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The Ruling Class (1972)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Music  |  25 May 1972 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 4,516 users  
Reviews: 63 user | 40 critic

A member of the House of Lords dies, leaving his estate to his son. Unfortunately, his son thinks he is Jesus Christ. The other, somewhat more respectable, members of their family plot to steal the estate from him. Murder and mayhem ensue.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hugh Owens ...
William Mervyn ...
Coral Browne ...
James Villiers ...
Dinsdale Gurney
Bishop Lampton
Hugh Burden ...
Matthew Peake
Michael Bryant ...
Henry Woolf ...
Griffith Davies ...
Oliver MacGreevy ...
Inmate (as Oliver McGreevy)
Kay Walsh ...
Patsy Byrne ...
Mrs. Pamela Treadwell


A member of the House of Lords dies in a shockingly silly way, leaving his estate to his son. Unfortunately, his son is insane: he thinks he is Jesus Christ. The other somewhat-more respectable members of their family plot to steal the estate from him. Murder and mayhem ensues. Written by Mark Logan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Music


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| | |

Release Date:

25 May 1972 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A Classe Dominante  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Peter O'Toole first scene appears after 20 minutes into the film. See more »


After falling, Charles' hand is inside his jacket, but in the next cut, his hand is extended along the floor. See more »


[first lines]
Toastmaster: My Lords. Gentlemen. Pray silence for Ralph Douglas Christopher Alexander Gurney, the thirteenth Earl of Gurney.
13th Earl of Gurney: The aim of the Society of Saint George is to keep Gurney a memory of England. We were once the rulers of the greatest empire the world has ever known. Ruled not by superior force or skill, but by sheer presence.
See more »


Featured in Venus (2006) See more »


Pomp and Circumstance
Composed by Edward Elgar (as Sir Edward Elgar)
See more »

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User Reviews

Best British film EVER
4 December 2002 | by (LA) – See all my reviews

This movie has EVERYTHING!!!!! I'm serious. Does it have musical numbers? Yes, it does. Beautiful costumes, fabulous sets, serial killers, witty dialogue, burlesque striptease, opera and aristocracy, romance and insanity, jealousy and drama, comedy and theology? Yes, yes, yes!!! Oh, why couldn't there be more films like this? In a way, it reminded me of "The Ninth Configuration" although that movie lacked humor. Peter O'Toole is just gorgeous, as well. My father (psychiatrist) says that this film is just about the only accurate film representation he's seen of MANIA, but when i asked him about it, he didn't recall the musical numbers. So i suppose it's got something for everyone. I could write about THE RULING CLASS for hours and hours and compare it to everything in the entire world but i don't want to give anything away. This is an absolute MUST-SEE for anyone with an interest in film, England, mental disorders, or dancing the Varsity Rag.

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