The Ruling Class

The Ruling Class
The Ruling Class

Recommended by Ralph Mellon

We could do with more films like this – a 1972 black comedy which gives the aristocracy and the upper echelons a right good kicking.

Wildly overflowing with scheming British eccentricity, it’s the perfect choice of movie to be directed by a Hungarian.

Peter O’Toole was Oscar-nominated – as he often was – for his role as Jack, a paranoid schizophrenic, who believes he is Jesus Christ and becomes the 14th Earl of Gurney after the accidental death of his predecessor.

Horrified relatives and friends try various dirty deeds to have Jack institutionalised, while other efforts are made to cure him.

Some people reckon he’s returned to sanity, but Jack now believes himself to be Jack the Ripper.

Over 40 years on, it’s still a very entertaining satire with a gallery of treasurable but now dead British character actors behaving badly, including Alastair Sim, Harry Andrews, Arthur Lowe, William Mervyn, Coral Browne, and the always, always utterly brilliant Nigel Green.