mothers and children and clearly hunting for her own daughter... Basically, there's a whole other set of characterizations on the cutting-room floor. Though in fairness and as Cameron himself points out, part of the reason why the scenes were cut was because it was already a really long movie.
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    • Many viewers have pointed out that, if you really think about it, Old!Rose is a major Jerkass. The survey ship is on an expensive and dangerous mission to recover a gem that Rose has in her possession despite having no claim to it (it was intended to be a wedding present, but Rose and Cal never got married). And after regaling the crew with her story, Rose simply tosses the diamond overboard. Then (if you subscribe to the theory that Rose dies at the end of Titanic) upon reaching the afterlife, the first thing Rose does is go to Jack, a guy she spent a few days with when she was a kid, rather than the husband she was married to for years and who fathered her children.
      • Old Rose may have a weak claim to the diamond, but it’s 1000% stronger than Paxton’s. He wanted information and she had it, but that doesn’t mean she had to give him everything.
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    • Some have taken Cal's line "You are my wife in practice if not by law" to mean that he and Rose may have slept together already. It's also been noted that Rose is far more sexually forward than Jack; it's her idea to be sketched nude (and the fact that she intends for Cal to find a nude drawing of her suggests that it's not the first time he's seen her that way). In the sex scene in the car, Rose takes control and lets Jack rest his head on her, suggesting that she's more sexually experienced.
    • Rose's mother may have been a bitch, but do you really feel sorry for her when Rose leaves her, or do you think she deserved it? And as we never learn her fate after the Titanic, did she die broke and penniless or perhaps throwing herself at the mercy of her society friends? Or did she remarry and end up living a comfortable life after all? There's also whether she was right to put the entire family's future on Rose marrying an abusive jerkass; since she was a name herself, there was nothing stopping her from trying to remarry an older bachelor in the first place.
    • There are some who think that Rose herself is mentally unstable instead of being a Rebellious Princess. Those who agree with this think that leaving Cal, her mother and her riches was a very selfish act. Rose's mother and Jack himself even lampshade this opinion: the former calls her selfish while the latter calls her a "spoiled little brat". Then again, this ignores how both Ruth and Cal were willing to trap Rose in a loveless and abusive marriage just to secure their own financial future.
    • Beforeboarding a lifeboat, Ismay takes one final look around him. Is it to make sure no one is looking at him or to see if no one else would be needing his help?
    • Was that guy who grabbed on to Rose a jerk trying trying to drown her to get her life vest, or was he just your typical drowning victim, panicking and trying to grab on to anything in order to stay afloat without realizing that he's endangering the other person? There's a reason lifeguards are trained to subdue as well as rescue people—any of them can attest to a victim trying to do this.
      • Considering the man turns out to be the priest who was comforting passengers in the ship’s final moments, he was probably the latter.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: The Troubled Production made many, including James Cameron himself, expect the movie to sink just like the real-life ship itself. Instead, it became the highest-grossing movie ever (until Avatar came along) and won 11 Oscars.
  • Anvilicious: The first act hammers home that women in 1910s society had it hard. Not a scene in first class passes without some mention of Rose's future being a Stepford Smiler surrounded by Upper Class Twits. The scene where the family are revealed to be bankrupt, Ruth underlines the moral with "we're women, our choices are never easy."
  • Awesome Music:
    • James Horner really outdid himself with the soundtrack, to the point where it is one of the best-selling movie soundtracks of all time. Of course, he deservedly ended up winning the Original Score Oscar for his work on the film.
    • Let’s also not forget Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On", a beautifully sad but bittersweet song that wraps up the film nicely.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Rose, full stop, largely because of what she did in the climax of the film: having the wooden panel all to herself even if there was not enough room for Jack and herself. Many detractors think that she's too immature, self-centered, and unappreciated of her lifestyle to be likable, while supporters sympathize with her for those same reasons: love can make you do stupid things like jumping out of a lifeboat.
    • Billy Zane sympathizes with Cal, as do several other fans, while others think he’s just a hot-headed asshole with no redeeming qualities.
    • The words of Rose’s mother: "We're women, our choices are never easy" has split viewers into taking her side all the way or hating her for forcing her daughter into marrying a guy that she loathes.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: Kate Winslet's nude scene is considered one of the hottest ever, which is especially impressive for a PG-13 movie.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The comedic chase scene with Lovejoy pursuing Jack and Rose. It doesn't really need to happen, goes on for longer than necessary, and none of the characters involved really acknowledge it much afterward.
  • Cliché Storm: The biggest criticism of the film. For its detractors, the central love story is just one melodramatic romance cliché after another, which makes it unappealing to them and diminishes the real life tragedy it's supposed to be portraying.
  • Common Knowledge:
    • Much like the real event, one of the reasons the Titanic was such a tragedy was because there weren't enough lifeboats. Truth in Television: The Titanic did help update ship protocol so that there were more lifeboats, and yes, the Titanic really was out of compliance for the board of trade, but not in the way you think. At the time, the Board of Trade only required enough lifeboats for 1060 people — the Titanic could accommodate over 1,170. Yes, they could have had twelve other lifeboats, but they weren't removed to "cut costs" — it was because they felt the deck would be too cluttered. Additionally, two collapsible lifeboats couldn't be fully launched. It was also intended for lifeboats to ferry passengers to rescuing ships back and forth, not keep them out the entire night.
    • The issue with the floating door was never that there wouldn't be enough room, but that it wouldn't be able to stay afloat under the weight of two people. Funnily enough, Cameron actually cut a bit of dialogue where Jack spells this out, figuring the brief bit where it tips over when they both try to get on would be enough for people to get the idea.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The final minutes of the ship's sinking where the passengers tumble and fall from the stern, with some even bouncing off obstacles such as gates. It's saddening and horrifying, but you just can't help but laugh at times. The best known example of this is likely the propeller guy.
  • Delusion Conclusion: Though not the most popular theory, there are a few fans who claim Jack Dawson never actually existed and was merely conceived as a coping mechanism by Rose, who was about to be forced upon an Unwanted Spouse by her family. A prominent justification is how Mr. Lovejoy inexplicably stops pursuing Jack and Rose once they get to the cargo hold, and how (relatively) unconcerned Rose's family seemed to be with Jack's social rank as a penniless artist, even inviting him to dinner with them. Made Hilarious in Hindsight when near the end of the interview, Lovett tells Rose that there was no "J. Dawson" on the passenger or crew manifests; Word of God claims the name was made up, but by coincidence, there actually was a J. Dawson who died aboard the Titanic.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Rose’s mother gets at least some form of sympathy from fans and historians who understand the complications of what women could or could not do in 1910s society.
    • J. Bruce Ismay (and his real life counterpart by extension) receives a ton of sympathy from those who believe that the sinking of the Titanic was not entirely his fault.
    • For those who sympathize with Cal, see Rooting for the Empire below.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Fifth Officer Harold Lowe, for being the only lifeboat commander to go back to look for survivors and who ends up saving Rose's life.
    • Charles Joughin, who also survives the sinking by staying on the ship as long as possible, all while drinking from a flask (also Truth in Television; the real Joughin stayed warm in the icy water by drinking and was among those rescued later).
  • Estrogen Brigade: The movie developed a reputation of attracting Squeeing fan girls just there to see the young Leonardo DiCaprio.
  • Fanfic Fuel: There's quite a bit of fanfics out there that imagine scenarios about Jack surviving the Titanic, and what he and Rose would go through had they stayed together after the fact.
  • Fandom-Specific Plot:
    • There have been many alternate fanfics written about Jack surviving the disaster with Rose as stated above.
    • A popular fanfic topic has Rose or Jack having a sibling who serves as an author insert or OC.
  • Genius Bonus: There is a small one involving the Hockleys. We are told that Cal's father made his fortune in steel. Cal mentions to Rose's mother while escorting her to dinner that there's "several thousand tons of Hockley steel in this very ship" in "all the right places, of course." Ruth teases that if anything goes wrong, they'll know whom to hold accountable. If you've studied the sinking, you'll know that the ship's hull plates were made out of rolled steel, and that those plates buckled when the iceberg struck. Guess we have one more reason to hate Cal?
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The 2012 reissue of this film set a box-office record in China, opening at $67 million (more than it made in its entire 1998 run in the country).
  • Girl-Show Ghetto: Part of the movie's Hype Backlash came about because of the love story and the fact that a lot of women and girls enjoyed it.
  • Ham and Cheese: Billy Zane is going all out as a pompous Upper-Class Twit.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Considering the sinkings and cowardly actions of the captains and crew aboard the Costa Concordia and the Sewol, the heroic and professional choices of Captain Smith and the majority of Titanic's crew can be even more of a Tear Jerker for viewers, including those who have criticized them for the various mistakes that led to the sinking itself. At least they weren't in the first lifeboat leaving the ship, like the two captains and crew mentioned above, the latter of which resulted in nearly 300 children dying in the capsized Sewol. And it sank on April 16 in Korea's time zone, which was April 15 in much of the world. The Costa Concordia Disaster happening on Jan. 13, 2012 — about 3-months short of the 100 year anniversary of the Titanic — wasn't helpful either. And, perhaps most chilling of all, it's said the Costa Concordia was playing "My Heart Will Go On" before it struck the rocks.
    • Eric Braeden plays John Jacob Astor, one of Titanic's most famous victims. In 2017, Braeden revealed that he himself was a survivor of the Wilhelm Gustloff, which sank in 1945 while evacuating German refugees. More than 9000 people died, six times as many as on the Titanic, making it the worst sinking in history. He described filming Astor's death scene as the most terrifying experience of his career.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight:
    • It's noted that Rose is a hundred years old at the time the long-lost painting is found. Her actress of the movie's current day setting, Gloria Stuart, actually did live to be a hundred years old before passing.
    • Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet immediately got along and stated that they wouldn't have been able to do the film without one another's support. This friendship has endured ever since into one of Hollywood's longest-lasting and closest friendships for over 20 years. Both have stated that their relationship is like "family" and that they would do anything for the other, regarding the best thing about Titanic as their friendship. In 2016, when Leo won his first Oscar, Kate watched with tears in her eyes, rushing afterwards to him to be one of the first ones to hug and congratulate him. "I'll never let go," indeed.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Jack dies and Rose lets his dead body float away. More than a decade later, Inception came out, and the film opens up with DiCaprio's character washing up on a beach. This is naturally picked up on during its RiffTrax. "Damn Titanic!"
    • Two Scandinavians named Sven and Olaf narrowly escape an icy demise... note 
    • Speaking of Disney, there's more pitch-black humor: Seven years prior to providing the One-Woman Wail for the Titanic soundtrack, Sissel Kyrkjebø was the voice of Ariel for the Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish versions of that movie. Ariel is a luckier redhead than Rose in that she saves the love of her life from a shipwreck.
    • There are two other pairs of characters close to each other named Rose and Jack.
    • And there is yet another curly-haired Rebellious Princess called Rose who has an Interclass Romance with an American called Jack and has a rift with her snobbish mother.
  • Iron Woobie: Several of the surviving crew members (Lightoller, Fleet, and Joughin), who each had a difficult childhood with either an absent parent or a parent who died while they were still a child.
  • It Was His Sled:
    • The hankie-grabbing reputation of the film guarantees that pretty much everyone knows that Jack dies during the sinking.
    • The Heart of the Ocean (the blue diamond) was with Rose the entire time and she drops it into the sea at the end.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks!: To the point where its popularity sank after a whileeven being named the worst movie ever! — but resurged during its 15th anniversary and 3D re-release.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Cal. He genuinely cannot understand how Rose could possibly be happy as the wife of a homeless man with no financial security. Hell, even today you could forgive him for being bewildered. His treatment of Rose is also a direct by-product of his upbringing and culture, though that doesn't make it any less deplorable. Rose and Jack themselves, meanwhile, are clearly ahead of their time as far as their values go (this may explain why so many people view them as anachronistic characters). In short, he genuinely believes he loves Rose but does not know how to show it properly, he loses her to Jack, and then gets to New York thinking that she's dead. For all we know, she could have been his Lost Lenore. The original script takes it even further, when he does find her alive and tries to make amends, the harrowing ordeal no doubt inspiring him to at least attempt a Heel–Face Turn. When she rebuffs him, he's genuinely heartbroken. When she turns away from him after he confronts her on Carpathia, the script says plainly: "We see that in his way, the only way he knows, he does truly love her."
    • Could be applicable to Charles Lightoller. He is particularly nasty towards the male passengers in preventing them from boarding the lifeboats, but the fact is his life was impacted by many tragedies before and after the sinking. Start with his mother dying shortly after giving birth to him, going to sea age 11 and dealing with fierce conditions, compounded by the life or death struggles he faced, and topped off by two of his sons dying in World War II. All of which cause him to suffer several bouts of depression over the course of his lifetime.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Hands up, who just skips to when the ship's sinking?
    • The VHS release of the film splits into two cassettes and Tape #2 picks up a little after the ship actually hits the iceberg (specifically, with the scene with Cal slapping Rose and then the steward coming in to tell them to put lifebelts on), so you could have just started from there if you wanted. (When the VHS tapes were released, video stores were only allowed to show the first tape on in-store televisions, to avoid showing the nude scene.) At least one DVD release also has two discs with this same deal.
    • If the Rose and Jack romance doesn't grab you, you'll be Rooting For The Iceberg by this point.
    • Not to mention the hordes of teenage fan girls who watched the movie only to see Leonardo DiCaprio.
    • The guys, on the other hand, were there to see Kate Winslet.
    • Some Titanic/maritime history enthusiasts enjoy this movie, not for the romantic plot but for being one of the more accurate depictions of the RMS Titanic disaster to date (albeit further research has debunked a few minor theories on how the ship sank since then). The Titanic sets and effects are stunning as well as the portrayals of historical characters, (although some really hate the inaccurate and negative portrayals of J. Bruce Ismay and Officer Murdoch.) Fans of A Night to Remember will also enjoy the many references to the film, to the point where it's almost a remake. The historical accuracy was so impressive that an accompanying CD-rom was released containing historical documents, blueprints, and first-hand accounts intercut with footage from the movie. It was basically possible to watch all of the non-romance focused scenes this way. Many of the cut scenes mentioned in the Alternative Character Interpretation entry were used for the CD-rom, giving more characterization to Andrews, Ismay, the wireless operators, and other historical figures.
  • Memetic Mutation: Now with its own page.
  • Mis-blamed:
    • Jack and Rose get blamed for distracting the lookouts and causing them to sight the iceberg when it's too late. However, the iceberg comes into view after they get back to looking ahead.
    • Claims that Jack and Rose should have taken turns on the door (this would have killed them both) and to a lesser extent, that the door would have accommodated both of them.note  Mythbusters tackled the latter and discovered that yes, they would indeed both have fit, but at the cost of partially submerging them in 28 degree water (the Mythbusters' solution of using the life jackets to bolster the boat remains just as contentious). Both do try to get on the door at one point, it nearly flips over, and while they could have conceivably tried again with more success, there are also ample reasons why Jack wouldn't have wanted to risk it.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Cal Hockley crosses it when he decides to frame Jack for stealing the Heart of the Ocean. This was around the time the Titanic hit the iceberg too, and so Jack would have drowned in the brig if it weren't for Rose saving him. When Cal tries to redeem himself (in Rose's eyes at least), it is still shown he wishes to leave Jack to die. When Rose ultimately refuses to leave the boat without Jack, Cal attempts to shoot them both, in public no less. Not Good with Rejection much?
      • Given that, it's still possible that Jack might have been allowed to leave the brig... if Cal had not specifically ordered Lovejoy to sock him in the gut and leave him there.
      • In an earlier version of the script, Cal actually murders Fabrizio in cold blood by beating him to death. In the final cut, however, Fabrizio is killed by the ship's falling smokestack.
    • Lovejoy crosses it when he pockets the key to Jack's handcuffs and leaves him in the master-at-arms' office before it starts to flood. If that's not enough, he also attempts to shoot Rose in a deleted scene.
  • Narm Charm: There's a reason many aspects of this movie are often parodied, but a fair chunk of those parodies are in some measure affectionate. Not for nothing did Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Phillips once call it "the worst-written film I ever happily saw twice".
  • Older Than They Think:
    • "I'm king of the world!". That line was yelled out by Homer Simpson seven years prior.
    • The line "I'd rather be his whore than your wife!" was also said verbatim earlier on Twin Peaks.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The Propeller Guy. He appeared for all of 2 seconds, and yet everybody remembers him.
  • Popularity Polynomial: When the film was released, it was a box office hit and won 11 Oscars including the much coveted Best Picture and Best Director. However, its fame in the 2000's plus the squeeing Leo fangirls turned the movie into a pathetic joke at worst and something people wouldn't admit they liked at best. However, it has become more acceptable again thanks to its 3D re-release, and the fame of its leading stars. Lindsay Ellis, a normally Caustic Critic, even released a 40-minute video explaining why she loves the movie.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Ioan Gruffudd is Fifth Officer Harold Lowe, the one that rescues Rose from the icy waters.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: A common point of criticism is that the story of the Titanic and its sinking is dramatic and interesting enough to not need the somewhat formulaic and cliched "star-crossed lovers" romance taking up all the attention.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Cal is not without his fans, and there are even some who think that he and Rose should have ended up together. Mainly because Jack and Rose's relationship would not have been plausible on the real Titanic.
  • Signature Scene: Several well-known (and oft-parodied) scenes:
    • The scene where Jack draws Rose in the diamond necklace...just the necklace.
    • Rose's first appearance at Southampton, with her face reveal from under her wide-brimmed hat.
    • Jack and Rose standing at the front of the ship with their arms stretched out before having their first kiss.
    • Jack standing at the front of the ship yelling "I'm the king of the world!"
    • Jack and Rose making love in the car in the cargo hold, especially when one of their hands gets pressed against the condensation-covered window.
    • The musicians playing "Nearer My God, To Thee," and saying It Has Been an Honor even as the ship continues to sink.
    • The ship breaking in half and sinking.
    • The "I'll never let go" scene (cue tissues).
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: First there's the framing device, then there's the love story and then the ship sinking. A lot of people prefer to skip straight ahead to the sinking.
  • Special Effect Failure: Although it's considered one of the biggest visual effect achievements of the late 90s, it still had few instances of this.
    • On some of the wide shots, it’s obvious that the people on the ship are CGI. They move robotically and don’t have enough detail.
    • The film has one of the first digital face replacements, i.e. the faces of two stunt doubles are replaced with the faces of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in one scene. It is painfully obvious, to say the least.
    • A few times during the sinking where there's a few revealing shots, people hitting foam and rubber objects, people sliding down on skateboards.
    • At one point, when Rose is approaching Jack on deck, the background of the ship looks extremely fake and cartoonish.
    • When the watertight doors are sealed, after Barrett gets out of Boiler Room 6, we see two stokers scrambling to a door that has just closed in another room. Behind them, there is a mirror that is meant to make the boiler room set appear larger than it actually is.
    • Until it was corrected in the 10th anniversary DVD and 3D rerelease, the night sky was mirrored, with two identical halves.
    • It's hard to see at first because it goes by so quickly but if you watch when the first funnel falls over and crashes into the water you can see during the impact that it's not the same funnel, it is missing several features as well as being covered with holes. The black paint on top is missing as well. According to a behind-the-scenes documentary, they dropped an empty tank from a truck trailer on the water to make the effect.
    • When the ship is about the break in two, a stock gunshot sounds when a plank cracks.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Cal might be a controlling scum who starts to Kick the Dog more frequently as the movie goes on, but he is Rose's fiancé, and has every right to be angry about her going to a party with the guy she had just met yesterday. Being just unchaperoned friends was out of the question for the time, and it's worth noting he initially thought that Jack had attempted to rape Rose, not truly buying Rose's mostly-true explanation that she merely fell over the railing and he saved her.
  • Testosterone Brigade: There were a large amount of teenage boys who turned up just to see Kate Winslet.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: RMS Titanic buffs and people who hate the Jack and Rose romance may be interested to hear that the film had one hour of deleted scenes and another of unfilmed scenes in the original script, and that most of them were based on real people aboard the ship and their experiences during the sinking. In fact, it could have been perfectly possible for Cameron to cut all the Jack and Rose scenes, film the others, and still have a coherent plot!
    • For those who prefer a version of the movie with Jack, Rose and the other fictional character omitted entirely, see/play James Cameron’s Titanic Explorer.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Many critics predicted that Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet would have a very difficult time being successful in different roles. Thankfully, this was strongly averted, as both have gone on to sustain their A-list careers and win Oscars.
  • Values Resonance: Rose is a pretty kickass female lead even twenty years removed from the movie's release. She's a woman who was raised in the restrictive 1910s and expected to marry a monster to save her family from financial ruin — essentially raised to be a decorative doll and nothing else. The film repeatedly shows that she has far more going on than her society would think — superficially a keen interest in art and literature, a knowledge of ships, and is more than able to match the men in terms of party spirit. When she's thrust into the disaster, she's understandably scared but does her hardest to remain calm and proactive. She's responsible for saving Jack when he's chained up below deck, and saving herself by getting a whistle to alert the lifeboats. She's also quite sex-positive, as noted above, and appears to be the more sexually experienced partner without being demonized.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: A few flubs aside, the film had some very groundbreaking effects for its day, both in practical and digital effects, which naturally won it the Oscar for Visual Effects.
  • What an Idiot!: The immigrant Jack and Rose come across in the rapidly flooding steerage hallway. He carries his son to a doorway that's ready to burst open with water just to grab their luggage. This after he yells at Jack when he and Rose try bringing him to safety. And looking like a Deer in the Headlights, the door opens and they get swept away.
  • The Woobie: It is not hard to feel sorry for Jack. He is an orphan since he was fifteen years old and homeless, not to mention his harsh, brutal death in icy water. He noticed Rose when she was at her most vulnerable (trying to kill herself) and was willing to listen and care about how she felt when no one else would.
    • Any child victim in the sinking really counts, especially those who died.
    • None of the dogs shown in the film were Pekes or Poms, meaning all of them died.
    • The majority of the 3rd class passengers, who weren't even given a chance to make it to the lifeboats, including (but not limited to) Fabrizio, Tommy Ryan, Cora (and her parents), the Irish mother and her two children, etc.


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