A Night to Remember



1950s British take on Titanic tragedy is a masterpiece.
  • Review Date: January 27, 2012
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Classic
  • Release Year: 1958
  • Running Time: 123 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

In the midst of horrible tragedy, individuals find inner strength to face disaster with courage and bravery.

Positive role models

Extraordinary instances of selfless heroism and stoic bravery in the face of profound tragedy.


A character jumps off the Titanic to his certain death. A woman leaving the Titanic for one of the life boats gets trapped between the two before she's rescued. As panic ensues as the ship goes down, characters push, shove, and fight each other for survival. The ship ultimately sinks, and many are presumed dead.


A character talks to his wife about picking up lingerie for her when the Titanic arrives in New York.


Rare language includes "bastard" and "hell."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters smoke cigars and drink while they play cards. A member of the crew drinks an entire bottle of scotch in his quarters as the ship sinks. Other passengers are shown turning to drink as the Titanic takes on more and more water.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that A Night to Remember adheres more closely to the actual event than the better-known Hollywood depiction of the Titanic disaster. Filmed in near real-time to the actual disaster, many characters begin to realize that the odds of surviving are slim at best, and impending death is faced in many different manners. Also, characters are often seen smoking and drinking as they spend time in the lavish dining area or prepare to face death.

What's the story?

A NIGHT TO REMEMBER is a 1958 film about the RMS Titanic's sinking in April of 1912. Made in England and based on a well-researched book of the same name by Walter Lord, the film shows in near-real time (only 37 minutes shorter than the actual event) the crew and passengers' myriad reactions as the ship sinks. Extraordinary bravery, stoic heroism, and numerous speculations are given full treatment, and even as everyone familiar with history (or the James Cameron film) knows how this will end, A Night to Remember is, ultimately, a testament to the valor of the crew (portrayed brilliantly by, among others, Kenneth More and Richard Leech) and of anonymous passengers as an "unsinkable ship" is sunk.

Is it any good?


While a fantastic movie on its own terms, A NIGHT TO REMEMBER is a fascinating counterpart to a certain Hollywood blockbuster also telling the story of the RMS Titanic's sinking. With probably 1/100th of Titanic's budget, A Night to Remember puts its faith far less on screaming special effects, blaring orchestral music, and romantic leading men, and far more on what actually happened, and (since this is an  British film) the stiff upper-lipped stoicism of an English crew doing everything in their power to rescue the passengers in the face of difficult odds.

Those familiar with the films of Robert Altman might detect a similar treatment of story here -- as the camera spends a few minutes with the crew, then the passengers eating in the lush dining room, then the workers in the boiler room, the immigrants riding in third class, lingering long enough to get a sense of what's happening and layering it until the viewer gets an economical sketch of what's happening on the entire ship. Countless instances of heroism, courage, and fearlessness are displayed here, as are panic, fear, and the impending sense of tragedy when the last remnant of the Titanic sinks into the ocean. The pacing of the film is extraordinary, and even if you know how it's going to end, the depiction of the tragedy still affects us, 100 years later.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the similarities and differences between A Night to Remember and Titanic. How do the two films handle the passage of time? How do the characters depicted compare? What about the background music, special effects? Is one film more effective?

  • Why do you think the real-life sinking of the Titanic still fascinates us, one hundred years later?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 16, 1958
DVD release date:March 27, 2012
Cast:Honor Blackman, Kenneth More, Michael Goodliffe
Director:Roy Ward Baker
Studio:Criterion Collection
Run time:123 minutes
MPAA rating:NR
Awards/Honors:Golden Globe

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old September 21, 2012

A book to film

Nowadays, black and white movies are rare, this film directed is by Mr.Walter Lord.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 12 years old October 6, 2012

Best film

My favorite movie of all time! A night to remember focuses on what actually happened, and doesn't have fake characters(not that I know of). The Titanic sinks, but it isn't as gruesome or frightening(for younger children) as Cameron's Titanic. A few characters kiss(women kiss their men before they go into a lifeboat), at the beginning Lightoller(the main person) talks about buying garters for his wife, and they briefly kiss. A few characters might swear, and the first class passengers do drink, and smoke. The chef gets drunk. I would say yes for children 9 and up, since the movie doesn't have much violence, except for the boat sinking, water bursting through walls, people jumping from a horrible height(certainty to their death), plates breaking, and a funnel falling and crushing two characters. The movie has very good scenes of Titanic sinking for 1958, and good characters. I think a must see
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 16 years old Written bylupita16 May 14, 2012

Great movie!

this movie just brings back memories(:
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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