7.3/10
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Ragtime (1981)

PG | | Drama | 25 December 1981 (USA)
A young black pianist becomes embroiled in the lives of an upper-class white family set among the racial tensions, infidelity, violence, and other nostalgic events in early 1900s New York City.

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Writers:

(based on the novel by), (screenplay)

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Nominated for 8 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Willie Conklin
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Delphin
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Houdini (as Jeff Demunn)
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Storyline

The story runs in the 1910's New York. Coalhouse Walker Jr. is a black piano player. He has won fame and fortune playing with a jazz band. Some white men do not like this situation, and one day they assault him and spoil his brand new car. Walker tries by all means to get justice, without an answer... Written by Michel Rudoy <mdrc@hp9000a1.uam.mx>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Young, beautiful, passionate, and scandalous. She was America in the time of "Ragtime." See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 December 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bir Zamanlar  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

O.J. Simpson lobbied hard for the role of Coalhouse Walker. As presented in the documentary O.J.: Made in America (2016), Simpson immensely saw himself on that role but Milos Forman decided to go with Howard E. Rollins, Jr., a former teacher who got his first break into films with this role. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Sarah is in the back of the crowd at the train station, trying to listen to Vice President Fairbanks, a small 50-star American flag can be seen to the right of her. The 50-star flag was not official until 4 July 1960. See more »

Quotes

Booker T. Washington: [to Walker in the library] What you have done here has set our race back a distance I can't measure.
See more »

Connections

Featured in James Cagney: That Yankee Doodle Dandy (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

ONE MORE HOUR
(1981)
Words & Music by Randy Newman
Sung by Jennifer Warnes
See more »

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User Reviews

No, NOT the 30's, not the 20's, the 'oughts ...
1 May 2000 | by (Manhattan) – See all my reviews

1906, to be specific, is when Stanford White was shot -- which of course marks the beginning date bookmark of the movie.

The "declaration of war" -- WW I -- as announced in a Newspaper headline at the end of the film, bookmarks the end of the movie -- and of the era.

Not trivial points, since a good part of the interest of this movie lies it it's serving as a relatively rare window into this period. Which unlike the 1930s or the 1920s which the plot summary and first comment confuse it with, is not a period which is much portrayed in film.

I'd say it's a pretty good, although not great, "costume" film. The first half is much stronger than the second half, both in historical interest and in character development.

Worth seeing though. Perhaps try seeing it right after "Age of Innocence", which is set primarily in the New York of the 1870s (although entirely among the upper upper class, instead of the somewhat broader class look, and city/near country look of Ragtime).


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