My goal in making this film was to show not only the dramatic death of this infamous ship, but her brief and glorious life as well. To capture the beauty, exuberance, optimism and hope of Titanic, her passengers and crew and, in the process of baring the dark side of humanity underlying this tragedy, celebrate the limitless potential of the human spirit. For Titanic is not just a cautionary tale - a myth, a parable, a metaphor for the ills of mankind. It is also a story of faith, courage, sacrifice and, above all else, love.
Writer/director James Cameron, 1997
The journey of "Titanic" begins in the present, at the site of the ship's watery grave, two-and-a-half miles under the ocean surface. An ambitious fortune hunter (Bill Paxton) is determined to plumb the treasures of this once-stately ship, only to bring to the surface a story left untold. The tragic ruins melt away to reveal the glittering palace that was Titanic as it prepares to launch on its maiden voyage from England. Amidst the thousands of well-wishers bidding a fond bon voyage, destiny has called two young souls, daring them to nurture a passion that would change their lives forever.
Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) is a 17-year-old, upper-class American suffocating under the rigid confines and expectations of Edwardian society who falls for a free-spirited young steerage passenger named Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio). Once he opens her eyes to the world that lies outside her gilded cage, Rose and Jack's forbidden love begins a powerful mystery that ultimately echoes across the years into the present. Nothing on earth is going to come between them -- not even something as unimaginable as the sinking of Titanic. Also inhabiting this floating microcosm are Cal Hockley, played by Billy Zane, heir to a huge fortune and Rose's fiancÚ, and Ruth DeWitt Bukater, Rose's socially driven mother, played by Frances Fisher. Oscar« winner Kathy Bates is featured as the ship's most colorful real-life passenger, Molly Brown. Other historic figures include Captain E.J. Smith (Bernard Hill), White Star Line's managing director J. Bruce Ismay (Jonathan Hyde), and master shipbuilder and primary architect of Titanic, Thomas Andrews (Victor Garber). Also participating in this devastating hand of fate dealt to the passengers of Titanic are an Italian emigrant named Fabrizio De Rossi (Danny Nucci), Jack's poor but determined best friend; and Spicer Lovejoy (David Warner), Cal Hockley's ruthlessly loyal valet.
Paramount Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox present a Lightstorm Entertainment Production, a James Cameron film, "Titanic," starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Bernard Hill, Jonathan Hyde, Danny Nucci, David Warner and Bill Paxton. Written and directed by James Cameron, the film is produced by Cameron and Jon Landau. Rae Sanchini is executive producer.