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The Ruling Class (1972)

 -  Comedy | Drama | Music  -  25 May 1972 (UK)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 4,182 users  
Reviews: 61 user | 36 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 ensues.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 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
...
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. 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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Music

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 May 1972 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

La clase dirigente  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Nigel Green died shortly after production from an overdose of sleeping pills; it was ruled an accident but is believed by some to have been a suicide, as Green was said to have been greatly depressed during filming. It had already been decided that his dialog should be replaced by that of another actor in the finished film, Graham Crowden. See more »

Goofs

The technique of the string players in the orchestra, particularly their bowing, at the wedding reception (c.71 minutes) bears absolutely no relation to the soundtrack. 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.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Venus (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

The Eton Boating Song
(uncredited)
Lyrics by William Johnson
Music by Algernon Drummond
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A moving and disturbing critique of our sets of belief systems.
14 December 2001 | by (London) – See all my reviews

The Ruling class is a disturbing commentary on the nature and necessity of our whole belief systems. It both highlights the extreme fragility of those beliefs, and takes gently mocking aim at us for our dependency on them. Viewed in that light, the film succeeds 100%. When viewed merely as a satire on the British ruling classes, of course it doesn't. It goes far deeper, becoming also an essay on our tendency to manipulate others for our own benefit: the characters' collective idiosyncrasies serve as punctuation for that essay. Brilliantly acted, often hilarious but always profoundly moving, it is a genuine classic of its kind, notwithstanding its undeniable, though relatively minor, flaws. I'd love to have it on DVD!


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