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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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:

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:

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

During the 11th Street scene when Mandy Patinkin learns of his wife's infidelity, the same mustachioed actor with a bowler hat, vest, and cigar walks past him twice in a period of a couple of seconds. See more »

Quotes

Rheinlander Waldo: Where is J. P. Morgan?
Vernon Elliott: Oh, he's on an expedition down the Nile... in Egypt.
Rheinlander Waldo: Hmmm... Lucky him!
[Looks at the Captain]
Police Captain #1: Yes, sir!
Rheinlander Waldo: And contact some colored big shots to talk to us in case we need to negotiate.
Police Captain #1: Very good, sir. Anything else?
Rheinlander Waldo: Yeah, he said something about a car and a fire chief.
Police Captain #1: Conklin. Willie Conklin.
Rheinlander Waldo: Get him. I want to meet him.
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Le bourreau des coeurs (1983) 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 Bit Of a Mess.
11 October 2013 | by See all my reviews

Ragtime is a movie that has obvious aspirations to the epic, but never quite makes it. Multiple plot lines go nowhere, only to be neatly resurrected at some random time in the future, just to remind us that everything is 'linked'. Characters go off on random tangents for no apparent reason, things just happen, you get the idea. The central subplot is actually reasonably compelling, but even then it suffers from being slightly haphazard, with all but the very central characters basically behaving in a completely random manner. All this being said, Ragtime is not a bad movie per se, it's sumptuously shot and the acting is mostly pretty good, once the main subplot gets moving, it's pretty engaging.

Ragtime is based on the book of the same name, I didn't know this when I was watching the movie, but it's pretty obvious that the script has suffered from attempting to compress the book, even then, the movie still weighs in at a hefty two and a half hours, one can't help feeling that they should have just concentrated on developing the main story properly, instead of trying to throw in the kitchen sink.

In conclusion: Well done, a little bit of a mess, probably worth a go if you're looking for a period drama.


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