S.O.S. Titanic (1979)

TV Movie  |  Not Rated  |   |  Drama, History  |  23 September 1979 (USA)
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Reviews: 25 user | 1 critic

The Titanic disaster is depicted, primarily as seen through the eyes of one couple in each of the three classes on board.


(as Billy Hale)


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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
David Battley ...
Chief Boots: S. Stebbing
Henry Harris
Tony Caunter ...
Nicholas Davies ...
Lift Attendant: Alfie King
Matthew Guinness ...
Catholic Priest: Father Byles
Dan Marvin
Victor Langley ...
Band Leader: Wallace Hartley
John Moffatt ...
Martin Murphy ...
Bugle Boy: Peter Fletcher
Nancy Nevinson ...
Philip O'Sullivan ...
David Charters


On April 14, 1912 the R.M.S. Titanic struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage. Over 1500 people were lost. This docudrama follows the personal stories of some of the passengers and crew aboard on that fateful night. John Jacob Astor and his new bride Madeline, Laurence Beesley, Molly Brown, a group of Irish emigrants, the wireless operators and the stewards are among the characters. Written by Jim Sadur <jsadur@keyflux.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History


Not Rated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

23 September 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Titanikos  »

Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| | (DVD)

Sound Mix:


(archive footage)| | (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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Did You Know?


The movie was the first of two Titanic films about the RMS Titanic in less than a year, this movie debuting in theaters Stateside just eleven months before Raise the Titanic (1980). See more »


Most of the exterior scenes were filmed aboard the R.M.S. Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. Even though the Queen Mary resembles the Titanic in a generic sense, one noticeable difference between the two liners is the color of the funnels. The Queen Mary's funnels are 'Cunard Red' (a deep reddish-orange hue) with black bands, while the Titanic's were 'White Star buff' (a creamy yellow tone) and not banded. This obviously could not be helped when filming scenes on-deck aboard the Queen Mary, where the banded orange funnels are prominently visible. However, the visual FX shots of the Titanic model, including the colorized footage from A Night To Remember (1958), as well as the Boat Deck set seen during the sinking scenes, show the Titanic's funnels in the proper yellow color. (In addition, the Queen Mary has three funnels where the Titanic had four, but this is not apparent from any shots in the film.) See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue:

The following dramatization is based on factual and personal accounts which were researched and adapted for the telling of the story of the sinking of the Titanic in dramatic form.

Identifiable characters are drawn from actual persons and fictitious names were given to certain characters who existed but whose actual names remain unknown. See more »


Version of Titanic (1997) See more »


Rule Britannia
Poem by James Thomson (1700-1748)
Music by Thomas Arne (1710-1778)
(Heard when the Titanic casts off from Southampton)
See more »

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User Reviews

SOS Titanic
12 December 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

There are two versions of this film. One is much better than the other and runs for another 30 minutes and can now be viewed in its entirety on You Tube.

This is a made for TV film and as such, the budget is limited, but not entirely noticeable. Yes, some scenes are clearly shot on the Queen Mary, but the film is engrossing so you don't really take much notice.

SOS Titanic is also quite different from all of the other versions in that: (1) it starts with the ending and tells the story in a flashback format. And (2), it is the first Titanic film to feature all three passenger classes in some detail. And it also has the distinction of being the fist Titanic film to be filmed in colour.

There is some mis-casting. David Janson's Astor gives it his best shot, but does not quite pull it off, and Cloris Leachman is the worst Molly Brown I have seen. Some more real life characters are featured in this film, the Lift Boy and the 'Boot' boys. Even stewardess Violet Jessop is included, but incorrectly portrayed as an elderly stewardess when in fact Violet was in her mid 20s. J Bruce Ismay is portrayed far more accurately in this film and it is through his eyes that we flashback to the events.

There is no real plot line as such, and this film plays more like a documentary although does not quite manage to pull it off like 'A Night To Remember' did. There are a few small sub-plots, but this film is based on the book by 2nd class passenger and Titanic survivor Lawrence Beeseley. There is a short scene between him and his fictional female companion where they are shown on the middle decks discussing "them up there" and "those down there", which really emphasises the class distinction to good effect.

Although not actually seen, the near collision at Southampton IS mentioned in the dialogue, something all the other films always leave out. There is also a good scene showing the Tenders.

The soundtrack is excellent and the music is extremely atmospheric. You really feel like you are there. And with the a great many more scenes showing children, it really does have an effect on you, especially the opening sequence which is superb.

OK, Titanic's life boats did NOT have to wade their way through a field of ice to reach the Carpathia, and the crew on the Carpathia actually had everything prepared before the Titanic's boats reached her and not a mad rush as they arrive. But I think this can be forgiven and taken as a bit of poetic license. What is unforgivable is the glaring mistake about the date. They show it as Sunday April 12th, when as we all know it was Sunday April 14th.

But the costumes and sets are spot on and we see a lot more of this ship than in other films: The Turkish Baths, The Stewardess' rooms,The Gymnasium to name just a few.

All in all, a good film.

The sinking sequence is not the best of the bunch, and nothing will surpass Cameron's version in that area, but this film is not about special effects. The ship sinks intact in SOS Titanic but this was the accepted version in 1979.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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