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The Ruling Class (1972)

PG | | Comedy, Drama, Musical | 25 May 1972 (UK)
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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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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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 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

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:

25 May 1972 (UK) 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

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

Goofs

Claire puts her arms around Jack's neck, but in next shot they are on his shoulders. 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 »


Soundtracks

Mairzy Doats and Dozy Doats
(uncredited)
Written by Milton Drake, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston
Recited by 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 bozsiSee 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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