Culture Film & Entertainment

‘Titantic’ Character Fabrizio De Rossi Embodies Stereotypical Italian Portrayals in Hollywood

In James Cameron’s 1997 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, Titanic features a mix of fictional characters as well as characters based on real-life passengers of the ill-fated cruise liner. One of these characters, Fabrizio De Rossi, provides an example of the types of depictions that Italians face in the media that act to perpetuate harmful stereotypes.

Fabrizio, played by Danny Nucci, is an Italian native in the film who is the best friend of main character Jack Dawson, both of whom win tickets to board the Titanic on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City during a poker game just before the ship’s departure. As the movie progresses, it becomes clear that Fabrizio’s lines, which are few and far between, are being delivered in an accent that some may consider offensive for his exaggerated use of broken English which is all too common for Italian characters in Hollywood.

An article by Chris Evangelista, Chief Film Critic of SlashFilm, echoes this sentiment as he writes that “Fabrizio lets his full colors shine as he stands up, pumps his fists, and yells in the worst Italian accent you’ll ever hear, “I GO TO AMERICA!” It’s as if Nucci is seconds away from crowing, “It’s-a me, Mario!” Inspector Clouseau had a more believable accent than this buffoon.”

He continues to state that “accent work is tricky, especially if it’s the type of broad accent that can easily dip into stereotype territory. Sadly, Nucci’s accent does just that. He doesn’t sound like a guy from Italy, he sounds like a guy doing a really bad Italian accent; the type of accent a teenager would do while placing a prank call to a fancy restaurant called Nunzio’s.”

By the end of the film, Fabrizio does not manage to survive the ship’s sinking as he is hit by a falling smokestack. While this character and the circumstances of his death are not based on a real person, there were a number of Italian immigrants that boarded the Titanic with the goal of reaching the United States in search for a better life. 

There were a total of 43 Italians traveling aboard the Titanic of its 2,240 passengers, only 5 of which were of the lucky 712 who escaped the perils of the North Atlantic. The majority of the Italians on the ship were food service workers, working under the guidance of À la Carte restaurant manager Luigi Gatti. All 32 of these individuals, including Gatti, were among those who took their last breaths on April 15th, 1912.

The other eleven Italians were passengers of the cruise liner, three of which were in first class in addition to four in both second and third classes. Of these individuals, only two first class (Albina Bassani and Nella Carlynne Goldenberg), two second class (Argene Genovesi and Emilio Portaluppi), and one third class passenger (Luigi Finoli) were able to survive.

For a complete list of the Titanic passengers and staff of Italian descent, please see below:

ALLARIA, Mr Battista Antonio


BASILICO, Mr Giovanni

BASSANI, Mrs Albina

BERNARDI, Sig. Battista

BEUX, Mr David

BOCHET, Mr Pietro Giuseppe

CASALI, Mr Giulio

CELOTTI, Mr Francesco

CROVELLA, Mr Paolo Luigi

DE MARSICO, Sig. Govanni

DEL CARLO, Mr Sebastiano

DEL CARLO, Mrs Argene


DONATI, Sig. Italo Francesco

FEI, Sig. Carlo

FINOLI, Mr Luigi

FIORAVANTE, Sig. Giuseppe Bertoldo

GATTI, Sig. Gaspare Antonio Pietro

GILARDINO, Sig. Vincenzo Pio

GOLDENBERG, Mrs Nella Carlynne

MANGIAVACCHI, Mr Emilio Giovanni Andrea Onorato

MEO (MARTINO), Mr Alfonzo

NANNINI, Sig. Francesco Luigi Arcangelo

PEDUZZI, Mr Joseph

PERACCHIO, Sig. Alberto

PERACCHIO, Sig. Sebastiano

PEROTTI, Mr Alfonso

POGGI, Sig. Emilio

PORTALUPPI, Mr Emilio Ilario Giuseppe

RATTI, Sig. Enrico

RICALDONE, Mr Rinaldo Renato


ROTTA, Sig. Angelo Mario

SACCAGGI, Mr Giovanni Giuseppe Emilio


SARTORI, Sig. Lazar

SCAVINO, Sig. Candido

SESIA, Sig. Giacomo

TESTONI, Sig. Ercole

URBINI, Sig. Roberto

VALVASSORI, Mr Ettore Luigi

VIONI, Sig. Roberto

ZARRACCHI, Mr Leopoldo


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