The Ruling Class (1972)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Black Comedy, Satire  |   Run Time - 154 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom , Italy , United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Richard Gilliam

The 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.