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The American Ruling Class
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The American Ruling Class (2005) More at IMDbPro »

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The American Ruling Class -- The American Ruling Class is a morality tale set to music about two Yale students who seek their opportunities after graduation. As they make their way, the real-life luminaries they meet become characters in a dramatic story.


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Up 33% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Lewis Lapham (written by)
John Kirby (additional story and dialogue) ...
View company contact information for The American Ruling Class on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1 March 2007 (USA) See more »
America Rules the World! But Who Rules America?
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? | Full synopsis »
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
An exceptional film See more (20 total) »


  (in credits order)

Lewis Lapham ... Himself - Introduced by
Caton Burwell ... Jack Bellamy
Paul Cantagallo ... Mike Vanzetti
Jessica Silver-Greenberg ... Taylor Meade

Hollis Witherspoon ... Emily Gann
Keith Witty ... Garden Party Jazz Band
Steve Blum ... Garden Party Jazz Band
Sam Hoyt ... Garden Party Jazz Band
Catherine Mathis ... Herself
Caroline Camougis ... Herself
Kevin Wilson ... Chef at the Pierre
Kathleen Landis ... Diner
Eileen Eichenstein ... Diner
Susan Tsao ... Diner
David Robinson ... Bartender at pier 63
Lucas Johnson-Yahraus ... Kitchen Worker
Max Wolf ... Kitchen Worker
Jonas Oppenheim ... Kitchen Worker
Michael Rainin ... Harmonica Player
Preston Fulwood ... Keyboardist
Melody Ruby ... Gail
Marie Nelson ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Joan C. Sooknaran ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Cherece Dickens ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Gloria Curiel ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Edgar Bonilla ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Dario Mejia ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Hsijae Marsic ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Tereza Guraj ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Yoko Zyan ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Jean Marie Lalama ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Stephanie Shade ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Moe Mustafa ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Colin McKinnon ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Colin Whitfield ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Wilson Burdez ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Luis Romero ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Robert Wakile ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Pat D'Antonio ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Paolo Re ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Billy Kitsados ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Kim Crawley ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Maura Kehoe ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Mary Bauchoux ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
R. Ackerman ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Al Skorupa ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Jeff E. Schwartz ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
John Hansen ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Paulette Benz ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Christina Benz ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
George Ruiz ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Christina Morris ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Eddie Arjento ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
George King ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Bhagmattie Ljobin ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Robert Lintner ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Mercedes Ruiz ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Augie Wilson ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Julie Rose ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Ciscilyn Harriet ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Ruby Kahn ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed
Emma Rose Kirby ... Worker Being Nickel and Dimed / The Lamb
Enrique Lopez ... Mike Medavoy's Butler
Geroge Guilia ... Mike Vanzetti's Limo Driver
The Whiffenpoofs ... Acappella Group (as The Yale Whiffenpoofs)
Dave Solomont ... Trolley Driver
Jennifer Ashworth ... Trolley Passenger
Natasha Ashworth ... Trolley Passenger
Jacqueline Billings ... Trolley Passenger
Richard Bond ... Trolley Passenger
Cecily Christian ... Trolley Passenger
Linda Cosgrove ... Trolley Passenger
Thomas B. Cosgrove ... Trolley Passenger
Christina Crawford ... Trolley Passenger
Molina Derek ... Trolley Passenger
Avinash Dubin ... Trolley Passenger
Michaela Duffy ... Trolley Passenger
Adelbert Entremont ... Trolley Passenger
Mercedes Gumuchian ... Trolley Passenger
Michael Harrington ... Trolley Passenger
Robert Hines ... Trolley Passenger
Sarah Lee ... Trolley Passenger
Kristina Parnell-Keer ... Trolley Passenger
Imma Messeroux ... Trolley Passenger
Meaghan Moulton ... Trolley Passenger
Alex Stroshane ... Trolley Passenger
Sin Wai Stroshane ... Trolley Passenger
Sam Trussel ... Trolley Passenger
Rehana Vaidya ... Trolley Passenger
Melissa Watson ... Trolley Passenger
Robert Wilson ... Trolley Passenger
Shira Wohlberg ... Trolley Passenger
Chinyan Wong ... Trolley Passenger
Dorothy Price Hill ... Pentagon Press Corp
Nancy Pearson ... Pentagon Press Corp
James Van Raalte ... Pentagon Press Corp
Thomas Farrell ... Pentagon Press Corp
Wendye Hearsh ... Pentagon Press Corp
Jerry Goodwin ... Pentagon Press Corp
Sheila Steffen ... Pentagon Press Corp
John Bradly ... Pentagon Press Corp
John Doswell ... The Lion
Ryan Rissotto ... Banker Party
Sam Hall ... Banker Party
Alex Rosenfeld ... Banker Party
Bryan McArdle ... Banker Party
Lindsay Brillson ... Banker Party
Taylor Smith ... Banker Party
David Schmierer ... Banker Party
Stephanie Schlosser ... Banker Party
Olivia Recanelli ... Banker Party
Jeralyn Gerisa ... Banker Party
Basak Yeltekin ... Banker Party
Hannah Sutton ... Banker Party
Caroline Burwell ... HR Assistant
Steve Bussen ... Goldman Sachs Associate
Qasim Naqvi ... Goldman Sachs Associate
Lydia Davidson Whitcomb ... Goldman Sachs Associate
Erich Strum ... Goldman Sachs Associate
Moar Tejeiro ... Goldman Sachs Associate
Jae Song ... Goldman Sachs Associate
Azealia Banks ... Empire Falls Singer and Dancer
Sydney Fishman ... Empire Falls Singer and Dancer
Christina Franklin ... Empire Falls Singer and Dancer
Norman Franklin ... Empire Falls Singer and Dancer
Aaron Jacobs ... Empire Falls Singer and Dancer
Nancy Lan ... Empire Falls Singer and Dancer
Jarena Lee ... Empire Falls Singer and Dancer
Joe Lerangis ... Empire Falls Singer and Dancer
Sam Levin ... Empire Falls Singer and Dancer
Billy Rayner ... Empire Falls Singer and Dancer
Anthony Sanchez ... Empire Falls Singer and Dancer
Casey Wenger-Schulman ... Empire Falls Singer and Dancer
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Robert Altman ... Himself
James Baker III ... Himself - Frm. Secretary of State

Bill Bradley ... Himself - Fmr. U.S. Senator
Harold Brown ... Himself - Fmr. Sec. of Defense
Hodding Carter III ... Himself - Fmr. State Dept. Spokesman
William T. Coleman ... Himself - Fmr. Sec. of Commerce

Walter Cronkite ... Himself - Fmr. CBS News Anchorman
Barbara Ehrenreich ... Herself - Journalist
Vartan Gregorian ... Himself - President Carnegie Corporation
Doug Henwood ... Himself - Economic Essayist

Mike Medavoy ... Himself
Joseph S. Nye ... Himself - Fmr. Acting Sec. of Def.
John Perkins ... Himself - 'The Economic Hitman'

Pete Seeger ... Himself - Folksinger
Arthur Sulzberger ... Himself - Chairman, New York Times Company
Lawrence H. Summers ... Himself
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. ... Himself - Novelist

Howard Zinn ... Himself - U.S. Historian

Directed by
John Kirby 
Writing credits
Lewis Lapham (written by)

John Kirby (additional story and dialogue) and
Libby Handros (additional story and dialogue)

Produced by
Stanley F. Buchthal .... executive producer: Cactus Three (as Stanley Buchthal)
Caroline Camougis .... coordinating producer
Caroline Camougis .... executive producer: Cactus Three
Nick Fraser .... executive producer: BBC
Julie Goldman .... executive producer: Cactus Three
Libby Handros .... producer
Chris Hilton .... executive producer: Cactus Three
Krysanne Katsoolis .... executive producer: Cactus Three
Paula Silver .... executive producer: Cactus Three
Jaclyn Stemple .... associate producer
Caroline Stevens .... executive producer: Cactus Three
Erich Sturm .... associate producer
Original Music by
Qasim Naqvi  (as Qasim Ali Naqvi)
Cinematography by
Mark Benjamin (director of photography)
Film Editing by
John Kirby 
Leah O'Donnell 
Sound Department
Dominick Barbera .... sound mixer: Soundtrax Group, NY
Dominick Barbera .... sound recordist: Soundtrax Group, NY
Alan Barker .... additional sound
Michael Boyle .... additional sound
Fred Burnham .... additional sound
Christof Gebert .... additional sound
David Hocs .... sound recordist
Roger Phenix .... additional sound
Dave Presta .... sound mixer: Dubway Studios
Dave Presta .... sound recordist: Dubway Studios
Scott Szabo .... additional sound
William Tzouris .... additional sound
Visual Effects by
Josh Glaser .... visual effects
Jaclyn Stemple .... visual effects (as Jackie Stemple)
Camera and Electrical Department
James Adolphus .... additional photography
Michael F. Barrow .... additional photography (as Michael Barrow)
Wayne Forster .... additional photography (as Wayne Forester)
Christopher B. Green .... additional photography (as Chris Green)
Richard Lopez .... additional photography (as Rick Lopez)
Donald McIntosh .... additional photography
Jae Song .... additional photography
Editorial Department
Jaclyn Stemple .... associate editor
Erich Sturm .... associate editor
Music Department
Jill Jaffe .... performer: score (as Jill Jaffee)
Lucas Johnson-Yahraus .... musical numbers: writer and performer
Justin Kagan .... performer: score
Kathleen Landis .... performer: score
Eddie Layton .... musician: keyboard
Eddie Layton .... musician: wurlitzer
Nancy McAlhany .... performer: score
Andy Stein .... performer: score
Indigo Street .... singer
The What .... musical numbers: writer and performer
Other crew
Elizabeth Algieri .... additional crew (as Elizabeth Agieri)
Mark J. Casey .... additional crew (as Mark Casey)
René Crout .... additional crew (as Renee Crout)
Sam Cullman .... additional crew
Elizabeth Deter .... additional crew
Eileen Eichenstein .... production coordinator
Ann Gollin .... production coordinator
Tony Hardmon .... additional crew (as Tony Hardman)
Jesse Hubbell .... additional crew
Charlie Lew .... additional crew
Eric Rivas Quiroga .... spiritual advisor
Eric Rivas Quiroga .... story editor
Dustin Ready .... additional crew
Philip A. Reilly .... additional crew (as Philip Reilly)
Ben Rosen .... additional crew
Kasia Ruszkowska .... additional crew
Ann G. Somogye .... additional crew (as Anne Somogye)
Kevin Dearinger .... dedicatee: for
Jerry Goodwin .... the producers would like to thank
Robert Hackney .... the producers would like to thank
Alan Levin .... dedicatee: for
Penelope Reed .... dedicatee: for
Ned Schnurman .... dedicatee: for

DistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

88 min

Did You Know?

[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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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
An exceptional film, 2 April 2009
Author: dberrian from United States

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.

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