Remember When

Paramount Pictures

"Remember When..." is a weekly feature every (#Throwback)Thursday where we look back on a moment that changed the world of pop culture forever. Come for the nostalgia, stay for the reminder that you are getting SO OLD.

What Happened: The date was Dec. 19, 1997. James Cameron, whose directing credits so far included the likes of Terminator and Aliens, helmed what was, at the time, the most expensive movie ever made: A three-hour-plus epic about the sinking of the RMS Titanic.

Then it premiered: It became the highest-grossing film of all time, the first to pass the billion-dollar mark (it's now the second highest-grossing, after Cameron's Avatar). It earned 14 Oscar nominations and won 11 (including Best Picture), tying the record for most Academy Awards won by a single movie.

But the Titanic mania was really about rebellious debutante Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) and her forbidden love affair with Jack Dawson (Tiger Beat cover boy Leonardo DiCaprio).

What Else Was Happening: Also hitting theaters in 1997: Good Will Hunting, starring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, Home Alone 3 for the kiddies, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith's Men in Black, the alien buddy cop movie we never know we needed.

It was also the year Ellen DeGeneres came out on her TV show (and in real life), when Spice Girls exploded on to the scene, and when Mike Tyson bit off part of Evander Holyfield's ear. Ah, memories!

And '97 was a big year for George Clooney: Not only was he named People's Sexiest Man Alive, but he also got to don Bat nipples to play the caped crusader in Batman & Robin. Good for you, George Clooney! You go, George Clooney!

Titanic GIF

20th Century Fox

How We Remember It

Jeffrey Wisenbaugh, Interactive Producer: "The first time I saw Titanic was the two-tape, VHS version. I heard about the movie and knew it was great, but I also knew there was a nude scene with Kate Winslet. And I knew it was on the second tape of the set. So I watched like half of the first tape, told my parents I finished that one and then I grabbed the other tape to get to the drawing scene. Overall, I thought it was a great movie and give it an A+. Would watch the bedroom scene again."

Kamala Kirk, E! Shows Writer-Editor: "I remember when Titanic first came out and I went to a sleepover in the 6th grade. Someone put on Céline Dion's 'My Heart Will Go On' and suddenly the girls all dispersed into random corners of the room, singing along. Some were even crying. I was the only who wasn't into it. I recall looking over at one of my friends, who was leaning against the wall with tears running down her face, and she said, 'This song makes me so emotional.' I ended up calling my parents and asking them to pick me up immediately."

Titanic GIF

20th Century Fox

Jenna Mullins, E! Loves Editor: "I saw Titanic seven times in theaters. Yes, you read that right. I was only 13 years old and movies cost $5.50. And that was the regular Friday-night full price, not the discount matinee. So this middle school-aged girl in Indiana spent almost 40 bucks on Titanic. Adjusted for inflation, that's like $9,000 in today's money.

"I was obsessed with it, specifically Leonardo DiCaprio. I would go home after each viewing and write about him in my diary. I'd cut out photos of him from whatever magazines I stole from my sisters and would glue his face all over my diary pages next to words like 'hot!' and 'sexy!' I know, I was super-cool. By the fourth viewing (who was going with me to all these showings, by the way?!), I didn't really sit up in my seat and pay attention to the film until Leo's first scene. You know, when the camera slowly pans around the card-playing group and you finally get your first glimpse of him. Blond hair in his eyes, cigarette in his mouth. And then he'd speak: 'When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.' He was so wise, you guys. 

"Every time I saw it in theaters, I would honestly pray for the ship to miss the iceberg. Never mind that this was a movie and not a choose your own adventure book..."

Do you remember the first time you saw Titanic? Tell us in the comments!

PHOTOS: Take a look back on the many women of Leonardo DiCapario!

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