7.5/10
5,531
66 user 43 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)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hugh Owens Hugh Owens ... Toastmaster
Harry Andrews ... 13th Earl of Gurney
Arthur Lowe ... Tucker
William Mervyn William Mervyn ... Sir Charles
Coral Browne ... Lady Claire
James Villiers ... Dinsdale
Alastair Sim ... Bishop Lampton
Hugh Burden ... Matthew Peake
Peter O'Toole ... Jack 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. Treadwell
Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A dissolute matinee idol is slated to appear on a live TV variety show.

Director: Richard Benjamin
Stars: Peter O'Toole, Mark Linn-Baker, Jessica Harper
The Stunt Man (1980)
Action | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A fugitive stumbles on a movie set just when they need a new stunt man, takes the job as a way to hide out and falls for the leading lady.

Director: Richard Rush
Stars: Peter O'Toole, Steve Railsback, Barbara Hershey
Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A shy, withdrawn English schoolteacher falls for a flashy showgirl.

Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: Peter O'Toole, Petula Clark, Michael Redgrave
Becket (1964)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

King Henry II of England (Peter O'Toole) comes to terms with his affection for his close friend and confidant Thomas Becket (Richard Burton), who finds his true honor by observing God's divine will rather than the King's.

Director: Peter Glenville
Stars: Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole, John Gielgud
Venus I (2006)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Life for a pair of veteran actors gets turned upside down after they meet a brash teenager.

Director: Roger Michell
Stars: Peter O'Toole, Jodie Whittaker, Leslie Phillips
Man Friday (1975)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

During the 17th century, shipwrecked English seaman Robinson Crusoe, after years of solitude, spots natives on his deserted Pacific island and befriends one who he names Friday.

Director: Jack Gold
Stars: Peter O'Toole, Richard Roundtree, Peter Cellier
Drama | Fantasy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The funny story of mad but kind and chivalrous elderly nobleman Don Quixote who, aided by his squire Sancho Panza, fights windmills that are seen as dragons to save prostitute Dulcinea who is seen as a noblewoman.

Director: Arthur Hiller
Stars: Peter O'Toole, Sophia Loren, James Coco
Masada (1981)
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

After the destruction of the Second Temple, nine hundred Jewish zealots hold out against a five thousand man Roman legion on the mountaintop fortress of Masada.

Stars: Peter O'Toole, Peter Strauss, Barbara Carrera
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

This is a delightful, if peculiar, story of a day in the life of a small, Welsh fishing village called "Llareggub" (read it backwards). We meet a host of curious characters (and ghosts) ... See full summary »

Director: Andrew Sinclair
Stars: Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Peter O'Toole
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

1183 A.D.: King Henry II's three sons all want to inherit the throne, but he won't commit to a choice. They and his wife variously plot to force him.

Director: Anthony Harvey
Stars: Peter O'Toole, Katharine Hepburn, Anthony Hopkins
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In 1942, a Polish prostitute and German Agent is murdered in Warsaw. Suspicion falls on three Generals, and Major Grau (Omar Sharif) of German Intelligence seeks justice which ends up taking decades.

Director: Anatole Litvak
Stars: Peter O'Toole, Omar Sharif, Tom Courtenay
Crime | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Wishing to become a successful Reggae singer, a young Jamaican man finds himself tied to corrupt record producers and drug pushers.

Director: Perry Henzell
Stars: Jimmy Cliff, Janet Bartley, Carl Bradshaw

Photos

Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Peter O'Toole and Coral Browne have previously appeared together in The Night of the Generals (1967). See more »

Goofs

When they are burying Lady Gurney, the camera casts a shadow over the grave stones and ground. 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

Featured in The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

The Varsity Drag
(uncredited)
Written by Buddy G. DeSylva, Lew Brown and Ray Henderson
Sung by Peter O'Toole, Kay Walsh, Patsy Byrne and Arthur Lowe
See more »

User Reviews

 
Jesus Christ or Jack the Ripper? Or Just Peter O'Toole?
21 May 2007 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

No other actor has had a career filled with more idiosyncratic roles than Peter O'Toole, and his role in "The Ruling Class" is perhaps the most idiosyncratic of them all.

O'Toole plays the heir to a British House of Lords who dies accidentally (and bizarrely), leaving his family to hash out the estate. The family is much disturbed by the fact that O'Toole is the heir -- understandably so, since he believes that he's Jesus Christ. Much wackiness ensues, until O'Toole has a change of perspective and decides that instead of Christ, he's Jack the Ripper. More wackiness ensues, the film gets darker and darker in that way that only British films can, and the whole thing may leave you scratching your head but will no doubt also leave you gloriously entertained.

For O'Toole fans, this is a chance to see him single-handedly carry a delirious mess of a movie on his shoulders, and make a rousing success out of it. Much of it doesn't make a lot of sense, but it's all a hoot, especially the impromptu musical numbers peppered throughout the film. There's some scathing satire aimed at the British class system, but it's nothing you haven't seen before, and the whole film has the feeling of being the pet project of an undisciplined director. But I highly recommend this, because you've never seen anything quite like it, and it's a chance to see one of our generation's greatest actors strutting his stuff like the pro that he is.

Grade: A


26 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 66 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

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 »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed