10 Essential Elvis Presley Movies

Austin Butler, the star of Baz Luhrmann‘s all shook up biopic elvis, joins an eclectic list of men who would become kings. Amongst them: Don JohnsonElvis and the Beauty QueenKurt RussellJohn Timmerman‘s ElvisBruce CampbellBubba Ho-Tep), and Nicholas Cage (Little Elvis, SNL† But nothing beats the real king.

Elvis Presley made 31 films from the 1956 Western Civil War in 13 years love me tenderly to the social drama from 1969 change of habit, in which he portrays a hip young doctor who unwittingly falls in love with a nun played by Mary Tyler Moore. From the beginning, Hollywood was as eager to harness his charisma and star power as Presley was to follow in the Oscar-winning footsteps of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, who had turned their own pop stardoms into respected film careers. His best films show his potential: the raw energy, the presence, the dedication to embody a character that was clearly not himself.

“His career is complex”, Susan Pop, author of Elvis For Dummies and The movies of Elvis Presley, tells Vanity scholarship. “When you say ‘Elvis movie’, everyone thinks of the musical romances, which Elvis himself jokingly referred to as ‘the Presley travel stories’. Elvis plays this archetype in which he is a free spirit with an exciting job in a vacation spot, so he is never part of the mundane world. And then he meets his costar, the leading lady. Either she doesn’t want anything to do with him and he chases her, or he’s not interested, but she’s chasing him. But that’s what drives him to settle down.”

But in the movies he made before blue hawaii, which formed the basis for the rest of his film career, Elvis took his film career seriously. “He learned not only his rules, but everyone else’s,” Doll said. “There were prominent actors in some of the movies and he would ask them for advice.”

Decades after his breakthrough, Presley remains the standard-bearer rock icon. (In The Beatles: Go Back, Paul McCartney even calls him “our gracious king.”) Yet his films generally receive little respect, something that Presley himself had to deal with. By the late 1960s, as he was getting his singing and concert career back on track, “The King was chewing about getting back on stage,” notes Doll. “When he does, he jokes about his film career as part of his stage chatter. That’s where the bad reputation of his film career begins – with Elvis himself because he was so disappointed in the direction it was going.”

But especially the early films, which tended to prop up Presley with strong directors and supporting casts, show a lot of promise – and various travel stories are wildly entertaining. A Little Less Conversation: Here Are 10 Essential Presley Movies To Watch After Watching elvis.

10. wildlife in the country (1961)

With only three songs, it’s not your typical Elvis fare, but with a script credited to Clifford Odets, this was probably the kind of prestige movie Presley envisioned for himself as he pursued an acting career. It was also his last attempt at an outright dramatic role after the box office success of GI blues. Here, Presley is not an aspiring singer, but a troubled boy whose social worker (Hope Lange) inspires him to develop his writing talent. Millie Perkins and – speaking of wildlife –Tuesday read shine as competing love interests. “If you want Elvis to try and disappear into his roles,” Doll said, “that’s the right choice for… wildlife in the country and Flaming star.

9. GI Blues (1960)

Elvis’ first star vehicle after military service pairs him with Juliet Prowse, an established star dancer and actress who would help Elvis develop a more mature image (the two were briefly romantically involved). Presley is a soldier stationed in Germany, where he bets his friends that he can make time with Prowse’s nightclub dancer with the cold shoulder reputation. The title melody is great and “Big Boots” is a lovely lullaby. One of Presley’s top five blockbusters, this return to the screen confirmed his star power.

8. Flaming Star (1960)

Released shortly after GI blues, this Don Siegel-directed western didn’t do too well at the box office. Presley sings just two songs in an outright dramatic role as Pacer, the son of a white rancher (John McIntire) and an Indian (Dolores del Río), desperate to ease racial tensions between the white ranchers and the Kiowa tribe. . ultimately choose where his loyalties lie. It’s a “demanding” role in a movie with something for everyone, Variety said at the time, “Indians-on-the-war for the young, Elvis Presley for the teens, and socio-psychological ramifications for adults who prefer a mild dose of sage in their wormwood brushes.”

7. Blue Hawaii (1961)

Presley’s film career can be viewed in two phases: pre–Blue Hawaii and mail–Blue Hawaii. One of his biggest blockbusters to date was a game changer that prompted manager Colonel Parker to insist that Presley give up any Oscar dreams and give his fans what they wanted, which was Elvis in an exotic location and sang enough songs to make a best – selling soundtracks. Blue Hawaii had 14, the best of which is “Can’t Help Falling in Love”.

6. Roustabout (1964)

Presley is a short-tempered bum (doing karate on some schoolboys, getting fired for his last music gig) who ends up working at a struggling carnival. He has his own polar opposite Barbara Stanwyck, but was rudely awakened when he read a 1964 syndicated article featuring an interview with producer Hal Wallace, who basically said that movies like Roustabout were what helped pay for more prestigious projects, such as the multi-Oscar nominee becket, with Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole. “That was a breaking point” for Presley, Doll said. “He still hoped that Wallace would put him in better movies. After that, he knew his place.”

5. girl happy (1965)

The funniest part of the Presley travelogues is that during spring break, Elvis and his rock combo were sent to Fort Lauderdale by a Chicago mobster to watch over his daughter, who just wants to have fun (Shelley Fabares† There is great character work from Harold Stone as “Big Frank”; Job Baker, Gary Crosby, and Jimmy Hawkins (Tommy Bailey in It’s a great life) as band members of Presley; John “Piglet” Fiedler; and Jackie Coogan (Uncle Fester on The Addams family† Fabares was Elvis’ favorite female costar. “Elvis had a torrid affair with” Ann-Margret On long live vegas, but Fabares was sunny, fun, and easy to work with,” Doll said. Plus, there are decent songs, including the ballad “Puppet on a String” and the unlikely dance sensation “Do the Clam,” which was invented by choreographer David Winters. (He also made the Slide for Long live Vegas.

4. Follow that dream (1962)

An underrated and overlooked gem that breaks the travelogue template. A cross between Li’l Abner and Forrest Gump, Presley is the dutiful son of an enterprising man who claims squatters’ rights on a strip of highway in Florida and builds a house for his makeshift family. The title melody is here to stay (Bruce Springsteen performed it in concert), but the film’s few songs take a backseat to the story. Elvis also beautifully acquits himself in a courtroom finale in which his heartfelt testimony and simple cleverness outsmart the social worker trying to tear Presley’s family apart.

3. long live Vegas (1964)

Not the best film Presley made, but definitely the best Presley travelogue. Presley hit the jackpot with this return to the classic MGM musical. (Director George Sidney has also headed it) Show boat and Annie Grab your gun.) His chemistry with costar Ann-Margret is off the charts, and the dynamo, hot from her breakout role in the screen version of day bird, matches shake him for shake and shimmy for shimmy. In her autobiography, Ann-Margret Presley herself called her soul mate. While this does not have the gravitas or promise of Jailhouse Rock and King Creole, this is what we talk about when we talk about Elvis movies. And that title track!

2. Jailhouse Rock (1957)

Elvis’ Vince Everett is convicted of manslaughter and is pointed in the right direction by his cellmate (Mickey Shaughnessy). Once out of the band, he becomes a singing sensation only looking forward to number one on his way to the charts. The only Elvis movie to be included in the National Film Registry of “historically, culturally, or aesthetically significant” American films has a great soundtrack that features arguably the most exciting three minutes of Elvis on screen, with the title song playing damn well. .

1. King Creole (1958)

As the singing delinquent Danny Fisher, Elvis was in the best hands with Michael Curtiz, who directed Bogie in CasablancaCagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy, and Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood. He was also ably backed by his strongest supporting cast, including Walter Matthau as a ruthless mob boss who insists Danny sing at his nightclub, Carolyn Jones as Matthau’s good girl, and Vic Morrow as a Matthau henchman who tries to take Danny down a darker, more violent path. The soundtrack of American roots music captures Elvis at his rawest. †Jailhouse Rock has that great production number,” said Doll, “but in King Creoleit’s just a guy on a stage, and he’s got everyone in the palm of his hand.”