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The Ruling Class (1972)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Music  |  25 May 1972 (UK)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 4,488 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 ensues.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 2 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>

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:

A Classe Dominante  »

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

The film's writer, Peter Barnes, went to school just outside Bristol, in Stroud. Also just outside of Bristol is a mental hospital, in the village of Barrow Gurney; "Barrow Gurney" has long been associated in local patois with mental illness. Naming the central family in this play "Gurney" seems more than mere coincidence. See more »

Goofs

When McKyle positions his hands to shoot lightning from his fingers, his thumbs are level, then towards the floor and back to level. 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 The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

La Traviata
(uncredited)
Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Arranged by John Cameron
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hilarious, Biting Classic
18 February 2001 | by (Houston, Texas) – See all my reviews

Mind blowing, superior satire on the class system in Britain, with a once in a lifetime cast (Peter O'Toole, Alastair Sim "The Zambeesi Missions", Arthur Lowe "Alexi Kronstadt...Revolutionary!", Coral Browne, William Mervyn and so forth). Cinematically, the British have long proved that no one has a better sense of humor, or is as self critical of them, than they themselves. Perhaps, as the saying goes, "It keeps the old girl honest."

This scathing comedy takes no prisoners, whether engaging in outlandish situational dialogue or performers suddenly zipping out in a song and dance routines. There are too many individual gems of dialogue to count (although a personal fave is O'Toole's talk with Mrs. Piggot-Jones and Mrs. Treadwell). The performances are delivered with just the right amount of relish and timing. A modern classic. Highly recommended.


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