The 100th anniversary of the legendary and tragic sinking of the RMS Titanic will take place on April 15, 2012. The release of the movie Titanic in 1997 (also set for a 3D release in 2012) led many to want to discover more about the facts surrounding the sinking as well as the discovery of the ship in 1985.
In the past 20 years, several documentaries have provided answers to those questions and have explored both the circumstances surrounding the sinking and current site of the wreck itself. Most of these documentaries are available for free viewing YouTube and other sites.
Below is a list of 20 documentaries about the Titanic. Some of the clips below show the full documentaries. In other instances, videos are available on YouTube in multiple parts, or the videos are available for purchase from the publisher or a reseller.
Titanic: Death of a Dream (1994)
A&E produced this documentary three years before the release of James Cameron’s movie. It features interviews with several survivors, nearly all of whom are now deceased. This originally appeared as a multi-tape set on VHS but is available for viewing on YouTube in two parts.
RMS Titanic Survivors True Accounts of the Sinking (Date Unknown)
This is a rather unique documentary featuring interviews with a significant number of survivors. The clip available on YouTube is 95 minutes long and features interviews with the likes of Second Officer Charles Lightoller (recorded in 1936), Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall (recorded in 1962), survivor Edith Russell (recorded in 1970), survivor Major FW Prentis (recorded in 1966), survivor Edwina MacKenzie (recorded in 1975), and survivor Eva Hart (recorded in 1987).
Secrets of the Titanic (National Geographic) (1986)
This was the first documentary that focused on Robert Ballard’s finding of the Titanic wreck. It is a classic among Titanic enthusiasts and is available in several parts on YouTube.
Leonard Nimoy of Star Trek fame narrated this Imax feature, which first appeared in 1995 and was re-released after the Cameron movie. The documentary relies heavily on visuals and is not quite as impressive on the small screen as it might have been on a large Imax screen.
Titanic: The Survivors' Story (1997)
This was another documentary featuring interviews with Titanic survivors, including Edith Haisman, Ruth Becker, Eva Hart, Millvina Dean, and Marjorie Newell.
Titanic: Untold Stories (1998)
This was a Discovery documentary showing an exploration of the wreck site and also featuring first-hand accounts of the sinking.
Beyond Titanic (1999)
This is a documentary about how the story of Titanic evolved in popular culture throughout the 20th century. It features clips from several movies about the ship, including the Nazi propaganda film produced in 1943.
Deep Inside the Titanic (1999)
This Discovery documentary shows special remote-operated vehicles exploring the wreck site.
Titanic: Answers from the Abyss (1999)
This documentary was narrated by British actor Jonathan Pryce.
Titanic: Anatomy of a Disaster (2000)
This Discovery program takes viewers to the floor of the Atlantic to see the Titanic in greater detail than some of the previous documentaries.
This documentary is available at the Discovery Channel's website.
Titanic: The True Story (2001)
This documentary looks at key facts surrounding the Titanic and calls into question the accuracy of some scenes in the movie Titanic.
Secrets of the Dead: Titanic's Ghosts (2002)
This PBS documentary focuses on one woman's efforts to discover the resting place of her grandmother, who died on the night of the Titanic sinking.
Titanic: Ghosts of the Abyss (2003)
Ghosts of the Abyss was another of James Cameron’s projects. He and actor Bill Paxton (who was a member of the supporting cast in the 1997 film) returned to the site of the wreck. Cameron recorded the site in 3D.
Modern Marvels: Titanic Tech (2003)
This was a special on the History Channel that focused on the technology behind the Titanic and her sister ship. The program also reviews possible causes for the ship’s sinking after it hit the iceberg.
Last Mysteries of the Titanic (2005)
This was another documentary by James Cameron about the wreck site. In this documentary, he goes further into the wreck than in previous trips.
Return to Titanic (National Geographic) (2005)
This documentary chronicles Robert Ballard’s return to the wreck site. Ballard was the explorer who originally found the site in 1985.
Titanic's Final Moments: Missing Pieces (2006)
This documentary addresses a more recent finding about new pieces of the ship found on the bottom of theAtlantic.
Titanic's Achilles Heel (2007)
This documentary explored whether the Titanic might have had a fatal design flaw.
More information about this documentary is available at the History Channel's website.
Lost Worlds: Building the Titanic (2007)
This was a History Channel special about how the construction of the Titanic.
Rebuilding Titanic (2011)
This documentary focuses on efforts by a small group of engineers to rebuild sections of the ship using technology available during the early 20th century.
Titanic: The Complete Story (New Collection Available in 2012)
History Channel is releasing a new DVD entitled Titanic: The Complete Story