He was portrayed by Billy Zane.
The son of Pittsburgh steel tycoon, Nathan Hockley, in 1912, Caledon Hockley is on the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic from Southampton to New York City in order to marry his 17-year-old fiancée, Rose DeWitt Bukater. Rose does not want the marriage and despises Hockley, but the man either is oblivious to this or chooses to ignore it. Rose is unable to act because she is trapped between Cal, who wants to marry her so he can claim his fortune and her mother, so that she can pay off the debts left with the family by her late husband. In order to seal his relationship with Rose, he purchases a rare diamond once owned by King Louis XVI called the "Heart of the Ocean" and presents it to her. Caledon is not aware that Rose is driven to consider suicide during the voyage and that she is saved only by the intervention of a young third class passenger, Jack Dawson, with whom she falls in love. Hockley, initially unaware of this, invites Jack to dine with him as thanks for saving Rose's life (as far as he is concerned, she had accidentally fallen off the rail and was rescued by Jack). Hockley's bodyguard, a former Pinkerton's detective named Spicer Lovejoy, is the only one who doubts Rose and Jack's story because of some rudimentary deduction (he questions how Jack was able to remove his shoes so quickly).
Cal begins to reveal his true nature after Rose attends an Irish dance party in third class, violently reminding Rose that she is his fiancee, that she is his wife in practice, and she will honor him. Perhaps he begins to suspect Rose might have feelings towards Jack when he has Lovejoy remind Jack that he holds a third class ticket and has overstayed his welcome in first class.
Eventually, Caledon begins to suspect that Rose's affections lay with Jack and becomes overprotective of her, even as the Titanic is starting to sink after having struck an iceberg, contrived with Lovejoy to have Jack arrested and locked deep belowdecks. Jack is left to drown as the ship's brig starts to flood, and is later rescued by Rose.
Later, Caledon and Jack reluctantly join forces in order to get Rose to leave the sinking ship, but she defies both of them and jumps back on board. Cal becomes so jealous, angered, and shameful by Rose going with Jack that he snatches Lovejoy's gun and attempts to kill Rose and Jack, chasing them into the flooded First Class Reception until he runs out of bullets. He sarcastically shouts at them " I hope you enjoy your time together! "
He finds a little girl crying on the ship's deck by the bridge, and manages to board a life boat shortly afterwards. He does this by picking her up, nurturing her without any violence, and tells the crew member that he has a child. Wilde allows him on the lifeboat, which is attached to the falls. But it's too late and the deck starts to flood. Some stewards, seamen, and Fabrizio quickly cut the falls and the boat floats off. Many people try to crawl on and Cal tries to hold them off with an oar to prevent the boat from being swamped.
Although Cal tries to find Rose on the Carpathia, he is unsuccessful and believes that she has died in the sinking (in reality, he passes within a few feet of her, but Rose chooses not to reveal her presence). Later, Hockley marries someone else and inherits his family's millions, but he never gets over Rose's supposed death. The Stock Market Crash of 1929 ruins him even further, and he commits suicide by shooting himself in the mouth, or so Rose hears.
Caledon at first appears to be gentle and sweet around his fiance Rose, but later in the film he gets physically and emotionally abusive with her when he finds out she is in love with Jack. He is also very snobbish, as he views Jack as inferior to him on the sole basis of economic status, but he loses this for a few moments when he invites him to dinner. As the movie takes place in 1912, he also views Rose as his property, and only wants to marry her solely because her mother wants to get out of debt.
Cal [to Rose]: I had hoped you would come to me last night.
Call: You will honour me the way a wife is required to honour her husband because I will be made a fool out of Rose, is that in any way unclear?
[Cal looks at Rose for a while and slaps her across the face]
Ruth: Rose, come back here.
[Jack and rose have escaped Cal's gunshots and are now running through the dining saloon]