Factual error: Sarah tries to talk to "Vice President Fairbanks" during his campaign stop at the train depot. The movie is set in 1906, which wasn't an election year. Fairbanks ran for VP on Theodore Roosevelt's ticket in 1904, but he was a senator at the time, not the standing vice president. Roosevelt had no VP during his first term. He succeeded the assassinated William McKinley, and never appointed a VP.
Coalhouse Walker Jr.: I read music so good, white folks think I'm fakin' it.
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.
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