From OpenwaterpediaJames Cameron. A fictionalized account of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as members of different social classes who fall in love aboard the ship during its ill-fated maiden voyage.
Cameron's inspiration for the film was predicated on his fascination with shipwrecks; he wanted to convey the emotional message of the tragedy and felt that a love story interspersed with the human loss would be essential to achieving this. Production on the film began in 1995, when Cameron shot footage of the actual Titanic wreck. The modern scenes were shot on board the Akademik Mstislav Keldysh, which Cameron had used as a base when filming the wreck. A reconstruction of the Titanic built at Playas de Rosarito in Baja California, scale models, and computer-generated imagery were used to recreate the sinking. The film was partially funded by Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox, and, at the time, was the most expensive film ever made, with an estimated budget of $200 million.
Upon its release in 1997, the film achieved critical and commercial success. Nominated for fourteen Academy Awards, it won eleven, including the awards for Best Picture and Best Director, tying Ben Hur (1959) for most Oscars won by a single film. With an initial worldwide gross of over $1.84 billion, it was the first film to reach the billion-dollar mark. It remained the highest-grossing film of all time, until Cameron's 2009 film Avatar surpassed its gross in 2010.
In 1996, treasure hunter Brock Lovett and his team aboard the research vessel Keldysh search the wreck of RMS Titanic for a necklace with a rare diamond, the Heart of the Ocean. They recover a safe containing a drawing of a young woman wearing only the necklace. The drawing is dated April 14, 1912, the day Titanic struck the iceberg. Rose Dawson Calvert claims to be the person in the drawing, visits Lovett and tells of her experiences aboard Titanic. In 1912 Southampton, 17-year-old first-class passenger Rose DeWitt Bukater, her fiancé Cal Hockley and her mother Ruth board Titanic. Ruth emphasizes that Rose's marriage will resolve the DeWitt Bukaters' financial problems. Distraught over the engagement, Rose considers committing suicide by jumping from the stern; Jack Dawson, a penniless artist, convinces her not to. Discovered with Jack, Rose tells Cal she was peering over the edge and Jack saved her from falling. Cal is indifferent, but when Rose indicates some recognition is due, he offers Jack a small amount of money. After Rose asks whether saving her life meant so little, he invites Jack to dine with them in first class the following night. Jack and Rose develop a tentative friendship, though Cal and Ruth are wary of him. Following dinner, Rose secretly joins Jack at a party in third class.
Aware of Cal and Ruth's disapproval, Rose rebuffs Jack's advances, but later realizes she prefers him to Cal. After rendezvousing on the stern at sunset, Rose takes Jack to her stateroom and displays Cal's engagement present: the Heart of the Ocean. At her request, Jack sketches Rose posing nude wearing the necklace. They evade Cal's bodyguard and have sex in an automobile in the ship's cargo hold. The pair later visits the ship's forward deck, witnessing a collision with an iceberg and overhearing the ship's officers and designer discussing its seriousness.
Cal discovers Jack's sketch of Rose and a mocking note from her in his safe along with the necklace. When Jack and Rose attempt to tell Cal of the collision, Cal has his manservant slip the necklace into Jack's pocket and accuses him of theft. Jack is arrested, taken to the Master-at-arms' office, and handcuffed to a pipe. Cal puts the necklace in his own coat pocket.
With the ship sinking, Rose is desperate to free Jack. She flees Cal and her mother, who has boarded a lifeboat, and rescues Jack. They return to the top deck, where Cal and Jack encourage her to board a lifeboat; Cal claims he can get himself and Jack off safely. After Rose boards, Cal tells Jack the arrangement is only for himself. As her boat lowers, Rose decides she cannot leave Jack and jumps back on board. Cal takes his manservant's pistol and chases Rose and Jack into the flooding first-class dining saloon. After using up his ammunition, Cal realizes he gave his coat and consequently the diamond to Rose. Cal boards a lifeboat by carrying a lost child. After braving several obstacles, Jack and Rose return to the boat deck. All lifeboats have departed and passengers are falling to their deaths as the stern rises from the water. The ship breaks in half, lifting the stern into the air. Jack and Rose ride the stern into the ocean and he helps her onto a wooden panel only buoyant enough for one person. Holding the edge, Jack assures Rose she will die an old woman, warm in her bed. He dies from hypothermia but Rose is saved.
With Rose hiding from Cal en route, the RMS Carpathia takes the survivors to New York. There Rose gives her name as Rose Dawson. She later learns Cal committed suicide after losing everything in the 1929 Wall Street Crash. Hearing Rose's story, Lovett abandons his search. Alone on the stern of Keldysh, Rose takes out the Heart of the Ocean—in her possession all along—and drops it into the sea over the wreck site. While she is seemingly asleep in her bed, photos on her dresser depict a life of freedom and adventure, partly inspired by Jack. A young Rose reunites with Jack at the ship's Grand Staircase, applauded by those who perished.