Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
titanic im flying scene
Paramount Pictures
Entertainment

Why Titanic is the Best and Worst Movie Ever Made

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

James Cameron’s Titanic took over the world when it was released in 1997. The three-hour and 14-minute long movie had a $200 million budget and ended up grossing $2,201,647,264 worldwide by the end of its almost year-long run in the theaters. It was the highest-grossing film until 2010’s Avatar, and it won 11 out of the 14 Oscars it was nominated for.

Obviously, Titanic was a pretty big deal upon its release, and to many viewers, it still is. To others, however, it represents everything that is wrong with modern-day movies. 

Even as the fervent fan I am, I can acknowledge the movie’s shortcomings as well as its triumphs. Together, these factors solidify that Titanic is both the best and worst movie ever made. 

First, we must address the heart of the movie and the main reason for its success: The romance between Leonardo Dicaprio’s and Kate Winslet’s portrayal of Jack and Rose.

While they are not always the most realistic in their choices and the number of times each says the other’s name is alarming, the star-crossed lovers easily have the audience rooting for them within the first scene. Jack’s charming and carefree nature convinces Rose she can make her own destiny and encourages her to become a stronger character throughout the movie. Not to mention he is played by ultimate heartthrob Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio, so he also has that going for him. 

And if that’s not enough, Jack sacrifices himself so that Rose can go on to live a fantastic life. How romantic!

If romance is not your thing, Titanic also offers a ton of action in the form of a giant sinking ship, gunfire and blind ax-wielding. 

By today’s standards, the CGI (computer-generated imagery) seems cheesy and juvenile compared to other films. However, at the time it was groundbreaking. Robert Ebert, renowned film critic for the “Chicago Sun-Times,” wrote upon Titanic’s release, “There are a few moments the viewer doubts… but in general Cameron’s film is a triumph of reconstructed realism: Inside and out, in good times and bad, when it is launched and when it goes to its grave, the Titanic in this movie looks like a real ship.”

To further prove this point, the movie won the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects. 

When it comes to historical accuracy, Titanic got a lot right. For example, Captain Edward John Smith went down with the ship, though there is some debate on how exactly that happened. There was also a lack of lifeboats on the real Titanic. Also, that old couple seen laying in the bed as water flows in around them? They were based on real people as well. 

This brings up perhaps the most controversial point against Titanic: Why cover up all these true stories with a fictional romance between two fictional characters?

To that, I have no rebuttal. 

Lastly, here are some other minor pros and cons. 

Pros 

  • There is something for everyone whether you like, romance, action or drama
  • Iconic lines such as “Draw me like one of your French girls” and “I’m the king of the world” 
  • Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”

Cons

  • The first 20 minutes are about modern-day treasure hunters unrelated to the rest of the story 
  • “It was the most erotic moment of my life” comes out of the lips of a 100-year-old Rose 
  • Jack and Rose could have both fit on the door
  • Modern-day Rose throws her priceless diamond necklace into the ocean for no reason other than to spite the treasure hunters 

Now you can make your own decision. Is Titanic the best worst movie or the worst best movie ever made?

Jenna Bal

Kent State '24

Jenna Bal is a sophomore journalism major with a minors in English and web development. This is her second semester writing for HerCampus and the Burr. When she’s home in Toledo, Jenna enjoys working as a barista and spending time with her younger sisters. Her hobbies include reading, hiking, and journaling, and her favorite read is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. After graduation, she hopes to write for a magazine and eventually pursue her master’s degree in library sciences.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️