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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.

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(screenplay), (play)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hugh Owens ...
...
...
William Mervyn ...
...
James Villiers ...
Dinsdale Gurney
...
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Matthew Peake
...
...
...
Inmate
Griffith Davies ...
Inmate
Oliver MacGreevy ...
Inmate (as Oliver McGreevy)
...
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>

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Musical

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

25 May 1972 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A Classe Dominante  »

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1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alastair Sim cast himself in the role as the Bishop, according to the commentary on the DVD. He called up his friend Peter O'Toole and told him, out of the blue, of course he'd help him by taking the part. No one was about to turn down the offer of such a great character actor, no matter how eccentric. See more »

Goofs

After the doctor arrives at the manor, Tucker pours drinks. The drink jumps from his hand to the tray. 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

Spoofed in Hail, Caesar! (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

My Blue Heaven
(uncredited)
Written by Walter Donaldson and George Whiting
Performed by Carolyn Seymour and Peter O'Toole
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A moving and disturbing critique of our sets of belief systems.
14 December 2001 | by See all my reviews

The Ruling class is a disturbing commentary on the nature and necessity of our whole belief systems. It both highlights the extreme fragility of those beliefs, and takes gently mocking aim at us for our dependency on them. Viewed in that light, the film succeeds 100%. When viewed merely as a satire on the British ruling classes, of course it doesn't. It goes far deeper, becoming also an essay on our tendency to manipulate others for our own benefit: the characters' collective idiosyncrasies serve as punctuation for that essay. Brilliantly acted, often hilarious but always profoundly moving, it is a genuine classic of its kind, notwithstanding its undeniable, though relatively minor, flaws. I'd love to have it on DVD!


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