Movies vist the Family Entertainment Center for more entertainment resources
Browse by Title
Browse by Release Date

Ragtime

Rating:No Rating
Genre:Drama
Release Date:November 20, 1981
Running time:155 minutes
Cast:James Cagney, Brad Dourif, Moses Gunn, Elizabeth McGovern, Kenneth McMillan
Director:Milos Forman
Producer:Michael Hausman
Writer:E.L. Doctorow, Michael Weller
Distributor:Paramount Pictures

Description: E. L. Doctorow's novel Ragtime was a sprawling fictional account of American manners and mores in the years between 1900 and 1913. Among the mosaic of colorful factual and fictional characters in the novel were escape artist Harry Houdini and radical Emma Goldman. Both characters are all but eliminated in the film version, which only concentrates on three of Doctorow's many plot threads: The story of an immigrant artist (Mandy Patinkin) who becomes a movie director; the saga of Gibson Girl Evelyn Nesbit Shaw (Elizabeth McGovern), for whose sake playboy Harry K. Thaw (Robert Joy); kills architect Stanford White (Norman Mailer) and a lone black man's (Howard Rollins Jr.) quest for justice when his car is destroyed by a racist fire chief (Kenneth McMillan). This last subplot consumes most of the film's running time, to the overall detriment of the pacing. There are also several scenes involving an unnamed upper-middle-class family (headed by James Olson and Mary Steenburgen) who are evidently meant to be the audience's eyes and ears, but are frankly not terribly interesting. Back in 1981, Ragtime was given plenty of press coverage as the comeback picture for James Cagney, after twenty years in retirement. The problem is that Cagney's character (a police commissioner) isn't in the book, and his inclusion not only throws the story off balance, but necessitates the removal of several potentially interesting characters and events. Another detriment is the gratuitous (and illogical) nudity in the Evelyn Nesbit scenes, which earned the film its R rating. An ornate misfire, Ragtime is of interest today only for its remarkable cast of veterans and stars-to-be, including Pat O'Brien and Eloise O'Brien, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Allen, Moses Gunn, Jeff Daniels and Fran Drescher.~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Movie summaries and listings powered by Cinema-Source

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

7 Fun Driveway and Sidewalk Games for Kids
Looking for classic outdoor games kids can play in the driveway or on the sidewalk, just like the good ol' days? From hopscotch to bubble-blowing contests, there's something for all ages!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Best Sun Safety Practices for Babies
Follow these sun safety practices for babies to ensure your little one stays safe on the beach and on sunny days all year long.