Titanic is a 1997 American romantic drama film directed, written, co-produced and co-edited by James Cameron about the sinking of the RMS Titanic. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson and Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater, two members of different social classes who fall in love aboard the ill-fated maiden voyage of the ship. The main characters and the central love story are fictional, but some characters (such as members of the ship's passengers and crew) are based on real historical figures. Gloria Stuart plays the elderly Rose, who narrates the film in a modern day framing device.
Production of the film began in 1995, when Cameron shot footage of the real wreck of the RMS Titanic. He envisioned the love story as a means to engage the audience with the real-life tragedy. Shooting took place on board the Akademik Mstislav Keldysh - which aided Cameron in filming the real wreck – for the modern scenes, and a reconstruction of the ship was built at Playas de Rosarito, Baja California. Cameron also used scale models and computer-generated imagery to recreate the sinking. Titanic became at the time the most expensive film ever made, costing approximately US$200 million with funding from Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox.
The film was originally to be released on July 2, 1997, but post-production delays pushed back the film's release to December 19, 1997. Upon release, the film turned out to be an enormous critical and commercial success, winning eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It became the highest-grossing film of all time, with a worldwide total of over $1.8 billion (it is the sixth-highest grossing in North America once adjusted for inflation).
In 1996, treasure hunter Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton) and his team explore the wreck of the RMS Titanic, searching for a necklace set with a valuable blue diamond called the Heart of the Ocean. Unsuccessful, they instead discover a drawing of a young woman reclining nude, wearing the Heart of the Ocean, dated April 14th, 1912 (the night the Titanic hit the iceberg). One-hundred-year-old Rose Dawson Calvert (Gloria Stuart) learns of the drawing, and contacts Lovett to inform him that she is the woman in the drawing. She and her granddaughter Elizabeth "Lizzy" Calvert (Suzy Amis) visit Lovett and his skeptical team on his salvage ship. When asked if she knew the whereabouts of the necklace, Rose recalls her memories aboard the Titanic, revealing for the first time that she is actually Rose DeWitt Bukater, a passenger believed to have died in the sinking.
In 1912, the upper-class 17-year-old Rose (Kate Winslet) boards the ship in Southampton, England with her fiancé Caledon "Cal" Hockley (Billy Zane), the son of a Pittsburgh steel tycoon, and her mother, Ruth DeWitt Bukater (Frances Fisher). Both Cal and Ruth stress the importance of Rose's engagement to Cal, since the marriage will mean the eradication of the Dewitt-Bukater debts; while they have the outward appearance of being upper-class, Rose and her mother are experiencing severe financial troubles. Distraught and frustrated by her engagement to the controlling Cal and the pressure her mother is putting on her to go through with the marriage, Rose attempts suicide by jumping from the stern. Before she leaps, a drifter and artist named Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) intervenes. Initially, Cal, his friends, and the sailors, overhearing Rose's screams, believe Jack attempted to rape her. She explains Jack saved her life, hiding her suicide attempt by explaining she slipped after trying to see the propellers. Jack supports the claim, although Hockley's manservant, former Pinkerton agent Spicer Lovejoy (David Warner), is unconvinced. Jack and Rose strike up a tentative friendship as she thanks him for his corroboration, and he shares stories of his adventures traveling and sketching. Their bond deepens when they leave a stuffy first-class formal dinner of the rapport-building wealthy for a much livelier gathering of Irish dance, music and ale in third-class.
Cal is informed by Lovejoy of Rose's partying in steerage and, during breakfast the following morning, flips the table in rage as he angrily forbids her to meet Jack again. However, after witnessing a woman encouraging her seven-year-old daughter to behave like a "proper lady" at tea, Rose defies him and her mother, asking Jack to sketch her nude and wearing only the Heart of the Ocean, an engagement present from Cal. Afterwards, the two playfully run away from Lovejoy, going below deck to the ship's cargo hold. They enter William Carter's Renault and proceed to make love, before moving to the ship's forward well deck. Rose decides when they arrive in New York, she will leave the ship with Jack. They then witness the ship's fatal collision with an iceberg. After overhearing the ship's lookouts discussing how serious the collision is, Rose tells Jack they should warn her mother and Cal. Meanwhile, Cal discovers Rose's nude drawing and her taunting note in his safe, so he frames Jack for stealing the Heart of the Ocean by having Lovejoy plant it in Jack's pocket. Cal slaps Rose across the face due to his anger.Rose runs away from him and her mother to rescue Jack from imprisonment in the master-at-arms's office.
Jack and Rose return to the top deck. Cal and Jack, though enemies, both want Rose safe, so they persuade her to board a lifeboat by Cal telling her that he had an arrangement with a man working the boats, and that he and Jack would get off safely. After Rose is on the boat and out of earshot, Cal admits that there was an arrangement, but he would not use it to help Jack. After realizing that she cannot leave Jack, Rose jumps back on the ship and reunites with him in the ship's first-class staircase. Infuriated, Cal takes Lovejoy's pistol and chases Jack and Rose down the decks and into the flooded first-class dining saloon. When Cal runs out of ammunition, he realizes he left the Heart of the Ocean in Rose's overcoat. Cal abandons Lovejoy and returns to the boat deck, where he boards Collapsible A by pretending to look after an abandoned child, as the officer he had previously bribed into letting him onto a lifeboat throws the money in his face. When Jack and Rose return to the top deck, the lifeboats have gone, and they are washed into the freezing Atlantic waters once the ship sinks. Jack and Rose manage to grab hold of a carved oak panel, which can only support one person. Jack suffers from severe hypothermia, and dies in Rose's arms. Rose is rescued when Fifth Officer Harold Lowe returns with Lifeboat 14 with five other survivors.
Rose is taken by the RMS Carpathia to New York, where she gives her name as Rose Dawson (adopting Jack's surname, leading everyone to believe Rose DeWitt Bukater died on the Titanic). She also sees Cal for the last time on Carpathia's deck, looking for her (she explains he later married, then committed suicide following the Wall Street Crash of 1929, after he lost everything). Having completed her story, the elderly Rose goes to the stern of Lovett's ship. After she steps onto the railing, it is revealed she still has the Heart of the Ocean in her possession. She drops the diamond into the water, sending it to join the remains of the most important event of her life. The film ends with a shot of Rose in bed. Around her are pictures of her doing everything she said she would do with Jack throughout her life. Rose dies in her bed(as Jack said she would, "an old lady, warm in her bed") The final shot of the film is where the young Rose is reunited with Jack at the Grand Staircase of the Titanic, surrounded and applauded by those who perished on the ship, as they kiss passionately.