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The American Ruling Class (2005)

 -  Comedy | Music  -  1 March 2007 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 291 users  
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In this first of its kind "dramatic-documentary-musical", Lewis Lapham takes two young Ivy-League graduates on a tour of the corridors of power. The novice careerists must decide: should they seek to rule the world, or to save it?



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Himself - Introduced by
Caton Burwell ...
Jack Bellamy
Paul Cantagallo ...
Mike Vanzetti
Jessica Silver-Greenberg ...
Taylor Meade
Emily Gann
Keith Witty ...
Garden Party Jazz Band
Steve Blum ...
Garden Party Jazz Band
Sam Hoyt ...
Garden Party Jazz Band
Catherine Mathis ...
Caroline Camougis ...
Kevin Wilson ...
Chef at the Pierre
Kathleen Landis ...
Eileen Eichenstein ...
Susan Tsao ...
David Robinson ...
Bartender at pier 63


In this first of its kind "dramatic-documentary-musical", Lewis Lapham takes two young Ivy-League graduates on a tour of the corridors of power. The novice careerists must decide: should they seek to rule the world, or to save it?

Add Full Plot | Plot Synopsis


America Rules the World! But Who Rules America?


Comedy | Music







Release Date:

1 March 2007 (USA)  »

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[first lines]
Man: [singing] Here we are a sailing, adrift without a dream. We live for God and country, and yes our God is green. So put your arms around me, until the break of dawn. 'Cause late at night the great and mighty Wurlitzer plays on.
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User Reviews

An exceptional film
2 April 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is an exceptional film both in content and in form.

Talking about class in America is hard. The very real role of top-down hierarchies that we all necessarily cooperate with and participate in is one that is usually shrouded in confusion (even that it exists) and to speak openly about it runs the risk of being judged subversive.

"The American Ruling Class" not only directly addresses the issue of elites in a "democracy", but also gets many of the leaders of the "ruling class" to talk about it as well (how did the filmmakers do that?). Usually a documentary on "class issues" is either a bombastic piece decrying the sins of the rich or is a clinical sociological exercise. "The American Ruling Class" is neither. It uses a fictional story of two recent Yale graduates who are trying to figure out what they are to do with their lives as a means to carry out a series of very real encounters and interviews with some of the leaders of American government, finance, philanthropy, and business. The "students" ask, "Is there a ruling class in America? And if so, what would I need to do if I wanted to become part of it?" They get some very revealing answers.

The uncomfortable edge of talking about class is muted by the fact that this film is genuinely entertaining. There are visual jokes and some nice songs that pop up just when things start to get over-serious. Rich, elite people are never presented as simple caricatures; they are shown as real people who care about America and are dedicated to keeping themselves and this country privileged.

I recommend this film as a way of introducing issues of class to friends and neighbors whether they are liberal or conservative. It is a good starting point for deeper discussions and you may find that those folks you thought were opposites on almost every political issue can find some common ground here.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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