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Clifton Webb, Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Wagner, Audrey Dalton, Thelma Ritter ... see more see more... , Brian Aherne , Richard Basehart , Allyn Joslyn , James Todd , Frances Bergen , William Johnstone , Christopher Severn , James Lilburn , Charles Fitzsimmons , Barry Bernard , Helen Van Tuyl , Roy Gordon , Marta Mitrovich , Ivis Goulding , Ashley Cowan , Harper Carter , Edmund Purdom , Nathan Lee Graham , Merry Anders , Gloria Gordon , Melinda Markey , Ron Hagerthy , Conrad Feia , Richard West , Patrick Aherne , Salvador Baguez , Eugene Borden , George Boyce , Robin Camp , Harry Cording , John Costello , Nicolas Coster , William Cottrell , Herbert Deans , John Dodsworth , Michael Ferris , Elizabeth Flournoy , John Fraser , David Hoffman , Robin Hughes , Charles R. Keane , Mae Marsh , Owen McGiveney , Alberto Morin , Pat O'Moore , Richard Peel , Gordon Richards , David Thursby , Camillo Guercio , Donald Chaffin , Michael Hadlow , Ivan Hayes , Bert Stevens , Anthony Eustrel , Michael Rennie

The 1912 sinking of the luxury liner Titanic is used as a backdrop for a several fictional subplots, chief of which involves snooty socialite Clifton Webb and his wife Barbara Stanwyck. Stanwyck has b... read more read more...ooked passage on the ill-fated passenger ship with her daughter (Audrey Dalton) and son (Harper Carter), leaving Webb far behind. Webb manages to board the ship at the last minute, and discovers that Stanwyck plans to divorce him; she further informs him that he is not the father of their son. When the Titanic sideswipes an iceberg and begins its slow descent in the Atlantic, the women and children are put on the lifeboats while the men stay behind to face death (except for cowardly cardsharp Allyn Joslyn, who disguises himself as a woman). The formerly class-conscious Webb acts with conspicuous bravery, seeing to it that several steerage passengers are ushered to safety. He is reunited with his son, who has given up his lifeboat seat to an elderly woman. All misunderstandings swept aside, Webb and his son face their final moments on earth together. In the film's best moment, a miniature recreation of the Titanic is seen sinking beneath the waves as the survivors watch from their lifeboats in numb horror. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Flixster Users

65% liked it

86,365 ratings


89% liked it

9 critics

DVD Release Date: September 2, 2003

Stats: 2,563 reviews


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Flixster Reviews (2,563)

  • April 25, 2012
    I saw this version of 'Titanic' after I saw the James Cameron version. It is much more subdued - and displays the men of the Titanic as much more heroic than the later version.
  • January 28, 2010
    Compelling, far better than the most recent version. Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck are outstanding as a wealthy couple whose marriage is disintegrating and the love story is sweet and unlike the other version makes sense since both characters are from the same class as would ... read morebe natural at that time. The ending is heart rending.
  • December 5, 2008
    Titanic from 1953 starring the great Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb is a true gem. This is another telling of the ill fated ship focusing this time on an older couple whom are divorcing and having to deal with skeletons in the closet. A very well done Fox film worthy seeing.
  • February 18, 2008
    the 1953 "titanic" is based upon the interactions of human drama in spite of its technical inaccuracy for the shipwreck event. barbara stanwyck glows radiantly again as a troubled matron with marital discord. and thelma ritter finally grasps a chance to emit some scale of eleganc... read moree as the society woman which is different from the spunky servant role she has taken all along her career, such as "rear window", "all about eve" and "a letter to three wives"...etc.

    stanwyck plays the american spouse of some meticulous british gentleman(clifton webb) who deems his sacred british courtesies as his supreme duty but stanwyck just wanna revitalize her life in her simple primitive american lifestyle with her children. accidentally she reveals the illict birth of their precious son in the rage of feuds so her wronged husband decides to nullify his kinmanship with his "alleged" only son....meanwhile her daughter casts some generous eye upon a naive american country boy...this is the main thread to web the mutiple relationships in this flick. and there's also an alcoholic priest who gets banished by church. various characters have their own issues of status conflicts and irreconciled disorientations....but the sudden unexpected catastrope of titanic dissolves their grudges against each other to sublime themselves into another level of compassion and sheer love thru the course of sacrifice and breavements.

    the mostly touching line would be clifton webb's iceberg man who melts into tenderness at the scene he fogives his wife's infidelty by saying "at that june i saw you, you're so fair that i vowed my pledge to you forever...would you do me a favor by allowing me to do it now again?"...and the puberty son's determinated to stay with his father to die together just to perform his male obligation since his dad just buys a pair of trousers to encourage his manhood.

    men gallantly yields the lifeboats to their beloved women, reciting the solemn hymn when the giant ship of titanic is sinking. no sappiness to glorify the remained survivors but just a tranquil affair of natural disaster which inspires the noble spirit of a bunch of flawed individuals who eventually seek peace in the cartharsis of selfless devotions. there's no grandeur scenes to flaunt the extravaganza of titanic or any detailed sensationalism on the shipwreck. tastefully understated in a humanistic way.
  • January 22, 2007
    This is worth watching just because it's so radically different from the even more successful 1997 version.
  • cajiggle
    February 10, 2013
    It's hard not to compare this to the James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster of the same name. Though similiar in title and topic, they are two different films. But, if I must choose, I would pick this 1953 version. I like how the story focuses on a particular family. Their drama is fr... read moreont and center and it is a kind of irony that we already know their fate. Only in the last 30 minutes does the actually sinking occurs, but even then, the story sticks with the family until the very end. Whereas the '97 version had an unrelastic and sappy love story the first half, only to be rescued by a flawless second half, this 1953 version has a very realistic love story and a heartbreaking final act. It also tells its story just under 100 minutes, which is half of what Cameron needed to tell his.

    Grade: A-
  • March 20, 2010
    It was made in 1953 so you can see why the special effects were not all that special. Robert Wagner was so very young and played the love interest of the snobby girl. It did drag a little, but the characters were good as well as the acting .... I enjoyed it.
  • August 28, 2009
    Okay. Anyone who bitches that Cameron's version is "too Hollywood big budget" and sniffs their nose at it REALLY needs to see the '53 version with Stanwyck.

    Riddled with over romanticism, (complete with the likable boyfriend of the teenage daughter miraculously surviving by acci... read moredent by falling whilst heroically helping the boats down) big effects, and a just plain silly ending (not to mention a glossing over of the class struggle aboard the ship) with a sing along this movie epitomizes Hollywood in the 50's with it's "more is better."

    Don;'t get me wrong, that's partly it's strength and of course one of my favorite leading ladies of all time (Ms. Stanwyck) is absolutely wonderful as per usual but don't go in expecting anything more than a big Hollywood old movie.
  • July 14, 2009
    This bears little resemblance to the 1997 epic, this story focuses on a particular family and their ups and downs. Very engrossing and well written, great production and cast. Barbara Stanwyck is excellent as always.
  • March 9, 2009
    Saw this version and loved it. Was sad as the others. Not as glamerous but just as catastrophic. Love Barbara
    and Clifton in it.

Critic Reviews

Emanuel Levy
March 18, 2013
Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com

Though Stanwyck and Clifton Webb make for an unlikely married couple, this b/w Oscar-winning 1953 melodrama about the sinking of the famous liner is worth seeing. Full Review

Ryan Cracknell
January 19, 2005
Ryan Cracknell, Apollo Guide

Not as big as James Cameron's computer-generated bonanza, but it's nonetheless impressive. Full Review

James Sanford
October 7, 2004
James Sanford, Kalamazoo Gazette

Exciting, well-acted version of the infamous voyage

Ken Hanke
November 24, 2003
Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Manages to tell its tale in a compact 98 minutes. That's nearly 100 minutes less than it took James Cameron, and there's something to be said for that. Full Review

John J. Puccio
August 24, 2003
John J. Puccio, Movie Metropolis

...a good motion picture despite its shallow, often sentimental overtones. Full Review

Christopher Null
August 9, 2003
Christopher Null,

fair enough Full Review

March 26, 2009

Click to read the article Full Review

March 25, 2006
New York Times

Click to read the article Full Review

Geoff Andrew
February 9, 2006
Geoff Andrew, Time Out

Click to read the article Full Review

Chuck O'Leary
October 6, 2005
Chuck O'Leary, Fantastica Daily

No review available.

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Titanic Trivia

  • How old is Rose when she sailed on the Titanic in the movie " Titanic"?  Answer »
  • True or False? Director James Cameron drew the drawings that are included in Jack's portfolio in the movie "Titanic."  Answer »
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