Ragtime

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Released 1981

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Movie Summary

Director:
Milos Forman
Released:
1981
Rating:
PG
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.

Metacritic Score

  • 88

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

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

  • 80

    Variety

    The page-turning joys of E.L. Doctorow's bestselling Ragtime, which dizzily and entertainingly charted a kaleidoscopic vision of a turn-of-century America in the midst of intense s...

  • 60

    The New York Times Vincent Canby

    The movie is sorrowful, funny and beautiful. It is also, finally, very unsatisfactory.

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    Categories

    Drama

    Themes

    Politics, Social Issues, Historical, 80s