Does this ring a bell?

I'm looking for a movie. Probably an 80s film set in the 20s or 30s USA. I believe it has a single-word title, like "switchback" or "flashback".

I remember 3 things happening:

  • A black man has an expensive car (Rolls Royce or something) and someone puts crap on the driver's seat, which he discovers and basically loses it.

  • A white man with white hair gets shot in the back of the head at a party.

  • A redhead actress takes her clothes off with her lover, and then a business guy comes in and offers her something with a written document which she examines (without bothering to put her clothes back on).

This film has been with me like a dream since I was a kid.

It was the first film I saw that didn't have a happy ending, and that made quite an impression on me.

  • Welcome to the community. Any other plot details? If you know, please also describe when you saw it, and please confirm the language was English. I hope you enjoy this place as much as I have.
    – John
    Feb 14, 2017 at 19:19
  • 1
    The movie language was English. It seems like it was brightly lit. The outdoor scenes felt summery. The man who discovers the crap on his driver's seat makes a scene trying to find out who it was, and when that doesn't work, he deteriorates rather dramatically. The woman who takes her clothes off might be drunk, and stood in the doorway while dropping them to the floor and declares "Look, all my clothes are gone". Feb 14, 2017 at 19:23

1 Answer 1


The movie you're looking for is Ragtime, from 1981.

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  1. A character played by African-American actor Howard Rollins finds human excrement on the seat of his expensive car, which he had valeted.

  2. There are several killings in the film, including one public one (though I don't remember whether it's at a party).

  3. Elizabeth McGovern, with red hair, is in the scene you described.

  • Thank you! Wow I didn't know this was based on true characters. Looks like this was actually a good movie. I may re-watch it now. Thanks a lot! Feb 14, 2017 at 20:56
  • I didn't know it was based on real people either. It's been a long time since I watched it, but I remember liking it even though there were some twisted parts in it. I liked the cinematography, set design and editing, as I recall. Feb 14, 2017 at 21:27

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