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.

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

The newsreel lists an assassination attempt against President Theodore Roosevelt, presumably in 1904 when he was the incumbent running for a full term. The attempt on his life actually occurred in 1912 when, as a former president, he ran for the office again as the candidate of The Progressive Party. See more »

Quotes

[Coalhouse has just learned that his friends have safely escaped]
Father: [trepidatiously] Well, shouldn't we... uh... tell them... that we're... we're coming?
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: [calmly] Yeah. You go on ahead. Tell 'em I'll be right out.
Father: [hesitates] Well...
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: Just go on. I'll be with you.
Father: [still hesitates] Don't...?
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: [firmly] Go.
Father: [stammering] Don't you think it would be... a better idea if we...?
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: [exploding] GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE! Don't you understand ANYTHING, white man?
Father: [terrified, rushes out of the library]
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

 
Now clearly a classic
18 October 1999 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

Ragtime has emerged as a classic film. Its astonishing array of great performances--literally a score of them, from Howard Rollins's truly tragic stand for human dignity at the film's center to James Cagney's historic return to film at the end of his life and the end of this motion picture--would almost alone qualify this as a great motion picture. But Michael Weller's breathtakingly complex and complete dramatization of Doctorow's sprawling novel, the gorgeous production and costume designs and the superb direction of Milos Forman seal the deal. This is a magnificent tapestry of American life at the beginning of the American century.

Lavishly entertaining, genuinely heartbreaking and a dandy history lesson to boot, Ragtime has joined the pantheon of great, epic movies.


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