7.5/10
5,376
65 user 42 critic

The Ruling Class (1972)

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.

Director:

Peter Medak

Writers:

Peter Barnes (screenplay), Peter Barnes (play)
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On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hugh Owens Hugh Owens ... Toastmaster
Harry Andrews ... Ralph Gurney - 13th Earl of Gurney
Arthur Lowe ... Daniel Tucker
William Mervyn William Mervyn ... Sir Charles Gurney
Coral Browne ... Lady Claire Gurney
James Villiers ... Dinsdale Gurney
Alastair Sim ... Bishop Bertie Lampton
Hugh Burden ... Matthew Peake
Peter O'Toole ... Jack Arnold Alexander Tancred Gurney - 14th Earl of Gurney
Michael Bryant ... Dr. Herder
Henry Woolf ... Inmate
Griffith Davies Griffith Davies ... Inmate
Oliver MacGreevy Oliver MacGreevy ... Inmate (as Oliver McGreevy)
Kay Walsh ... Mrs. Piggott-Jones
Patsy Byrne 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

Taglines:

How do you know you're... God? Simple when I pray to Him I find I'm talking to myself.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Musical

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French | Italian | German | Latin

Release Date:

15 September 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Classe Dominante See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Keep Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alastair Sim modeled his characterization of Bishop Lampton on the Primate of All England (chief religious figure in the Church of England), Michael Ramsey (subsequently Baron Ramsay of Canterbury). Portraits of Ramsay in the National Gallery bear a likeness to the physical aspects of Sim's character. See more »

Goofs

When singing "Dem Bones" outside the pub, the rightmost rider in white breeches goes from standing to kneeling between shots. 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 »

Alternate Versions

The film was trimmed to 148 minutes for US release, and was later cut to 141 minutes in order to fit on one videocassette (the longest available at the time). The Criterion DVD contains the original 154 min. version of the film. See more »

Connections

References La traviata (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Poor Wand'ring One
(uncredited)
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Lyrics by W.S. Gilbert
Arranged by John Cameron
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hilarious, Biting Classic
18 February 2001 | by Mitch-38See 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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