25 Titanic Movie Facts That Will Make You See It in a Different Light

The Titanic (1997) was the most expensive movie of its time, and it is still in the top four 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 iconic phrases as “I’m the king of the world” or “draw me like one of your French girls” became quoted outside the context of the Titanic. And the debate about whether or not Jack could have fitted on the door is never-ending.

The movie was undoubtedly a great success. Every scene and line of the movie was analyzed by fans. Some fans probably skipped the romantic scenes to check whether the dishes in the movie were based on the real Titanic menu. But what was real in the Titanic movie, and what was fiction? Cue Titanic movie facts!

There are things that not everyone knows about some of the behind-the-scenes of the film. Here are some facts about the Titanic movie that Bored Panda collected. Expect to find at least 12 disturbing facts about the Titanic movie that could make you watch it through different eyes!


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


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

mother telling something to children in bed

While the musicians are playing on the deck, there are some shots of people inside the ship: the captain, the ship’s designer, 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 is reached by passing a path across the sea. The story wasn’t in the original script and was suggested by other Irish actors. It fits perfectly: the mother is soothing her children, that once they are immersed in water, they will reach a land where they will be happy.


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

a person drawing the portrait of a woman

There are several iconic scenes in the Titanic that everyone remembers. 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 don’t see DiCaprio’s hand, but Cameron’s himself.

James Cameron drew Rose’s portrait and all the sketches of the ‘French girls’ in Jack’s binder. 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. The image was reversed in post-production to maintain continuity and ensure that nothing would break the illusion that Jack was the real artist.


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

Rose telling something

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.


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

close up view of Rose in water with the whistle

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


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

the ship under water

James Cameron was fascinated by shipwrecks, and the idea of filming the Titanic came when he met Robert Ballard—the crew leader, who discovered the famous liner’s wreckage. The film’s production started in 1995, and they dived into the sea to look at the real Titanic ship. Cameron really did dive into 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 disaster’s sadness and injustice. 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. It was an event that happened to real people, not all of whom survived.


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

man standing near a wooden column

Most of the decor on set was reconstructed by or under the supervision of researchers of the White Star Line to be as realistic and historically accurate as possible. Cameron insisted on using real wallpaper and 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.


There Were Quotes Of Real-Life Survivors In The Script

close up view of Jack

In the script, James Cameron used quotes from real passengers who survived the disaster. For example, when Jack wants to stop Rose from jumping off the ship, he tells her that while fishing, he fell into the freezing water after the ice broke. 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.“


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

people on the flooding grand staircase on the ship

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 it would be destroyed from the start. 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 were dropped on it. The production team knew they had just one shot to make that scene because this much water would completely destroy the set.


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 ship in the sea

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.


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

close up view of Jack and Rose with open hands

James Cameron didn’t want any music to sing in his movie, and even more so, he 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 Dion’s signature and one of the most memorable elements from the Titanic. From today’s perspective, the music and the film are truly inseparable.

the night sky


The elderly couple seen lying in bed while musicians are playing and the water rushing into the room are based on real passengers from the unfortunate ship. 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 they were allowed on a lifeboat because of their age. Still, 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 and holding hands until they both perished.


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 clock on the wall is in half of water

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 the total submersion of the actual ship, 2 hours and 40 minutes have passed? The ship’s sinking wasn’t as fast as seen in the movie, but one of the details is very accurate. The ship collided with the iceberg at 23:40 (ship’s time). It disappeared at 02:20. There is a moment in the movie, nearly at the end, when total chaos takes over, where a clock is shown up close. It shows 02:15, five minutes until everything is over. The loyalty to details is really admirable!


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

the boy playing with a top

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 plays a traditional game of that time. His father is standing nearby, 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. Francis Brown didn’t have to witness the ship’s disaster because he was one of the eight people who disembarked from the Titanic. He traveled from Southampton, England, to Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland.


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 drinking from a flask

The chef we see drinking from a flask next to Jack and Rose while the ship is sinking is based on a real person. Charles John Joughin was an English-American chef who is notable for surviving in the freezing water for two hours, which is a lot. He was the last survivor to leave the Titanic. He climbed on the safety rail outside the ship and waited 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.


The Renault In The Movie Was Also Aboard The Real Titanic

close up view of an old car

The car being hoisted onto the ship at the beginning of the movie is a 1912 Renault Type CB Coupe de Ville. It is the same car in which, later 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 have been very interested in the car, but it still remains hidden. If the car was 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.


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

Fabrizio cutting the ropes with a knife

At the beginning of the movie, Jack is playing cards with his friend Fabrizio. In 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 says 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.


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

an old photo of Rose riding a horse

At the beginning of the movie, shortly after Jack and Rose meet, 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 he will take Rose on the roller coaster and ride horses on the beach. Let’s ignore the fact that the roller coasters 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.


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

an old woman with a white Pomeranian dog saved by rescuers

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 ship’s sinking. The breed of the dog was also chosen purposely because two of the three dogs that survived were Pomeranians. When the real ship sank, a passenger released dogs from their kennels. James Cameron initially filmed scenes with animals, but they didn’t make the cut.


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

two people in water near closed gate

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 she never complained about it to James Cameron because she didn’t want to be a wimp and continued working. On the other hand, James Cameron reassured that Winslet was never in physical danger.


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

Jack and Rose speaking on the ship

James Cameron often let the cast improvise during filming and add their touch to the script. In the movie, Jack tells Rose about the exciting things he has done in his life, and Rose feels trapped in hers. Jack promises Rose 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.


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

the piece of wood

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 it look like the one and only piece of a door on which Rose was lying after the ship sank, which always sparks the debate whether Jack could have fitted on it or not.


During Dinner, The Actors Were Served Real Beluga Caviar

black caviar in the plate

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 go to a dinner in the first-class dining room, he is 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.


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

close up view of a boy from the crowd of people

Even though the movie had a huge $200 million budget, the production still tried to save money where possible. Apparently, Cameron decided that building only half of the ship was necessary. 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. Everything on scene had to be built and done backward and then flipped in post-production to maintain historical accuracy. 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, and even the costumes had to be made backward.


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

Rose standing behind the handrale of the ship and looking at Jack

The movie has many accurate details reflecting our knowledge about the real-life Titanic. Yet, there are a few errors, too. For example, Jack told 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 occurred in 1912. So, it would have been impossible for Jack to go fishing there unless you believed the theory that Jack was a time traveler.


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