The story of the 1912 sinking of the largest luxury liner ever built, the tragedy that befell over two thousand of the rich and famous as well as of the poor and unknown passengers aboard the doomed ship.
The construction of the RMS Titanic at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast against the background of union riots, political and religious conflicts, and a romance between a young ambitious engineer and an Italian immigrant.
The plot focuses on the romances of two couples upon the doomed ship's maiden voyage. Isabella Paradine (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is a wealthy woman mourning the loss of her aunt, who reignites a romance with former flame Wynn Park (Peter Gallagher). Meanwhile, a charming ne'er-do-well named Jamie Perse (Mike Doyle) steals a ticket for the ship, and falls for a sweet innocent Irish girl on board. But their romance is threatened by the villainous Simon Doonan (Tim Curry), who has discovered about the ticket and makes Jamie his unwilling accomplice, as well as having sinister plans for the girl. Written by
Produced in advance of the imminent James Cameron film on the same topic, this made-for-TV movie was rushed into production and very hastily completed in order to cash in on the latter's before-release hype. The film aired over two nights on CBS in late-November 1996. The first part received high Nielsen ratings but experienced a huge drop during the second part, because most viewers got thrown off by the lackluster production. Since the film was so rushed, it included mistakes and historical inaccuracies which Titanic enthusiasts found inexcusable given the wealth of knowledge about the liner and its occupants available by the mid-1990s. See more »
Molly Brown makes a remark to Captain Smith about his retirement in 3 days, and he accepts this, but Smith was to have retired only after the return trip to England. See more »
This made-for-TV version of the famous disaster actually stands up fairly well against its $200 million James Cameron counterpart. The effects are good - and in a few cases even on par with Cameron's version. Indeed, watching the two films back to back, you might be surprised at the similarities between the two versions, at least during some key moments. Both have steerage party scenes, for instance. The cast is generally strong too, particularly Catherine Zeta Jones in one of her first lead performances, and George C. Scott as Capt. Smith. But where Titanic (1996) hits all the wrong notes is in a poorly conceived subplot involving a crooked crewmember (Tim Curry). His character doesn't really belong here, and his villainous actions get to be quite shocking near the end ... it takes away from the human drama of the doomed people on the ship and actually comes close to ruining the movie (though no fault of actor Tim Curry, who turns in a great performance). If you only have time to see one super-long movie based on the disaster, see the Cameron film - if you've got time to see two, this one is worth the rental.
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