15 ‘Titanic’ Facts the Movie Got Right

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15 ‘Titanic’ Facts the Movie Got Right

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15 ‘Titanic’ Facts the Movie Got Right

We’ve reached another sobering anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic — the ship having struck an iceberg the night of April 14, 1912, sinking in the early hours of April 15 and claiming the lives of more than 1,500 passengers and crew.

Most of us have our best sense of the tragedy from the 1997 James Cameron film (starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio), and though James took creative liberties with the story, he actually got a lot of details right. Read on…

15 ‘Titanic’ Facts the Movie Got Right
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Jack Dawson, Rose DeWitt Bukater, and the film’s other major characters are fictitious; but there was a crew member named Joseph Dawson who died in the sinking.

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There was no “Heart of the Ocean” blue diamond, but 19-year-old passenger Kate Florence Phillips did wear a blue sapphire necklace. It was a gift from her 38-year-old fiancé, Henry Samuel Morley, one of the Titanic’s casualties.

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There was a Renault car aboard, but it was in a case and might not have been assembled, making it an unlikely site for a steamy tryst.

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Many climactic moments during the on-screen sinking did occur, such as the smokestack crashing down to the water and the ship splitting in two in its final moments.

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The old man and woman comforting each other as the ship sinks in the film are Macy’s co-owner Isidor Straus and wife Ida, who were last seen holding one another on the deck of the Titanic. She reportedly said, “As we have lived, so will we die, together.”

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Captain Edward John Smith did go down with the ship, with some survivors saying he died in the wheelhouse, as he did in the film.

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Similarly, Titanic architect Thomas Andrews also stayed with Titanic, and some eyewitnesses saw  him having a contemplative moment in the first-class smoking room, where Rose finds him in the film. In reality, though, he ultimately headed back out to assist with the evacuation.

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As in the movie, there weren’t enough lifeboats aboard Titanic to save everyone, and the lifeboats weren’t even filled to capacity during the evacuation.

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Reports conflict as to whether White Star Line Line chairman J. Bruce Ismay took his lifeboat seat when women and children were still waiting, but he did testify he was unable to watch as the ship sank, just like he turns away from the horrible sight in the film.

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According to third-class passenger Eugene Daly, an officer did shoot not one but two men before shooting himself, though reports vary as to whether this man was First Officer William Murdoch.

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Many survivors claimed the Titanic band did play as the ship sank, though it’s unclear if the last song they played was “Nearer, My God, to Thee” like it was in the film. Bandleader Wallace Hartley perished at age 33.

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The chief baker, Charles Joughin, did hang onto the railing as the ship sank — just as he did alongside Jack and Rose in the movie — later testifying he barely felt the icy water, probably because of the liqueur he’d imbibed.

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Aboard Lifeboat 6, Molly Brown really did urge Quartermaster Robert Hitchens to return to save those in the water.

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Fifth Officer Harold Godfrey Lowe, who saves Rose in the film, did indeed return in a lifeboat to look for survivors. But out of fear the boat would be swarmed, he waited until the cries from the water died down.

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The wood panel that saved Rose (and could have saved Jack, too, if we’re being honest) is based on a real artifact at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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We’ve reached another sobering anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic — the ship having struck an iceberg the night of April 14, 1912, sinking in the early hours of April 15 and claiming the lives of more than 1,500 passengers and crew.

Most of us have our best sense of the tragedy from the 1997 James Cameron film (starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio), and though James took creative liberties with the story, he actually got a lot of details right. Read on…