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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:

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:

Ragtime See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$151,351, 22 November 1981

Gross USA:

$14,920,781

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$14,920,781
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

Howard E. Rollins Jr. was a schoolteacher before he took the role of Coalhouse Walker, Jr.. He lost out on the Golden Globe Award for Best Newcomer that year to Pia Zadora. See more »

Goofs

While negotiating with Coalhouse Walker Jr., the earpiece hook on the phone hangs in the off position while Conklin is talking. See more »

Quotes

Coalhouse Walker Jr.: [praying] Lord, I'd hoped I'd have the courage to know what I should do now. You must see how sick at heart I've been... and how I've performed this thing with little appetite.
[sobbing]
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: I'd hoped... you'd reveal to me along the way why you put such a rage in my heart.
[a brief pause]
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: Tell me what to do now!
[another beat]
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: Please.
[sighs]
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: God, tell me what to do.
See more »


Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Fantastic in every way
28 April 2005 | by IdocamstufSee all my reviews

This a truly terrific period piece directed by Milos Forman(Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus) and starring terrific cast. The film takes place in the very early 1900's and follows the lives of at least four different people/families. As the movie gets going, it begins to focus mostly on an African American man and his struggle to be heard in society after he is mistreated by a group of firemen. Everything that follows is equally powerful and fascinating as the man tries to find justice in the turn of the century America. This fine film is richly textured with turn of the century atmosphere, music and actual newsreels from the period which all contribute to this fascinating story. Also nice to see James Cagney one more time. This is a film that I would recommend to anyone who is interested in what life was like at the turn of century. A fantastic film. ***3/4 out of ****.


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