A Night to Remember

Critics Consensus

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100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 20

90%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 10,430
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A Night to Remember Photos

Movie Info

This meticulous re-creation of the sinking of the Titanic was adapted by Eric Ambler from the best-selling book by Walter Lord, and it preceded the blockbuster Titanic by almost 40 years. The film covers the life and death of the huge vessel from its launching celebration to that fateful night of April 14, 1912, when the "unsinkable" ship struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic. Of the 2224 passengers on board, 1513 were drowned as a result of the bad planning of lifeboats and escape routes. Kenneth More heads a huge and stellar cast, with 200 speaking parts, as second officer Herbert Lightoller, from whose point-of-view the story unfolds. Also in the cast are Laurence Naismith as the ill-fated Captain Smith; Michael Goodliffe as conscience-stricken ship's designer Thomas Andrews; Tucker McGuire as feisty American millionaire Molly Brown, whose courage and tenacity saved many lives; and Anthony Bushell as the captain of the Carpathia, who launched a noble but vain rescue mission once he was apprised of the disaster. Also appearing are two future TV favorites: The Avengers' Honor Blackman as a woman who believes that she has nothing to live for, and The Man From UNCLE's David McCallum as a wireless operator. The climactic sinking of the vessel is re-created with painstaking accuracy; filmed in "real time," it is a mere 37 minutes shorter than the actual tragedy. Two years before the film's release, an American TV adaptation of A Night to Remember set a precedent as the most elaborate and technically complex "live" broadcast of its time. Some viewers will find this movie a more accurate and gripping representation of this sea disaster than the romance-heavy Titanic.

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Cast

Kenneth More
as Second Officer Charles Herbert Lightoller
Ronald Allen
as Mr. Clarke
Honor Blackman
as Mrs. Liz Lucas
David McCallum
as Assistant Wireless Operator Harold Bride
Robert Ayres
as Peuchen
Anthony Bushell
as Capt. Rostron
Jill Dixon
as Mrs. Clarke
Jane Downs
as Mrs. Lightoller
James Dyrenforth
as Col. Gracie
Michael Goodliffe
as Thomas Andrews
George Rose
as Joughin
Frank Lawton
as Chairman
Harriette Johns
as Lady Richard
Tucker McGuire
as Mrs. Brown
Laurence Naismith
as Capt. Smith
Russell Napier
as Capt. Lord
Joseph Tomelty
as Dr. O'Laughlin
Patrick Waddington
as Sir Richard
Jack Watling
as Boxhall
Richard Clarke
as Gallagher
Eddie Malin
as Steward
Bee Duffell
as Mrs. Farrell
Harold Goldblatt
as Guggenheim
Gerald Harper
as 3rd Officer
Richard Hayward
as Victualling Manager
Danuta Karell
as Polish Mother
Andrew Keir
as Engineer Officer Hesketh
Christina Lubicz
as Polish Girl
Helen Misener
as Mrs. Straus
Philip Ray
as Clergyman
Tim Turner
as Groves
Marianne Stone
as Stewardess No. 2
Sean Connery
as Titanic Deck Hand
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Critic Reviews for A Night to Remember

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (20)

  • A restrained, nearly austere ensemble drama that manages to intertwine a dozen different stories without tripping up on any of them, it relies on real-life survivor testimony for almost every line and incident, to immensely moving and dignified effect.

    Apr 13, 2012 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Cold and brutal - exactly how this tale should be told.

    Apr 12, 2012 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Baker cuts to the chase - the iceberg strikes 30 minutes in - and maintains tension with consummate skill: not an easy task when the outcome is already known.

    Apr 10, 2012 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • While the special effects may not hold a candle to the Academy Award winning work in Cameron's film, they're still quite impressive given the period, and Baker manages to infuse the film with an unflagging sense of authenticity.

    Aug 5, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • 1950s British take on Titanic tragedy is a masterpiece.

    May 18, 2012 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • (We have) stood witness to a spectacular tragedy that took place on a perfectly unspectacular, dead calm night

    May 1, 2012 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for A Night to Remember

  • Apr 12, 2016
    This film wastes little time spending only ten minutes leading up to the night of April 12 and the circumstances of the sinking of the Titanic. Unfairly, when watching this, it will ultimately be compared with the 1997 James Cameron film, but at times this Roy Ward Baker film surpasses Cameron's. The most magnificent thing about the film is the way the camera starts to slant as the ship starts to sink. The film also doesn't focus too much attention on any one or two characters as it bounces back and forth in its narrative only on the survivors, who recounted their story to author Walter Lord. The upper class may seem incredibly archaic at times due to their total indifference to the lower classes on the ship showing truly how monstrous they were. Great special effects make this a lasting and enjoyable film.
    Joseph B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 16, 2015
    A Night to Remember recounts the tragic tale of the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic on its maiden voyage after it struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic. Based on Walter Lord's bestselling book, the film follows various Titanic passengers and crew throughout the sinking, along with the rescue efforts (or lack thereof) of the Californian and Carpathia. This is simultaneously the film's greatest strength and weakness; as it allow for an expansive overview of events, but also makes it difficult to get to know individual characters. The model work and special effects are pretty good (for the time), and give a real sense of scope to the tragedy. However, the score is rather bland and doesn't have much emotional resonance to it. Still, while A Night to Remember has some weaknesses, it delivers a compelling portrayal of one of the greatest maritime disasters in history.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 07, 2012
    It's "The Titanic Adventure", but unlike "Poseidon", this really happened. I guess that's why they couldn't get Ernest Borgnine for this film; too many painful memories from when he was rescued from the actual Titanic, back when he was in his 50s. It truly was a night to remember, even if you are slipping into senility, something Mr. Borgnine is certainly not slipping into, because if that disaster couldn't kill him, then there's no way alzheimer's is gonna take him out. Wow, I am going the distance with this bogus joke about Ernest Bornine being old enough to have actually been on the Titanic, and, as I said, he's not even in this film. I guess I have to reach for some kind of reference to a star, because, with the exception of Sean Conney, who made some random cameo somewhere in the film, the people in this are such unknowns that, for a seconds there, I thought that they had died in an actual recreation of the Titanic sinking. Of course, then I heard the dialogue, and it quickly hit me that this is anything but authentic pandemonium, because I doubt that they would be knocking out terrible snap-liners during pure, horrifying disaster. Hey, that doesn't make the film any less exciting, partially because the film couldn't get any less exciting. No, the film does really hit some high points in tension, but if you want some consistency in those thrills aboard the Titanic, then wait about 39 years, because as enjoyable as this film is, it's not without its slip-ups. The film slips a bit from the get-go, rushing atmospheric exposition and pumping out steam, which already found itself diluted by under informative, yet still overlong and repetitive openings for our leads. The film goes immediately underdeveloped and immediately disengaging, but something that is most certainly not immediate is the film's picking up. The film is slow and loose, limply procrastinating, which isn't to say that I wanted them to waste no time in throwing us in the middle of emotional terror before we had even established resonance with the situation, because at that point, it would have been spectacle over substance, but it is to say that the film makes ends meet with dry padding. For the padded-out length, to even the poor dialogue, so much of the substance feels so artificial, and sure, I understand that's how they rolled in the '50s, even in the final years of the era, but that's still no real excuse, partially because it throws some mild inconsistency in the intellegence of the film. The film boasts historical accuracy and ambition, but its substance goes diluted, due to its usage of forced charm and over meditation on characters as cheap substitutes for exposition. It's a false, overlong, lifeless bore of a disaster that could rival the actual Titanic sinking... but enough about "Eyes Wide Shut". Seriously though, this film certainly stands to be better, but it could have fallen so spectacularly flat, as well, yet it goes saved by its ultimately prevailing moments of genuine effectiveness, largely spawned from effective production values. Now, don't go expecting these production designs to be the 1950s practical equivalent of Jim Cameron's later-to-arrive digital recreation of the sinking, but do expect some pretty impressive usage of the, as Wikipedia put it, "modest" production values. The reconstruction of the Titanic's rooms and exterior are pretty dead-on, and when things start sinking, shaking and falling apart at the seams, you feel it; maybe not all the time, but when things go down, they really hit, and part of that effectiveness lays in the quality of the build-up. Sure, maybe the film takes a little bit too long with the pre-pandemonium, but when push comes to shove, while the film doesn't quite deliver terribly sharply on the emotional aspects of the disaster, it certainly gives you a sense of tension, really playing up the accuracies to hit you, though not bear down and manipulate you. As cheesy as the writing is, the early stages of the colorful characters and story charm you, and as things begin to bash down, you see a lot of characters shift and do things that really catch you offguard. Again, if exposition was sharper, and writing with it, then things would have really hit with more subtlety, but as it stands, the film keeps you going through the slow and wakes you up when things get heavy. Its charm resides within its workmanlike moments, but its style and tension reside in the moments where the limited resources find themselves used to great effect, and while the film won't stick with you terribly thoroughly, it is still rather "a film to remember". Yup, all of that repetition, just to get to a joke about the title; but hey it's still a pretty decent movie anyways. At the end of this night, limited exposition and padding dull down a film tainted by shoddy writing and bit of a shortage on emotion, but the film boasts enough charm throughout the more relaxed moments to keep you going, and when disaster comes into play, the sharp production and authenticity power the intrigue and tension that help in making "A Night to Remember" a generally impacing and interesting classic study on the final hours of the "Unsinkable" Ship. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Aug 03, 2011
    R.M.S Titanic- 100 years ago today 1912-2012 This year being the centenary of R.M.S Titanic's sinking, I would decide to review this classic film depicting the most famous sea disaster of the 20th century. Now before I review the film, I just want to say that I didn't enjoy the 1997 version of Titanic, I just felt it was a film that had too much fiction and unnecessary drama that tried too hard at over doing the suffering and pain of that horrible tragedy. I thought Cameron had a great eye for the film, but the romantic storyline absolutely ruined the film for me. I see that film as a blunder, and I just hated the fact that they mostly had to sugar the facts with a purposely tear jerking love story, as a person who's very much intrigued by the story of Titanic I was very disappointed with that film. However, A Night to Remember is a film I highly recommend to viewers who want the true story of the Titanic. With this film you get the facts, not fiction. Brilliantly directed by Roy Ward Backer, A Night to Remember is a cinematic classic that tells the true story of the greatest ship ever made. The cast assembled here for this production is phenomenal. I've been fascinated with the Titanic since I was a young kid, and now I'm in my mid to late twenties. This film is superb, it has everything you want that would please a Titanic buff. A Night to Remember is dramatic and suspenseful, and one key element that makes this a worthy film to watch is that it's an accurate portrait of the disaster. The film is brilliant and a flawless piece of cinema. The actors on-screen deliver memorable performances as well. The film is a much more accomplished film compared to the massively overrated Titanic, and if you're interested in the facts about the tragedy, this is the film to watch. After all these years, A Night to Remember remains the definitive Titanic film. James Cameron's film is nothing compared to this one. More accurate, better acting, and hold true to the facts, it's no secret that this film remains a favorite of Titanic enthusiasts the world over. Not only is A Night to Remember a memorable film that accurately portrays this famous disaster, this is a cinematic classic that should be seen by film enthusiasts everywhere. Watching this film, you may agree that it's far superior to the typical Hollywood love story that James Cameron gas made. I think that this is a phenomenal picture and is terrific tribute to the victims that died during the sinking. A brilliantly acted piece of cinema that delivers drama and suspense from start to finish. Forget the sappy purposely tear jerkin love sick Cameron version that relies more on fiction, and pick up this one instead.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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