• PG, 2 hr. 35 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Milos Forman
    In Theaters:
    Nov 20, 1981 Wide
    On DVD:
    Nov 16, 2004
  • Paramount Pictures
  • Ragtime
    1 minutes 15 seconds
    Added: May 9, 2008

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Ragtime Reviews

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Super Reviewer

January 2, 2008
It drags here and there but mostly a fine epic film
rodjeckrich
January 2, 2013
Milos Foreman's opus about early 1900's America works on a few different levels. It is a great costume and detailed film, good score, powerful acting, and a great cast (Steenburgen is a little iffy at times though). It was great to see some of the old school cats like James Cagney, in his final role, get screen time. Cagney and Brad Dourif definitely make this pretty great. Hey and there was a youngish Samuel L as part of Howard Rollin's gang. Ragtime was a movie that I always wanted to see based off me liking One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus, and Man on the Moon. Sometimes the movies you want to see for years wind up sucking or disappointing but Ragtime was good.
February 21, 2012
I thought it was a wonderful movie, played with great range by the actors, and an exquisite rendition of early 20th century New York with the costume and set designs.
May 17, 2011
Milos Forman usually delivers a quality film, as is the case here. an intricately weaving story about American life in the early 20th century. enjoyable as it was, the story was kind of all over the place. Elizabeth McGovern pretty much disappears after the first act...blows off Brad Dourif and ends up working for street-artist-turned-film-director (another plot detail I don't quite understand) Mandy Patinkin. but storylines petering off seems to be a common trend. I suppose an underlying theme of the whole film could be the search for justice, but nobody really finds it. kind of depressing, actually, when you consider how many people get screwed in this movie. scattered plot and vague themes aside, this is still an entertaining film with a great cast of characters played by a great cast of actors. it's a testament to Forman's directing that even his so-so films are pretty good.
iamroxannejones
March 4, 2009
i saw this movie when i was 11 and it stayed in my mind i am almost 40 and would love to see it again
moviempress
June 4, 2008
I just couldn't really get into this film...there is a nice array of talent however, the mish mash of storylines strain to connect to one another and eventually they fall by the way side and I just didn't care any more
zeeflee
March 30, 2008
Too long. Too BORING. The story hinges on one racist event that I dont even find that racist. Uninteresting characters. A 'miniseries' i didnt care about
MovieGuruDude72
July 19, 2007
I watched this with my grandparents when I was a kid. They were Cagney fans. This was worth a viewing though I haven't seen it since.
nomantra
July 8, 2007
A thoroughly enjoyable movie. Lots of stars. Mandy Patinkin is great in this too. Made me want to read the book and learn more about that time period.
madelineschulman
November 27, 2006
The huge cast includes a glimpse of Fran Drescher pre-nanny. For those of you who haven't read the book, it weaves three families, one black, one upper-middle-class white, and one immigrant Jewish, into stories with real people such as Henry Ford and Emma Goldman. The book is more complex and the musical more fun, but the movie is also a good incarnation of the story.
July 5, 2012
This movie is one of my favorites. The plot line focuses on several people during this roaring time. All of them are twisted in some way, and have phenomenal dialogue. The cinematography captures that classical Ragtime feel (the score does too obviously). The ending truly feels convincing and not like historical fiction. The tone of the film is also quite dark which makes you feel an eerie suspicion whenever someone does something. Its just an epic adventure that you devote a lot of time for such a great pay-off. Please stop reading this and go see it!
John W.
July 13, 2012
What happened to Elizabeth McGovern?
May 10, 2009
For anyone unfamiliar with E.L. Doctorow's novel, RAGTIME is a complex, richly created tapestry of New York City at its turning point, involving an upper-class white family somehow getting mixed up in the trials and tribulations of a black pianist, a Jewish filmmaker, a sexy model, and a crusty police officer (James Cagney, in what would be his final film). What's particularly notable about this film is the casting of the actors; for many of them, from Brad Dourif to Moses Gunn to James Olson to Mandy Patinkin, this was their first film. It is interesting to see them in RAGTIME prior to when they became famous. The real star of the picture, though, isn't just the beautiful cinematography, but Randy Newman's score. This is one of my favorite soundtracks of all time, from the melancholy opening waltz to the showclosing "One More Hour". Longtime fans of the novel may be somewhat disappointed with Milos Forman's otherwise superb interpretation of the novel, which cuts out many of the historical figures and mostly focuses on the misfortunes of the black pianist (wonderfully portrayed by Howard E. Rollins Jr.) as his life devolves into one of vengeance against a racist firefighter. Consequently, it leads to a somewhat overlong final act. Even with this shortcoming, RAGTIME is still fine entertainment. It never gained the popularity of a subsequent musical show, but it definitely deserves a look.
Victor Bruno
March 18, 2011
Sou suspeito para falar de "Ragtime". Também sou suspeito para falar de Milos Forman. Mas quando digo que sou suspeito para falar de "Ragtime", não estou referindo-me ao filme, mas sim ao livro escrito pelo prolífico americano E.L. Doctorow. Afinal de contas, "Ragtime" é o meu livro favorito, e guardo-o carinhosamente na minha prateleira.

Milos Forman havia acabado de sair de um clássico dos musicais, e - como dizem para mim - um filme de importância sociopolítica incomensurável: Hair (Hair, 1979). Foi quando Dino De Laurentiis, o famoso produtor italiano, convidou-o para dirigir a adaptação do best-seller de Doctorow. Na verdade, Forman estava substituindo Robert Altman, que havia dirigido o fraco Popeye, em 1980, apenas um ano antes do lançamento deste filme. Deus sabe o que Altman foi fazer para desistir de Na Época do Ragtime, por que este é o filme perfeito para ele: múltiplas histórias, crítica aos costumes retrógrados de uma sociedade (por assim dizer) moralista. Enfim, cada um sabe o que faz. Mas, sendo sincero, Forman não era a melhor opção para dirigir este filme. O diretor tcheco simplesmente não soube como dividir os 155 minutos de filme para as seis linhas narrativas principais do filme.
Em linhas gerais, o objetivo de Na Época de Ragtime é montar um painel que mostre como funcionavam os costumes e as mentes da América no início do século XX. Em New Rochelle vive uma típica família de classe média-alta norte-americana - gramado mais-que-verde no jardim, uma hortinha no quintal, cerca, uma empregada, etc. Papai (James Olson) é o homem que tem o sagrado dever de manter a família funcionando. Na casa ainda vivem Mamãe (Mary Steenburger), Irmão Mais Novo (Brad Dourif), sem contar com o filho e o vovô e a empregada, Brigit. Não demora muito para percebermos que as coisas não são assim tão agradáveis nesta residência de New Rochelle: o Irmão Mais Novo é obviamente lunático, Mamãe tem seus direito de pensar revogado por Papai (são incontáveis as vezes que ela diz "Eu acho que..." e Papai a corta com a frase "Eu acho que minha esposa quis dizer...").

As coisas só pioram quando surge um bebê na horta do fundo do quintal. Não demora muito para Sarah (Debbie Allen), a mãe da criança. Ela é negra e rapidamente já é tachada de "criatura abominável". Nas palavras do policial que a leva para a casa da família: "Não podemos compartilhar os mesmos pensamentos que essa gente [negros]. Não são cristãos como nós." Não obstante, surge a figura mais importante da trama: Coalhouse Walker Jr. (Howard E. Rollins Jr.). Elegante, bem-educado, pianista especializado em ragtime ("Primeiro eu toco o que pedirem. Depois, ragtime").

Ao mesmo tempo conhecemos a história de Evelyn Nesbit (Elizabeth McGovern, linda). Carismática, enigmática, interesseira. Ela está casada com "Henry K. Thaw, de Princeton!". Mas Henry K. Thaw está muito aborrecido, pois Sanford White construiu uma estátua, com claros traços similares ao da garota. É um nu que está pendurado no alto do Madison Square Garden. Resultado: K. Thaw mata White com um tiro na cabeça e agora responde a processo. Pouco tempo depois Nesbit conhece Irmão Mais Novo e Tateh. Ela se apaixona pelo Irmão Mais Novo e aparentemente cria afeição por Tateh.

Por gostar tanto do livro (parafraseando Forman, Doctorow escreve como um anjo), acabo ficando com mais dificuldades do que imaginava. Entretanto, vou separar as duas coisas. Caso contrário, acabaria ficando tal qual uma fã de "Harry Potter", aborrecida por que parte X do livro não foi para o filme. Não, o problema não é este. O problema é que o roteiro do filme não consegue criar uma trama uniforme para o longa. Apesar do roteirista Michael Weller (e do roteirista Bo Goldman, de Um Estranho no Ninho, que teve participação não creditada) cortar grande parte das narrativas paralelas (por exemplo, no livro, acompanhamos a depressão do mágico Harry Houdini após a morte da mãe, e a trajetória de Tateh depois de deixar Nova York e ir tentar vida nova na Filadélfia), jamais conseguimos nos sentir totalmente envolvidos por aquela trama, que parecia tão promissora. Como Irmão Mais Novo conseguiu se envolver amorosamente com Evelyn Nesbit? Ninguém sabe. O roteiro de Weller salta de um segmento para outro de forma tão louca que a narrativa torna-se incompreensível. A personagem de Tateh é totalmente esquecida pelo roteiro, assim como Nesbit. Weller prefere dar mais atenção à personagem de Coalhouse Walker Jr., que - não por acaso - transforma-se na figura mais interessante do filme. Entretanto, se no livro, Walker era uma vítima das circunstâncias, Weller transforma-o numa figura arrogante e prepotente, que age com requintes de loucura e insanidade. Não à toa, a melhor cena do filme, quando Walker conhece Brooker T. Washington, foi copiada letra por letra do livro.
Mas se o roteiro é falho, não podemos falar o mesmo da direção de Forman. O homem filma como um lorde. Com uma elegância impressionante. Um exemplo? Repare na tensão que o diretor estabelece na cena do assassinato de Stanford White. Numa série de cortes ágeis e secos (mostrando, assim, um dos maiores trunfos do filme: a montagem precisa de Anne V. Coates), Forman mostra o estado de nervos de Henry K. Thaw, a ignorância de White sobre o que está para lhe acontecer e - ironicamente - o objeto que criou toda aquela situação: o nu de Evelyn Nesbit.

Além da ótima direção de Forman, o designer de produção de John Greysmark e a excelente trilha sonora de Randy Newman (sim, o mesmo Randy Newman da Pixar) marcam presença no filme. Inclusive a música One More Hour, que toca durante os créditos finais do filme, composta por Newman, foi indicada ao Oscar do ano de 1981.

No fim das contas Na Época do Ragtime prova-se um filme médio, que caiu no limbo do esquecimento, dentro da carreira de seu diretor. Forman, diretor de poucos filmes, escorregou feio com esta obra. Fazer o que? Nada. De toda forma, Na Época do Ragtime, com suas boas atuações (destaque para Elizabeth McGovern, que apenas alguns anos mais tarde estrelaria a obra-prima de Sergio Leone, Era Uma Vez na América, interpretando um papel similar), serviu de preparação para Forman produzir seu filme mais poderoso: Amadeus.
Alec L.
January 17, 2010
How a great director like Milos Foreman let's some of the painful performances in this film slide, I do not know. And even though some of the performances were substantial (Coalhouse Walker Jr., Younger Brother), Ragtime does a good job of bringing E. L. Doctorow's masterpiece to life and is embellished with a star-studded cast, it fails to impact you like the book and play do.
Charlie Tuba
January 11, 2010
A great epic film set in the time of the turn of the century circa 1900. Last movie with James Kagney (came out of retirement for this). Several actors were in this before they became known names: Jeff Daniels, Fran Drescher, Samuel L. Jackson, John Ratzenberger; and also Norman Mailer had a cameo as Stanford White.

A great score by Randy Newman.

Be prepared for a long sit with this one. It is over 2 1/2 hours long with several sub plots.

While this is a work of fiction it has several historical references and is a story of a black man's quest for dignity and acceptance.
son of bloody sam
December 14, 2009
far greater than i expected from a period, historical drama. going into the boredom lines of melodrama is down to a reasonable measure, and the rest is a social and political thriller. forman as a director is great as ever.
Laura C.
August 18, 2009
I'm not sure whether that Doctorow is my favorite author and that Ragtime is my second favorite book makes me biased for or against this film. I really did want to like it a lot, but since Ragtime is written like a patchwork quilt, to imagine it distilled down to movie length made me nervous. Knowing how great the source material is and having to see it chipped away, seeing some of my favorite aspects of the plot lost... it's harder to enjoy the movie for what it is. I'll admit it was interesting to see the way they pieced the movie together differently to avoid issues with length, but I can't help but feel a sense of loss. I guess I'll have to accept that, for me, there's no way an adaptation of a Doctorow novel could do it full justice. But if I try to view the film separately from the book, it still has a good plot (though potentially a bit confusing), fairly well developed characters, great acting, and perfect settings.
jennifer's picks & pa
July 12, 2009
With seminal films like "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Amadeus" on his resume, "Ragtime" may seem like a minor blip. Obviously it doesn't have the rabid following of his more celebrated films but "Ragtime" is a solid addition nonetheless. And it also serves as the Swan Song for screen legend James Cagney.

Ragtime (1981) - 7.5/10
Director - Milos Forman
Starring - Brad Dourif, Elizabeth McGovern, James Cagney, Howard Rollins Jr., Moses Gunn, Pat O'Brien, Mary Steenburgen, Jeff Daniels, Debbie Allen, Mandy Patinkin.

Ragtime is set in turn-of-the-century New York City and the story revolves around several families of different social classes and ethnicity. Worlds collide and people are foced to pick up the pieces in an ever-changing America. The most prominent storyline revolves around Howard Rollins Jr., a black man on a quest for justice after his car is destroyed by a racist fire chief. The film also features James Cagney, who came out of a 20 year retirement to make one last film. With so many characters and overlapping storylines it may be too tedious or confusing for most audiences, but the acting is superb and the film was thought-provoking enough to hold my interest. It may not be classic Milos Forman, but it's still pretty good.
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