Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Alexander's Ragtime Band Photos

Movie Info

A 1938 classic musical that showcases 28 of Irving Berlin's most memorable ragtime tunes begins in 1915 San Francisco when society boy Roger Grant decides to pursue popular rather than serious music. It's a story of love, war and music spanning 30 years.
Classics , Drama , Musical & Performing Arts , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
20th Century Fox Film Corporation

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Tyrone Power
as Roger Grant
Alice Faye
as Stella Kirby
Don Ameche
as Charlie Dwyer
Ethel Merman
as Jerry Allen
Jack Haley
as Davey Lane
Jean Hersholt
as Prof. Heinrich
Helen Westley
as Aunt Sophie
John Carradine
as Taxi Driver
Paul Hurst
as Bill
Wally Vernon
as Himself
Ruth Terry
as Ruby
Douglas Fowley
as Snapper
Eddie Collins
as Cpl. Collins
Joseph Crehan
as Stage Manager
Dixie Dunbar
as Specialty
Joe King
as Charles Dillingham
Charles Coleman
as Head Waiter
Jane Jones
as Trio
Otto H. Fries
as Singing trio
Mel Kalish
as Trio
Selmer Jackson
as Radio Station Manager
Tyler Brooke
as Assistant Stage Manager
Selmar Jackson
as Radio Station Manager
Don Douglas
as Singer
James Flavin
as Sergeant
Jack Pennick
as Sergeant
Paul McVey
as Stage Manager
Ralph Dunn
as Captain
Charles Tannen
as Secretary
Robert Lowery
as Reporter
Cully Richards
as Musician
Arthur Rankin
as Stage Manager
Kay Griffith
as Autograph Seeker
Sam Ash
as Critic
A.S. Byron
as Train Conductor
Edwin Stanley
as Critic
Lynne Barkley
as Autograph Seeker
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Critic Reviews for Alexander's Ragtime Band

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (1)

Irving Berlin's Alexander's Ragtime Band is a grand filmusical which stirs and thrills, a medley of more than 30 pieces, selected from some 600 which Berlin has composed.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

28 of Irving Berlin's greatest songs make this energetic, handsomely mounted production a must-see for musical fans.

Full Review… | January 31, 2012
TV Guide

Despite Tyrone Powers' stiff turn in the lead, Henry King's Depression-era musical is well-crafted, boasting 28 of Irving Berlin's greatest hits, some nicely performed by Alice Faye at her prime.

Full Review… | February 9, 2008

Easily a tune every few minutes, all reliably executed, but the film's insistence on musical comprehensiveness leaves room only for the barest of character development.

Full Review… | September 22, 2004
Apollo Guide

Great fun.

Full Review… | May 24, 2003

Audience Reviews for Alexander's Ragtime Band


What happens when Irving Berlin writes a two hour commercial for himself? You don't want to know. Not even Busby Berkeley could have saved this one.

Garrett Cash
Garrett Cash

This movie has a great cast, but it was so boring I couldn't watch it all.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

"Alexander's Ragtime Band" was another Best Picture nominee in 1938. It was a showcase for Irving Berlin's music, which was such a sensation at the time. But it was more than that. Directed with effortless ease by Henry King and edited superbly, the film is a delight from start to finish. Its heartfelt love story is brought to life exuberantly by Alice Faye and Tyrone Power, neither of whom ever received Oscar nominations despite having been major stars for decades. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but this is my first time seeing Faye and Power. I can now confidently say that Faye deserves to be better known among cinephiles today. The fact that she didn't receive an Oscar nomination for "Alexander's Ragtime Band" strikes me as a classic case of the Academy's unfair privileging of drama over musicals and comedies. Faye here has to pull off a lot more than musical comedy. She has to convey heartbreak through many scenes in the second half of the film, and she does so in a deeply convincing way. Also noteworthy is co-star Don Ameche, who has almost as much screen time here as Power. He does a great job in the role of Power's sidekick. (Ameche, incidentally, received his one and only Oscar when he was an old man, winning Best Supporting Actor in 1985 for the film "Cocoon.") "Ragtime Band" is not much more than melodrama, however, and ultimately is rather superficial. But it delivers its message winningly and with a lot more cinematic skill and aplomb than any of the other Best Picture nominees I've seen thus far in my study of 1938. Next up on my list: "Boys Town," starring Spencer Tracy in a performance that won him the Best Actor Oscar that year, and "Pygmalion," with Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller, both of whom were nominated for Oscars that year.

William Dunmyer
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

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