The Ruling Class

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

Directed by Peter Medak. Written by Peter Barnes, based on his play of the same name.
How do you know you're... God? Simple when I pray to Him I find I'm talking to myself.

Jack Gurney, 14th Earl of Gurney[edit]

  • If only I knew 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 it's 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!
  • My noble lords, the strong must manipulate the weak! That's the first law of the universe. The hard survive, the soft quickly turn to corruption. This is a call to greatness! Approach this day out to battle against your enemies. Let not your hearts faint, fear not and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them. For the Lord your God is He that goeth with you - to fight for you against your enemies to save you. And mine eyes shall not spare, neither will I have pity. I will recompense them according to their ways and their abominations that are in the midst of them. And they shall know that I am the lord that smiteth!
  • [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.

Tucker[edit]

  • Yes, he's a nutcase. Most of these titled fleabags are. Rich nobs and priveleged arseholes can afford to be bonkers. They're living in a dreamworld, aren't they, sir? Life's made too easy for 'em. They don't have to earn a livin', so they do just what they want to.
  • Upper-class excrement! You wanna do me dirt, just because I know too much. I know that one percent of the population owns half the property in this country. And that vomiting one percent wants kosher killing, hung up so the blue blood drains out slow and easy. So, comrades, come rally and the last fight let us face. The international army unites the human race. [singing] I'm only a strolling vagabond So good night, pretty maiden, good night.

Dialogue[edit]

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

Lady Claire: How did it happen? How did you come to be in this state?
Jack Gurney: Like every prophet I saw visions, I heard voices, I ran. The voices of Saint Frances, Socrates, General Gordon, and Timothy Leary, they all told me I was God. It was Sunday, August the 5th, at 3:32.

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!

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.

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.

Ralph Gurney: It's Miss Grace Shelly.
Tucker: Is she anyone, my Lord?
Ralph Gurney: No one. But, Charles recommends her. She's good breeding stock. Family foals well, sires mostly. There's always room at the top for brains, money or a good pair of titties.
Tucker: Miss Shelley seems well endowed, my Lord.

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!

Jack Gurney: Anything you care for? The Grand Canyon? A disused banana factory? Absolution?
Grace Shelley: A white wedding.
Jack Gurney: Will Tuesday suit you?
Grace Shelley: You deserve a big kiss.
Jack Gurney: Not here in the garden. Last time I was kissed in a garden, it turned out rather awkward.
Grace Shelley: Oh, but Judas was a man.
Jack Gurney: Yes. Strange business.

Sir Charles: Are you sure you can handle the situation? Tricky and all, marrying a man who thinks he is god?
Grace Shelley: Happens all the time.

Cast[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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