Ragtime (1981)

PG   |    |  Drama

Ragtime (1981) Poster

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.




  • James Cagney and Milos Forman in Ragtime (1981)
  • James Cagney and Milos Forman in Ragtime (1981)
  • Debbie Allen and Howard E. Rollins Jr. in Ragtime (1981)
  • Elizabeth McGovern and Donald O'Connor in Ragtime (1981)
  • Elizabeth McGovern in Ragtime (1981)
  • James Olson and Howard E. Rollins Jr. in Ragtime (1981)

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1 May 2000 | djexplorer
No, NOT the 30's, not the 20's, the 'oughts ...
1906, to be specific, is when Stanford White was shot -- which of course marks the beginning date bookmark of the movie.

The "declaration of war" -- WW I -- as announced in a Newspaper headline at the end of the film, bookmarks the end of the movie -- and of the era.

Not trivial points, since a good part of the interest of this movie lies it it's serving as a relatively rare window into this period. Which unlike the 1930s or the 1920s which the plot summary and first comment confuse it with, is not a period which is much portrayed in film.

I'd say it's a pretty good, although not great, "costume" film. The first half is much stronger than the second half, both in historical interest and in character development.

Worth seeing though. Perhaps try seeing it right after "Age of Innocence", which is set primarily in the New York of the 1870s (although entirely among the upper upper class, instead of the somewhat broader class look, and city/near country look of Ragtime).

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