7.3/10
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53 user 33 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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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  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$151,351, 22 November 1981, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$21,015,710
See more on IMDbPro »

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

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

When Mandy Patinkin's character chases his wife's lover outside, the naked lover is seen pulling up his pants and we see a tan line of bikini briefs, which were not worn in that era. 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 Forty Deuce (1982) 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 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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