Scott Joplin (1977) - Rotten Tomatoes

Scott Joplin (1977)

Scott Joplin (1977)

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Movie Info

Billy Dee Williams stars as legendary ragtime pianist/composer Scott Joplin in this 1977 biopic. Despite his brilliance, Joplin (1868-1917) was confined by the color of his skin to the dregs of show business in the late 19th century. While competing in a musical contest, Joplin introduces his most famous composition, "The Maple Leaf Rag", thereby commanding the attention of a white music publisher. Offered a ridiculously low price for the song, Joplin nevertheless agrees to sell his composition, figuring that he has a better chance at fame and fortune once he's published. Before long, Ragtime music has become a national craze, and Joplin is rich beyond his wildest dreams. But the composer realizes that his brand of music is not considered respectable, and yearns to write something of more lasting value--a concerto, perhaps, or even an opera. Alas, Joplin's talents begin failing him, and by age 49 he is on the brink of death, a victim of syphilis. Originally made for television by Motown Films, Scott Joplin was released theatrically by Universal Pictures.

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Cast

Billy Dee Williams
as Scott Joplin
Art Carney
as John Stark
Margaret Avery
as Belle Joplin
Eubie Blake
as Will Williams
Seymour Cassel
as Dr. Jaelki
DeWayne Jessie
as John The Baptist
Mabel King
as Madam Amy
Taj Mahal
as Poor Alfred
Spo-De-Odee
as Left Hand Of God
Denise Gordy
as Prostitute
Samuel Fuller
as Theater Impresario
David Healy
as Sam Bundler
Leon Charles
as Liebling
Fred Pinkard
as Dr. Adams
Rita Ross
as Girl With Note
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