Rose and Jack
Source: 20th Century Studios

What Actually Happened at the End of 'Titanic'? Did Rose Die?

Kori Williams - Author
By

Jun. 17 2022, Published 9:09 p.m. ET

The iconic movie Titanic came out back in December 1997. It takes a romantic spin on the story of the actual ship that sunk in 1912 during its maiden voyage. In the film, a man and woman named Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) meet and fall in love despite being from different social classes. But when the vessel hits an iceberg and begins to sink, their lives are on the line.

At the end of the movie, we see Jack and Rose trying to stay alive on floating debris, but Jack ultimately let's go and gives up his life so that Rose can go on. But does she die too?

Here's how the movie originally concluded and how things would have changed thanks to its alternative ending.

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Did Rose die at the end of 'Titanic'?

It's assumed that Rose does die at the end of Titanic but not everyone believes this is the case. In the original ending, we find out that Rose survived the Titanic sinking. A much older woman now, she (portrayed by Gloria Stuart) is seen on a ship called the Keldysh. It's on an expedition looking for the Heart of the Ocean necklace — an extravagant gift to Rose that was said to have been lost for decades after the Titanic sunk.

The Heart of the Ocean Necklace
Source: 20th Century Studios
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However, it turns out that Rose had the necklace the entire time. While she's on the Keldysh, she walks to the railing and throws it in the water herself. In the next scene, it appears as if Rose passes away in her sleep. In the afterlife, she and Jack are reunited on the Titanic as their younger selves — happy, in love, and without a care in the world.

But there are some people who aren't so sure if Rose actually dies in this scene, instead saying that she may have just been dreaming of her and Jack together in the end. This could be true since the movie never actually confirms her death.

However, on Quora, when one user asked if Rose dies in the movie, another pointed out that Rose couldn't have been simply dreaming because "most of the people on the staircase she has never met, but they were all who died when the ship sunk." After all, it seems unlikely you'd be dreaming about a bunch of people who actually existed in your world but who you never knew.

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Rose in Bed on the Keldysh
Source: 20th Century Studios

Over on Reddit, many people also believe Rose dies at the end of the movie. "I think [her death] was inferred," one user wrote. "Jack’s dialogue earlier in the movie seems to foreshadow this: 'You're gonna die an old lady warm in her bed, not here, not this night.'"

But this isn't the first ending that Titanic had. In fact, director James Cameron had another one all planned out that would have taken the movie in a completely different direction.

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There's an alternate ending to 'Titanic.'

In the alternate Titanic ending, Rose goes to the railing of the Keldysh and it looks as if she's about to throw the necklace overboard. However, her granddaughter, Elizabeth (Suzy Amis), and Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton) see Rose walk to the rail. Fearing she's planning on jumping over the side, the two try to stop her.

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Here, Rose explains her plan to put the necklace "back where it belongs," and of course Brock, tries to convince her not to throw it overboard. She allows Brock the chance to hold the necklace, but shares some final thoughts: "You look for treasure in the wrong places, Mr. Lovett. Only life is priceless."

Rose slips the necklace out of Brock's hand and tosses it overboard. After a few moments of complete shock, Brock erupts into laughter at the thought of having just held and then lost what he'd been searching for this whole time.

However, the film still ends with old Rose lying in her bed. The camera pans around the room, showing photographs from her life filled with freedom and adventure — the adventures that she and Jack spoke about. In a few moments, we're back on the Titanic, and Jack is waiting at the top of the stairs to greet Rose.

You can watch Titanic on Netflix and Paramount Plus.

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