7.3/10
7,097
53 user 32 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:

Young, beautiful, passionate, and scandalous. She was America in the time of "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  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$151,351 (USA) (22 November 1981)

Gross:

$21,015,710 (USA)
 »

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

E.L. Doctorow's character Coalhouse Walker, Jr., and the storyline of his mistreatment by the fire chief, is a remake of an early nineteenth century novel. The story is an update of the classic German novella Michael Kohlhaus by Heinrich Wilhelm von Kleist (October 18, 1777 - November 21, 1811). In von Kleist's Michael Kohlhaas, Kohlhaas is a Brandenburg horse dealer who is made to pay a "toll," by a member of the nobility, who then destroy his horses. Kohlhaas, like Coalhouse in Doctorow's novel, ultimately takes justice into his own hands after his Model T is destroyed. Von Kleist's' story was, in itself, a remake of an earlier sixteenth century story. Michael Kohlhaas also received screen treatment, see Michael Kohlhaas (film). For the 1969 film, see Michael Kohlhaas - der Rebell. 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

[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

Featured in Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
A Wonderful Panel of Racism, Intolerance, Violence, Greed and Hypocrisy, Showing the Formation of the American Society
22 January 2004 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

In the beginning of the Twentieth Century, many dramas cross in a wonderful panel, showing the formation of the American society. Evelyn Nesbit Thaw (Elizabeth McGovern) is the wife of a millionaire, and pivot of a crime committed by her jealous husband. Her mother-in-law is a hypocrite old lady, who convinces Evelyn to lie in court for money, to avoid her son to go to the electric chair. Evelyn commits perjury, but the mother-in-law does not pay her the promised amount. Mary Steenburgen is a correct woman, having a very moralist husband. Her brother (Brad Dourif) is honest and idealist. The family hires Sarah, a black and single mother, with her baby. The father is the pianist Coalhouse Walker Jr. (Howard E. Rollins Jr.), who progresses in his career and comes back to Sarah, proposing her to get married with him. An incident with a group of racists makes him fighting for justice in a racist society. Rheinlander Waldo (James Cagney) is the chief of police, who is involved in the incident. This movie is another wonderful film of Milos Forman. Amazing the quantity of marvelous movies made by this fantastic director. The reconstitution of the period is magnificent. The cast is stunning. Elizabeth McGovern looks like a doll wearing those costumes. Her nude scene is also great. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): `Na Época do Ragtime' (`In the Age of the Ragtime')


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