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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 (18 customer reviews)

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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 (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001HM2CE2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,290 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "American Ruling Class" on IMDb

Special Features


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
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
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Amazon Instant Video
Sellouts who shill for bankers or become banksters themselves in order that they can then later indulge their humanitarian interests.
The movie fails to honestly reveal the true criteria for access to the ruling class,
which every aspiring Jewish, Indian, and Chinese minority family in the Northeast and California knows and strives for-
get into one of the private or public Ivy League schools and then intermarry with the existing ruling class.
If not and you manage to make it anyway on your own merit or luck, you'll be considered second class and open to mockery.
(Howard Baker went to Tulane, so it's open season on him as if he's a war criminal while Henry Kissinger, who is seen eerily throughout the movie on every wall of every elite is not mentioned though he be a real war criminal- Harvard graduate)
The cream of the ruling class are those blessed by admission to Oxford through Rhodes Scholarship,
and this cements the Anglo influences and interests in the US, while the anglophile US elites fall in place behind them.
This is creepy since the English are in a significant way anointing the leaders of the US ruling class by their scholarships.
The New England WASPs may be washed out, but their masters in London never disappeared.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
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. So I'm buying it to watch it again and again. (There is a lot of info in this movie.) If you go into it with an open mind, you'll come out a better person. I strongly recommend this to everyone. Great use of music too. (It is a musical documentary after all.) Have the remote handy when you watch it, you'll probably find yourself rewinding it many times, "Did I just hear what I thought I heard?" It's actually fun to watch.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
An interesting approach.
Published 11 hours ago by David Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thanks for everything!
Published 2 months ago by Allan Molenaar
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 6 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 8 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 8 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 20 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...................

Published on July 15, 2010 by Patricia
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Remarkable--Provokes & Entertains
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... Read more
Published on December 10, 2009 by Robert David STEELE Vivas
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