Rose DeWitt Bukater
Sweet Pea (by Cal)
1895 (Unknown date)
Unknown, possibly late 1990's (see below)
New York, U.S.A.
Survived on lifeboat 14
Fictional character, but similarities with Madeline (First class passenger) and Rose Amelie Icard (Who was not a wealthy socialite but a maid to one of the first-class passengers)
Rose Dawson Calvert (née DeWitt-Bukater, born 1895) was an American socialite and later actress. She was born in Philadelphia in 1895, but her exact birthdate is unknown.
The voyage came to an abrupt end when the ship struck ice and sank. Rose survived the ship's sinking, but Jack did not.
She later married a man called Calvert, and had at least three children.
Life on the Titanic
On Wednesday April 10th 1912, Rose boarded the luxurious RMS Titanic in Southampton, England, at the age of 17 with her mother and her fiancé Cal. The trio were going home to Philadelphia, PA, in America, so Rose and Cal could get married. Rose was, at first, unimpressed with the ship, saying -- "It doesn't look any bigger than the Mauretania." This statement suggests that Rose has been aboard other large ships of the 1912 era. Once on board, she was shown to be fond of artwork; possessing both works by Monet and Picasso. Her relationship with Cal was strained; he scoffed at her interests and controlled her actions.
Tired of her repetitive lifestyle and her treatment by people as an ornament, she attempted to commit suicide on the Titanic the night of Friday April 12th by attempting to throw herself off of the stern of the ship. She was discouraged, however, when a third-class passenger, an artist named Jack Dawson, intervened. He dissuaded her from suicide, commenting how cold the water was: "it hits you like a thousand knives stabbing you all over your body". On the way back over the railing, she slipped and her terrified screams were heard by three of the crew members, who came rushing in an effort to assist her. When they arrived, however, Jack had managed to pull Rose to safety but he fell on top of her, her white face, screaming for help and severe shaking convinced them Jack attempted to rape her.
When Cal arrived, he attempted to arrest Jack and even grabbed him calling him "filth". Rose intervened, claiming she had slipped whilst she had been trying to view the propellers and Jack had saved her. Cal originally wanted to pay Jack $20 ($500 today) for rescuing Rose, but Rose was displeased with this, asking Cal if that was "the going rate for saving the woman [he] love[d]". To pacify Rose, Cal invited Jack to dinner in the first-class dining Saloon. That evening, Cal gifted to Rose the Heart of the Ocean, an inordinately valuable diamond necklace.
The next day, Rose went searching for Jack in the 3rd-Class General Room. Upon entering, all conversation stopped and all eyes turned to her. She found her rescuer and asked to speak with him, quickly leaving the surprised crowd. Throughout the afternoon, they talked for hours about their personal lives and Rose's hopes and dreams that she knew could not be achieved if she married Cal. When Rose saw Jack's sketchbook, she looked through it and was amazed and shocked to find that a man as poor as him could travel to Paris, France. She also believed that one of the subjects that he had drawn was involved in a love affair with him, which he denied.
Later, Jack showed Rose how to spit "correctly" off of the side of the ship, until the Countess of Rothes, the feisty Molly Brown, and Rose's mother encountered them doing this. When Rose left with the other women to go and dress for the dinner that night, Molly took Jack under her wing and lent him a tuxedo originally intended for her son. While at dinner, Jack charmed the entire table by telling them stories from his life and his way of life, Rose supporting him. Before he left, he left a note in Rose's hand saying, "Make it count. Meet me at the clock." Rose met him in the A-Deck foyer of the Grand Staircase just as the clock chimed 9:00pm. She ascended the steps to meet him until he asked her if she wanted to go to a "real party".
He took her to a 3rd-Class area where a lively party was in progress. The pair danced together, showed off to the men of third class and drank alcohol; something Rose was withheld from doing by Cal. She was spotted by Spicer Lovejoy, Cal's manservant, who had snuck off to spy on Rose and Jack.
The following morning, Cal and Rose were having a private breakfast on their Private Promenade deck. As the servants left them alone, Cal said he had hoped she would visit him later in the night (the intimation being that he wanted to take her virginity). When Rose explained that she had been tired, Cal warned her to not breach etiquette and do as she was told and how he expected her to act as a lady of society. Rose plucked up some courage and stood up for herself, telling him she was she was his fiancé, not his employee. Cal then lost his temper, and stated that despite the fact that she was not yet his wife by law, she was in practice and had to honor him. In his rage, he overturned their breakfast table and stormed out of the room. Rose's maid Trudy rushed to help and comforted Rose when she burst into tears.
Later on, Trudy helped Rose with her corset in her Stateroom. Rose's mother, Ruth, entered and sternly told Trudy to fetch them tea. Trudy acquiesced and Ruth locked the door so as not to be disturbed. She roughly tightened Rose's corset in her fury and told her to stay away from Jack as it was unacceptable and the mixing of classes was seen as improper. She explained to Rose that she had no choice but to marry Cal, since her father had left them several debts and all their family's money had to be used to pay for them, leaving Rose and her mother with nothing. Rose's marriage was the only way for them to achieve financial security and to avoid being ruined by her deceased father's debts. Rose asked her mother, "How can you put this on my shoulders?" Ruth is appalled at her daughter's behavior and asked why she is being so selfish. Rose turned the question on her mother who was stunned and explained the consequences if Rose does not marry Cal. Ruth would have to work as a seamstress and their fine things would be sold and they would be left with nothing. Rose accepted the inevitable as Ruth told her that this is just how things were for women.
That morning, Rose and other 1st-Class passengers were at a Sunday Service in the Dining Saloon. Jack attempted to find and talk to Rose but Lovejoy stopped him from seeing her, paying the crew to escort him from the first class area. Later, Rose, Cal and Ruth were on the deck with Thomas Andrews, the architect of the ship, and Rose asked Mr. Andrews why there were not enough lifeboats for all passengers. Mr. Andrews explained that his design for another row of lifeboats on the deck had been overruled, but reassured her that the Titanic was all the lifeboat she'd need. Just after this, Jack, who had taken an expensive coat off of a deckchair to blend in, grabbed her and took her into the nearby gymnasium. Jack told her that if she did not break from her family, she was going to be miserable for her whole life, and that the fire he loved about her would eventually burn out. Rose was visibly moved by this, but replied that she was going back and he had to leave her alone.
Later that afternoon while having Afternoon Tea with her mother, the Countess of Rothes and Lady Lucile Duff-Gordon, she saw a young girl being corrected in her posture by her mother which made her think about what Jack had said and she realized that he was right. She then went out in search of Jack, finding him at the bow of the ship, where they shared their first kiss as the sun set.
Afterwards, at around 8:00pm, Rose brought Jack to her Parlor Suite and showed him around. She showed him the diamond necklace and asked that Jack draw her in the nude wearing only the necklace.
She proceeded to undress and came to Jack wearing a kimono robe which she then removed, playing giving Jack a small payment. Jack had her pose on a sofa and began to draw. When he had finished, Rose asked that Jack put the sketch in Cal's safe along with the necklace and a taunting note whilst she dressed. At around 9:00pm, the two were spotted leaving her suite by Lovejoy who chased them. The couple managed to escape by running into and then locking Lovejoy out of the ship's boiler room. They then ventured off and found themselves in the backseat of William
Carter's new Renault traveling car, which was located in the cargo hold, and made love for the first time.
Before they could be discovered, Jack and Rose escaped back to the upper decks. Whilst they kissed passionately, they were watched with genial amusement by Murdoch and the crew in the crow's nest. Their escape proved to be just in time, because at that moment the crow's nest crew spotted an iceberg right ahead.
Moments later, despite Murdoch's efforts, the ship struck the iceberg, startling Jack and Rose. They then saw the iceberg looming over them as it glanced off the ship.
Jack and Rose later overheard the captain and his crew discussing the damage done to the ship, and realised that the situation was serious. Rose decided that her mother should be warned. On their way back to Rose's living quarters, they were met by Lovejoy, who slipped the diamond necklace into Jack's coat. Before Rose could explain the situation to her mother, Cal had Jack searched, and was subsequently found guilty of stealing the diamond. Rose was in disbelief; she didn't realise that Cal had instructed Lovejoy to slip the necklace into Jack's pocket and silently recalled that she never actually witnessed Jack return it to the safe. Jack was arrested and taken to the Master-at-Arms' office.
Rose and Cal were left alone in their suite. Cal slapped Rose hard in the face and called her a slut; he had just grabbed her and start to shake her hard when a crew member knocked and entered, telling them they needed to put on lifejackets and proceed to the boat deck. When told to leave by Cal, he firmly stated that it was "[the] Captain's orders."
The first-class passengers started to assemble on B-Deck beneath the clock. As the crew started instructing the passengers to make ready, Rose spotted Mr. Andrews and quickly asked him to tell her the truth, having seen the iceberg and the evident distress on Andrews' face.
Andrews quietly told her that the ship would sink, much to Rose's horror. Andrews urged her to get to a boat immediately and reminded her that there were not enough for all of the passengers.
Outside on deck, Ruth's obliviousness to the situation eventually angered Rose, and she berated her mother, telling her that half the people on the ship were going to die. Cal remarked that it wouldn't be "the better half", and Rose promptly insulted him. Molly and Ruth boarded the lifeboat and called to Rose to join them, but Rose had finally made a decision after Cal's callous comment, and left to find Jack. Cal tried to stop her, but Rose spat in his face and escaped. Rose desperately sought Andrews and encountered him as he was checking the rooms. Rose demanded to know where Jack was being held, and Andrews reluctantly told her she would find Jack on E deck.
Rose made for the lifts, and forced the lift attendant to take her down to the bottom despite his protests. However, when the lift reached the floor, water poured in, since the deck was already flooded by seawater. The terrified lift attendant raised the lift again, cutting off that means of escape. Rose entered the crewman's passage and called out for Jack. Meanwhile Jack heard her and called in turn, where Rose found him chained to a pipe. After a quick apology, Rose frantically searched for the keys to Jack's handcuffs. Jack then told her to go and find help. Rose promised she would return and went to find help. At one point she encountered a crewman who tried to drag her to safety, and she was forced to punch him in the face. She then found an axe and returned to Jack. After a brief practice, Rose managed to cut Jack's bonds in half, freeing him.
They tried to get to the boat deck, but were prevented from doing so as the gates to steerage had been locked in an attempt to let the first-class passengers board the lifeboats first. Here, they met Jack's friends Fabrizio and Tommy Ryan who were also trying to escape. The four of them decided to try another, smaller gate, and when this too was locked, the men tore up a bench from the floor and used it to ram down the gate.
The two of them returned to the upper decks and separated from Fabrizio and Tommy. They found a lifeboat that was boarding, but the women and children first/only policy meant that Jack could not board. Cal arrived on the scene and encouraged Rose to get in, stating that he had made arrangements for himself and Jack (although, in fact, the arrangement was for him solely). Rose boarded the lifeboat, but as she saw Jack watching her she found herself unable to leave him. She jumped back onto the ship, much to Jack's dismay, and the two reunited. Jack berated her, but she reminded him that they could not be parted.
Cal, meanwhile, had become enraged at Rose choosing Jack over him and chased Rose and Jack through the ship with Spicer Lovejoy's Colt 1911 .45 in an effort to shoot them. He was forced to let them escape when his gun ran out of bullets.
In a deleted scene, the pair thought they were safe only for the door in the dining hall to be locked, preventing their escape. In minutes, Lovejoy showed up having continued the pursuit in Cal's place. Rose and Jack hid behind tables and the room began to fill with water. Lovejoy searched for them and taunted them. Jack separated from Rose to get behind Lovejoy.
Rose hid as best she could from Lovejoy, hoping he wouldn't find her. However, she yelped as a light fused from the water. Lovejoy found her and prepared to shoot her only for Jack to intervene. She yelped again after Lovejoy accidentally discharged his gun in the scuffle. She watched as Jack soon won and followed him out of the room and down a flight of stairs.
Rose and Jack then found a young boy crying and took him in an effort to help the child escape; however his father, who did not appear to speak English, found them and grabbed his son, heading towards a door straining with the weight of water behind it. They tried to warn him, but it was too late; the door burst and he and the boy were drowned. Rose and Jack ran from the onrushing torrent but to no avail. They were thrown into a metal gate, drenching them in their already soaked clothing. They worked their way upwards to another gate, which was also closed. Their last hope was a terrified steward, who attempted to open the gate, but accidentally dropped the keys in the water and then fled. Jack was able to retrieve the keys and struggled to unlock the gate as the passage rapidly filled with water. As the two were completely submerged, Jack managed to unlock it and the two escaped.
When they returned to the decks, all the boats had gone. Jack and Rose made their way to the stern in an attempt to stay on the ship for as long as possible. As more damage was done to the ship, the ship eventually broke into two pieces, with one section sinking and pulling the other half slowly vertical. Everyone was forced to grab on to something in order to avoid falling down, but many lost their grip and toppled into the water. The stern was then pulled perpendicular, and Jack and Rose managed to climb onto the railings just in time.
The stern eventually sank, plunging the survivors into the freezing waters. As Jack didn't have a lifejacket, the suction pulled him down and away from Rose. Rose broke to the surface, only to be grabbed by a man also without a lifejacket, who attempted to use her to keep himself afloat, pushing her head below the surface. Luckily, Jack had managed to ascend and rescued her by punching the man. He told her to swim and they headed towards some debris, which turned out to be a floating door. When they both tried to climb on top of it, it became unbalanced, tipping them both off. Jack realised that both of them could not board; he insisted that Rose get on top whilst he clung to the side. He promised Rose that as long as she stayed on the door, she would be all right. He also promised that she would die a painless death in her sleep and live a long happy life. After a period of time, during which the surrounding waters became quiet, Rose heard the shouts of Officer Lowe searching for survivors in Lifeboat 14. She tried to wake Jack, but was unable, and slowly realised he had died from hypothermia. She was heartbroken and seemed ready to give up, but remembered her promise to Jack and tried to call out to the lifeboat, but was unable to do so due to the affect of the severe cold on her voice. She had no choice but to let go of Jack's body, telling him that she would fulfill her promise to him, and tearfully watched his body sink into the bottom of the Atlantic. She then left the door and struggled towards a floating corpse who had a whistle. Blowing it, she was able to alert the lifeboat.
Soon after, she was taken to RMS Carpathia, the ship that had come to save the victims of the Titanic. Whilst on it, she saw Cal one last time, but hid her face in a blanket in order to avoid him; she later learned, through the paper, that Cal lost his fortune in the Stock Market Crash of '1929 and shot himself through the mouth with a pistol. When the ship entered New York City, a steward asked for Rose's name, and she responded "Rose Dawson", taking on Jack's surname despite that fact that they were never wed - possibly to avoid being found by Cal and her mother, Ruth. This caused official records to believe Rose DeWitt Bukater died on the Titanic; presumably, Rose never informed her mother or Cal of her survival.
She went on to do everything she promised Jack she would do: she became a successful actress, rode a horse on the beach in Santa Monica, flew a plane, went travelling while pregnant and even went ice fishing. At some point she met and found love again with "some guy named Calvert" and they "moved to Cedar Rapids" and she "punches out a couple of kids" of which one was a son who later graduated from college and by her 70th birthday she had 2 children and at least 2 grandchildren. By 1996, it is confirmed that she had indeed been widowed.
Despite all her adventures and a happy marriage, she never truly forgot Jack, despite never speaking about him to anyone, not even to her husband, children or grandchildren. Of all of her family, none of them, except Lizzy, would learn the truth, and this was not until Rose was almost 101 years old.
Return to Titanic
In 1996, 84 years after the sinking, treasure hunters led by the famed Brock Lovett are searching for a rare diamond called the Heart of the Ocean which was rumoured to have gone down with the ship. While exploring the first class rooms, they stumble across a safe, which they later crank open. Inside, they find a nude drawing of a woman wearing the same stone necklace, perfectly preserved. The drawing is dated April 14, 1912. Meanwhile in California, Rose Calvert, a 100 year old Titanic survivor, notices a news special on TV where the drawing Lovett discovered was being showcased. She gets in contact with the explorers claiming to be the woman in the drawing, and arranges a trip out to the Keldysh research vessel to meet them.
Upon her arrival, Rose requests to see her drawing. Brock and his team inform Rose that an insurance claim was filed for the Heart of the Ocean after the sinking, thus the diamond was assumed to have sunk with the ship, but Rose does not reveal whether it did or not. She and her granddaughter Lizzie are then shown her own personal artifacts, such as her mirror and hair piece, which were found in her Titanic stateroom, B52. Afterward, she is shown a computerized re-enactment of the ship's sinking and plummeting to the bottom of the ocean, to which she reacts emotionally and stiffly. It is at this point that Rose is requested to share her story. For a long time she recounts all of the sorrows, but also the joy, that she experienced on Titanic. By the time she has finished her story Rose seems calm, yet the crew silently weep before her. Brock's assistant reveals that there is no record of Jack, and Rose is not surprised, expressing regret at how she has no lasting image or memory of him. Yet she maintains that most importantly she remembers him still, and that he saved her in many ways. After she draws her reminiscence to an end, she does not reveal the diamond's fate to Lovett, Lizzie, or any of the crew members. Instead, she sneaks to the poop deck of the Keldysh and tosses it over into the ocean, finally at peace with her memories of Titanic.
Rose is then shown in bed, lying still. Whether she has passed on or is merely sleeping is unknown. Rose returns to Titanic, either as a spirit or in a dream, seemingly flying down under the sea to the disheveled, sunken ship. As she makes her way along A-deck, the ship is suddenly rejuvenated to its original splendor as if it never sank. A steward opens a door for her and she approaches the Grand Staircase; all the people she knew who perished on the ship are there to greet her with smiles and nods. Jack Dawson stands at the top of the staircase by the clock, as if he has been waiting for her, and turns to smile at her and extended his hand as she approached him. Rose, who we see has returned to her youthful appearance, joins him and the two engage in a passionate kiss as the passengers and crew applaud.
In the deleted scenes, an alternative ending is shown where the elderly Rose is found by her granddaughter, Brock Lovett, and his crew mates as she prepares to throw the Heart of The Ocean overboard. Rose allows Brock to hold the necklace, at his request. After holding the necklace in his hand as he'd always imagined, he laughs with a smile on his face as the necklace is thrown overboard. Brock's crew-mates are left annoyed as they stare over the railing.
Personality and traits
Rose was very pessimistic about her future before meeting Jack, due to the first-class life she was being pulled into by Cal and Ruth. She had convinced herself that committing suicide by jumping off of the ship was the only way to escape from her torturous first-class life with a man she did not like.
Although generally polite and reserved, she would occasionally make lewd remarks, such as to Bruce Ismay, regarding Dr. Freud and curt replies to those who critiqued her. She could be feisty and strong willed, hitting a steward who tried to drag her to the upper decks against her will and shoved another against a wall when she demanded he take her to the lower decks. Although, she was sometimes carefree and did not shy away from rude habits, namely sneaking into third class with Jack and engaging in drinking alcohol, dancing among the passengers and revisiting Cal's oppressive nature, evening spitting in his face at one point.
She was very smart and well-educated, having an upper class education. She was also very passionate, particularly in her romantic feelings towards Jack. Rose was incredibly brave, singlehandedly rescuing Jack from certain death despite the risk she would drown also. She was also a talented actress, reforming in New York for a time.
During her elderly life, Rose began to forget certain things. However, she still was the same kind-hearted woman that she used to be, and retained her memories of the time she spent on the Titanic. She could hardly walk and was often bound to a wheelchair.
Skills and abilities
Having been raised by an upper class family, she was a skilled dancer, able to dance alongside Jack and other third-class passengers. She was also able to stand en pointe for several seconds to the surprise of her spectators. Contrary to her upbringing, she was a binge drinker, drinking beer fast enough to shock Jack.
Rose was also able to break a man's nose with a single punch, causing him to flee. Also, she easily shoved another man against the wall. However, she was overpowered in the water by another passenger, unable to prevent him from drowning her without Jack intervening. She could also wield an axe with some potency, able to slice Jack's handcuffs in two without harming him despite having missed her desired practice target seconds earlier.
Rose also had some skill with swimming, though she needed Jack and a lifebelt's assistance to reach a door frame. She was rather fearless, jumping back on to the Titanic to be with Jack despite knowing the dangers of doing so and venture in to a flooded E deck to locate the former. She could also hide when desiring too, preventing Caledon Hockley from finding her on the Carpathia.
- Main article: Rose's gallery
- Rose is portrayed by both Kate Winslet at age 17 and by Gloria Stuart at age 100.
- Although Jack Dawson was assumed to be the main character of the film, Rose has been confirmed to be the main protagonist.
- James Cameron had Gloria Stuart hold her breath at the end when she was in bed. In the final scene where she is reunited with Jack, it is up to the viewer to decide whether Rose has died and gone to Heaven or is merely dreaming.
- Kate Winslet and Gloria Stuart both expressed their beliefs that Rose died at the end of the film.
- Like Rose, Gloria Stuart also lived to be 100 years old. Born in 1910, Stuart was also the only person involved in the film who was alive when the real Titanic sank.
- Rose is the first film character portrayed by two actors both nominated for an Oscar. Winslet was nominated as Best Actress and Stuart was nominated as Best Supporting Actress. It is notable that this was repeated for Winslet's and Judy Dench's role(s) in the 2001 film Iris.
- To break the ice, Kate Winslet "flashed" Leonardo DiCaprio the day before they filmed the scene where Jack draws Rose nude.
- Winslet had to spend 138 minutes naked and posing during the filming, since Cameron's first drawings were failures.
- In the deleted scenes, an alternative ending is shown where the elderly Rose is found by her grandaughter, Brock Lovett and his crew mates as she prepares to throw the Heart of The Ocean overboard. Rose allows Brock to hold the necklace, at his request. After holding the necklace in his hand as he'd always imagined, he laughs with a smile on his face as the necklace is thrown overboard. Brock's crewmates are left annoyed as they stare over the railing while he asks Rose's granddaughter to dance with him.
- Titanic, 1997: Movie Script
- The film explicitly has a character say "now Calvert's dead", so Rose was widowed sometime between 1965, as a picture of her husband, children and grandchildren at her 70th birthday can be seen, and 1996.