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 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

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 ...
Inmate
Griffith Davies ...
Inmate
Oliver MacGreevy ...
Inmate (as Oliver McGreevy)
Kay Walsh ...
Patsy Byrne ...
Mrs. Pamela Treadwell
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Storyline

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 <marklo@west.sun.com>

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Music

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

25 May 1972 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A Classe Dominante  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jack's maiden speech before the House of Lords as the Earl of Gurney concludes with a near-perfect quotation of three passages from the King James Bible: Deuteronomy 20:3, Deuteronomy 20:4 and Ezekiel 7:9. ("Approach this day unto battle against your enemies. Let not your hearts faint, fear not and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them. For the Lord your God is He that goeth with you to fight for you against your enemies to save you. And mine eyes shall not spare, neither will I have pity. I will recompense them according to their ways and their abominations that are in the midst of them. And they shall know that I am the lord that smiteth.") See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

[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.
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Connections

Referenced in Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

The Eton Boating Song
(uncredited)
Lyrics by William Johnson
Music by Algernon Drummond
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User Reviews

The insanity doesn't matter... but proper behavior does.
3 July 2000 | by (Oregon USA) – See all my reviews

Peter O'Toole has often played characters who are obsessed and even a bit mad. But in The Ruling Class he is utterly over the top crazy, and it's a bit disquieting how naturally he slips into the role. Yet this is a comedy, a wonderfully bizarre, often black comedy that deals with acceptable and unacceptable behavior -- insanity, and morality, being irrelevant. It's characters mostly belong the English elite, but they simply stand in for all those whose power and prestige demand that appearances be kept up. So this isn't a film for everyone. And some may not like the way it swings from the very flippant to the very dark. It requires a wide range of humor to enjoy it all. Unfortunately, I hear that enjoying it all may be impossible. It seems that all home versions are cut several minutes from the theatrical release, sometimes much more. The longest length available is apparently 141 minutes, so that is the one to get.


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