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American Ruling Class (2007)

Lewis Lapham , Caton Burwell , John Kirby  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Price: $26.98 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Lewis Lapham, Caton Burwell, Paul Cantagallo, Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Hollis Witherspoon
  • Directors: John Kirby
  • Writers: Lewis Lapham, John Kirby, Libby Handros
  • Producers: Caroline Camougis, Caroline Stevens, Chris Hilton, Erich Sturm
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Alive Mind
  • DVD Release Date: January 13, 2009
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001HM2CE2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #224,060 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "American Ruling Class" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

THE AMERICAN RULING CLASS is a morality tale set to music about two Yale students who seek their opportunities after graduation. Lewis Lapham, the renowned essayist, author and longtime Harper+¯-+-+s Magazine editor, conducts them through the corridors of power +¯-+-+ Pentagon press briefings, the World Economic Forum, philanthropic foundations, Washington law firms, banks, the Council on Foreign Relations and New York society dinners. As they make their way, the real-life luminaries they meet become characters in a dramatic story about power, its responsibilities and abuses. The subject is our country+¯-+-+s most taboo topic: class, power and privilege in our nominally democratic republic.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Movie Blew Me Away March 25, 2009
Format:DVD
There are very few movies that warrant the blowing of me away. Enough about me.

At first glance, this movie might appear a bit erudite. Go right ahead and move past that - if you listen carefully, you will hear scintillating brilliance and dry urbane wit that rivals Monty Python's Quest for Holy Grail.

Of course this is not a comedy. But sometimes, dry can be humorful in an incredulous, eye-opening sort of way.

One of the things that absolutely floored me is how revealing this movie is. You will see people who are the real deal (extraordinary people from powerful places and top positions in the stratosphere of the global elite) say astounding, unbelievable things. And, they mean every word. It's mindblowing.

Don't be surprised if you say to yourself, "Did I hear correctly?" "No, I couldn't have heard that - let me rewind..." "They're joking, right?" "This is a put on... isn't it?" "Are they impersonators? Dub-ins?" "Are they who they say they are?" "How did the movie director get them into this movie?" "Astounding!" "I can't believe it!"

Your head will swivel. You will definitely have to watch this movie over and over again to savor every enlightening moment, every little zinging nuance.

One reason is, because, there's so much depth amongst the flashes of light and dark. It's mesmerizing. Small, simple little phrases here and there that have the weight of dark matter.

There's this quote from Voltaire - look for it. It's extraordinarily timely, considering today's economic climate... It involves "corporatism."

One beauty of this movie is that it allows you to draw your own conclusions. It provides information. You provide the thinking.

The Acting and Actors...
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
I watched the DVD with no preconceptions as to what I was going to see except that there were a lot of well-known folks listed on the box as appearing in the film. Walter Cronkite, Senator (and NBA star) Bill Bradley, Director Robert Altman, author Kurt Vonnegut, activist/singer Pete Seeger and Disney Chair Mike Medavoy were there. Yet this was a small independent film. Were they being roped into being on camera as part of a publicity stunt? Well, yes.. and no. Director John Kirby's film is sort of like a Michael Moore documentary in that it certainly has a specific agenda but, though the premise is truly fictional - two graduating Yale seniors head off in different directions, one working for a big investment firm and the other working in social service. With the help of columnist Lewis Lapham, they also get to visit and interview the above named celebrities and politicians asking the question: Who is the current American ruling class? The musical part of the "mockumentary" is composed of some clever songs to bind the actual interviews. The students were real students but their quest for the answers was a "set up".

This film apparently played many Film Festivals and I can see why it was an audience favorite. No it won't win any Academy Award nominations, like Moore's films, but it's certainly worth watching.

There are no special features on it, which would have added to the value of the DVD.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must see, if you love democracy. February 26, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is my favorite movie now. I watched it at least 5 times, learning something new each time. With such a sensitive subject, it's subtle, with clues everywhere, from its product placement of books, flashing of portfolios to even song lyrics. I think if you watch this movie very carefully & read the book below (see link), you could be awakened.

The Secrets of the Federal Reserve (Hardcover)The Secrets of the Federal Reserve
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Remarkable--Provokes & Entertains December 10, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This DVD is superb and also subversive. I doubt that the "stars" in this movie, particularly James Baker, Bill Bradley, Howard Brown, and Larry Summers, really knew what they were getting into, since their words--and their bland denials--ring so false in this context.

I put the film in while trying to deal with Microsoft's latest "update" that cost me half the morning, and I recommend it very strongly as a Christmas present or for classrooms and book clubs.

My notes:

+ A Peabody, whose ancestors came on "the boat" and also founded Groton, laments that whereas all the leaders used to pass through Groton, now there is no real "source." I am reminded of Lee Iacocca's Where Have All the Leaders Gone?.

+ Hedge fund visits basically boils all ownership in America down to four banks, and later in the film we learn that six multinational control almost all "content."

+ We are specifically told by a financial journalist that the concentration of wealth in America is now back to 1929 levels (this was in 2006 or so, talk about a signal for the future depression!

+ Although I think of myself as a Reagan Republican (and Libertarian) I never liked his use of the military to break the unions, and now I am very troubled by the discussion of the 1970's as the era in which big money broke the backs of the unions. See also State of the Unions: How Labor Can Strengthen the Middle Class, Improve Our Economy, and Regain Political Influence.

+ Barbara Ehrenreich, author of
... Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A balanced presentation by one of the finest authors/critics
Lewis Lapham wrote this film. He is one of the finest authors/critics and has been for decades. Agree or disagree with him, he can open your mind if you just listen to what he has... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Eric Blair
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!
Loved it. Wonderfully done. Great story. I was surprised by all the important and well known people who appear in this documentary. The song By Pete Seeger was a blessing. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Alan
1.0 out of 5 stars Sorry I Wasted My Time
I couldn't sit through this movie it was so bad. Don't waste your time it should have never been made.
Published 6 months ago by Richard B. Malcolm
5.0 out of 5 stars The life of the rich versus others
A satirical look at the life of the rich (with so many advantages) versus the middle & lower class. I liked the comparison of 2 college graduates and how their lives are... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Pickle6
3.0 out of 5 stars Started off well but ended in a confused mess.
Okay, nothing groundbreaking here. Who doesn't realize that there is an elite that really calls the shots in America? Is this not the way most countries work? Read more
Published on February 16, 2012 by Firelock
1.0 out of 5 stars Wow is this bad! I mean godawful!
This is a poorly acted, poorly written, mess of a film. Interspersed with distracting ill conceived and executed musical numbers! Read more
Published on September 3, 2010 by T. WHITAKER
3.0 out of 5 stars T Y P I C A L......U L T R A -- L E F T I S T......P R O P A G A N D A
......................I N T R O D U C T I O N...................

I WOULD PREFER TO GIVE THIS MOVIE 2 1/2 STARS. SOMEWHERE B_E_T_W_E_E_N, "I DON'T LIKE IT" and "ITS OK". Read more
Published on July 15, 2010 by Patricia
5.0 out of 5 stars It's actually fun to watch. Great use of music. Truly an original.
What a rare movie. What a great movie. Educational and entertaining at the same time. Saw it on Link TV 2 times and was stuck like glue both times. Read more
Published on December 20, 2009 by Stickman
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
Saw this on network TV recently and loved it so much I have decided to come here to buy it.

Worth watching, very kooky, great songs and a lot of familiar (political)... Read more
Published on February 5, 2009 by mv_mc
4.0 out of 5 stars The American Ruling Class Is A Pleasant And Informative Romp
"The American Ruling Class" is not what I expected it to be. I thought it was going to be a hard-hitting expose on who really pulls the political strings. Read more
Published on February 5, 2009 by Rex Bennett
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