25 Facts About The Movie Titanic That Will Make You See It In A Different Light

Rose's and Jack's love story is the modern version of Romeo and Juliet, but the movie Titanic has so much more to it. These are some interesting facts and details about one of the most successful films of all time. The post 25 Facts About The Movie Titanic That Will Make...

The Titanic (1997) was the most expensive movie of its time and it is still in the top three highest-grossing films. It captured the hearts of many and is relevant to this day. Who doesn’t know the song My Heart Will Go On, which was created for the movie? And some of you may even know the whole movie by heart. Such phrases as “I’m the king of the world” or “draw me like one of your French girls” became iconic and quoted outside the context of the Titanic. And the debate whether or not Jack could have fitted on the door is never ending.

The movie was undoubtedly a great success. And probably every scene and line of the movie was analyzed by fans. But there could be things that not everyone know about some of the behind the scenes of the film. Here are some facts that Bored Panda collected about the movie the Titanic that could make you watch it through different eyes.

#1 The Story The Irish Mother Was Telling Her Children Was About Tír Na nÓg, A Place In The Celtic Otherworld

While the musicians are playing on the deck, the viewers are shown some shots of people inside the ship: the captain, the designer of the ship, the elderly couple lying in bed and the Irish mother telling a story to her children. The story was about Tír na nÓg: “And so they lived happily together for 300 years, in the land of Tír na nÓg, the land of eternal youth and beauty.” In Irish mythology Tír na nÓg is a part of the Celtic Otherworld and it is reached by passing a path across the sea. The story wasn’t in the original script and it was suggested by other Irish actors. It fits really perfectly: the mother is soothing her children, that once they are emersed in water, they will reach a land where they will be happy.

Image credits: Paramount Pictures

#2 Rose’s Portrait And The Sketches In Jack’s Binder Were Drawn By James Cameron

There are several iconic scenes in the Titanic that everyone remember. Jack drawing Rose is definitely considered one of those touching unforgettable moments. But in the up-close drawing shots showing the work with the pencil we see not DiCaprio’s hand but Cameron’s himself. James Cameron drew not only the Rose’s portrait but also all the sketches of the ‘French girls’ in the binder Jack was carrying with him. And that’s not all; DiCaprio is right handed while Cameron is left handed, but this little detail didn’t slip the director’s mind and the image was reversed in post-production to maintain the continuity and to make sure that nothing would break the illusion that Jack was the real artist.

Image credits: Paramount Pictures

#3 The Elderly Couple Lying In Bed While The Ship Was Sinking Was Based On Real People

The elderly couple seen lying in bed while musicians are playing and the water is rushing into the room are based on real people. The passengers in the real Titanic were Isidor and Ida Strauss and their love story is as touching as Jack’s and Rose’s. They were married for 40 years and witnesses say that they were allowed on a lifeboat because of their age, but Isidor refused to get in before every woman and child left the ship. His wife decided to stay with her husband and they were last seen on the boat deck sitting on a pair of deck chairs holding hands until they both perished.

Image credits: Paramount Pictures

#4 The Water On The Set Was So Cold That Kate Winslet Ended Up Getting Hypothermia

After the ship sank, Jack and Rose where hanging on their lives in the freezing water. But in that scene not only Rose was cold, it wasn’t the most pleasant experience for the actress Kate Winslet either. There were even rumors that she got pneumonia, but in an interview with Colbert on The Late Night Show the actress clarified that it wasn’t that severe, but the water was really cold and she actually got hypothermia. If you are wondering, why would they make the actors suffer the cold and not just let them act that it’s cold, Winslet remembers that there was a lot of water, so she thinks that there was just too much of it to heat up.

Image credits: Paramount Pictures

#5 Rose Spitting In Cal’s Face Wasn’t On The Script-Kate Winslet Was Improvising

The scene when Jack is teaching Rose to spit was almost completely improvised, but not forgotten by the actress. Apparently she was inspired by it and decided to use her newly acquired skill in another impromptu scene. When the ship is sinking and she wants to leave her mother and her future husband to go back to find Jack, her fiancé Cal grabs her arm and doesn’t let go. That’s when Rose spits to his face and breaks free. The original script said to use a hairpin, but spitting worked even better, especially because it was Jack who taught her that. Also, the actor who played Cal, Billy Zane, wasn’t aware of Winslet’s idea, so his surprised face and disgust are a genuine reaction.

Image credits: Paramount Pictures

#6 The Scene With A Boy Playing With A Top Was Inspired By A Real Photo From The Titanic

In James Cameron’s Titanic there is a scene of a child playing with a spinning top while Jack is sneaking onto the first class deck. This scene is actually recreated from a photo taken on April 11, 1912 by a Jesuit novitiate named Francis Browne. In it, six-year-old Robert Douglas Spedden, of New York is playing a traditional game of that time. His father is standing near by and other passengers are looking on. The boy and the father survived the sinking of the ship, though Robert died not long after in an accident. And Francis Brown didn’t have to witness the disaster of the ship because he was one of the eight people who disembarked from Titanic. He traveled from Southampton, England, to Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland.

Image credits: Francis Browne

#7 There Were Quotes Of Real-Life Survivors In The Script

James Cameron used quotes of real people who survived the disaster in the script. For example, when Jack wants to stop Rose from jumping off the ship, he tells her that once while he was fishing, he fell into the freezing water after the ice broke and it felt like “being stabbed with a thousand knives all over your body.” This is an actual quote of Second Officer Charles Herber Lightoller, describing his experience: “Striking the water was like a thousand knives being driven into one’s body, and , for a few moments, I completely lost grip of myself.“

Image credits: Paramount Pictures

#8 The Footage Of The Titanic Under Water Is Real As Cameron Himself Dived To See The Wreckage

James Cameron was fascinated by shipwrecks and the idea of filming the Titanic came when he met Robert Ballard, leader of the crew that discovered the wreckage of the famous liner. Production of the film started in 1995 as well as the dives to sea to look at the real ship. Cameron really did dive to the sea and spent more time on the Titanic than the actual passengers in 1912. He went there 12 times and would spend between 15 and 17 hours exploring, filming and taking in all the sadness and the injustice of the disaster. The footage he took underwater appeared in the movie making it even more realistic. This experience made Cameron want the viewers to understand that this story wasn’t just a drama, but it was an event that happened to real people, not all of which survived.

Image credits: Paramount Pictures

#9 The Renault In The Movie Was Also Aboard The Real Titanic

The car being hoisted onto the ship at beginning of the movie is a 1912 Renault Type CB Coupe de Ville. It is the same car in which later on in the film Rose and Jack have their steamy scene. Although the scene was the product of the director’s imagination, the car wasn’t. According to the ship’s cargo manifesto it was actually aboard the Titanic. And it is the only car known to have been there. It belonged to an American named William Carter of Bryn Mawr. He just bought the car while traveling in Europe with his family. Carter survived and later sought reimbursement from White Star Line for the value of his newly purchased car which was $5000. Today that would be about $130,000. Since 1985 when Robert Ballard discovered the wreckage of the RMS Titanic, salvagers were very interested in the car, but it still remains hidden. If the car would be found, it could be sold for millions of dollars at auction, knowing that other items found at the bottom of the ocean, such as dinner menus were sold for $25,000 to $35,000.

Image credits: Paramount Pictures

#10 One Time Winslet’s Coat Got Caught On The Gate And She Had To Break Free From The Coat To Not Drown

Sometimes actors get in accidents on set and Kate Winslet had one while filming the Titanic. During the scene when Jack and Rose were running away from a flush of water down the corridor and were swiped by the wave, Winslet’s heavy coat got caught on the gate. The actress nearly drowned, but luckily she managed to free herself from the coat. She said that she never complained about it to James Cameron, because she didn’t want to be a wimp, and continued working. James Cameron, on the other hand, reassured that Winslet was never in physical danger.

Image credits: Paramount Pictures

#11 The Fourth Funnel Of The Real Ship Wasn’t Connected To The Furnaces And In The Movie It Also Doesn’t Emit As Much Smoke

The Titanic in real life had four funnels, but only three of them were functional. In the beginning of the 20th century big ships had four funnels to properly draw heat and smoke out. But the Titanic had more advanced engineering and needed only three of them. The fourth was added to make the ship more impressive and grandiose. Also, because the ship was so big, it looked more balanced, so there was also an aesthetic purpose. It could be that it was used for ventilation for the kitchens. This detail was not missed in the movie and the fourth funnel emitted less smoke than the other three.

Image credits: Paramount Pictures

#12 Cameron Didn’t Want Any Music With Singing In It, But My Heart Wil Go On Changed His Mind

James Cameron didn’t want any music with singing in his movie and even more so didn’t want to end it with a pop song. He originally wanted Enya to compose the score for the film, but when she declined, Cameron turned to James Horner. Horner knew about Cameron’s vision, but he still secretly arranged to record a demo tape with Célin Dion of My Heart Will Go On, which he showed Cameron. In the end, the film director changed his mind. How could he not have? The song became not only Dion’s signature song but also one of the most memorable elements from the Titanic. From today’s perspective the song and the film are truly inseparable.

Image credits: Paramount Pictures

#13 Cameron Had Only One Shot To Film The Flooding Of The Grand Staircase

The Grand Staircase on set was built like a real staircase that would take quite a bit of damage with water, it wasn’t built just to be convincing enough for the viewers. But it was also built knowing from the start that it would be destroyed. When the ship starts sinking the room with the Grand Staircase is flooded with water. To make the destruction of the staircase more dramatic, 90,000 gallons (about 340,000 liters) of water was dropped on it. The production team knew that the had just one shot to make that scene because this much water would completely destroy the set.

Image credits: Paramount Pictures

#14 The Carpets For The Movie Set Were Made By The Same Manufacturers Who Made Them For The Real Titanic

Most of the decor on set was reconstructed by or under the supervision of researchers of the White Star Line, so that it would be as realistic and historically accurate as possible. Cameron insisted on using real wallpaper, actual crystal chandeliers, putting lead windows and stamping small or unseen items with the White Star Line’s logo. He also persuaded the firm who made carpets for the real Titanic, BMK-Stoddard of England, to make carpets for the movie. The manufacturers still had the patterns of the original carpet and they can be seen in the main salon at the bottom of the Grand Staircase, in the corridors and suites.

Image credits: Paramount Pictures

#15 The Knife Fabrizio Uses To Cut The Ropes Of A Lifeboat Is The Same Knife He And Jack Won In A Card Game At The Beginning Of The Movie

At the beginning of the movie Jack is playing cards with his friend Fabrizio. At the end they win the tickets with which they can board the Titanic, some money, a watch and a knife. Later in the film, when the ship is sinking, Fabrizio uses the same knife to cut down a lifeboat. Also, the watch tells that it was 11:53 so the two friends had to hurry to the ship, because it was scheduled to leave at 12:00, just like the real one.

Image credits: Paramount Pictures

#16 The Scene When Jack Is Teaching Rose To Spit Was Almost Completely Improvised

James Cameron often let the cast to improvise during filming and add their touch to the script. In the movie Jack was telling Rose about the interesting things he had done in his life and Rose felt that she was trapped in hers. Jack promises Rose that he will take her on an adventure when they leave the ship. The following scene was almost entirely improvised by the actors: Rose tells Jack that she never spat “like a man” so he takes her to the side of the ship and shows her how it’s done which should have been Rose’s first step towards living life to its fullest.

Image credits: Paramount Pictures

#17 The Real Titanic Sank At 02:20 And In The Movie, While The Ship Was Still Sinking, A Clock Showing 02:15 Can Be Seen

The movie lasts a little bit more than three hours, but did you know that from the moment of the collision with the iceberg to total submersion of the real ship 2 hours and 40 minutes have past? The sinking of the ship wasn’t that fast as it is seen in the movie, but one of the details is very accurate. The ship collided with the iceberg at 23:40 (ship’s time) and disappeared from view at 02:20. There is a moment in the movie, nearly at the end, when total chaos took over, where a clock is shown up close and it shows 02:15, five minutes until everything was over. The loyalty to details is really admirable!

Image credits: Paramount Pictures

#18 The Night Sky Was Depicted Incorrectly In The Original Release And It Was Changed In The 2012 Re-release

Because the Titanic was marketed as a historically accurate movie, no mistake slip through the viewers’ eyes. One of the things pointed out to be inaccurate was the night sky. Rose was floating on the door and was looking up, but what she saw wasn’t the same sky that people in 1912 saw. American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was insisting that it should be changed. Finally, Cameron agreed with that and made Dr. Tyson to send him an accurate constellation map. It was done and in the 2012 re-release the night sky was adjusted to reflect the historic time. The differences can be seen in the picture: the first one is from the 1997 release and the second one is from the 2012 re-release.

Image credits: Paramount Pictures

#19 Jack Couldn’t Keep His Promise Of Taking Rose To Santa Monica But Apparently She Still Went There As It Is Seen In Her Old Photos

At the beginning of the movie, shortly after Jack and Rose met, Jack promises Rose that he will take her to Santa Monica Pier, where they will have fun like Rose never had before. He tells her that he will take Rose on the rollercoaster and to ride horses on the beach. Let’s ignore the fact that the rollercoasters were built after the sinking of the Titanic and focus on the fact that at the very end of the movie, when we are shown Rose’s old photos, in one of them she is on a horse and Santa Monica Pier is seen in the background.

Image credits: Paramount Pictures

#20 During Dinner The Actors Were Served Real Beluga Caviar

If the production saved money on things like building only half of the ship, they didn’t spare expenses in other areas. In the scene where Jack and Rose went to a dinner in the first-class dining-room, he was served caviar. To make the scene more authentic the actors were served real Beluga caviar, which is the most expensive type of caviar. The prices can range anywhere from $3,500 to $5,000 for a pound.

Image credits: Paramount Pictures

#21 The Piece Of Wood On Wich Rose Was Floating Is Based On An Artifact Found In The Real Ship’s Wreckage

The photo on the top shows a piece from the real ship’s wreckage. It is displayed at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The shape of this artifact made to look like the one and only piece of door on which Rose was lying after the ship sank which always sparks the debate whether Jack could have fitted on it or not.

Image credits: Trip Advisor

#22 Old Rose’s Dog Is A Reference To Real Pomeranians That Survived The Sinking Ship

The old Rose in the movie owns a white Pomeranian. It’s not just a random detail as it was Cameron’s way of paying tribute to the dogs that survived the sinking of the ship. The breed of the dog was also chosen purposely, because two of the three dogs that survived were Pomeranians. When the real ship was sinking, a passenger released dogs from their kennels and James Cameron initially filmed scenes with animals, but they didn’t make the cut.

Image credits: Paramount Pictures

#23 The Chef In The Movie Was Based On A Real Person Who Most Likely Survived Because Of The Amount Of Alcohol He Had Consumed Prior

The chef we see drinking from a flask next to Jack and Rose while the ship was sinking is based on a real person. Charles John Joughin was an English-American chef and he is notable for surviving in the freezing water for two hours, which is a lot. He was the last survivor to leave the Titanic as he climbed on the safety rail on the outside of the ship and was just waiting to go down like on an elevator. He explained that he didn’t feel the effects of the cold water as much probably because of the consumed alcohol.

Image credits: Paramount Pictures

#24 The Ship’s Departure Was Filmed In Reverse And Flipped In Post-Production

Even though the movie had a huge $200 million budget, the production still tried to save money where possible. Apparently, Cameron decided that it was necessary to build only have of the ship and he chose to replicate the starboard side, because at the filming location, the wind would blow the funnel smoke aft, making it look as if the ship was moving forward through the water. The problem with it was that in real life at the moment of the departure from Southampton, Titanic was docked on its port side. In order to maintain the historical accuracy, everything on scene had to be built and done backwards and then flipped in post-production. So, if the script said to walk to one’s right, they had to walk to their left during shooting, also every writing had to be reversed, even the costumes had to be made backwards.

Image credits: Paramount Pictures

#25 One Of The Inaccuracies In The Movie Was The Mentioning Of Lake Wissota Which Was Formed After The Titanic Disaster

There are so many accurate details in the move reflecting the knowledge we have about the real life Titanic, but there are a few errors too. For example, Jack was telling Rose that he went fishing on Lake Wissota in Wisconsin with his father when he was a boy. The lake was formed by constructing a dam, which was finished in 1917 and the Titanic disaster took place in 1912. So, it would have been impossible for Jack to go fishing there, unless you believe the theories that Jack was a time traveler.

Image credits: Paramount Pictures


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