Titanic

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Titanic ver2.jpg
I'm the king of the world!
—Jack Dawson, with the film's most iconic line

The movie of 1997 (actually due to its December release, the movie of 1998). The most expensive movie yet made at the time and fraught with problems throughout the shoot, it was predicted for months to wind up a critical and commercial disaster. When people actually saw the film, however, it was suddenly a very different situation. Titanic was a darling of most critics and audiences, a massive commercial splash (eventually becoming the highest grossing movie of all time and first to break the billion-dollar box office mark), won a record-tying 11 Oscars including Best Picture, and catapulted Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet to superstardom. Like most pop culture phenomena, it also prompted the proportional amount of backlash as well as quickly becoming a source of many Stock Parodies. Unadjusted for inflation, it's the now second-highest-grossing movie ever, beaten out by Cameron's own Avatar (if you adjust for inflation, Titanic drops six slots, but even so it's still one of the highest-grossing films ever - the seventh, in fact!). In all likelihood, Cameron now has enough money to raise the Titanic and fire it toward Pandora.

In case you don't remember '97 or you were living in a cave at that time, Titanic tells the story, in Flash Back, of the two fictional Star-Crossed Lovers Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater. Unfortunately, they both happen to be aboard the ill-fated ocean liner of the title, which, as we all know, struck an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage in 1912. There's also a Love Triangle involving Rose's evil Disposable Fiancé Caledon "Cal" Hockley, who decides the best solution is to literally Murder the Hypotenuse, Jumping Off the Slippery Slope in the process. This more-or-less leads to the film's Bittersweet Ending.

Launched the A-list careers of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

The film was re-released in theaters in April 4th, 2012 in 3D, ten days before the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking.

Tropes used in Titanic include:
  • Abuse Mistake: When Rose try to commit suicide, Jack talks her out of it. However... then she slips, falling to her death. He manage to save her, but as he does so she's screaming for help. After he managed to drag her up to safety, some crewmen arrive and assume that he has assaulted her.
  • Accidental Aiming Skills: Rose with the axe. Not only was her aim bad, but her eyes were closed. She even hit Jack's wrist if you look carefully, but the chain broke anyway.
  • Action Girl: Rose has occasional glimpses of it when she doesn't have Jack around.
  • Age Cut
  • Alternate DVD Commentary: This has a Riff Trax. It is delicious.
  • Anyone Can Die: Once the ship starts going down, supporting characters start dropping like flies including Jack himself.
  • Artistic License Astronomy: The end scene has an inaccurate night sky that is composed of the same half-sky mirrored in the middle. This results in seeing constellations that shouldn't have been there at all in duplicate. James Cameron replied: "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." But it was still corrected for the (2005?) DVD and the April 2012 3D release.
  • Auto Erotica: A thousand beds on board, and they consummate their love in the back of a car?
    • Well, Cal was going through the entire ship, with an idea of exactly what to look for and where to find it.
    • Plus, the Ford Model T was first produced in 1908. The concept of "Auto Erotica" itself was only four years old.
      • It plays into the themes of the turning of the century as old customs give way to new, and how Jack is "saving" Rose for a life of adventure... in this case, helping her become the first young woman to make love in the back seat of a car.
  • Award Bait Song: "My Heart Will Go On". And James Horner had to wait for a proper moment to present it to the hot-headed James Cameron...
  • 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. Did he know the ship was sinking?
      • It's possible he in fact did not know. It's been reported, with varying degrees of credibility, that not only were many passengers unaware the ship was doomed up until the bow actually went under, but many on the lifeboats actually believed the stern section was going to remain afloat after the expansion joints broke and the ship snapped in half. When you consider the fact that there are entire towns that are nowhere near as big or populous as the Titanic, and that it took around two hours for the disaster to reach its zenith...
  • Bittersweet Ending: Jack freezes to death, but Rose meets him again when she finally passes away. If you pay attention to her dream, she enters a room filled with passengers 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 that this moment, and joins the rest of the dead on the ship of dreams.
  • Badass:
    • The band members certainly deserve this, at least.
    • Rose, the high society waif, picking up a fireman's axe to break Jack out of his handcuffs.
    • He gets a substantial downgrade from his Real Life Badass status (and from the opposite-direction exaggerated version portrayed in the 1958 film A Night to Remember, made with the help of Fourth Officer Boxhall only two years after Lightoller's death) but Second Officer Lightoller still gets a small moment where he faces down a crowd rushing the lifeboats with a pistol and demands they keep order--then turns to order Fifth Officer Lowe into the boat, while showing him that he'd just bluffed the angry crowd with an unloaded revolver.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Done literally with Lovejoy's pistol, which he shows to Cal when Cal is emptying the safe.
  • That safe itself is full to bursting with Chekhov's guns.
  • 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.
  • Crying Little Kid: Played straight and subverted at the same time. Cal finds a crying, abandoned child and takes her onto a lifeboat--in the process lying that he is her father in order to get himself a seat on that same lifeboat.
    • He never actually says he's her father--he says "I have a child" (true, he's certainly holding one) and "I'm all she has in the world". (Apparently true as whoever was responsible for her left her sitting behind something on the deck bawling. What the Hell, Parent/Guardian?) If Cal hadn't grabbed her to use as his ticket on the lifeboat, she'd have sat 'til she drowned.
      • True enough, but Cal is shown having noticed the crying girl before and simply moving on. Only when he realized she was his ticket off the boat did he come back for her.
  • 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.
    • In fairness, this is pretty much a James Horner trademark--create one melody and score the entire movie literally as a variation on the theme, preferably heavy on Our Lady of Soundtrack Sorrow. Listen to his score for Apollo13 for a really blatant example.
  • 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.
  • Demoted to Extra: Remember the blonde chick who dances with Fabrizio in 3rd class? She was written as a 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.
  • 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.
  • Did Not Do the Research: Although Cameron was rumored to have been extremely picky about some fine details of the set of the Titanic, there were some things he missed...
    • The big ship set that Cameron had built is not entirely accurate. They made it a bit shorter than the real ship (most noticeable: the A-Deck promenade windows. There are quite a few missing). The funnels of Cameron's ship are also smaller than in real life, as well as the lifeboats and the davits (necessary to make the proportions of the smaller ship match again). Granted, this was all for practicality, but fortunately it's very subtle.
    • Remember how Jack said he used to go to Lake Wissota? Well it was man-made. You can guess where this is going. Since the construction of Lake Wissota began in 1915, Jack must be a time traveler.
      • In Cameron's defense, the scene was improvised by the actors. What Jack said was all Leo.
        • The name of the lake, however, came from Cameron. In the commentary he says that he just looked at a map and picked a lake without doing any further research.
    • You see those paintings that Rose and Cal argue over? The ones we see submerged in the Stateroom as the ship goes down? They're all well known, surviving paintings by Monet and Picasso, including Picassos Le Demoiselles d'Avignon-which is currently sitting in MMoMA, and which Picasso never sold in his life.
      • Making prints and other reproductions of paintings wasn't possible due to the non-existing technology back then; it was fairly common practice for an artist to repaint the same painting several times so that copies could be sold. For example, there are several different versions of Van Gogh's Sunflowers known to exist. Just because we see famous paintings going down with the ship doesn't mean that they're the ones we know now, they may be copies of the ones we know. Or the ones we know may be copies of the ones we see going down with the ship.
    • Molly Brown is a historical figure whose life is surrounded by myths and exaggerations (understandable, as she did lead a pretty remarkable life). Kathy Bates's version is only a little more accurate than Debbie Reynolds's. Cameron stated his intention to portray her more accurately, and yet she was still referred to as Molly (a name she never went by when she was alive), tells the story of her husband accidentally lighting a match to money hidden in their stove (Leadville wasn't using paper money when the Browns lived there), and generally portrayed as a Fish Out of Water ex-hillbilly that the wealthy secretly resent (she was extremely well-read and generally liked by everyone she met). Brown had such a huge role in helping the Titanic survivors that one wonders why Cameron didn't focus on that rather than the many fabrications that have been told about her.
      • Because Reality Is Unrealistic. So much so that had Molly been portrayed accurately on top if the other things they got right, the credibility of the whole film would've floundered.
    • J. Bruce Ismay is portrayed as a Corrupt Corporate Executive who pushed Captain Smith for more speed despite the man's objections concerning the equipment and the ice warnings. When in reality, Ismay was quite aware of the need for safe handling on the open sea, and the company rules explicitly mentioned erring on the side of caution.
      • Although to be fair to the historical record, he was allegedly heard to have demanded the ship be pushed to full speed in the inquiries set up after the disaster. Although, it's more probable that he and Smith were speculating on the excellent time Titanic was making. Also, White Star's chief executive in New York was complaining about the short turn around time available to refuel the Olympic-Class on time for a Saturday departure, and how a Tuesday Arrival schedule would make things easier. So any comments about trying to arrive on Tuesday instead of Wednesday may refer to this. Of course, in real life Exact Eavesdropping isn't so exact, especially if one is a passenger ignorant of company politics and the frustrations of running a multimillion dollar a year transportation company.
    • Cameron also changed or omitted many details concerning the departure from Southampton, probably due to Rule of Drama. The weather was actually cloudy that day. The gigantic suction caused by the ship's movement within the port caused another ship to break away from its moorings and drift dangerously close... so close that it missed the Titanic by mere inches. As an eerie piece of Foreshadowing, that other ship was called the SS New York. The legend goes that some people saw that as an omen that the Titanic would never reach New York City and disembarked at the next stops.
    • Astronomer Neil De Grasse Tyson pointed out to Cameron that the stars shown in one scene were wrong for the date and time the movie was set, because it was mirrored, resulting in identical sky halves. Cameron responded by asking Tyson for a map of the correct stars, and when he provided it, Cameron edited the scene to fit for the 10th anniversary DVD and 3D re-release.
  • Disaster Movie
  • Disposable Fiancé: Cal.
  • Domestic Abuser: Cal, Cal, a hundred times Cal.
  • Don't Come a-Knockin'
  • Double Standard: A historically justified one - if you have a Y chromosome, and you aren't a big-shot, you're likely to be summarily left behind to drown, even if there's room for you.
    • Not that things were all that much better for big-shots with Y chromosomes, mind; only a third of the men in First Class survived.
  • Downer Ending: For most of the people on the ship.
  • The Dragon: Lovejoy, Cal's valet and bodyguard.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Rose is talked down from this by Jack.
    • Rose reveals at the end of the film that Cal committed suicide after losing his fortune in the 1929 Stock Market crash.
    • William Murdoch - but this isn't historically accurate. See Heroic BSOD below.
  • The Edwardian Era: 1912 scenes.
  • Epic Movie
  • Facecam
  • Face Death with Dignity:

Benjamin Guggenheim: "No thank you, we are dressed in our best and are prepared to go down as gentlemen. But we would like a brandy!"

    • 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 are Isidor and Ida Straus. This was based on actual events, where 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.
  • Fan Service: While teenage girls and their mothers squee over Leonardo DiCaprio, their boyfriends/brothers and fathers have to settle for... Kate Winslet naked. Sounds fair.
  • Fiery Redhead: Jack tells Rose that if she doesn't break free, sooner or later the fire in her is goin' to go out.
  • Flash Back
  • Flipping the Bird: Rose to Lovejoy, as she and Jack are escaping him in the elevator.
  • Follow the Leader: Pearl Harbor, which has a similar romance-against-epic-tragedy-of-the-20th-century concept, and like most following works, has almost no understanding of why it worked here. It works in both directions too - Cameron decided to make Titanic after seeing the 1958 movie A Night to Remember, to the extent that they have a lot of scenes in common.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: From some Swedish background passengers--"Jävla helvete, det är vatten på golvet!" ("Bloody hell, there's water on the floor!")
    • 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 putana!" which translates roughly into Italian as "son of a bitch!"
  • Foot Focus: Although not bare; during the scenes where Rose is planning to jump off the back of the ship. Her beaded heels, his dirty big ol' boots...
    • Old Rose too near the end of the film. Here they are bare.
    • The dance sequence during the ship holding scene. Rose's stocking feet are shown a few times.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • The ship sinks; you'll know this even if you're totally clueless about history as the sunken ruins are shown and discussed in the opening.
    • Rose survives, since it's her who is telling the story 84 years later. That certainly cuts some of the tension in that scene by the flooding hallway.
  • 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.
  • 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 17, 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. Which, back then, meant you were pretty much stuck with each other.
  • Gallows Humour:
    • "I intend to write a Strongly Worded Letter to the White Star Line about all this."
    • "Music to drown by. Now I know I'm in first class."
    • "If this is the way the rats are goin' that's good enough for me."
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: For the first class, 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.
  • Happily-Failed Suicide: After her suicide was stopped by Jack, Rose goes on to live a long and meaningful life.
  • Her Heart Will Go On: Trope Namer.
  • Heroic BSOD: Captain Smith realizes just how many people there are still on board while almost all of the boats are gone.
    • Ship designer Andrews, having apologized to Rose for "not building you a stronger ship", stands alone in the stateroom and had taken off his life vest. He takes a moment to adjust with almost loving gentleness a timepiece on the mantle. Based on real-life account of a witness who last saw Andrews in the smoking lounge 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 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.
  • Hidden Depths: Everyone considers Ripley and Sarah Connor to be the best symbols of feminism in Cameron's work, but what about our plucky heroine Rose?
  • Historical In-Joke/It Will Never Catch On: Rose collects Picasso paintings and has read the works of Sigmund Freud, who nobody has heard of.
    • Jack and Rose finally make out 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). As cars were still novelties in 1912, the implication is that Jack and Rose are the first young couple to use a car for love-making ever.
    • According to the movie, the last thing the lookout crew were doing 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: Second Officer Lightoller becomes a nervous martinet instead of a hero who kept a couple dozen people alive on an overturned life raft. J. Bruce Ismay is shown displaying total disregard for safety by pushing for a speed record White Star already knew it couldn't win. The entire purpose of the three massive luxury ships was to beat Cunard and other rivals on luxury and technological novelties, not speed, as they knew they couldn't do that. Pretty much all the crew except Smith (who ironically held the most responsibility for not understanding how to captain a vessel Titanic's size) are depicted as incompetent at best and outright negligent or cruel at worst.
  • Hollywood Kiss: Jack and Rose.
  • Honor Before Reason: The fathers and husbands doing whatever it takes to let their wives and children live even if they themselves freeze and drown, which also happened in Real Life.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: "I saw that in a nickelodeon once, and I always wanted to do it."
  • Infant Immortality: Averted. Hard. 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 girl named Cora, who doesn't look much older than 7. You don't 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. A deleted scene shows her and her parents, crying and screaming, being submerged by water. Cameron explains it was cut because it was just a bit too upsetting.
    • The woman putting her two children to bed and telling them that everything was going to be alright in the lower decks, while the water slowly starts to rise...
  • Insert Cameo: James Cameron is a real-life artist, as he was the one who sketched Kate Winslet with the Heart of the Ocean.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: "Wasn't I a dish?"
  • It Has Been an Honor: The band.
  • 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.
  • Jerkass: Cal.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Cal's single act of kindness was ensuring that an orphan girl would get on a lifeboat. 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.
      • To his credit, the boating was tipping dangerously at that point. If all those people had gotten on, the boat would probably overturn and kill them all.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Cal.
  • Large Ham: Billy Zane, it's what he's good at.
  • Love Triangle: Jack, Rose and Cal.
  • MacGuffin: The Heart of the Ocean.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Guy: Jack. A shining example of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope done well, regardless of gender, and extra rare as the character is male.
  • Melodrama: Some would argue.
  • Murder-Suicide: William Murdoch shoots and kills a fictional third class Irish passenger, then commits suicide from guilt. This was based on a number of eyewitnessess testimones of an officer commiting suicode. It is possible Murdoch was the officer.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Quite literally, Cal's plan to get Rose back.
  • Name's the Same: Titanic: The Musical, which predates the film by several months.
  • Never Heard That One Before: All the times people use the fact that the ending is obvious as a way to put down the film.
  • The Nineties: 1996 scenes
  • 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 he could get away with and keep it PG-13.
    • It helps that despite immense sexual tension, nothing actually happens in the scene (later in the cargo hold, on the other hand...).
  • Nostalgia Heaven: Rose apparently dies and goes to the Titanic as it once was.
  • Not a Game
  • Oh Crap: 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 Guggenheim [1]witnessing the water rise within the ship as it is sinking.
  • Older Than Radio: A lot of people do not seem to realize that this is not the first or last film about the sinking of the Titanic with a fictional romance thrown in.
  • Older Than They Look: Many people can only hope to look as good as Rose does when they hit the big 100. The actress who played Rose was 86 at the time of filming, however.
  • One-Woman Wail: An ethereal voice croons with a sad tone in many scenes, particularly ones featuring the ship's wreckage.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: There are Irish characters in this film. And 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.
  • Oops, I Dropped the Keys: Rose and Jack are trapped underneath the ship by a metallic gate as it floods. One of the cabin crew fumbles the keys while trying to help, before uttering this line and running away. Cue Jack attempting multiple times to retrieve them and open the gate while the freezing cold water rises.
  • Oscar Bait
  • Outrun the Waterfall
  • 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."
  • Pimped-Out Dress
  • 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.
  • Psychotic Lover: Cal.
    • It's unclear if it's money, jealousy after Jack comes in, or any kind of love.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: There have been constant complaints about how hard to believe is that the lights were on up to the ship's breaking in two, or that the guys in the machine room kept working while the ship sank, how they "screwed up" the turning orders, or even that the Statue of Liberty shouldn't be there; well, when you do the proper research, it turns out that all these things happened in Real Life and the movie got them right.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The captain and Mr. Andrews.
  • Retirony: As mentioned above, most rumors agree Titanic was supposed to be Captain Edward J. Smith's last command before retirement.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: Jack vs. Cal.
  • Say My Name: Ye gods. Make a Drinking Game out of the number of times Jack and Rose say each others' names, (Rose saying Jack's name = 80 times/Jack saying Rose's name = 50 times) and you'll be dead by the first hour. Start at the ship sinking, and you'll be dead within minutes.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules: Take That, Cal!
  • 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, Lord and Lady Duff-Gordon, (in that lifeboat with twelve people in it) bribe the oarsmen to not go back and pick up survivors. In reality, though, the money they gave to the crew was to give them financial support after their rescue, as the crewmembers were at far more of a loss financially than the wealthy Lord and Lady.
  • Second Face Smoke: Rose does this to her mother.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Applies more to Jack, but there you go.
  • Shout-Out: Rose mentions the Cunard Line's RMS Mauretania, one of Titanic's rivals on the Transatlantic Route.
    • At least two of Ken Marschall's paintings are reconstructed into shots in the film
    • James Cameron uses numerous visual cues and references, as well as lines of dialogue, from numerous other Titanic films.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Cameron and the set designer's 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 builders themselves - to look up rare blueprints and never-before-seen photographs 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 some-odd years (seriously, he seems to be on-call whenever a documentary needs a painting) is quoted 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 (now-sunken) ship than did her actual passengers.
    • In fact, the movie set may even have provided an alternative theory to why the Grand Staircase is missing from the wreck: when the set was flooded during filming, the staircase set piece (which was supposedly built just like it was in real life) began to break away from its framework. If the construction of the set is accurate, then it may suggest that the real Grand Staircase simply floated out of the ship during the sinking, rather than being eaten by microbes afterward.
    • Furthermore, there has been some debate as to why Funnel No. 1 fell first, when there were many reasons in the design that would have made that impossible: the funnels were designed to lean backwards, so they should have fallen forward at the same time if at all, or they should have fallen to the side, but only if the ship was listing considerably. During filming, they discovered that in order to place Collapsible Boats C and D into position, some of the guy-wires, that hold the funnels in place, had to have been removed, thus removing needed support later on as the ship went down by the bow furthermore.
    • It is, however, worth noting that Cameron and the others were pretty good in designing the sets. The ship sank so fast, it sucked people down when it was described as riding an elevator.
    • The Swedes who loses their tickets to Jack not only speak fluent Swedish, but also use an appropriate accent for a working class person in the early 1900's.
    • The drunk cook that Rose meets on the stern just before the ship went under? Charles Joughin, who really was a cook, and who really did go back to his cabin to drink after the lifeboats were gone. He was one of the very few survivors that were taken from the water.
  • Significant Sketchbook: Rose first sees Jack as he is sketching on the deck, and he shows her some of the drawings. Later, there is the famous scene where she requests that Jack sketch her in the nude (her, not Jack).
  • Spectacle: The film is heavily reliant on this for its emotional impact; it loses a lot when not seen in a movie theater.
  • Spirited Young Lady: Rose.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Jack and Rose.
  • Stiff Upper Lip
  • Strongly Worded Letter: Jack quips that he's going to write one to White Star.
  • Take a Third Option: Rose assumes a false name on board RMS Carpathia, avoiding thus undesired marriage with Cal
  • 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.
  • Tempting Fate: Cal Hockley said that "God Himself could not sink this ship." Guess what happens at the film's climax?
    • In truth, the phrase is credited to an unknown deck hand on the ship, who said that in response to a question on whether or not the Titanic was actually unsinkable.
  • That Woman is Dead: Rose identifies herself as "Rose Dawson" to a customs agent in New York after being rescued.
  • Timeshifted Actor: Kate Winslet and Gloria Stuart as Rose.
  • Together in Death: The film ends with Rose dying and being reunited, not just with Jack, but everyone who died that fateful night... and even those who didn't. Pay close attention, and you can see Cal among the applauding crowd, not looking happy at all. A Fate Worse Than Death?
    • Also noteworthy is Ida Straus, the elderly woman who decides to die with her husband Isidor instead of taking a place on a lifeboat, a course of action that will almost certainly result in her having to live on without him. Their last scene is of them in a bed, holding hands, as the water begins to pour in. This is based in a Real Life example of the trope.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Old Rose, if we assume all the 1912 scenes are visual representations of the story she's telling to her granddaughter and the research vessel crew. If they are meant to be this, Old Rose describes scenes and conversations for which she wasn't even present, including scenes known to be historically inaccurate ("Molly" Brown's argument with a crewman in her lifeboat, Smith and Ismay in any way discussing racing for the record, an idea that had been discarded before Titanic even launched) and all the scenes with the lifeboats and Cal's leaving the ship, and which she couldn't possibly know about since it's implied she never spoke with anyone in those scenes who survived again. Since the film as a rule averts Did Not Do the Research, this could be an example of Rose making up details or coloring events (or padding the movie). That, or she's lying about not contacting anyone (and since the real Maggie Brown was in fact a charity patron of actors in New York, it's entirely possible Rose ran into her again).
    • Alternatively, what we see is not her story, but the 'actual' events - while the crew is told her story, we get to go back and witness what she couldn't.
  • Uptown Girl: Rose DeWitt Bukater hated the uptown life so much that she contemplated suicide though it took a few scenes before she sums up the nerve to leave Cal for working class Jack.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Cal, on account of being such a Psychotic Lover. By the end of the scene, he's giggling when he realizes the irony of him losing the Heart of the Ocean.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: 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 looking into a real historical book, in case they are not fictional.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: As a reward for all his previous loyalty, Cal leaves Lovejoy to die when the ship starts to sink.
  1. Who was willing to go down with the Titanic.