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7.3/10
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55 user 38 critic

Ragtime (1981)

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:

Milos Forman

Writers:

E.L. Doctorow (based on the novel by), Michael Weller (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:
James Cagney ... New York Police Commissioner Rhinelander Waldo
Brad Dourif ... Younger Brother
Moses Gunn ... Booker T. Washington
Elizabeth McGovern ... Evelyn Nesbit
Kenneth McMillan ... Willie Conklin
Pat O'Brien ... Delphin
Donald O'Connor ... Evelyn's Dance Instructor
James Olson ... Father
Mandy Patinkin ... Tateh
Howard E. Rollins Jr. ... Coalhouse Walker Jr.
Mary Steenburgen ... Mother
Debbie Allen ... Sarah
Jeffrey DeMunn ... Houdini (as Jeff Demunn)
Robert Joy ... Henry Thaw
Norman Mailer ... Stanford White
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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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bir Zamanlar See more »

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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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

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

Quotes

Younger Brother: What kind of music do you play?
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: Anything they ask me to, and then I play ragtime.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Downton Abbey: Episode #4.6 (2013) 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 scottnycSee 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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