‘Titanic’: James Cameron Reveals His Biggest Regret About the Movie

It’s safe to say that Titanic is James Cameron‘s most beloved film to date. While the director has made several other hits following the 1997 movie, nothing compares to the love story between Jack and Rose on the ship of dreams.

But because no movie is perfect, Cameron has one deep regret about Titanic that he wishes he could undo. Keep reading to find out what it was.

Director James Cameron(C) and actress Kate Winslet(L) and actor Leonardo DiCaprio(R) pose for photographers after Cameron won the award for Best Director for 'Titanic' at the 55th Annual Golden Globe Awards
Director James Cameron(C) and actress Kate Winslet(L) and actor Leonardo DiCaprio(R) pose for photographers after Cameron won the award for Best Director for ‘Titanic’ at the 55th Annual Golden Globe Awards | HAL GARB/AFP via Getty Images

‘Titanic’ is still one of the highest-grossing movies of all time

Titanic it is listed as the third highest-grossing movie of all time. (The first is James Cameron’s Avatar, followed by Avengers: Endgame.)

Not only did the film make history at the box office, but it also won the most Oscars of any movie in the history of the award show. (The film ties with Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King for the most wins.)

And while Cameron is surely proud of the film’s success, there is one thing that he would like to change: His portrayal of First Officer William McMaster Murdoch.

James Cameron’s ‘Titanic’ has a significant historical inaccuracy

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It’s safe to say that Cameron did a lot of research about the ship of dreams before making the film. But even so, some of his creative liberties as a screenwriter ended up being relatively insensitive. Specifically, his portrayal of First Officer William McMaster Murdoch.

In the film, the officer shoots a passenger on the ship, then shoots himself out of guilt. Yet portraying Murdoch as a murderer was not only historically inaccurate, but it also proved to be profoundly hurtful to his ancestors. In real life, First Officer William McMaster Murdoch was not a killer, but instead a hero.

Titanic First Officer William McMaster Murdoch, who is treated as a local hero in his native town of Dalbeattie. The executive vice-president of the 20th Century Fox studio, Scott Neeson, travelled to the Scottish town to apologize for their portrayal of the doomed liner's First Officer as a cowardly murderer
Titanic First Officer William McMaster Murdoch, who is treated as a local hero in his native town of Dalbeattie. The executive vice-president of the 20th Century Fox studio, Scott Neeson, travelled to the Scottish town to apologize for their portrayal of the doomed liner’s First Officer as a cowardly murderer | PA Images via Getty Images

“To many people, he is a Scottish hero,” a source told USA Today. “He did his duty, loaded up more people onto the lifeboats than other officers, and he responded as best he could to the task assigned to him.”

Yet when Titanic depicted him as a man who was capable of murder, his family members were understandably upset. As a result, Cameron realized how insensitive his depiction was.

James Cameron regrets his portrayal of First Officer William McMaster Murdock

Passengers on RMS Titanic, Photographs and information about notable people connected with Titanic | Universal Images Group/Getty Images

“In the case of First Officer William McMaster Murdoch, I took the liberty of showing him shoot somebody and then shoot himself,” Cameron tells USA Today. “He’s a named character; he wasn’t a generic officer. We don’t know that he did that, but you know the storyteller in me says, ‘Oh.’ I start connecting the dots: he was on duty, he’s carrying all this burden with him, made him an interesting character.

“But I was being a screenwriter,” Cameron continues. “I wasn’t thinking about being a historian, and I think I wasn’t as sensitive about the fact that his family, his survivors, might feel offended by that, and they were.”