Raise the Titanic (1980)

Raise the Titanic (1980), directed by Jerry Jameson.

The US desperately needs a rare mineral to power an anti-missile defense system. The only known stock is in the hold of the Titanic at the bottom of the Atlantic. Simple: find it, refloat it, evade the Russians and get it home. Easy.

The film was a box office bomb and gets dismal ratings. Without claiming it is a good movie I like it a bit better than that. It's genre is the adventure film that is less about action scenes and more about the nuts and bolts of doing the extraordinary. Could it all have been done better? Sure.

The film was released five years before the wreck was actually rediscovered -- and found to be broken in two -- and the vision from a time when few people thought it would ever be found is a powerful one. We have a great scene of the ship being towed into New York -- a few years late -- with the World Trade Center in the background and the Goodyear blimp overhead. A lot of twentieth century history packed into that.

It will be slow going -- especially the submersible search scenes -- if you are expecting more action. Fans thought this was a poor presentation of Clive Cussler's "Dirk Pitt" character.

A bright spot is John Barry's famous, fantastic score. The lush underwater themes recall his James Bond work of the 1960s.

Available on Blu-ray from Shout Factory.