Titanic (1996 miniseries)

Last updated
Promotional poster
Directed by Robert Lieberman
Written by Ross LaManna
Joyce Eliason
Produced by Harold Lee Tichenor
Rocky Lang
Starring Peter Gallagher
George C. Scott
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Eva Marie Saint
Tim Curry
Harley Jane Kozak
Marilu Henner
Cinematography David Hennings
Edited byTod Feuerman
Music by Lennie Niehaus
Distributed by RHI Entertainment
Release date
November 17 - 19, 1996
Running time
173 minutes
United States
Budget$13 million [1]

Titanic is a 1996 American two-part television miniseries which premiered on CBS on November 17 and 19, 1996. [2] It focuses on several characters aboard the RMS Titanic during her maiden voyage in 1912. The miniseries was directed by Robert Lieberman. The original music score was composed by Lennie Niehaus.



Titanic follows three main story threads.

Isabella Paradine is traveling on the Titanic to join her husband after attending her aunt's funeral in the United Kingdom. On the Titanic, she meets Wynn Park, her former lover. She falls in love with him again, and after a brief affair, she sends her husband a wireless saying they cannot be together anymore (despite their daughter). When the ship starts sinking, Isabella reluctantly leaves Wynn when he forces her to board a lifeboat. As the boat is lowered, Isabella confesses a long kept secret that her daughter Claire is actually Wynn's. Later on board the RMS Carpathia she is grief-stricken when she finds Wynn's lifeless body on deck, having died of hypothermia, but luckily, when the Carpathia reaches New York City she is reunited with her family who are blissfully unaware of Isabella's tryst because the telegram was never sent out due to the sinking.

Also in first class is the Allison family, a family travelling on the Titanic, returning home to Montreal with their two small children and new nurse, Alice Cleaver. They gradually become wary and suspicious of her hysterical and neurotic behavior. Later on, a fellow maid asks her if she'd seen her in Cairo the previous month, but soon realizes that she remembers her from the highly publicized trial where Alice was accused of throwing her baby off a train. When the Titanic starts sinking, Alice Cleaver panics and quickly boards a lifeboat with Trevor, the Allisons' infant son. The parents with their small daughter are unaware that the baby is safe and refuse to leave the ship without him, which in the end costs them their lives.

In third class, a young vagrant named Jamie Perse steals a ticket to get on board. He manages to become friends with one of the crewmen, Simon Doonan, who is also a robber, but later is revealed to be a much more violent and callous criminal than Jamie. The young man falls in love with Aase (pronounced "Osa") Ludvigsen, a recent Christian convert and missionary. On the night of the sinking, Aase is brutally raped and beaten by Doonan, causing her to lose her faith and will to live, but Jamie manages to get her into Isabella's boat. Unbeknownst to them, Doonan also sneaks aboard that same boat, disguised as an old woman. After the ship sinks, Aase is knocked off the lifeboat by Doonan after she recognizes him, and he attempts to hold the passengers in the boat hostage at gunpoint, but Officer Lowe, who is in charge of the boat, hits Doonan in the head with an oar, snapping his neck and killing him. Jamie himself manages to survive when he accidentally falls into one of the last lifeboats before the Titanic sinks. He subsequently atones for his past life after he finds Aase in the makeshift hospital aboard the Carpathia. In the end, upon arriving in New York City, the two plan to start a new life together.


Peter Gallagher Wynn Park
George C. Scott Captain Edward J. Smith
Catherine Zeta-Jones Isabella Paradine
Eva Marie Saint Hazel Foley
Tim Curry Simon Doonan
Roger Rees J. Bruce Ismay
Harley Jane Kozak Bess Allison
Marilu Henner Margaret "Molly" Brown
Mike Doyle Jamie Perse
Sonsee Ahray Aase Ludvigsen
Felicity Waterman Alice Cleaver
Malcolm Stewart First Officer William Murdoch
Kevin McNulty Second Officer Charles Lightoller
Kavan Smith Fifth Officer Harold Lowe
Terence Kelly Captain Arthur Rostron
Scott Hylands John Jacob Astor IV
Janne Mortil Madeleine Astor
Tamsin Kelsey Clarinda Jack
Eric Keenleyside "Black" Billy Jack
Katharine Isabelle Ophelia Jack (as Katherine Isobel)
Kevin Conway Hudson J. Allison
Barry Pepper Assistant Marconi Operator Harold Bride
Gina Christodoulou Dancer
Matthew Walker Captain Stanley Lord
Byron Lucas Lookout Frederick Fleet


The New York Daily News commented on the fact that the acting was substandard and the ship's operators and owner are portrayed "about as sympathetically as those connected with the Exxon Valdez." [3] The Seattle Post-Intelligencer also referenced the "embarrassingly bad acting" and out of place scenes. [4]


Titanic received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Miniseries or a Special. It was also nominated for Outstanding Costume Design for a Miniseries or a Special.

1997 Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Miniseries or a Special David Husby, David E. Fluhr, Adam Jenkins, Don Digirolamo for part 1Won
Outstanding Costume Design for a Miniseries or a Special Joe I. Tompkins, Jori WoodmanNominated

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  1. "Docking Soon: Titanic-Mania". Los Angeles Times. 14 November 1996. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
  2. Bellafante, Gina (November 25, 1996). "Disaster: That'S Entertainment". Time .
  3. Bianculli, David (November 15, 1996). "'TITANIC' MINISERIES IS SUB-STANDARD". Daily News (New York). Archived 2014-01-08 at the Wayback Machine
  4. . Seattle Post-Intelligencer .[ dead link ]