(1972)4.5Richard GilliamThe Ruling Class is a dark, anarchic satire built around one of the screen's best jokes. An eccentric British nobleman (Peter O'Toole) has delusions of grandeur, setting off a series of odd adventures that contrast his allegedly insane views against those of his tradition-bound kin. O'TOOLE's energy carries the film even when there isn't much happening in the story. There is little plot in a conventional sense, essentially providing a framework for the film's often very funny extended sequences. The supporting cast is solid. Alastair Sim is in fine form with one of his best late-career performances. The film has an interesting production design, though occasionally its lack of budget limits the variety of sets. The film helped establish a pattern for director Peter Medak of specializing in interesting but only marginally commercial projects.