7.3/10
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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:

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

Howard E. Rollins, Jr. was a schoolteacher prior to his taking the role of Coalhouse Walker. He lost out on the Golden Globe Award for Best Newcomer that year to Pia Zadora. 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

Rheinlander Waldo: [refering to the anarchists in the library] Well, Mr. Elliot, why don't you go in and have a word with them?
Vernon Elliott: I beg your pardon?
Rheinlander Waldo: Just explain the value of the library, see what they want, that sort of thing.
Vernon Elliott: That hardly seems like the appropriate response, Mr. Waldo, and if you're making a joke at my expense, I assure you there's nothing amusing about my responsibilities as the curator of Mr. Morgan's library.
Rheinlander Waldo: Mr. Elliot, as long as those guys are in there, you're not curator of anything!
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Soundtracks

ONE MORE HOUR
(1981)
Words & Music by Randy Newman
Sung by Jennifer Warnes
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User Reviews

No, NOT the 30's, not the 20's, the 'oughts ...
1 May 2000 | by (Manhattan) – 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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