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Ragtime (1981)

 -  Drama  -  8 January 1982 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 5,656 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 49 user | 28 critic | 8 from Metacritic.com

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.

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(based on the novel by), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Ragtime (1981)

Ragtime (1981) on IMDb 7.3/10

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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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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 | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

new york city | piano | car | 1910s | pianist | See more »

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:

8 January 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bir Zamanlar  »

Box Office

Gross:

SEK 3,022,477 (Sweden)
 »

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

Robert Altman was replaced by Milos Forman as director of this project. See more »

Goofs

One of the pre-WWI newspaper headlines refers to Vice-President Charles Curtis. Curtis served as Herbert Hoover's VP and was not elected until 1928. 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!
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

 
Great To See Cagney But Don't Overlook Olson
10 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I never saw this film until 2005 and after I had become a big James Cagney fan and wanted to see the movies of his I had missed. Thus, I had to check this out, especially since it was his first film he had made in over 20 years.

En route to getting a glimpse at the 80-year-old star, I found out (1) he wasn't on screen until 45 minutes were left in this 155-minute movie; (2) his absence didn't upset me that much because I was absorbed in this interesting story (plus, to be fair, I was told in advance he didn't appear until the last part!), (3) the sets, clothing, etc. of this "period piece" were fantastic to view.

Anyway, in my opinion, the star of the film was a guy who hardly got any billing: James Olson. He is the key figure in this story and very interesting to watch. Actually, just about everyone is interesting which makes for good storytelling. Nonetheless, Olson's fine performance is unfairly overlooked.

Howard Rollins was good as the black "victim" of the profane slob Kenneth McMillian and Elizabeth McGovern certainly kept ones attention although I wasn't quite sure how her character tied into the story.

By the way, to rate this movie "PG" is ludicrous since McGovern is seen in a 3- to-4-minute scene casually talking away with bare breasts for all to see. And - contrary to a popular rumor - nothing of her was cut out of the DVD.

Meanwhile, Cagney showed he hadn't forgotten how to act. It was a pleasure to see him again, just a few years before he would pass away. It's a cliché, but I doubt if anyone was in his class as an actor and a dancer, a tough guy or a comedian. He was the best and went out in style here, too, although he did do one last made-for-TV film a short time after this.


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