You’re probably familiar with the 1997 blockbuster, Titanic, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. The film won 11 Academy Awards, and was the one of the most expensive movies ever made, costing approximately $200 million. The main characters are fictional, but some of the passengers and crew are based on real people.
In addition to the Titanic mega-hit by director James Cameron, there have been many movies made about the famous ocean liner. The first was released only 29 days after the sinking and starred one of its real passengers, actress Dorothy Gibson. Gibson wore the same dress in the movie as she did in the lifeboat that saved her life. Entitled Saved from the Titanic, all copies were lost in a movie studio fire following its release.
A few foreign silent films about the Titanic followed. Then in 1929, the first sound film about the sinking was released. Titanic: Disaster in the Atlantic was produced in English, German, and French. It was highly fictionalized, and because it was the first full-length film offered in Germany, it became a big hit there.
In 1943, Nazi Joseph Goebbels oversaw a propaganda film, Titanic, in which a German officer is the hero and the British are the villains. It became the first film to mix fictional subplots and characters with historical figures. It was filmed aboard a German liner which later sank, with the loss of life greater than that of the actual Titanic.
Still regarded as one of the most historically accurate films about the Titanic, A Night to Remember was released in 1958. Based on the book by Walter Lord, some of the special effects scenes from the 1943 German film were ‘borrowed’.
Other Titanic movies include:
The Unsinkable Molly Brown, released in 1964, staring Debbie Reynolds.
Raise the Titanic, 1980, starring Jason Robards.
Titanica, 1995, an IMAX documentary narrated by Leonard Nimoy and featuring interviews with two survivors.
Ghosts of the Abyss, 2003, IMAX documentary from Walt Disney Pictures exploring the wreckage.
Titanic II, 2010, set aboard a new luxury liner Titanic II that hits an iceberg on her maiden voyage.
As long as interest in Titanic remains, there are certain to be more movies featuring some facet of the doomed ship. As for Titanic II, there are plans to build just such a ship—an exact replica of its namesake. More on that in a future post!