Ragtime Poster

Release Date: 1981

DVD Release Date: November 16th, 2004

PG|2 hr 35 min

Plot Summary
A kaleidoscope of tales from E.L. Doctorow's eponymous novel evokes life in pre-World War I New York City. A white family find a black baby in their yard and takes on the mother as a maid. A black pianist, Coalhouse Walker Jr. (Howard E. Rollins Jr.), returns for his woman and child after finding success in a Harlem jazz band. Firefighters, dismayed to see a black man own a Model-T Ford, deface it, and Walker demands retribution. The white family becomes involved in Evelyn Nesbit's trial.

Cast: James Cagney, Howard E. Rollins Jr., Elizabeth McGovern, Brad Dourif, Moses Gunn, Kenneth McMillan, Pat O'Brien, Donald O'Connor

Director: Milos Forman

Genres: Drama

Production Co: Dino De Laurentiis Company

Keywords: Murder, Charming, New York City, Father, Mother, Revenge, Love, Fascinating

Ratings & Reviews

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  • Ambitious, but only sporadically engaging. show more

  • Rgatime is a loving, beautifully mounted, graceful film that creates its characters with great clarity. show more

  • Ragtime itself twinkles with delight - perhaps only an immigrant, and a recent one, could have made this film, which looks squarely at the social problems gnawing at North America but which finds, within them and without them, cause for hope. [20 Nov 1981]

See all critic reviews on metacritic.com


Nominated Original Song
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1982)
Nominated Best Motion Picture - Drama
Nominated Art Direction
Nominated Best Performance By an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Nominated Music (Original Score)
Nominated Best Original Song - Motion Picture
Nominated Costume Design
Nominated Cinematography
Nominated Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated Writing (Screenplay - Based on Material From Another Medium)
Nominated Best Director - Motion Picture
Nominated Music (Original Song)
Nominated Best Performance By an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Nominated Actress in a Supporting Role