See Rare Behind-The-Scenes Photos From “Titanic”

Take a peek into what went into making the legendary film that was released 25 years ago.

James Cameron directing Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet on the set of Titanic during the famous "I'm flying" scene

Twenty-five years ago today, the film Titanic premiered in the US, quickly taking the world by storm with its fictional retelling of the luxury liner’s tragedy. At the time, it was the most expensive movie ever made, with a $200 million budget, and the first film ever to bring in over $1 billion, eventually grossing just over $2 billion. Titanic director James Cameron eventually dethroned himself with his film Avatar in 2010, which went on to gross roughly $2.8 billion. Along with catapulting Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet into superstardom, Titanic would also go on to win an impressive 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Besides its financial success and Oscar merits, Titanic was historic from a production standpoint. Known for his love of grand special effects in his films like Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Cameron wanted to make his audience feel like they were onboard the Titanic after it struck an iceberg. To do this, the crew constructed a full-scale model of the ship, added digital effects, and even built a hinged poop deck that could quickly elevate from 0 to 90 degrees, mimicking the stern rising while it sank.

The film’s production also included a 17-million-gallon water tank that was used for scenes showing sinking interiors. After Titanic’s release, reports came out that Winslet thought she’d drown filming the water scenes.

Cameron on set in the water directing Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet on a floatation device

Known for being an on-set perfectionist with high demands for cast and crew, Cameron recently spoke with Radio Times to promote his new film Avatar: The Way of Water, which reunited him with Winslet. Reflecting on Titanic, the director said, “I think Kate came out of Titanic a bit traumatized by the scale of the production and her responsibility within it.”

Winslet spoke about the pressure Cameron faced, recently telling the Times: “In those days there was no space for him to say, ‘It might not work.’ He had to make it work. There were all those conversations about this huge film, Titanic. I can’t imagine the pressure. As we get older we learn how to say, ‘I made a mistake.’ We all get better at that, don’t we?”

A model replica sinking Titanic ship on set that was used for the film
Amodel replica sinking Titanic ship that's completely vertical
Cameron and DiCaprio reviewing footage, while DiCaprio is in a tux
Cameron and Winslet are talking in the water, surrounded by crew
DiCaprio and Winslet with their arms outstretched on the edge of the ship during the famous "I'm flying" scene
Cameron instructing Winslet and DiCaprio during the ballroom scene
Winslet and DiCaprio struggling in water during a flooding scene
Cameron looks into a camera pointed downward at DiCaprio
Cameron in the water while directing in the flooded ballroom
Winslet, DiCaprio, and Cameron in warm coats
Cameron holding a camera surrounded by many crew members on the set
Cameron holding a large camera with crew in water during a flooding scene
 DiCaprio and Cameron sitting on a sofa looking at a book