Although Titanic was released on Dec. 19, 1997, it took me six months to convince my parents we should go see the film. While most parents refused because the car scene was supposedly “too mature” for my age group, my parents simply didn’t want to battle the enormous crowds. By the time they finally surrendered, the theaters were still packed. (That’s right—not only was the movie still in theaters six months later, but people were also still flocking to their local multiplex in record numbers.) Despite the rude, old ladies who forced me to dodge their towering heads the entire time, I’d finally reached my goal and I loved every minute.
Since that day, I’ve seen Titanic countless times. I’ve seen the film so many times, in fact, I can quote the characters well before they say the lines themselves. Decades later, each viewing reveals another overlooked element or random observation. Thus, on this, Titanic‘s 20th anniversary, I’ve gathered some thoughts about the unsinkable blockbuster that will surely go on and on for generations to come (especially if Celine Dion has anything to say about it).
I always thought I’d be too young for Leonardo DiCaprio. As it turns out, now I’m too old.
When Titanic premiered, Leonardo DiCaprio, the heartthrob of the moment, had just turned 23, making him much too old for my 10-year-old self. Now, 20 years later, DiCaprio continues to pursue women in their early 20s—women who were far too young to see the film when it was initially released. Pardon me; I’m just going to fill out my AARP application over here…
Mr. Bodine’s the most underrated character in the entire film.
Titanic might be chock full of A-list actors, but it’s Bill Paxton’s bearded sidekick, Lewis Bodine (played by Lewis Abernathy) that truly stands out. Compared to others, his role might seem relatively minor, but he delivers every single line as with an ease that makes it seem as if he’s not acting in the slightest. Plus, he adds an element of comic relief that makes the research ship scenes entertaining and fresh.
Titanic was an unintentional “Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo” reunion.
Twenty years prior to Titanic‘s release, both Bernard Fox (Col. Archibald Gracie) and Eric Braeden (John Jacob Astor) also co-starred in Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, the third film in the Love Bug series. While this casting was likely just a coincidence, it’s certainly interesting to see these two actors together again playing characters from the complete opposite end of the spectrum.
Rose’s granddaughter must be completely blind (or incredibly oblivious).
Once Rose (Gloria Stuart) and her granddaughter Lizzie (Suzy Amis) arrive on Brock Lovett’s (Bill Paxton) research ship, Lizzie sees the drawing and says, “You actually think this is you, Nana?” Of course it’s her! Have you been blind your entire life, young lady? Five seconds earlier, Rose mentioned how she has to have her pictures when she travels. One need only glance at those images to see that she’s most definitely the woman in Jack’s sketch. (Note: While old Rose must put her photographs on display, young Rose feels compelled to scatter her paintings all around the suite, making for an excellent juxtaposition.)
Cal has the best line in the whole entire movie, but no one appreciates it because he’s terrible.
“I put the diamond in the coat — and I PUT THE COAT ON HER!” I’m not sure how Rose managed to include this detail in the story she was telling Paxton’s crew, as she certainly didn’t her Cal’s exclamation, but I’m truly glad James Cameron didn’t opt to remove this line. Billy Zane doesn’t get enough credit for his fabulous turn as the fiancé from Hell because audiences rarely praise the people who take on the bad guy roles. He, however, deserves accolades for this outburst alone.
Rose’s mother might be selfish, but she speaks the truth.
“Of course it’s unfair. We’re women. Our choices are never easy.” Rose’s mother, Ruth (Frances Fisher), might be somewhat selfish, and it’s quite fun to watch her squirm as Rose walks away from the lifeboats in pursuit of Jack, but that doesn’t mean she’s wrong. In fact, her most notable line hits on many underlying feminist themes that women must still grapple with 105 years later.
Cora’s there to greet Rose when she returns to Titanic at the end, which means she must’ve gone down with the ship.
SPOILER ALERT! When Rose passes away at the end, she returns to Titanic and reunites with her long lost love. As she enters, we see many familiar faces, all of whom went down with the ship. Cora, Jack’s adorable dance partner, waves as Rose glides toward the grand staircase, subtly indicating that the poor child must’ve perished that night, too.
Jack should’ve died when Rose chopped him off that pipe because there’s no way she didn’t slit his wrists in the process.
When Rose can’t find anyone who’ll help her save Jack from captivity, she decides to grab an ax and take matters into her own hands. However, upon her return, the shivering girl demonstrates that her aim isn’t all that precise. Unfortunately it’s their only option if they hope to escape before the water drags them under. Then Rose shuts her eyes and swings away, hitting Jack’s handcuffs at an angle that, by all rights, should’ve sliced downward, grazing his left wrist in the process. Yes, luck might’ve been on their side — in the given moment, anyway — but no matter how many times I watch her haphazardly hack at that pipe, I can’t believe there wasn’t at least a little bit of blood involved.
Just because there was room for Jack on the door doesn’t mean it would’ve stayed afloat.
For some reason, people are still arguing about whether or not Jack could’ve fit on the door at the end and avoided certain death. While there certainly would’ve been enough space for him, as its surface area was spacious enough for two, few account for the fact that his weight would’ve left both him and Rose submerged in the sub-freezing waters. James Cameron tested the door’s buoyancy to guarantee this end. After all, if both stars died from exposure to the elements, the film would cease to exist, as Rose wouldn’t be alive to tell the tale. Jack’s fate was sealed from the very start.
Jack and Fabrizio won their tickets from two Swedish guys named Sven and Olaf!
If those names sound familiar, that’s because Frozen‘s reindeer and snowman sidekicks share the exact same monikers. Of course the Titanic characters came to be nearly 20 years prior to Disney’s animated hit, but it makes me wonder… Are the names merely a coincidence, or are the creators of Frozen major Titanic fans, too?
(This post originally appeared on Storia.)