Ragtime (1981) - Rotten Tomatoes

Ragtime (1981)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

E. L. Doctorow's novel Ragtime was a sprawling fictional account of American manners and mores in the years between 1900 and 1913. This film concentrates on three plot threads: the story of an immigrant artist, the saga of "Gibson Girl" Evelyn Nesbit Shaw, and a black man's quest for justice.more
Rating: PG (adult situations/language, nudity, violence)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Michael Weller, Bo Goldman, E.L. Doctorow
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 16, 2004
Paramount Pictures


James Cagney
as Rheinlander Waldo
Elizabeth McGovern
as Evelyn Nesbit Thaw
Brad Dourif
as Younger Brother
Moses Gunn
as Booker T. Washington
Kenneth McMillan
as Willie Conklin
Donald O'Connor
as Evelyn's Dance Teach...
Howard E. Rollins Jr...
as Coalhouse Walker, J...
Jeffrey DeMunn
as Harry Houdini
Robert Joy
as Harry K. Thaw
Norman Mailer
as Stanford White
Bruce Boa
as Jerome
Edwin Cooper
as Grandfather
Jeff Daniels
as O'Donnell
Frankie Faison
as Gang Member No. 1
Hal Galili
as Police Captain No. 1
Eloise O'Brien
as Mrs. Thaw
Richard Griffiths
as Delmas Assistant No....
Samuel L. Jackson
as Gang Member No. 2
Michael Jeter
as Special reporter
Calvin Levels
as Gang Member No. 3
Bessie Love
as Old Lady
Christopher Malcolm
as Police Captain No. 2
Herman Meckler
as Vernon Elliott
Billy J. Mitchell
as Delmas Assistant No....
Jenny Nichols
as Little Girl
Max Nichols
as Little Boy
Zack Norman
as Gent No. 2 - Manager
Don Plumley
as Inspector McNeil
Ted Ross
as Black Lawyer
Billy Mitchell
as Delmas's Assistant
Dorsey Wright
as Gang Member No. 4
Robert Arden
as Foreman of the Jury
Robert Boyd
as President Theodore R...
Thomas A. Carlin
as Vice President Charl...
John Clarkson
as Plainclothes Detecti...
Norris Mailer
as Woman with Stanford ...
Harry Ditson
as County Clerk
Robert Dorning
as Gent with Stanford W...
Douglas Lambert
as Police Sergeant
Geoffrey Greenhill
as Police Guard
Ray Hassett
as Policeman No. 12
Joel Cutrara
as Policeman
Robert Hitt
as Plainclothes Detecti...
Jeff Harding
as Policeman
Rodney James
as Sleek Male Dancer
George Harris
as Band Leader, Clef C...
George J. Manos
as Novely Shop Storeman
Anthony Powell
as Policeman
Val Pringle
as Clef Club Manager
Joe Praml
as Policeman
Ron Weyand
as Doctor Muller
Bill Reimbold
as Gent No. 3 - Lawyer
Bob Sherman
as Policeman
Josh Clark
as Fireman
Jake Dengel
as Fireman
Sonny Abagnale
as Evelyn's Driver
Donald Bisset
as J.P. Morgan
John Alderson
as Waldo's Aide
Patrick Connor
as Waldo's Aide
Derek Martin
as Waldo's Aide
Robert Coffin
as Desk Clerk
Guy Gregory
as Black Butler
Britt Walker
as Black Butler
Barry Dennen
as Stage Manager
Tony Sibbald
as Stock Reporter
Peter Witman
as Stock Reporter
Daniel Foley
as Stock Reporter
Richard Oldfield
as Stock Reporter
Gretchen Franklin
as Elderly Woman
Robert Henderson
as Elderly Man
Pavel Landovsky
as Solomon Peretz
Al Matthews
as maitre d'
Colette Hiller
as Lawyer's Female Comp...
Elaine Ives-Cameron
as Ina, Lawyer's Femal...
Nelly Polissky
as Woman in Window
Ethan Phillips
as Guard at Family Hous...
John Sterland
as Library guard
Jan Triska
as Special reporter
Ed Wiley
as Conductor
Norris Mailer
as Woman with Stanford ...
Colette Hiller
as Lawyer's Female Comp...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Ragtime

Critic Reviews for Ragtime

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (4)

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Sporadically engaging, Milos Forman's chronicle of American society and culture in the beginning of the twentieth century is too sprawling and dramatically diffuse, though some of the acting is excellent.

Full Review… | July 10, 2011

Great to see very late Cagney in solid Milos Forman film.

March 22, 2008

Audience Reviews for Ragtime


It drags here and there but mostly a fine epic film

jay nixon

Super Reviewer


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.

Rodney Eckrich

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.

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