Ragtime is a 1981 American drama film, directed by Miloš Forman, based on 1975 historical novel Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow. The action takes place in and around New York City, New Rochelle, and Atlantic City in the 1900s, including fictionalized references to actual people and events of the time. The film features the final film appearances of James Cagney and Pat O'Brien; early appearances, in small parts, by Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Daniels, Fran Drescher and John Ratzenberger; and an uncredited appearance from Jack Nicholson. The music score was composed by Randy Newman. The film was nominated for eight Oscars. The film begins with a newsreel montage, depicting celebrities of the turn of the 20th century such as Harry Houdini, Theodore Roosevelt, and the architect Stanford White (Norman Mailer), as well as life in New York. The newsreel is accompanied by ragtime pianist Coalhouse Walker, Jr. (Howard E. Rollins, Jr.). The millionaire industrialist Harry Kendall Thaw (Robert Joy), who makes a scene when White's latest creation, a nude statue on the roof of Madison Square Garden, is unveiled. The model for the statue is Evelyn Nesbit (Elizabeth McGovern), a former chorus girl who is now Thaw's wife. Thaw becomes convinced White has corrupted Evelyn and humiliated him, and publicly shoots White, killing him.