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4.2 out of 5 stars93
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 11 July 2015
This movie must be viewed purely for its entertainment value and not for its historical accuracy or feasibility. Some critics have, in my opinion, ridiculed this movie based on these criteria....... and unjustly so. It is a great story, be it far fetched, with special effects that were created without the use of computer generated images. Brilliant stuff for the 80's. With a magnificent sound track, photography and entertaining storyline, give it a watch....for what it is,..........a movie to enjoy.
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Not bad, just rather dull
"Dirk Pitt. What kind of a name is that? Sounds like a pirate."

A one-time Stanley Kramer project before he jumped ship after a couple of weeks' filming, Raise the Titanic is one of those films that isn't really that bad, it just isn't much good. It handles the exposition and setup briskly and efficiently and the raising of the wreck genuinely spectacularly, but everything inbetween is just tedious and undramatic. A huge problem is the decision to drop the parallel narrative from the book: where the film only concentrates on the modern-day story, which means lots of looking at sonar screens while mini-subs float around in the darkest depths of the ocean for almost as long as it took the ship to sink, the book livened things up with the ship's maiden voyage and sinking as well (the sinking was filmed, but Lew Grade was dissatisfied with the footage and cut it, replacing it with a photo montage overture of the construction of the ship: part of the deleted footage turned up on a 1983 episode of US TV series Voyagers).

Other plot strands, such as the unmasking of a Soviet spy, are handled in the most uninterestingly perfunctory way possible, while Anne Archer's reporter, who conveniently happens to be the current girlfriend of one of the male leads and the ex-girlfriend of another, seems there purely to try to create a bit more antagonism between the guys and break the story before being promptly forgotten about. And true to its disaster movie-in-reverse premise, there's no real threat or tension: a standoff with the Russians is easily dispensed with while the possibility of a much-needed exciting setpiece when the raised Titanic ("a ship that never learned to do anything but sink") is threatened by a storm is quickly averted by a jump cut to New York.

The end result is by the rules storytelling that keeps everything under two hours, but which keeps everything pretty flat as well. Still, it has its moments - Alec Guinness' cameo as a sailor who's had more ships sunk from under him than Only Fools and Horses' Uncle Albert, a stylish scene of floodlights sinking to the ocean floor that's shot as part underwater ballet, part soft focus romantic dream scene, the billowing clouds of silt caused by explosions completely swallowing the wreck, Richard Jordan wandering through the ghostly skeleton of the Titanic's ballroom, the image of the raised Titanic sailing into New York past the Twin Towers inadvertently linking the first great civilian tragedy of the 20th century with the first great civilian tragedy of the 21st - it has a very nice score by John Barry and the raising itself is well worth its encore under the end credits. It's hard to imagine modern CGi effects having half the impact of the film's impressive 55-foot model doing it the hard way, and it's striking just how remarkably close the earlier scenes of the discovery of the wreck are to the footage of the genuine wreck's discovery five years later.

Sadly, while the film looks good in its original Scope ratio, Carlton's UK DVD is cropped to 1.85:1 - for the full original 2.35:1 widescreen version you need to track down the Australian, Swedish PAL DVDs or Network's more recent UK DVD, though considering the amount of material available for the film at the time of its release (such as the Clapperboard TV special, the mock news report documentary that can be found on the internet or the additional trailer) the extras are rather skimpy.

Shout Factory's Region A-locked Blu-ray and DVD combo is a better proposition, offering a decent 2.35:1 widescreen transfer, though one that rarely pops or dazzles you with detail, a new 23-minute documentary concentrating on the effects work with interviews with cinematographer Matthew F. Leonetti, model unit director Ricou Browning (the original Creature from the Black Lagoon himself!), model and mechanical effects supervisor John Richardson and underwater camera operator Mike Ferris and the full theatrical trailer, which makes it all look a lot more exciting than it is (but sadly not the teaser comparing the film to the birth of flight and man landing on the Moon).

By contrast, Network's pending UK Blu-ray promises a music suite from John Barry's score (Barry is given almost as prominent billing on the cover as the Titanic itself), stills galleries and trailer.
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Brilliant release, and a very good upgrade to Blu-ray there are loads of good features plus a nice little booklet. But what I love about this film was the beautiful soundtrack that was composed by the late John Barry, plus a great cast which includes Jason Robards, Alec Gunness, David Selby. I know this film was a big flop at the Box Office, and most critics hated it, but who cares, I love it. Network are doing some brilliant old classic films, and hopefully more and more to come.
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on 7 December 2013
Contrary to what are stating I have in writing from Shout Factory that the aspect ratio from their new Blu Ray release of "Raise The Titanic" is the correct one of 2.35 : 1. At the same time they will not say if any extras will be included. As for the reviewer who states that it should be 2.20 : 1 this only applied to the few 70mm prints that were made. This great movie should look great on BD, and I hope that Shout Factory follow it up with ITCs "Green Ice".
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on 8 May 2007
I fail to see where the previous reveiwer came to the conclusion of material available that could have been used in this DVDs release.

Being the UK's historian on "Raise The Titanic" of which I supplied (at the last minute) all that is seen in the 'special features' section, I can say that there is very little out there on this movie. There was no "official" making-of documentary made for this film, except for a promotional sales gimmick put together in 1980. Sadly this could not be used due to time contraints. No deleated scenes exsist anymore for this film, the original 12 minute sinking footage is currently in the hands of a private collector who will not release it and any "behind-the-scenes" footage (again) could not be used due to time constraints and copyright.

Before I became involved with the dvd, all that was going to be seen on the dvd was the film. And with the VERY little time I had to put together material from my private collection (including images not seen until now), the outcome for this release was far better than it was originally planned.

However, there is a possibility of a future release in a couple of years time of a "Special Edition" version of "Raise The Titanic", which will feature a lot more material from my private collection.

Mr J Smith (Titanic Historian - United Kingdom)
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on 25 November 2010
I remember seeing this movie in the theater back in 1980 and it became one of my favorites. The story was interesting and John Barry composed a majestic score to complement it. This followed his great work on the 1979 films "Moonraker" and "The Black Hole." I bought the videocassette version of it a few years later but it didn't do the film justice. No home video version released in the United States (Region 1) presented this film in its full aspect ratio (2.35:1).

Then I searched online in the United Kingdom (Region 2) and found it. This is the version of the film I've always wanted. Full letterbox format, not pan and scan, with the original Dolby Surround soundtrack.

The theatrical trailer and extras including a photo collection of the Titanic model used in the film are fantastic.

This film is a great percursor to the actual discovery of the Titanic.

Although it can't compare to James Cameron's "Titanic" with regard to special effects, its story is no less compelling. I consider it to be a great companion to that film.
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on 8 April 2016
Great film! However Clive Cussler didn't like, but it's my kind. I always thought what it would be like if Titanic's wheel be raised, at least. It is one of the films Robert Ballard saw, hours before he founded Titanic.
The film DO have good plot, and there is good acting. They're trying to retreive the ship's supposed asset Titanium, and we will see how they try to raise her. This just speaks for itself and to me a great plot! I bought the VHS because I like to watch 80's films on VHS. Just 4 plus star movie really. And recommended to any Titanic buff.
The film became more popular much after it went on cinema. Years after, so Cussler did get his investment payed off. As for me, however i don't think to raise the ship is great idea, but still, the wheel...
Just go buy it. Great film!!
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I not only have to give it five stars due to my contribution to this release, but Raise the Titanic was my first big screen Titanic experience back in December 1980. Back then the film was relevant to the numerous expeditions that were set-up to find and possibly raise the "unsinkable". A lot of that has been lost since the discovery of the real Titanic, but the film can and does stand alone in a work of science fiction with Titanic as the backdrop. Based around the 1976 international novel of the same name by Clive Cussler, the story involves the efforts of the U.S trying to locate the sunken liner to retrieve from her cargo hold a rare mineral that could prevent a future war while being pitted against Russia who want to do the same. Due to many issues with not only the films production, the cold war story which was cut and rewrote several times to keep peace between nations while making America and the U.S Navy look the hero's in the story, these effected the overall appearance of the film. However, the film does have a certain appeal to it among fans and those who were brought up on old school Titanic movies, long before James Cameron sailed his ship onto the big screen. There are times the dialogue appears cheesy and there are times that the acting is a bit wooden but you cannot deny the sight of the mighty Titanic erupting up from the depths in slow motion as water pours from her decks and portholes is not something that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end along with John Barry's stunning Bond style action score. With this new release from Network (I also worked with them on their 2007 DVD release), the film had been given the HD treatment. It is not without flaw, and there is a certain amount of grain within the picture that maybe the perfectionist may not like. Sound wise, the film has the option of stereo or 5.1 surround sound. What gives this release the position for being purchased is the special features which includes a detailed booklet about John Barry and the films score, inner sleeve notes on the films Titanic "hero" model (which I authored), trailer, PDF files on the film and actors and a wealth of behind-the-scenes photographs from publicity to private and many previously unreleased (again, something I supplied for this release). It has been 35 years since Lew Grade's Raise the Titanic hit the big screens and, despite the many false notions the film flopped, the film was actually well received and never became a symbol of disaster in filmography. Lew Grade did quip once "Raise the Titanic? ha, it would have been cheaper to have lowered the Atlantic", but that was in response to how his company collapsed following being taken over by another media mogul of the time. Despite the background to the film containing Titanic, her symbol of disaster of loss of life, this film is a break from the traditional Titanic movies and offers something different and something that has never been done again. In today's society of films being CGI laden, this film takes the viewer back to a time when miniatures were used and passed off with realism. The miniature Titanic (weighing 10 tons and 55 feet in length) was and still remains one of the largest Titanic miniatures ever made. It was a huge undertaking in itself just to raise *that* from the water tanks. The impressive miniature and work carried out by the FX team shows on screen with such finesse. In all, the film is very much like Marmite - you either love it or hate it. But give it a try and add the film to your Titanic collection.
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VINE VOICEon 13 September 2009
Famously, Lew Grade spoke at the time this movie came out of the huge budget, saying it would have been cheaper to lower the Atlantic. Now, it's very difficult to see what the fuss was about, one way or another. On one hand, it's not nearly as bad as its reputation would suggest. There's a decent cold war thriller in there somewhere. The cast are fine, too.. even the odd cameo from Alec Guinness as a remaining survivor of the Titanic.
The plot is somewhat troublesome (one is tempted to describe it as being all-at-sea), especially given that since the movie was made the actual Titanic was found - in two pieces. However, the explanations of how it might be raised are reasonably convincing in a pre-discovery context. Even the special effects could be worse.. . so in fact, it's the direction that's to blame. For one thing, too much time in near darkness with submersibles buzzing around in slow motion. Critically, the real action elements of the book have been gutted, to spend time on ogling the model of the Titanic and interior set of its Drawing room. In the book, there were scenes set during the sinking of the Titanic which added both interest and suspense, and then after the raising there is a whole subplot with Russian agents coming aboard, which has been excised.. now what we are left with is the building up of cold war tension, resolved in a moment and the Russian shrugs his shoulders and leaves.. hardly `thrilling'. In short, the movie is likely to abide with you for all the wrong reasons.
It is a curiosity, which may be of interest to some in spite of its flaws... but to add insult to injury it is ill served in this budget release. The extras are mostly photographs, when surely there would be much to tell in a making off documentary, or even more about the Titanic herself. Some of the photographs allude to cut scenes including from the Titanic going down, which surely would have been of interest. A missed opportunity then, to turn a much maligned movie into at least an interesting collector's piece. And one final comment - surely of all films, this one was crying out for... liner notes..?
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on 15 August 2003
After years of waiting, the ITC classic "Raise The Titanic!" has been finaly released on DVD for the United Kingdom. The film has always been a personal favourite of mine and so I was very excited to receive news of its release. The packaging is colourful, its a pleasure to view the original film trailer from 1980, but the highlight for me was the chance to view the film in its restored state and widescreen format. They have done a wonderful job of cleaning up the film, restoring the old sound and quality and all at a very good price too. If you are into the Titanic this is one film you MUST have in your collection.
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