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)

Watch Now

From $9.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 8 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Valmont (1989)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Set in Baroque France, a scheming widow and her lover make a bet regarding the corruption of a recently married woman. The lover, Valmont, bets that he can seduce her, even though she is an... See full summary »

Director: Milos Forman
Stars: Colin Firth, Annette Bening, Meg Tilly
Black Peter (1964)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Reality movie of a few days in the life of a Czechoslovak teenager when he starts work.

Director: Milos Forman
Stars: Ladislav Jakim, Pavla Martinkova, Jan Vostrcil
Hair (1979)
Comedy | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Claude leaves the family ranch in Oklahoma for New York where he is rapidly indoctrinated into the youth subculture and subsequently drafted.

Director: Milos Forman
Stars: John Savage, Treat Williams, Beverly D'Angelo
Taking Off (1971)
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Unable to deal with her parents, Jeannie Tyne runs away from home. Larry and Lyne Tyne search for her, and in the process meet other people whose children ran away. With their children gone... See full summary »

Director: Milos Forman
Stars: Lynn Carlin, Buck Henry, Georgia Engel
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The volunteer fire department in a small town is having a big party when the ex-boss of the department celebrates his 86th birthday. The whole town is invited but things don't go as planned... See full summary »

Director: Milos Forman
Stars: Jan Vostrcil, Josef Sebánek, Josef Valnoha
Goya's Ghosts (2006)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Painter Francisco Goya faces a scandal involving his muse, who is labeled a heretic by a monk.

Director: Milos Forman
Stars: Javier Bardem, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgård
Comedy | Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A factory manager in rural Czechoslovakia bargains with the army to send men to the area, to boost the morale of his young female workers, deprived of male company since the local boys have... See full summary »

Director: Milos Forman
Stars: Hana Brejchová, Vladimír Pucholt, Vladimír Mensík
Audition (1964)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Two closely related episodes. Youths make problems for two local orchestras about to compete nationally, and in a talent competition a young girl gets stage fright, while another lies to her boss to compete.

Director: Milos Forman
Stars: Jirí Suchý, Jirí Slitr, Marketa Krotka
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A partially idealized film of the controversial pornography publisher and how he became a defender of free speech for all people.

Director: Milos Forman
Stars: Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love, Edward Norton
Edit

Cast

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

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:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was Ragtime See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

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
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

O.J. Simpson was considered for the role of Coalhouse Walker. 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

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 ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in James Cagney: Top of the World (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
It doesn't do the impossible, but so what?
16 September 2004 | by (Minnesota) – See all my reviews

A short commentary: Having read through a few of the comments here, I note that there are several which express disappointment that the movie didn't do the book justice. Personally, having read the book some time after seeing the movie, I can understand their point, but realistically it's the type of book which would be nearly be impossible to do justice to, as there are so many broad interwoven threads in the book that it would require at least a 6 hour movie to even scratch the surface, and even then, putting it all together into a singular coherent whole which would hold the viewer's interest for that long would be quite a mean feat indeed. So instead of looking at it as an attempt to fully capture the book, it might be best to simply appreciate it for what it is, rather than what it isn't. And I believe that on its own terms it succeeds admirably, and remains one of my favorite movies of all time.

Another way of looking at this, as an introduction to the book, rather than vice versa it has some value on those terms. Perhaps if I hadn't seen the movie I might never have happened upon the book, and never known what I'd missed.


16 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
nude scene = PG rating? SeldonRL
Movie of the musical, anyone? cmiller11
book? ronfakename
Question esbie44
Jack Nicholson MJBell25
Mr Dourif in Ragtime reg_barclay
Discuss Ragtime (1981) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?