- 2 hr 35 min
Ragtime is a 1981 American drama film directed by Milos Forman, based on the 1975 novel of the same name by E. L. Doctorow. The movie boasts a star-studded cast that includes James Cagney, Elizabeth McGovern, Howard E. Rollins Jr., Mary Steenburgen, and Mandy Patinkin. Set in New York City in the early 1900s, Ragtime is a sweeping and powerful portrayal of American society at a time of great change. The film weaves together the stories of several characters whose lives intersect in unexpected ways.
At the heart of the film is Coalhouse Walker Jr. (Rollins Jr.), a talented musician who becomes embroiled in a bitter struggle with a powerful and bigoted fire chief (played by Kenneth McMillan) after the latter destroys his cherished car. Coalhouse's quest for justice soon turns violent, causing mayhem and chaos throughout the city.
Meanwhile, a wealthy white family, the Baums (Cagney and Steenburgen), find their comfortable lives upended when they take in a young black woman (McGovern) and her newborn child. The family's interactions with their new houseguest highlight the deep racial tensions that exist in American society at the time.
Other memorable characters include Tateh (Patinkin), an immigrant who struggles to provide for his daughter in the face of poverty and discrimination, and Evelyn Nesbit (Elizabeth McGovern), a young actress whose glamorous lifestyle hides a dark secret.
Through their intertwined stories, Ragtime paints a vivid portrait of a nation grappling with the contradictions of its past and struggling to define its future. This is a movie about the American Dream - both its promise and its limitations.
The film's director, Milos Forman, brings his trademark cinematic flair to the material, deftly blending drama, humor, and music to create an unforgettable movie experience. The film's stirring score by Randy Newman, featuring songs like "One More Hour" and "Pennies from Heaven," adds an extra dimension to the film's emotional impact.
The movie's lush and detailed production design transports viewers back in time, immersing them in the sights and sounds of turn-of-the-century America. Ragtime is a meticulously crafted film that feels both authentic and timeless.
At its core, though, Ragtime is a movie about people - people from all walks of life, struggling to make their way in a complex and often hostile world. It's a movie that reminds us of the power of empathy and connection, showing us that even in the darkest of times, hope and humanity can prevail.
Overall, Ragtime is a must-see movie that showcases the talents of some of the greatest actors and filmmakers of our time. With its sweeping scope, unforgettable characters, and powerful message, this is a film that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
Ragtime is a 1981 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 35 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3 and a MetaScore of 57.