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on 10 January 2015
This concerns the Criterion Collection edition of the film.

First and foremost: though it is a US release and NTSC encoded, the DVD will play on a Region 2 DVD player. You do not need a multiregion device.

If you are a fan of the film or of Peter O'Toole and haven't yet seen this film: Don't hesitate to spend the extra money and buy the somewhat more expensive Criterion edition. You'll get to see the film in all of its glory and in its full length, with all the scenes that have been cut in other versions and/or for the theatrical release. And it's worth it. Surely this must be one of the funniest films ever made and one of the best performances of Mr. O'Toole. The supporting actors, all of them better known for their performances on stage than for their work in front of the camera, are absolutely wonderful to boot.

The extras are also great, especially the full length commentary by director Peter Medak, star Peter O'Toole and writer Peter Barnes.
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on 25 September 2013
The DVD entitled 'Ruling Class' is copied from the TV version - hence the poor sound, the 4:3 picture, and the fact that half an hour is missing.
The DVD with the red cover and the one with O'Toole in a bowler are the same - they are both the Criterion Collection version - widescreen, good sound, and full version.
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on 3 August 2017
ace
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on 10 September 2017
good fun
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on 15 January 2011
This is a review of the optimum release - the one with the mainly red cover and a picture of Peter O'Toole jumping from the cross. It is the full 154 minute version.

All the performances are at least very good and O'Toole's is extraordinary in both the light and dark manifestations of his character. Whether or not satire dates quickly, as averred by another reviewer, surely depends on what you are satirising. While this film may satirise the British ruling class of the mid 20th century in doing so it satirises all oppressive regimes and philosophies. The attitudes of the exploiters are always pretty much the same - they are always right and morally justified in what they do while the rest of us have no value beyond any usefulness we may have in furthering their ends. Hence, a deeper viewing of the film can be seen as an attack on such contemporary phenomena as religious fundamentalism, Christian or Muslim, and the financial "services" system.

However, the film does more than just satirise tyrants, it also questions our notions of sanity. When O'Toole is mentally ill he is full of love and kindness. His belief in his own divinity may be a delusion but it is a delusion that fills him with love and beauty. When he is "cured" he becomes emotionally cold to his wife and a ruthless murderer i.e. more mad when not deluded than when he was.

I don't know who won the oscar for best actor in the year that this was made but it must have been a divinely inspired performance to outdo O'Toole's effort in this film.
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on 9 February 2004
Beware this edition of The Ruling Class, the classic crazy 1972 film. For starters the cover doesn't even have the correct title - it just says "Ruling Class". On watching, you'll find it's not widescreen, which it should be. And worst of all there are 25 minutes of footage missing from the film, making a complete mockery of it. I'm now off to try and exchange this for a proper edition.
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on 6 August 2014
I bought The Criterion Collection's © 2001 release of "The Ruling Class" from Amazon US in 2011. I trawled through the reviews on Amazon US and Amazon UK before making a decision. The following notes were put together from those reviews:

* "The UK version is edited and has poor picture and sound."

* "The DVD master is brilliant, sharp and without any artifacting, and as one expects from Criterion, in the correct aspect ratio."

* "New 16 x 9 widescreen digital transfer, supervised by director Peter Medek and restored to the original full-length version." (Somebody cribbed this from the DVD case.)

I was a little wary of buying this Criterion DVD because - as advised by Wikipedia - "Criterion Collection DVD releases are a mixture of NTSC-standard Region 0 (region free) and Region 1 DVDs. Criterion Collection Blu-ray Discs are Region A." But I was pleased to find that this DVD plays on my Sony Blu-ray player and Sony HDTV in Australia. Therefore this NTSC Region 0 DVD will also play using Region 2 equipment in Europe.

The Criterion Collection's DVD has a run time of 154 minutes in NTSC: if it were converted to PAL it would have a run time of only 148 minutes (because PAL runs about 4% faster than NTSC). Therefore, any Region 2 PAL release can not have a run time of more than 148 minutes and if it is less then the film has been cut.

Finally, although Criterion's DVD is described as being a "digital transfer" this does not necessarily mean that the film has been fully "restored". Rather, it appears to me that it has been "remastered" - that is, newly copied from an old print, the original negative or perhaps an intermediate positive. There are occasional small white (and sometimes black) flecks on the screen but no scratches.

Those who have actually purchased The Criterion Collection's DVD consider it to be the definitive release.

The cover of The Criterion Collection's DVD has a picture of Peter O'Toole wearing a bowler hat.

There is one other release which some reviewers think is the same as The Criterion Collection's NTSC Region 1 DVD. This is the Studio Canal / Optimum Classic release of 2009 - the one with the red cover showing Peter O'Toole leaping from his crucifix - which was a PAL Region 2 release. This was probably transferred to PAL from the 2001 Criterion Region 1 NTSC release (or its source). Although Amazon UK - and perhaps the DVD case - state the running time to be 154 minutes (the same as the Criterion Region 1 NTSC) this can not be so for the reason explained above. But why buy this Region 2 PAL release for £64.99 when you can buy the Region 1 NTSC from Amazon UK for just £17.68 or Amazon US for $26.89 ?
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on 12 March 2013
The only fully digitally-restored & remastered, completely uncut, 100% untouched, totally unedited version of this film on DVD is the "Criterion Collection" issue. This is the full 154 minute version, whose remastering/reissue was supervised personally by the Director. It has Peter O'Toole on the front cover wearing a Bowler Hat; it has the words "The Criterion Collection" at the top right and "The Ruling Class" in Edwardian Script Font along the bottom. Any and all other versions of this film should be avoided like the proverbial plague - for these are 3rd rate shoddy, cut, edited, chopped and mutilated transfers, the creators of which should face criminal proceedings...

"The Ruling Class" is Peter O'Toole's own favourite amongst his 5-Star acting career. It is a timeless masterpiece which ostensibly is a lampoon of the British Class System - but whose sub-texts are mind-blowingly brilliant. Monty Python meets Harold Pinter & Samuel Beckett...

Get this masterpiece at all costs.. but make absolutely sure that it's the "Criterion Collection" digitally restored/remastered DVD as outlined.
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on 20 July 2017
A Brilliant and original piece that may have aged since the 70's but still holds up with it's message.This is without a doubt one of O'Tooles Greatest performances and shows what a massive range this talented actor had,going from comic and gentle to tragic and pitiful then BLAM!!!! to pure Evil in the blink of an eye. This flick is hard to pigeon hole being an allegory,a warning,a comedy and a mind screw! and somehow pulling it all together with ease.If I do have one complaint,and its a small one, is that its perhaps a tad too long and could have lost 15 or 20 minutes of its running time to tighten it up slightly.Like I say A small gripe on what is otherwise a masterpiece.
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on 26 December 2013
Films of this kind are rarely, if ever, made anymore. A truly splendid offering. Anarchic and amusing with many a true word spoken in jest. I saw it through a download so no idea about the company issues with the DVD. It's a touch expensive anyway. I saw it for free, O'Toole acted in it for free.

The acting is excellent and the script acerbic to the nth degree. O'Toole shines... as do all the supporting actors, Arthur Lowe is a joy to behold. It's surrealist, however, speaks volumes about the class system of Great Britain which still exists currently but is well hidden by the ridiculous educational system the government now has in its employ, which turns out complete idiots by the bucket load with complete and absolute impunity. Watch it if you can it is an education in and of itself.
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