The sort of film you know like the back of your hand, James Cameron’s three-hour, world-beating period-disaster-romance is one of a select few in cinema’s arsenal that hits the target every time, no matter how often you see it. A two-studio co-production released on a wave of hype, anticipation and delay, it looked ready for a critical mauling and backlash during Christmas 1997, but proved every naysayer wrong and wooed the Academy. Why? Well, you can moan about Cameron’s script, which is not always subtle, and wince at the fiddly-diddly portrayal of the Irish, and cringe at Celine Dion’s heart going on. But when the ship goes down you’d better be ready, as you’ll be drawn in from the moment the drawn-on ship hoves into view in Southampton. Once it hits that iceberg, there’s simply no leaving the room. The modern-day salvage-crew framing device works like a dream, the protracted sinking remains breathtaking, and when Rose blows that whistle resistance is futile.
For more of today’s free-to-air films, see our TV listings
Order your copy of the Radio Times Guide to Films 2017