One of the most famous shipwrecks that ever occurred is the Titanic. A sought-after probably the most documented shipwreck in history, the Titanic has become an inspiration for several critically acclaimed movies. Now when we think of movies about the Titanic, the first one that comes to mind is the 1997 Titanic directed by James Cameron. It is a magnificent film with the iconic duo Jack and Rose and it has certainly remained etched in people’s minds.
The 1997 Titanic was a hit and is one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. But it’s not the only Titanic tale worth exploring. In the realm of great movies, there are other Titanic gems that the 1997 movie has overshadowed with its fame. In this article, we go on a journey to explore the top 10 Titanic movies you haven’t heard of. So get your popcorn and cola ready for a thrill.
1. Titanic (1943)
Before the 1997 Titanic, there was another movie named Titanic that found its way into the theatres of Germany. Though the origins of the movie are political the film was made during the time of World War II when Germany sought to boost morale and inspire patriotism. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, got the idea to make a movie about the popular shipwreck and got into the work with Harald Bradtt(screenwriter) and Herbert Selphin(director). The movie’s true aim was to bring down the reputation of their rival, Great Britain.
The movie’s story features J. Bruce Ismay who was an English businessman who was aboard the Titanic for real. The movie shows the English businessman as the protagonist by ordering the captain to boost the speed of the ship which eventually leads to its collision with the iceberg and the ship sank. A German fictional character named Peterson tried to warn Ismay about the iceberg, trying to give Germany the look of a better nation. After the ship sinks and the movie nears its end, Peterson attempts to bring Ismay to justice for his decision to speed up the ship.
Therefore, this movie is a hoax trying to bring down the reputation of Great Britain. Built upon false pretenses, this movie was made completely to jeopardize the recognition of Britain, and even at the end of the movie “The death of 1,500 passengers remains unatoned for, an eternal condemnation of England’s quest for profit” is shown. However after the movie was released Goebbels had second thoughts about the movie, thinking that it could be seen as anti-Nazi by some people, and banned the movie.
The film was made at a budget that, in today’s dollars, would be worth $155.8 million to director Herbert Selpin. His team was able to build a 30-foot-long model of the fatal ship for the sinking scenario thanks to the huge budget. Even German soldiers were temporarily removed from the front lines and used as Titanic extras despite the war still being ongoing. But the director was hanged in 1942 due to some unpatriotic remarks and didn’t get to see the movie.
2. Saved From the Titanic
Ever wondered which was the first film that was inspired by the sinking of Titanic, well the first one is “Saved from the Titanic”. An interesting feature of this movie is it stars Dorothy Gibson, a survivor of the disaster. Remarkably, Gibson’s involvement in the film adds a layer of authenticity to this early cinematic depiction of the tragedy, as she was one of the few survivors who could recount her firsthand experience. This film was produced by Éclair Studios and this film was released 29 days after the real Titanic sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. It is a silent film and sadly, the original print of “Saved From the Titanic” is believed to be lost to history but some promotional photos have remained intact.
The movie follows the true story of the experience of the actress Dorothy Gibson in the Titanic. It catches the essence of the experience of the actress, and how she got to the lifeboat and was saved from going down with the Titanic. The lifeboats were rescued by the RMS Carpathia and hence her life was saved. It is said that making the movie was a huge task for her as she had to recall every bad experience about the sinking of the ship, and sometimes she would even end up crying during the shoot.
3. A Night to Remember
Aside from the blockbuster James Cameron’s Titanic, another portrayal that became a critically acclaimed one is the movie “A Night to Remember”. Based on Walter Lord’s meticulously researched book of the same name, “A Night to Remember” prioritizes historical accuracy and attention to detail as about 64 survivors were interviewed in the writing of this book. Moreover, the producer of the movie William MacQuitty watched the Titanic leave the port of Belfast when he was 6 years old. Therefore, you can say the producer found inspiration from it.
This movie is claimed to be the most accurate description of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. The film’s narrative takes into account the experiences of the survivors, highlighting their courage, fear, and despair as they grapple with the unfolding disaster. The film’s portrayal of the sinking remains haunting and unforgettable, making it a lasting testament to the human cost of this historic tragedy.
In the movie, Charles Lightoller (Kenneth More), the ocean liner’s second officer, provides the majority of the narrative’s perspective. Capt. Edward John Smith (Laurence Naismith), who steers the ship, continues to sail despite repeated ice-related cautions. Tragically, the crew and passengers learn that there aren’t enough lifeboats when the fatal ship ultimately collides with an iceberg.
4. Raise the Titanic
Here comes another movie about Titanic based on a novel. The novel, written by Clive Cussler, is a unique and imaginative approach to the sinking of the RMS Titanic. The success of the book was a surprise to the author himself as it was a risky approach to the Titanic and the book spent 22 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. It even found a chance to be made into a movie and ITC Entertainment did not hold back from making the movie.
“Raise the Titanic” follows a group of adventurers and scientists who embark on a mission to retrieve a rare mineral, Byzanium, from the sunken Titanic. The mineral was to be utilized in the making of an anti-missile system and the only way to get Byzanium was to ascend the entire wreck of Titanic from the water or to “Raise the Titanic”. The movie features Richard Jordan as Dirk Pitt, the intrepid adventurer leading the expedition, and Jason Robards as Admiral Sandecker. One of the peculiar moments in the movie was that the vessel was brought out of the water intact and it brought out a debate whether the Titanic sank intact or broke into two halves. Anyway, the debate was settled when the wreck of the Titanic was discovered in 1985.
Moreover, the movie required a model of the Titanic and no detail fell short in the replica. A $5 million 55-foot replica of the Titanic was made for the film and there was even a $3.3 million tank. Additionally, there were further costs that ultimately made the movie extremely high budget and as it was released it did not become the anticipated hit. It earned about $7 million in the US making it a loss.
5. In Nacht Und Eis
Another movie with Titanic as the central theme that stands out is “In Nacht Und Eis” which is German for “In Night and Ice”. Released on the 17th of August 1912 in the theatres of Berlin, it is one of the earliest portrayals of the Titanic and it was directed by Mime Misu. “In Nacht und Eis” is a short and stark representation of the disaster, 42 minutes to be exact. The filmmakers aimed to capture the essence of the sinking, emphasizing the chaos and panic that ensued as the ship foundered.
It was a silent film and at the time of its release, people took to it to be too long as the movies tend to be 20 minutes at that time. Moreover, the movie was thought to be lost, and no copies of it remained. But in 1998, authentic prints of Misu’s movie surfaced from two private collectors and a significant German cinema archive. The movie was edited a bit and you can watch it by searching it on the web.
6. The Unsinkable Molly Brown
Everyone probably knows about this popular character which was highlighted in James Cameron’s Titanic as well. “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” is a 1964 musical film that brought to life the captivating story of Margaret “Molly” Brown, one of the most famous survivors of the RMS Titanic disaster. The movie might not focus on Titanic as much but as the stories of one of the survivors of the Titanic, it holds a significant spot in cinema history.
The movie follows the story of Molly Brown mostly the vacations she took with her daughter, Helen. However as she was vacationing, she found out her grandson was ill and she got on the RMS Titanic to go to her grandson. As she was enjoying her stay on the Titanic, the ship hit an iceberg and led her to horrendous experiences. Moreover, she took courageous actions on the night of the Titanic’s sinking and became known for helping others in lifeboats and urging them to return to search for survivors.
Lastly, Molly Brown got into a lifeboat and survived the sinking of the ship. The movie was a musical and with the inclusion of songs, it highlighted the personality of the Unsinkable Molly Brown even more.
7. Titanic (1953)
A tragic tale of love and sacrifice, the Titanic released on the year 1953 is a compelling movie that revolves around a failing relationship between a husband and a wife. Directed by Jean Negulesco, this classic film offers a unique perspective on the iconic maritime disaster. With Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb in the leading roles of Julia and Richard Sturges, the movie is tailored to their tragic story.
The plot revolves around the Sturges family where Julia, unhappy with her marriage, goes aboard the Titanic with her two children and has planned to divorce her husband as she arrives in the USA. But her husband finds out about her plans and then gets on the ship as well to mend the relationship and make his wife come back to him. But their troubles are further escalated when the Titanic hits the iceberg and both of the partners find the spark back in their relationship.
“Titanic” (1953) received critical acclaim upon its release, earning Oscar nominations and even won one for Best Writing (Story and Screenplay).
8. S.O.S Titanic
The S.O.S Titanic is a marvelous depiction of the Titanic which focuses on class distinctions and shows the stories of all classes of people that were aboard the RMS Titanic. Directed by William Hale, this was the first colored movie to be released which was based on the Titanic. The film weaves a tapestry of personal stories, capturing the lives of both passengers and crew.
The movie features characters such as Molly Brown, John Jacob Astor IV, Madeleine Talmage Force, and many more famous characters. But the story of the movie revolves around the Irish immigrants that are on the steerage level of the ship. The ship finds its way to doom as Capt. Edward Smith begins to speed up the ship and eventually, it crashes with the iceberg.
9. Titanic II
In the year 2010, the world saw the making and release of Titanic II, which was totally unexpected. The director behind this movie is Shane Van Dyke and the production was done by the production company “The Asylum”. The movie was set in the year 2012 and features the departure of the replica of the Titanic after 100 years of the sinking of the original Titanic.
In the movie, the Titanic replica takes the same route as the original but the ship’s maiden voyage across the Atlantic, however, becomes a tumultuous ordeal when an unexpected tsunami sets the stage for a harrowing disaster. So, instead of an iceberg, a tsunami takes down Titanic II and is a reminder that the Titanic will remain in the minds of the people forever and continue to become an inspiration for movies.
10. The Chambermaid on the Titanic
The story of the Titanic has been told in various ways and one of the most outstanding is the movie “La Femme de Chambre du Titanic” or “The Chambermaid on the Titanic“. The movie was the work of director Bigas Luna and was based on the novel “La Femme de Chambre du Titanic” written by Didier Decoin.
The film centers around Horty, played by Olivier Martinez, a young man who works as a foundry worker in a small French town. He led a miserable life and one day he won a ticket to see the departure of the Titanic in an athletic contest. A day before the Titanic departed for America, he met a woman, Marie, who claimed to be the chambermaid of the Titanic. She tells Horty that she has nowhere to sleep, so Horty shares his room with her, but at night things become heated and Marie seduces Horty. In the morning the woman has left already and while the Titanic left the dock, he sees a photographer taking a picture of Marie and then asks for the photo. In the rest of the movie, Horty is seen sharing his experience with the chambermaid with his friends every night in a bar.
In the world of Titanic cinema, where James Cameron’s epic blockbuster often takes center stage, it’s easy to overlook the hidden gems that delve into the ship’s legendary story from different angles. As we wrap up our journey through the “Top 10 Movies About Titanic You Haven’t Heard Of,” it becomes clear that the Titanic’s legacy transcends the boundaries of time, culture, and cinematic interpretation.
While these films may not enjoy the same global recognition as their more famous counterparts, they enrich the Titanic’s legacy by adding new layers to the narrative. They introduce us to characters and storylines that capture the imagination and deepen our connection to this iconic maritime disaster.