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Ragtime (1981)

PG  |   |  Drama  |  8 January 1982 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 6,067 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 50 user | 26 critic | 8 from Metacritic.com

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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(based on the novel by), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Ragtime (1981)

Ragtime (1981) on IMDb 7.3/10

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

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Biography

The life of Charles Ponzi, an Italian immigrant who comes to America in search of the American Dream only to stumble across the scam of the century.

Director: Milos Forman
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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 | Add 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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 January 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bir Zamanlar  »

Box Office

Gross:

SEK 3,022,477 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mary Steenburgen was pregnant during filming, but her turn-of-the-century clothes concealed it. See more »

Goofs

While negotiating with Coalhouse Walker Jr., the earpiece hook on the phone hangs in the off position while Conklin is talking. See more »

Quotes

P.C. O'Donnell: Nobody's intimidating me, Mister. You just don't know what you're getting yourself into, and I'm trying to keep your nose clean. Now, would you be a good boy and just get along.?
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: I want my car cleaned!
P.C. O'Donnell: Clean it then, damn you! Clean it and go!
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: I want the man who did it to clean it!
P.C. O'Donnell: All right, all right, let me pit it this way. I can arrest you for blocking a public service exit, for creating a public nuisance, and about ten other things I ain't gonna mention. Now, am I making myself clear?
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: Yes.
P.C. O'Donnell:
Coalhouse Walker Jr.:
P.C. O'Donnell:
Coalhouse Walker Jr.:
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Matthew Blackheart: Monster Smasher (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Great To See Cagney But Don't Overlook Olson
10 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I never saw this film until 2005 and after I had become a big James Cagney fan and wanted to see the movies of his I had missed. Thus, I had to check this out, especially since it was his first film he had made in over 20 years.

En route to getting a glimpse at the 80-year-old star, I found out (1) he wasn't on screen until 45 minutes were left in this 155-minute movie; (2) his absence didn't upset me that much because I was absorbed in this interesting story (plus, to be fair, I was told in advance he didn't appear until the last part!), (3) the sets, clothing, etc. of this "period piece" were fantastic to view.

Anyway, in my opinion, the star of the film was a guy who hardly got any billing: James Olson. He is the key figure in this story and very interesting to watch. Actually, just about everyone is interesting which makes for good storytelling. Nonetheless, Olson's fine performance is unfairly overlooked.

Howard Rollins was good as the black "victim" of the profane slob Kenneth McMillian and Elizabeth McGovern certainly kept ones attention although I wasn't quite sure how her character tied into the story.

By the way, to rate this movie "PG" is ludicrous since McGovern is seen in a 3- to-4-minute scene casually talking away with bare breasts for all to see. And - contrary to a popular rumor - nothing of her was cut out of the DVD.

Meanwhile, Cagney showed he hadn't forgotten how to act. It was a pleasure to see him again, just a few years before he would pass away. It's a cliché, but I doubt if anyone was in his class as an actor and a dancer, a tough guy or a comedian. He was the best and went out in style here, too, although he did do one last made-for-TV film a short time after this.


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