7.3/10
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53 user 31 critic

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.

Director:

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:

Good Time ... Bad Time ... 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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Actress Mariclare Costello spent three weeks filming as Emma Goldman in a sequence that was cut from the film. Milos Forman wanted to keep her part in the film, but producer Dino De Laurentiis thought it slowed the movie down. E.L. Doctorow, the novel's author, was brought in to break the tie. Doctorow agreed with De Laurentiis, thus the footage was cut. The sequence is included as an extra on the DVD release. See more »

Goofs

One of the pre-WWI newspaper headlines refers to Vice-President Charles Curtis. Curtis served as Herbert Hoover's VP and was not elected until 1928. See more »

Quotes

Black Lawyer: [Coalhouse tries to sue for his car being damaged] Well, what's your financial situation like?
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: [sighs] I have a little laid by. I planned to use it on my wedding, but I guess it'll have to wait.
Black Lawyer: Hmm. Mr. Walker, let me give you some advice. You spend the money on your wedding. Build yourself a home and a family where you can find some comfort. And just forget that some damn white man caused you offense.
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: And that's your advice?
Black Lawyer: That's my advice, and I pray you take it to heart.
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: Just forget it? Is ...
[...]
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Soundtracks

ONE MORE HOUR
(1981)
Words & Music by Randy Newman
Sung by Jennifer Warnes
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User Reviews

The book is definitely better .........
1 August 2004 | by (Melbourne, Australia) – See all my reviews

'Ragtime' by E.L. Doctorow was one of those important ground breaking books.

It deserved a better translation to film. Having read the book numerous times over the years, what struck me about the film was that it was largely undecipherable if you had not first read the book. The book is a rich tapestry of American society, its values, behaviour and so on of the day. The film focuses on 2 sub-plots only - Nesbit Thaw and Coalhouse Walker Jr. The character - mother's Younger Brother was largely sacrificed - this introverted complex character - was portrayed only as Nesbit-Thaw's lover and a terrorist - with no development of how he became to be these. The relationship between Father and Mother too was badly handled, especially the Mother's leaving with the Russian film maker (silhouette artist).

The film simply does not even begin to scratch this surface. The film is a major disappointment.


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