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Titanic True Story: How Much Of The Movie Is Real


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Titanic continues to be one of the most impressive cinematic achievements and a story that viewers constantly revisit, but how much of the movie actually happened? James Cameron became a widely known and respected name in the film industry thanks to The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day, but he drew a lot more attention in 1997 with Titanic, a romance-disaster movie based on the accounts of the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912, which was his biggest and most ambitious project up to that point.

Titanic told the story of Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) and Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio), two passengers from different social classes who fell in love aboard the famous ship during its ill-fated maiden voyage. Titanic was a big success with both critics and viewers, becoming the highest-grossing movie ever at the time (later surpassed by Cameron’s Avatar in 2010 and then by Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame) and was praised for its visuals and performances, though some criticized Rose and Jack’s love story. Still, Titanic has a special place in the hearts of fans and continues to be one of Cameron’s best works.

Although Titanic is based on the real-life sinking of the ship and even added some real-life characters, not everything in the movie actually happened, and Cameron had to either change, add, or embellish some details to fit the story he wanted to tell. Here’s how much of James Cameron’s Titanic is real.

The Real-Life Inspiration Behind Rose

Although Titanic’s main characters Rose and Jack were entirely fictional, thus there was no such romance between a first-class woman and a third-class man, they were inspired to an extent by some real-life people, though Rose’s inspiration has no connection to the Titanic. As revealed by Cameron, American artist Beatrice Wood was the inspiration behind Rose, as Cameron was reading her autobiography during Titanic’s development. Wood was a painter, sculptor, writer, and actress who came from a family of wealthy socialites. Cameron has said that, as he was reading Wood’s book, he realized it described “almost literally” the character of “Old Rose”, and the movie’s Rose is “only a refraction of Beatrice, combined with many fictional elements”. Surely, Rose and Beatrice Wood have some similarities, as are their love of art and their wealthy family background, but Wood had no connection with the Titanic.

As for Jack, he wasn’t inspired by anyone, but his name is very similar to that of a man who was on board the Titanic. A man who signed as “J. Dawson” was a passenger of the Titanic, but the “J” stood for Joseph, not Jack, and he was born in Dublin. Joseph Dawson was no regular passenger, and he was actually part of the ship’s crew, working as a coal trimmer. Cameron didn’t know there was a Joseph Dawson until after the script was finished, so Jack’s name being similar to that of Joseph was a mere coincidence. Joseph Dawson’s grave received a lot of visitors after Titanic was released, who left cinema stubs, pictures of Leonardo DiCaprio, and more as they believed it was the resting place of Jack Dawson.

The Real Molly Brown

Kathy Bates’ unforgettable character, Molly Brown, was one of the few, relevant characters in Titanic based on real-life people who were actually on board. Margaret Brown was an American socialite and philanthropist, but she wasn’t born in a wealthy family. Margaret married James Joseph “J.J” Brown, who wasn’t a rich man either, but the family acquired great wealth when his mining engineering efforts turned out to be instrumental in the production of a substantial ore seam. Margaret and J.J. separated in 1909 but they continued to care for each other, and the agreement gave her a cash settlement and a monthly allowance that made it possible for her to continue her travels and social work.

When the Titanic hit the iceberg and began to sink, Margaret helped other passengers board the lifeboats and had to be persuaded to leave the ship in a lifeboat (Lifeboat No. 6). Once there, she urged that the lifeboat went back to save more people, but the crewman opposed. Margaret threatened to throw the crewman overboard, and sources vary as to whether they returned and if they found anyone alive. Once in the RMS Carpathia, the ship that rescued the Titanic survivors, Margaret organized a survivor’s committee to secure basic necessities for the second and third-class survivors. Due to her actions, the media named her “Unsinkable Molly Brown”, and she passed away in 1932 at the age of 65.

The Titanic Really Hit An Iceberg

Of course, the sinking of the Titanic after hitting an iceberg really happened. On April 14, 1912, at 11:40 p.m. (ship’s time), the crew spotted an iceberg and alerted the bridge. First Officer Willaim Murdoch ordered the ship to be steered around the iceberg and the engines to be stopped, but there wasn’t enough time, and the starboard side of the ship hit the iceberg. The hit created a series of holes below the waterline, and though the hull was not punctured, it was dented and allowed water to seep in. As depicted in the movie, pieces of the iceberg landed on the promenade deck, according to survivors.

The crew was not prepared for an emergency of this magnitude, and as ships were seen as pretty much unsinkable back then, Titanic only had enough lifeboats to carry half the passengers on board. The crew didn’t know how to properly carry out an evacuation either and launched many lifeboats barely half-full, with third-class passengers left behind and causing many of them to become trapped below decks as the ship continued to fill with water. A little over two and a half hours after Titanic hit the iceberg, the boat deck dipped underwater and the sea poured in through open hatches and grates, and as its unsupported stern rose out of the water, the ship broke into two pieces.

The Titanic sank at 2:20 a.m., and most of the remaining passengers and crew were immersed in freezing water, dying within 15-30 minutes. As seen in the movie, the lights continued to burn until just before the ship went under, and as recalled by a survivor, a series of “terrific explosions occurred”, probably from the boilers. The wreckage of the Titanic was found on September 1, 1985, during an expedition led by Jean-Louis Michel and Robert Ballard, who discovered that the ship had in fact split apart, as it was long believed it sunk in one piece.

The Band Continued Playing

One of the most memorable moments from Titanic is the string quartet playing as the ship began to sink. In real life, the band did continue to play, but it’s unclear which was the last song they played. Survivors reported the band played “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” and “In The Shadows”, and newspapers shared the final song was “Nearer, My God, To Thee”, while survivors said it was “Song d’Automne”.
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The question is does anybody really like Titanic or just say they do ? 
Overrated movie imo

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