AFI Movie Club: TITANIC – American Film Institute

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AFI Movie Club: TITANIC

TITANIC was named by AFI as one of the greatest American films – as well as one of the most enduring love stories and heart-pounding cinematic thrills. “My Heart Will Go On” is ranked at #14 on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs list, and Jack’s triumphant declaration – “I’m the King of the World!” – appears on AFI’s list of the greatest movie quotes. 

Movie Trivia about TITANIC

DID YOU KNOW TITANIC won 11 Academy Awards®? At the time, it was a record previously achieved by only BEN-HUR. Since then, THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING has joined this exclusive club. 

DID YOU KNOW that cinematographer Russell Carpenter was the director of photography for most of the film – but AFI Conservatory alum Caleb Deschanel shot the scenes set in the modern day? 

DID YOU KNOW a new studio with a 17-million-gallon water tank was built for the film in Mexico? It housed a full-scale model of the Titanic with the ability for the ship to tilt for filming the sinking sequences. 

DID YOU KNOW the hands seen sketching Rose are actually those of director James Cameron? 

DID YOU KNOW the filmmakers had only one opportunity to shoot the scene where the water comes crashing into the Grand Staircase room? The entire set and furnishings were destroyed in that single shot! 

DID YOU KNOW TITANIC was the most expensive film ever made at the time? The final production costs were nearly double its original budget! Due to the financial overages, Fox originally thought the movie was going to be a bust – carrying it as a $55 million loss on their books. 

DID YOU KNOW TITANIC played in theaters so long that Paramount had to send replacement film reels because the theater copies were literally wearing out? After opening wide in theaters on December 19, 1997, TITANIC lasted almost 10 months, not closing until Thursday, October 1, 1998. 

DID YOU KNOW roughly 150 of the extras were given names and back stories of people who were actually on the Titanic? They were also given a three-hour crash course on how to act like someone from 1912. 

DID YOU KNOW the door that Rose floats on at the end of the movie is based on an actual door that was recovered from the real Titanic wreckage? 

DID YOU KNOW if you adjust for inflation to the time the movie was made, the actual Titanic would cost around $150 million? That’s $50 million less than what it cost to make the movie!  

DID YOU KNOW director James Cameron was so meticulous in recreating the Titanic that he had the davits for lowering the lifeboats made by the same company that made them for the actual ship. He also had 18,000 square feet of carpet for the first-class dining saloon recreated by the same company that had manufactured the original carpet. 

Learn more at the AFI Catalog.

 

The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram now using #AFIMovieClub. Or post your responses in the comment section below.  

-How many times have you seen TITANIC? 

-What is it about movies like TITANIC that have movie-goers returning for repeat viewings? 

-Does having real historical characters enhance the film? 

-Did the meticulous details that James Cameron required during filmmaking enhance the movie-watching experience? 

-Have you ever felt like a “fish out of water” like Jack at the first-class dining table? 

-What were the similarities between Jack and Rose, and why did those transcend their class differences? 

-Why did Rose’s mother want her to marry Cal Hockley? 

-Would your outlook of the movie change if Jack had lived? 

-What is the significance of the “Heart of the Ocean” to Jack and Rose’s story? 

-Why does Rose throw the “Heart of the Ocean” into the water at movie’s end? Do you think she made the right decision to cast it into the sea? 

-What is the significance of Jack and Rose embracing again while surrounded by familiar faces at the very end of the movie? 

-How would you rank TITANIC? 

 

In this exclusive AFI Archive video, watch Céline Dion talk about TITANIC:

New to AFI Movie Club? Want to learn more?

AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies. Each day’s film is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to enrich your viewing experience.

Learn more in our FAQ section.

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