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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 ... Toastmaster
... Ralph Gurney - 13th Earl of Gurney
... Daniel Tucker
William Mervyn ... Sir Charles Gurney
... Lady Claire Gurney
James Villiers ... Dinsdale Gurney
... Bishop Bertie Lampton
... Matthew Peake
... Jack Arnold Alexander Tancred Gurney - 14th Earl of Gurney
... Dr. Herder
... Inmate
Griffith Davies ... Inmate
Oliver MacGreevy ... Inmate (as Oliver McGreevy)
... Mrs. Piggott-Jones
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:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

25 May 1972 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A Classe Dominante  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Nigel Green died shortly after production from an overdose of sleeping pills; it was ruled an accident but is believed by some to have been a suicide, as Green was said to have been greatly depressed during filming. It had already been decided that his dialog should be replaced by that of another actor in the finished film, Graham Crowden. See more »

Goofs

Jack and Truscott sit after singing, and their positions change 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 »


Soundtracks

Dry Bones
(uncredited)
Music by James Weldon Johnson
Traditional lyrics
Performed by Peter O'Toole, Kay Walsh, Patsy Byrne, James Villiers and chorus
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User Reviews

 
Classic British Black Comedy At It's Best......
23 March 2001 | by See all my reviews

From the first time I saw the film on it's initial cinema run it has remained one of my "desert island" films.O'Toole and Sim at their truly wackiest best.The great problem these days appears being able to view an intact version of the film.Contrary to various published version's running times I seem to be in possession of a 153mins videotape version lifted from a TV print in 1981.(This beggars the question just what was the original running time).The chequered path of Avco-Embassy product falling virtually into the public domain and the ready availability of the original negative hasn't helped anybody issuing a definitive print.But if ever a film cried out for the Criterion Collection treatment and a cinema re-release in a remastered print it is this.I hope somebody does something before O'Toole & director Peter Medak are not around to contribute.(Most of the remaining cast have unfortunately left us in the intervening years).


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