Raise the Titanic
Raise The Titanic Movie Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jerry Jameson
Produced by William Frye
Lord Grade (Uncredited)
Screenplay by Adam Kennedy
Story by Eric Hughes (Adaptation)
Based on Raise the Titanic! by
Clive Cussler
Starring Jason Robards
Richard Jordan
David Selby
Anne Archer
Sir Alec Guinness
Music by John Barry
Cinematography Matthew F. Leonetti
Editing by Robert F. Shugrue
J. Terry Williams
Studio ITC Entertainment
Distributed by Associated Film Distribution
Release date(s)
  • August 1, 1980 (1980-08-01)
Running time 114 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $40 million[1]
Box office $7,000,000[1]

Raise the Titanic is a 1980 adventure film by Lord Grade's ITC Entertainment, directed by Jerry Jameson, and written by Eric Hughes (adaptation) and Adam Kennedy (screenplay). The film stars Jason Robards, Richard Jordan, David Selby, Anne Archer, and Sir Alec Guinness. The film's tagline was "Once they said God himself couldn't sink her. Then they said no man on earth could reach her. Now—you will be there when we... RAISE THE TITANIC".

The film was inspired by Clive Cussler's novel Raise the Titanic!. The film, however, was poorly received by critics and proved to be a box office bomb, losing most of its estimated $40 million budget. The film only grossed about $7 million in box office revenue plus $6.8 million in rentals, totaling $13.8 million altogether. Grade, one of its major backers, is famously said to have remarked that "it would have been cheaper to lower the Atlantic".[2]


A group of Americans, none of whom have any experience in raising large ships from the sea bed, are hired to raise the famous Belfast-built ocean liner RMS Titanic from the North Atlantic. They hope to obtain a rare mineral that the US Armed Forces can use for a sound beam that can take down missiles as they enter US airspace. The Soviet Union also wants to salvage the vast ship because they claim they own the rare mineral.



The film was shot in 1978, but remained unreleased until 1980. The production spent a large amount of its budget converting the old Greek ocean liner SS Athinai into a replica of the Titanic and creating a scale model for the underwater scenes. In the film, the wreck appears as an intact vessel on the ocean floor, as the actual state of the ship was not known at the time of filming, as the wreck of the real Titanic was not found until 1985. Model filming was undertaken at Mediterranean Film Studios near Kalkara, Malta, using one of the world's first horizon tanks to create the illusion of a ship at sea.

Following the completion of filming, the scale model was left to rust for 30 years at the side of the horizon tank. In January 2003, a storm caused damage to the model. By 2012, the remains of the metal structure has been moved to a new location close to the sea.


Renowned Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning English composer John Barry created the film's musical score, which became the most acclaimed aspect of the production. Though the original recordings of the music have been lost, Silva Screen Records has since commissioned a re-recording of the complete score with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra in 1999. Christian Clemmensen, reviewer of, later considered it one of the best of Barry's career, stating, "When the film came out in the theatres, the score was a remarkably fresh and unique experience, and out of the novelty of that style of music arose the popularity of techniques that would inform Barry's Oscar-winning efforts for Out of Africa and Dances With Wolves."[3]


Box officeEdit

The film only grossed $7 million at the box office plus $6.8 million in video rentals, for a total of $13.8 million.[1] The film's box office failure prompted Lord Grade to comment that "it would have been cheaper to lower the Atlantic".[2][4] Raise The Titanic, along with other contemporary flops, has been credited with prompting Grade's withdrawal from continued involvement with the film industry.


The film received many negative reviews but received some positive reviews because of its musical score. Author Clive Cussler was so disgusted with the film that he refused every film company that wanted to adapt a film from one of his books. (When the film Sahara was made, Cussler sued the filmmakers, though he did approve of the two lead actors.)

Although Raise the Titanic scores lower with users at 43%, it received a 60% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.


Nominated: Worst Picture
Nominated: Worst Supporting Actor
Nominated: Worst Screenplay


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Raise the Titanic - Box Office Data". The Numbers. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Fowler, Rebecca (31 August 1996), "'It would be cheaper to lower the Atlantic'", The Independent (London),, retrieved 2009-05-11 
  3. Clemmensen, Christian. Raise the Titanic soundtrack review. Retrieved 2011-06-24.
  4. Kennedy, Duncan (25 August 2012). "Australian billionaire on mission to recreate Titanic". BBC News (BBC). Retrieved 25 August 2012. 

External linksEdit

Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Raise the Titanic (film).
The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Titanic Database Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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