A Timeline of the 'Could Jack Have Fit on the Titanic Door' Debate (2022)

It’s been more than two decades since James Cameron’s Titanic hit theaters and the love story of Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) took the world by storm. But even 22 years after the movie’s release, audiences are still debating whether or not Jack could have fit on the door that saved Rose from dying in the icy waters of the northern Atlantic.

As anyone who has seen Titanic knows, the scene in which Jack freezes to death in the ocean after getting Rose safely on top of the door is one of the movie’s saddest. But there are some Titanic fans who feel that that there was plenty of room for Jack to wait to be rescued right alongside Rose.

The question of whether Jack could have fit on the door has sparked an intense debate that continues to this day. During a recent video interview with MTV News to promote his new movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, DiCaprio himself was asked to weigh in on the “biggest movie controversy of all time.”

But before we wade into DiCaprio’s response, let’s take a look back at the modern cinema debate of our time through the years.

December 1997: Titanic hits theaters

A Timeline of the 'Could Jack Have Fit on the Titanic Door' Debate (1)

Kate Winslet offers her hand to Leonardo DiCaprio in a scene from the film Titanic, 1997.

(Video) A "Titanic" Myth: Would Jack Have Survived if Rose Had Shared the Door?

20th Century-Fox/ Archive Photos—Getty Images

Audiences first saw how Jack’s death played out and started to wonder if he could have fit on the door and been saved from an untimely end.

April 2012: The Jack and Rose door meme

In a series of photos that went viral, Jack fans demonstrated a number of positions that they believed would have allowed both Jack and Rose to comfortably fit on the floating door.

October 2012: The Mythbusters get involved

After the Jack and Rose door meme brought the debate back into the spotlight, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, the duo behind the Discovery Channel show Mythbusters, decided to use an exact replica of the door from the movie to find out for themselves whether Jack’s death could’ve been prevented. At first, it seemed as though Jack had been right about not being able to fit alongside his lady love. But after Savage suggested that they tie Hyneman’s — a.k.a. Rose’s — life jacket to the bottom of the door to reinforce its buoyancy, they both managed to stay afloat.

October 2017: Neil deGrasse Tyson weighs in

A Timeline of the 'Could Jack Have Fit on the Titanic Door' Debate (2)

Titanic, 1997.

(Video) Céline Dion Settles the Jack and Rose Titanic Door Debate

Paramount Pictures

Contrary to what you might except, famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s thoughts on the Titanic door scene had nothing to do with the science of the matter. During a 2017 interview with The Huffington Post, deGrasse Tyson revealed that his problem with the scene stemmed from Jack’s half-hearted attempt to get on the door in the first place.

“Whether or not he could’ve been successful, I would’ve tried more than once,” he said. “You try once. ‘Oh, this is not gonna work. I will just freeze to death in the water.’ No, excuse me. No! The survival instinct is way stronger than that in everybody, especially in that character. He’s a survivor, right? He gets through. He gets by.”

November 2017: Doing the math

A Timeline of the 'Could Jack Have Fit on the Titanic Door' Debate (3)

Titanic

Merie Weismiller Wallace—Paramount

The Mythbusters may have completed a successful trial run of the life-jacket-under-the-door theory, but it was a trio of Westminster, Australia students who proved the math behind the idea was valid. According to The Advertiser, Abigail Wicks, Christy Zhang, and Julia Damato’s work even earned them the top spot in the Year 10 section of the 2017 National Maths Talent Quest.

“We looked at how buoyant the door would have been, and how that would have changed if there were people on top of that,” Wicks said. “There was a lot of exploring and testing, and we had to fiddle with different buoyancies and look at what materials were realistic for that time.”

January 2017: James Cameron debunks Mythbusters

A Timeline of the 'Could Jack Have Fit on the Titanic Door' Debate (4)

Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic, 1997.

Courtesy of Paramount 20th Century Fox and Paramount

(Video) Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt & Margot Robbie on 'Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood' | MTV News

Despite appearing on the Mythbusters episode in which Hyneman and Savage appeared to prove that it would have been possible for Jack to survive, Titanic director James Cameron later told The Daily Beast that the idea that Jack would’ve been able to succesfully tie a life jacket to the bottom of the door before climbing on top was pure nonsense.

“Look, it’s very, very simple: you read page 147 of the script and it says, ‘Jack gets off the board and gives his place to her so that she can survive.’ It’s that simple. You can do all the post-analysis you want,” he said when asked about the infamous door scene. “So you’re talking about the Mythbusters episode, right? Where they sort of pop the myth? OK, so let’s really play that out: you’re Jack, you’re in water that’s 28 degrees, your brain is starting to get hypothermia. Mythbusters asks you to now go take off your life vest, take hers off, swim underneath this thing, attach it in some way that it won’t just wash out two minutes later—which means you’re underwater tying this thing on in 28-degree water, and that’s going to take you five to 10 minutes, so by the time you come back up you’re already dead. So that wouldn’t work. His best choice was to keep his upper body out of the water and hope to get pulled out by a boat or something before he died. They’re fun guys and I loved doing that show with them, but they’re full of s—t.”

February 2019: James Cameron disses the debate

By the time 2019 rolled around, Cameron was apparently even more over hearing people argue that Jack could’ve fit on the door. During an appearance on the BBC series Movies That Made Me, Cameron told BBC Radio 1 film critic Ali Plumb that the controversy over the door was besides the point.

“I’ve never really seen it as a debate, it’s just stupid,” Cameron said. “There’s no debate. But if you really want to unearth all the dumbass arguments associated with it…I mean, let’s go back to, could Romeo have been smart and not taken the poison? Yes. Could he have decided not to bring his little dagger just in case Juliet might stab herself with it? Yes, absolutely. It sort of misses the point.”

July 2019: DiCaprio has no comment

And now, DiCaprio’s thoughts on the matter. While chatting with MTV News alongside his Once Upon a Time in Hollywood co-stars Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie, DiCaprio was asked whether he thought both Jack and Rose could have fit on the door. DiCaprio understandably replied that he had “no comment,” but that didn’t stop Pitt and Robbie from needling him for a real answer.

(Video) Kate Winslet Finally Admits That Jack Could've Lived in 'Titanic!'

“Could you, could you have squeezed in there? You could’ve, couldn’t you?” Pitt asked him.

“Did you mention it at the time? Were you like, should we make the door smaller…,” Robbie added.

DiCaprio, for his part, stuck to his guns. “Like I said, I have no comment,” he replied.

January 2020: Brad Pitt still hasn’t let go

Instead of accepting Jack’s fate, Brad Pitt seems to have grown only more sure in his conviction that his dear pal Leo could have been saved from a watery grave. While accepting the award for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture at the 2020 Golden Globes, Pitt expressed tremendous gratitude for his Once Upon a Time in Hollywood co-star. But he couldn’t resist getting in a good Titanic quip while he was at it.

“Before The Revenant, I used to watch year after year his costars accept awards and get up and thank him profusely,” Pitt said. “I know why: He’s an all-star, he’s a gent, and I wouldn’t be here without you, man. I thank you. Still, I would’ve shared the raft.”

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FAQs

Could Jack have fit on that door at the end of Titanic? ›

Could Jack have fit on the door? Cameron is correct in his claim about the raft's buoyancy; the raft, as it was shown in the movie, couldn't have taken the combined weight of both Jack and Rose. Still, that doesn't mean that nothing could have been done to prevent Jack's unfortunate demise.

Would Jack have been able to fit on the door? ›

In the movie titanic, it wasn't a door! It was a door frame, that rose couldn't make room on! It was a door frame, that rose couldn't make room on! Defiant fans, however, maintain that regardless of what part of a doorway it is, Jack could have still fit.

Could Jack have survived on the door with Rose? ›

In 2013, pop-science show MythBusters attempted to nix it once and for all, concluding that, yes, Rose could have scooched over a bit, and Jack would have lived dishily ever after. But only if Rose had removed her lifejacket and given it to Jack to tie it beneath the portion of door he would then be occupying.

What is the Titanic door debate? ›

It's a question that has dominated popular culture since 1997: Could Jack Dawson have fit on the wooden panel in the blockbuster Titanic?

Why Jack couldn't have fit on the door? ›

"The answer is very simple because it says on page 147 [of the script] that Jack dies," he told Vanity Fair. He continued: "Obviously it was an artistic choice, the thing was just big enough to hold her, and not big enough to hold him. "Had he lived, the ending of the film would have been meaningless.

Who didn't put enough lifeboats on the Titanic? ›

Other ships were in a similar situation; 33 of the 39 British liners over 10,000 tons did not have enough lifeboats for all aboard (the six that did were marginally over 10,000 tons). RMS Carmania was perhaps the worst of them, with only enough lifeboats for 29% of her occupants.

How could Jack have survived? ›

The MythBusters crew discovered the method Jack and Rose could have tried to ensure his survival. Rose would have needed to tie her life jacket underneath the doorframe to assist with its buoyancy, so their combined weight wouldn't have sunk the doorframe further down into the ocean.

Could Jack have been saved? ›

Turns out, both could have fit—but as MythBusters noted, the physics of buoyancy pushed Jack to his fate. To keep afloat and out of the water just enough to survive, Jack and Rose would have had to tie a life jacket underneath the door to make it more buoyant.

Could Jack Dawson have survived? ›

Yet after trying to get on more than once and finding their balance, both MythBusters fit on the raft. In the end, they believe that if Rose tied her life jacket underneath the door, it would have kept them afloat. Adam says, “80% of my body is out of the water and in the air.” Thus, Jack and Rose would have survived.

Why didn't Jack and Rose take turns on the door? ›

“The answer is very simple because it says on page 147 [of the script] that Jack dies,” the director said. “Very simple.” Cameron went on to express dismay at being still asked about the artistic choice: “I think it's all kind of silly, really, that we're having this discussion 20 years later.

Was Jack dead when Rose let go? ›

Ultimately, Jack had to die.

Even filmmaker James Cameron agrees. In an interview with Vanity Fair (opens in new tab), Cameron was asked why Rose didn't make room for Jack. His response was straightforward: "Because it says on page 147 [of the script] that Jack dies."

Was Jack Dawson a figment of Rose's imagination? ›

Yes, we put it to you that cheeky chappy Jack Dawson, with his impossibly chiselled cheekbones and his Joie de vivre spirit, was indeed too good to be true: he was merely a figment of Rose DeWitt Bukater's imagination as she suffered a psychotic episode aboard the Titanic at her lowest ebb.

Did Rose and Jack exist? ›

It's Jack and Rose's movie, but a lot of the people they meet had their own incredible stories. You probably already knew that Jack and Rose, the main characters in the 1997 movie Titanic, weren't real. Like all films “based on a true story,” the movie added its own fictional elements to historical events.

How long were Jack and Rose in the water? ›

That's when they tied Rose's life jacket underneath the board, which raised it enough that they could position 80 percent of their bodies out of the water while resting on the board without needing to hold on. They made it 63 minutes.

Was Jack Dawson real? ›

Were Jack and Rose based on real people? No. Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater, portrayed in the movie by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, are almost entirely fictional characters (James Cameron modeled the character of Rose after American artist Beatrice Wood, who had no connection to Titanic history).

How much weight could the Titanic door hold? ›

If the door were teak, the weight would be 2,440N, oak would be 1,147N and pine tops out at 617N. Teak would barely float on its own so Rose and Jack would be headed into an eternity of sappy music together.

What does Jack say to Rose at the end of Titanic? ›

You must do me this honor... promise me you will survive....that you will never give up...not matter what happens... no matter how hopeless... promise me now, and never let go of that promise.

Did Rose from Titanic survive? ›

In 1912 she was returning to America aboard the RMS Titanic, with her aristocratic fiancé Caledon Hockley. However, during the voyage she and third-class passenger Jack Dawson fell in love. The voyage came to an abrupt end when the ship struck ice and sank. Rose survived the ship's sinking, but Jack did not.

What if the Titanic had enough lifeboats? ›

If Titanic had had twice as many lifeboats, sufficient to carry all on board, she would have needed twice the number of deck crew, or certainly those she did have would have needed to be very much better trained in launching lifeboats and better organized.

Did the Titanic not have enough lifeboats? ›

The second critical safety lapse that contributed to the loss of so many lives was the inadequate number of lifeboats carried on Titanic. A mere 16 boats, plus four Engelhardt “collapsibles,” could accommodate just 1,178 people.

How much of the Titanic is left? ›

The ship, which fell to the seabed in two parts, can now be found 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland at a depth of roughly 12,600 feet. Fields of debris surround each part of the wreck, including some of the ship's bunkers, passengers' luggage, wine bottles and even the intact face of a child's porcelain doll.

Why did Rose throw the diamond? ›

This symbolizes her letting go of Jack after finally telling her story not only to Lovett and crew but to her granddaughter, thus lifting a weight off her shoulders, while also making sure that nobody found it.

Why did Rose push Jack? ›

The idea is that there was ample space for both Rose and Jack to fit on the makeshift raft on which Rose staves off hypothermia before being saved. But instead of sharing, Rose lets Jack cede the entire board to her, leaving him to freeze in the water as she dramatically grips his hands.

Do Jack and Rose say I love you? ›

Granted, Rose appears to pass away at the end of the film just as Jack predicted she would, as "an old lady warm in her bed." Her spirit then goes back down to the Titanic to marry Jack in front of all their friends from the ship, but still, no "I love you."

Where is Jack Dawson buried? ›

Mr. Dawson is one of 121 people from the Titanic buried at Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia, their graves arranged in the shape of a ship's hull. It is the largest collection of Titanic graves in the world.

Did Rose lie in Titanic? ›

TIL People Don't Realize It Wasn't A Door At The End Of "Titanic" That Rose Was On. Rose was actually on a door FRAME.

Were there any bones found on the Titanic? ›

PUBLISHED: October 18, 2020 at 10:25 a.m. | UPDATED: October 18, 2020 at 10:31 a.m. NORFOLK, Va. — People have been diving to the Titanic's wreck for 35 years. No one has found human remains, according to the company that owns the salvage rights.

How old was Rose from the Titanic when she died? ›

Answer: Yes, she died on Mar 12, 1998 at the age of 105. Question: Are all stories of Jack and Rose from Titanic false? Answer: Yes, the storyline of Jack and Rose is all fictional. Many of the other people and events in the movie were based on real people on the Titanic.

Why did Rose throw the diamond? ›

This symbolizes her letting go of Jack after finally telling her story not only to Lovett and crew but to her granddaughter, thus lifting a weight off her shoulders, while also making sure that nobody found it.

What does Jack say to Rose at the end of Titanic? ›

You must do me this honor... promise me you will survive....that you will never give up...not matter what happens... no matter how hopeless... promise me now, and never let go of that promise.

Did Rose from Titanic survive? ›

In 1912 she was returning to America aboard the RMS Titanic, with her aristocratic fiancé Caledon Hockley. However, during the voyage she and third-class passenger Jack Dawson fell in love. The voyage came to an abrupt end when the ship struck ice and sank. Rose survived the ship's sinking, but Jack did not.

How cold was the water when the Titanic sank? ›

The temperature of the water was -2.2 degrees Celsius when Titanic was sinking.

Videos

1. Celine Dion Settles Debate On Whether Jack Could Have Fit On 'Titanic' Door
(Access)
2. Could Jack have survived in ‘Titanic’? | Han and Ann get answers | The Washington Post
(Washington Post)
3. Titanic Ending Explained: Why Jack Had to Die
(The Take)
4. Mythbusters Settle 'Titanic' Debate
(Fandom Entertainment)
5. Titanic: Infamous ‘plot hole’ was explained by James Cameron years ago
(Breaking News Now)
6. TITANIC escape! Jack wala si ROSE.
(The Wix VLOG)

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