The Ruling Class

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The Ruling Class is a 1972 black comedy film about a paranoid schizophrenic British nobleman who inherits a peerage.

Directed by Peter Medak. Written by Peter Barnes, based on his play of the same name.

Jack Gurney, 14th Earl of Gurney[edit]

  • If I had only known then who I was now.
  • For what I am about to receive, may I make myself truly thankful.
  • I was only trying to do what's expected me. I recall as a sign of normalcy in our circle to slaughter anything that moves.
  • Behaviour which would be considered insanity in a tradesman is looked upon as mild eccentricity in a lord.
  • Sometimes God turns His back on His people and breaks wind. And the stench clouds the globe!
  • [as Grace is about to kiss him] Not here in the garden. Last time I was kissed in a garden it turned out rather awful.
  • [after electro-shock therapy] Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time into this breeding world. I'm cured of fantasy obsessions, paranoid delusions. I master words. 'I' - straighten up there. 'AM' - close up with 'I' - you horrible little word. 'GOD.' I AM GOD. Not the god of love, but God Almighty. I massacred the Amalekites and the Seven Nations of Canaan. I hacked Agag to pieces and blasted the barren fig tree, for the day of vengeance is in my heart! You lunar jackass, she betrayed you. Guilty, guilty, guilty. The punishment is death. I've finally been processed. They made me adjust to modern times. This is 1888, isn't it? I'm Jack, Cunning Jack, Quiet Jack. Jack whose sword never sleeps. Hats off, I'm Jack. Not the good shepherd, not the prince of peace. I'm red Jack, spring-heeled Jack, Jack from Hell. Trade name: Jack the Ripper! [He produces a knife, flicks it open, and slashes at a bag of flour] Mary, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine, Alice, Mary Kelly. [singing] 'Six little whores, glad to be alive. One sidles up to Jack, and then there are five.'

Sir Charles[edit]

  • Come, doctor, you said he needed a harsh dose of reality. Well, you can't get a harder dose of the stuff than marriage.


Lady Claire: How do you know you're God?
Jack Gurney: Simple. When I pray to Him, I find I am talking to myself.

Sir Charles: It's out of the question!
Jack Gurney: Who asked you a question? Did you ask him a question? Nobody asked a question, so I'll ask a question: Who's the head of the Gurney household?
Sir Charles: You are, Jack.
Jack Gurney: Then don't let me hear you answering unasked questions again!

Sir Charles: What about Jack?
Dr. Herder: Remember he's suffering from delusions of grandeur. In reality he's an earl, an English aristocrat, a member of the ruling class. Naturally, he's come to believe there's only one person grander than that: the Lord God Almighty Himself.
Sir Charles: Are you English?
Dr. Herder: No.
Sir Charles: [slowly] Ah.

Dr. Herder: His lordship is a paranoid schizophrenic.
Sir Charles: Paranoid schizophrenic? But he's a Gurney!
Dr. Herder: Then he's a paranoid schizophrenic Gurney who believes he's God.
Sir Charles: But we've always been Church of England!

Dr. Herder: He can't forget being rejected by his mother and father at the age of 11. They sent him away, alone, into a primitive community of licensed bullies and pederasts.
Sir Charles: You mean he went to public school.
Dr. Herder: Exactly.

Jack Gurney: I can't marry a second time.
Lady Claire: You're already married?
Jack Gurney: August 28, in the year of me, 1964.

Dr. Herder: Naturally, men aren't rats.
Lady Claire: Only a man would say so.

Lady Claire: How dare you bring that woman here!
Sir Charles: You should be very grateful to Miss Shelley.
Lady Claire: Grace Shelley is your mistress.
Sir Charles: Miss Shelley is just a hard working girl.
Lady Claire: On her back!


See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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