Trivia: James Cagney was granted several "special dispensations" when he agreed to appear in this film. He was given an opt-out clause allowing him to quit at any time should he deem the schedule too grueling; his presence convinced the unions to allow Ragtime to continue shooting during a major strike, a privilege afforded no other movie in production at the time; and when the ailing 81-year-old Cagney had trouble memorizing lines, director Mike Nichols had cue cards prepared for him.

Jean G

Trivia: During Evelyn's silent movie shoot on the beach, there's a brief close-up of a scruffy pirate. He's played by Jack Nicholson in an uncredited cameo.

Jean G

Trivia: Jenny and Max Nichols, the children of director Mike Nichols, both appear in the film: Jenny is the silhouette artist's little girl, and young Max plays the son of Mary Steenburgen's "Mother" character.

Jean G

Trivia: On the advice of his doctor, James Cagney came out of retirement after 20 years to appear in Ragtime, his last theatrical film. He traveled to London for the shooting by ship (he hated planes), and because diabetes confined him to a wheel chair, a double (shot from behind) performed all the scenes of him standing or walking. While the epithet "ni**er" is uttered by several white characters throughout the movie, Cagney refused to use it, so for his lines, the less offensive word "buck" was substituted.

Jean G

Factual error: In the train station crowd scene, there are 50-star flags being waved by people on the platform. In 1906, there were only 46 states.

Jean G

More mistakes in Ragtime

Younger Brother: What kind of music do you play?
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: Anything they ask me to, and then I play ragtime.

More quotes from Ragtime

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