The Titanic in Hollywood Movies - dummies

The Titanic in Hollywood Movies

By Stephen J. Spignesi

Many Hollywood movies have been made about the Titanic disaster. The first Titanic movie, a 10-minute short, debuted in 1912, only two months after the Titanic sank. James Cameron’s epic Titanic was made in 1997.

Here’s a list of notable Titanic films, starting with the earliest:

  • Saved from the Titanic (1912): A 10-minute short (also known as I Survived the Titanic) that starred Dorothy Gibson, a true Titanic survivor.

  • Titanic (1943): A Nazi propaganda film designed to make the greedy British owners of the White Star Line (and, by implication, all British businesspeople) look bad. Although the hero, fictional German First Officer Herr Petersen, begs the other crew members to slow down the ship, his warnings are ignored. “The deaths of 1,500 people remains unatoned, forever a testament of Britain’s endless quest for profit,” says the movie’s epilogue.

  • Titanic (1953): The story of a down-home girl from Mackinac, Michigan, fed up with European high society, who decides to bring her 17- and 10-year-old children back to her hometown on the Titanic. Her estranged husband, however, buys a ticket in steerage with an eye to thwarting her plan. This movie stars Clifton Webb, Barbara Stanwyck, and a 23-year-old Robert Wagner.

  • A Night to Remember (1958): The most memorable and accurate rendering of the Titanic story — until 1997, when James Cameron’s epic came out.

  • The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964): Strictly speaking, this musical isn’t about the Titanic tragedy — it’s about the life and times of Margaret Tobin Brown, a Titanic survivor.

  • S.O.S. Titanic (1979): A made-for-TV movie with David Janssen and Cloris Leachman. This narrative version of the story highlighted previously little-known passengers and crew. Some people allege that the movie used colorized versions of some scenes from A Night to Remember.

  • Raise The Titanic (1980): The film version of Clive Cussler’s bestselling novel of the same name. After the U.S. military determines that the Titanic carried a shipment of a rare mineral, byzanium, capable of powering a sound beam the military has developed to shoot down enemy missiles, the military hires renowned adventurer Dirk Pitt to assemble a team and raise the Titanic from the ocean floor.

  • Titanic (1996): A TV miniseries starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and George C. Scott. This was the first Titanic movie made after the 1985 discovery of the Titanic shipwreck.

    In the miniseries, the Titanic breaks in two, a historical accuracy that previous movies were incapable of depicting because they were made before that fact was known.

  • Titanic (1997): The James Cameron record-breaking film, winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.