Ragtime is a 1981 Milos Forman drama that takes place at the turn of the century New York City. Although the movie intertwines several characters and storylines, it centers on the plight of African-American jazz pianist Coalhouse Walker Jr. (Howard Rollins). Through a series of unforseen events, Walker finds himself embroiled in the life of an upper-middle class family. Rising through the New York City music scene, Walker still faces racism and resentment from jealous whites. After Walker is assaulted and his car vandalized, he seeks justice to no avail. The unfortunate death of his love interest Sarah (Debbie Allen) only further fuels his blind rage and desire for vengeance. He does, however, find a true ally in a disillusioned, white bomb maker (Brad Dourif). Walker's determination to stand up to racism and right the many wrongs he has faced leads to a standoff with the entire New York City Police Department.