More than twenty years after it was released in theaters, Titanic remains one of the biggest movies of all time. As blockbusters continue to get bigger and bigger, few have had what it takes to beat James Cameron romantic epic. That's pretty impressive for a 3-hour movie that everyone already knew the ending to. But the romance between Jack and Rose set against the tragedy of the disaster was a thrilling and heartbreaking cinematic adventure.
It's no surprise that a movie that tells the story of this devastating event has more than a few moments that can make any viewer tear up. Even after all these years, it's nearly impossible to sit through the movie without crying at least once. Here are the saddest moments from Titanic that will make you a sobbing mess.
10 Rose Goes Back
The rich and oppressed woman falling for the charming but poor man is not original in terms of movie romances, but something about Jack and Rose's relationship connected with audiences. As we watch these two people fall deeply in love, it's easy to forget that the ship they're on is heading for disaster.
After the ship strikes the iceberg and the seriousness of the situation begins to set in, Jack tries to get Rose on a lifeboat and escape the sinking. As the boat is being lowered, the two lovers look at each other for what might be the last time. At the last moment, Rose jumps back on the ship, deciding to stay with Jack.
9 Molly Brown Makes A Stand
Molly Brown is one of the many historical figures who play a supporting part around the fictional leads of the movie. Kathy Bates gives a great performance as Brown, an outspoken and colorful character who did indeed survive the sinking of the Titanic and made a name for herself as a heroine of the event.
After the ship goes under and the people in the water call for help, Molly is the only one in the lifeboat who insists they go back to save them. She makes a heartfelt plea for reason but no-one backs her up. If only there had been more people like Molly Brown on that ship, more would have survived.
8 Down With The Ship
Captain Edward John Smith was the real captain of the Titanic and is featured in a prominent role in the film. He meant for this to be his last voyage as a captain, but ended up dying in the sinking.
The film depicts Smith as a stoic professional who is stricken by guilt as he watches his ship and those on board face doom. Before the boat goes under, he retreats to his wheelhouse and locks himself in. The last we see of him, he stands alone by the ship's wheel as the room fills with water. It's a powerful moment of a captain going down with his ship.
7 The Band Plays On
According to many historical accounts of the disaster, in the early stages of the sinking, the ship's band was brought out on deck to play in order to keep the guests entertained and calm. This is recreated in the movie as well.
As the situation grows worse, the bandleader tells his colleagues they should leave and attempt to board a lifeboat. As they leave, the bandleader begins playing "Nearer, My God, to Thee," understanding that the end is near. One by one, his bandmates return and join him in the song, resigned to their fates.
6 Top Of The Ship
With the last of the lifeboats gone, panic sets in as those remaining on the ship search for some way to survive. The chaos of the situation is terrifying; we can't even imagine what it must have been like to be on that ship in its final moments.
Jack and Rose climb to the bow of the ship, which is now sticking vertically in the air, desperately trying to stay out of the freezing water for as long as possible. As the other passengers fearfully watch the water rise, Rose turns to Jack and reminds him that this is the spot they first met. A heartbreaking reminder of their doomed romance.
5 Rescue Attempt
One of the great tragedies of this disaster is that many of the lifeboats that left the Titanic were nowhere near their capacity, which meant many more passengers could have been saved. Once the boat sinks, one of the lifeboats decides they need to go back and try to rescue some of those in the water.
It is a horrific scene as the water is filled with frozen corpses of men, women, and children. The people in the lifeboat can only look on and realize that their rescue attempt came far too late.
4 Bedtime Story
The movie puts a lot of focus on the class disparities of Titanic and how that played into the tragedy as well. While the film-makers exaggerated some of the lengths that were taken to keep the third-class passengers from boarding the lifeboats, priority was given to the richer passengers.
This moment is hammered home in a small but heartbreaking scene as a third-class mother tucks her children into bed and tells them a bedtime story, knowing that they will not be able to escape the ship alive.
3 Doomed Montage
As the band plays their final song, the music scores a haunting montage of the doomed passengers left onboard the ship. We see the people fleeing for their lives but with nowhere to go and no rescue in sight. We also get glimpses of some of the characters we've come to know, facing their final moments.
The ship's builder, Thomas Andrews, stands alone in the smoking-room. Benjamin Guggenheim, dressed in his finest clothes, watches the water rise around the main staircase. Saddest of all, a elderly couple cradle each other in bed as the water rises around them.
2 Jack's Death
With a romance like this set on a ship that famously sank, it was pretty apparent that the romance between Jack and Rose was going to end in tragedy. And since an older Rose is telling this story to us, it seemed pretty clear that Jack wasn't going to make it to America.
Even with all that forewarning, Jack's death still packs a punch. There is still a lot of debate about whether or not they both could have fitted on that floating door, but all of that is forgotten as Rose calls to Jack and he is unresponsive. The moment is deeply moving as we see Jack disappear into the ocean below.
1 Return To Titanic
The final moment of the film suggests that after telling her amazing story of the Titanic, Rose passes away peacefully in her sleep. As she does, we are transported back on board the famous ship, as she finally gets to join the others who died in the tragedy.
As we enter the main stairwell and see all those familiar faces, Rose climbs the steps to reunite with Jack. It is a bittersweet moment that holds the idea that, while Rose lived a long and wonderful life, she was always waiting for this moment and Jack was there waiting for her as well.