Did You Know…? Elvis Presley’s Movies

Elvis was a natural performer who ruled on both the stage and the silver screen.

Fans love his movies as much as they do his music. In fact, many Elvis Presley movie songs went on to become wildly popular in their own right. This month, we’re asking fans to vote for their favorite Elvis movies in our March Madness-style bracket, Elvis Movie Madness, to determine the fan favorite.

We’re in round three – Elite 8 – right now, with a few more rounds of voting to come before the winner is crowned. Which one do you think will win? “Blue Hawaii,” “Viva Las Vegas,” “King Creole”? Or is your bet on a dark horse?

Here are some fun Elvis Presley movie facts about each of the 16 films that made it to the Sweet 16 in Elvis Movie Madness – and don’t forget to vote for your favorite!

 


LOVE ME TENDER

When "Love Me Tender" premiered in New York City, thousands of fans lined up at a 40-foot cutout of Elvis.

When “Love Me Tender” premiered in New York City, thousands of fans lined up at a 40-foot cutout of Elvis.

  • “Love Me Tender” was released Nov. 21, 1956, and it was the first Elvis Presley movie to be broadcast on television, on Dec. 11, 1963.
  • The original title was “The Reno Brothers.” When advanced sales for the single “Love Me Tender” passed the million mark, the film’s name was changed.
  • Actor Neville Brand, whose character kills Elvis’ character, was a highly-decorated GI in World War II.

 LOVING YOU

"Loving You" premiered in Memphis on July 10, 1957 at the Strand Theater, and Elvis took his parents and his date, Anita Wood, to a private midnight screening.

“Loving You” premiered in Memphis on July 10, 1957 at the Strand Theater, and Elvis took his parents and his date, Anita Wood, to a private midnight screening.

  • This is Elvis’ first color motion picture, and the working titles were “Running Wild” and “Lonesome Cowboy.”
  • Elvis’ parents visited him in Hollywood while he was filming, and they were included as extras in a scene seated in the audience in the fourth row. Elvis’ bandmates, DJ Fonanta, Bill Black and Scotty Moore, are also in the film.
  • Elvis dyed his hair black for this film, believing black would show up better on screen instead of naturally brown hair. Elvis continued to dye his hair like this for the rest of his life, stopping only while he was in the Army.

JAILHOUSE ROCK

Elvis chatted with fans in between scenes on the set of "Jailhouse Rock."

Elvis chatted with fans in between scenes on the set of “Jailhouse Rock.”

  • For this film, Elvis was assigned Clark Gable’s former dressing room.
  • When filming wrapped, Elvis boarded a train for Memphis. He was excited to get to his new home, Graceland, so he left the train in Louisiana and rented a car to drive the rest of the way. He spent his first night in Graceland on June 26, 1957.

KING CREOLE

"King Creole" was directed by Michael Curtiz, who also directed "Casablanca" and "Yankee Doodle Dandy."

“King Creole” was directed by Michael Curtiz, who also directed “Casablanca” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”

  • Working titles for this film were “Danny” and “Sing, You Sinners.”
  • Elvis stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans during filming. Security was, of course, tight. The elevator operators were told not to stop on the 10th floor, the floor on which Elvis was staying. One night after filming, Elvis tried to get to the floor, but the elevator operator – not recognizing the star – said he couldn’t stop on the 10th floor because Elvis Presley was staying there.
  • Dolores Hart, niece of singer Mario Lanza, starred in this film as Elvis’ leading lady for a second time. She later left acting and became a nun. Today, she is a Mother Superior, and she’s a voting member of the Academy of Motion Pictures.

The film received positive reviews and many fans and film critics consider it the best Elvis Presley movie.


G.I. BLUES

Elvis' leading lady for this 1960 film was Juliet Prowse, who went on to star in "The Love Boat." While filming "G.I. Blues," she was engaged to Frank Sinatra.

Elvis’ leading lady for this 1960 film was Juliet Prowse, who went on to star in “The Love Boat.” While filming “G.I. Blues,” she was engaged to Frank Sinatra.

  • Titles considered for this movie were “Christmas in Berlin” and “Café Europa.”
  • Hannerl Melcher, Miss Austria 1957 and a Las Vegas showgirl, was an extra, and she and Elvis became friends. She and her roommate spent Christmas 1958 with the Presley family at Graceland.

BLUE HAWAII

There are more Elvis songs in "Blue Hawaii" than any other of his films. "Blue Hawaii" has 14 Elvis tunes.

There are 14 Elvis songs in “Blue Hawaii,” more than in any other Elvis Presley movie.

  • This movie’s working title was “Hawaiian Beach Boy.”
  • Elvis’ costars in this movie starred with him in several other films. For example, Howard McNear (Mr. Chapman) also starred in “Fun in Acapulco” and “Follow That Dream.” Guy Lee (Ping Pong) was also in “Girls! Girls! Girls!”

KID GALAHAD

"Kid Galahad" was released in August 1962.

“Kid Galahad” was released in August 1962.

  • Elvis trained as a boxer would for this role, using punching bags, doing road work, dieting and sparring with professional boxers.
  • This movie was filmed in the mountains of Idyllwild, California, in the winter of 1961. Actors wore summer costumes in the cold weather and tried to make sure their breath didn’t show up on camera.
  • World champion junior welterweight boxer Mushy Callahan was Elvis’ boxing coach.

GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS!

Elvis wanted to travel to Hawaii by boat, but he had to fly due to a labor strike. Thousands of fans mobbed him upon arrival, and he lost a ring, a hat and other items in the melee.

Elvis wanted to travel to Hawaii by boat, but he had to fly due to a labor strike. Thousands of fans mobbed him upon arrival, and he lost a ring, a hat and other items in the melee.

  • Working titles included “A Girl in Every Port,” “Welcome Aboard” and “Gumbo Ya-Ya.”
  • The three Ling children in the story were played by siblings Ginny Tiu, Elizabeth Tiu and Alexander Tiu. Another sibling, Vicky Tiu, starred with Elvis in “It Happened at the World’s Fair.”
  • Look for Elvis’ entourage in the film. Red West plays the bongos on a fishing boat. Allan Fortas catches a fish. Hal Blaine is a drummer in the lounge band, while Elvis’ stand-in, Lance Le Gault, plays the bass.

IT HAPPENED AT THE WORLD’S FAIR

In this film, Elvis is kicked by a 10-year-old actor who would go on to be famous: Kurt Russell. Years later, Kurty played Elvis in a TV movie biography.

In this film, Elvis is kicked by a 10-year-old actor who would go on to be famous: Kurt Russell. Years later, Kurt played Elvis in a TV movie biography.

  • To spot Elvis’ entourage in the masses of people at the fair, they all wore special uniforms.
  • Vicky Tiu (Sue-Lin) later became the first lady of Hawaii, as her husband, Ben Cayetano, was the state’s governor.
  • Memphis’ mayor and Vernon Presley visited Elvis on the set to accept Elvis’ annual donation of $50,000 for Memphis-area charities.

FUN IN ACAPULCO

"Fun in Acapulco" opened in November 1963.

“Fun in Acapulco” opened in November 1963.

  • This film was shot in Hollywood, not Mexico.
  • Paramount promoted the movie with special souvenir “passports” they created.
  • The Beatles saw this film at a Miami, Florida drive-in during their first U.S. tour.

VIVA LAS VEGAS

Ann-Margaret and Elvis share a laugh during a break while filming "Viva Las Vegas." The film was released June 17, 1964.

Ann-Margaret and Elvis share a laugh during a break while filming “Viva Las Vegas.” The film was released June 17, 1964.

  • This was the highest-grossing Elvis Presley movie.
  • Actress/dancer Teri Garr, who played roles in several Elvis movies, was one of the many showgirls in this movie. Elvis’ long-time stand-in and movie double Lance Le Gault was an extra in the “Sons of the Lone Star State” scene.
  • The Little Church of the West, which is seen in the film, is where stars such as Judy Garland, Betty Grable, Angelina Jolie and Mickey Rooney have all gotten married. It’s now on the registry of National Historic Places.

ROUSTABOUT

Col. Tom Parker, who previously worked in the carnival business, consulted on the film. A real carnival was employed and set up near the studio for authenticity.

Col. Tom Parker, who previously worked in the carnival business, consulted on the film. A real carnival was employed and set up near the studio for authenticity.

  • Screenwriters Allan Weiss and Anthony Lawrence received a nomination from the Screen Writers Guild of America in 1965 for their work on “Roustabout.”
  • Elvis and director John Rich butted heads over Elvis’ entourage and their practical jokes. Elvis defended them: “If my guys go, so do I.”

GIRL HAPPY

"Girl Happy" was released August 12, 1964. While filming in June, the cast threw a birthday party for Col. Tom Parker on June 23, since his birthday was June 26.

“Girl Happy” was released in 1965. While filming in June 1964, the cast threw a birthday party for Col. Tom Parker on June 23, since his birthday was June 26.

  • Valerie is played by Shelley Fabares, who went on to star in two more of Elvis’ films. He later said she was his favorite actress to work with.
  • Bandmates in the film were Gary Crosby (Andy), son of Bing Crosby, and Jimmy Hawkins (Doc), who played Tommy in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Jimmy would later become a regular on the “Donna Reed Show” as Shelley Fabares’ character’s boyfriend.

TICKLE ME

"Tickle Me" hit the big screen on July 7, 1965.

“Tickle Me” hit the big screen on July 7, 1965.

  • Allied Artists Studio, which produced this film, was in deep financial trouble. Col. Parker agreed to cut Elvis’ fee of $1 million to $750,000 plus 50% of the profits, and they used songs that had already been recorded instead of cutting brand new soundtrack. The film turned out to be the third-highest grossing film for the studio and kept it from bankruptcy for a while longer.
  • The film was promoted by the sale of “Tickle Me” colored feathers and feather pens. RCA purchased Elvis’ custom gold-appointed Cadillac, and it went on tour to promote the film.
  • Jocelyn Lane, who starred as Elvis’ leading lady, retired from acting in 1971 when she married a Spanish prince. Today she designs jewelry.

CHANGE OF HABIT

In this scene, Mary Tyler Moore's character wears a Notre Dame sweatshirt. Elvis' character sports a UT Memphis shirt, as his character is from Shelby County, Tennessee.

In this scene, Mary Tyler Moore’s character wears a Notre Dame sweatshirt. Elvis’ character sports a UT Memphis shirt, as his character is from Shelby County, Tennessee.

  • This is Elvis’ last feature film. It was a part of a deal worked out by Col. Parker for the NBC 1968 TV special “Elvis” and it was co-produced by NBC and Universal Pictures.
  • Darlene Love and her group The Blossoms, who appear with Elvis in the 1968 TV special, also appear in this movie.

ELVIS: THAT’S THE WAY IT IS

Directed by Denis Sanders, "Elvis: That's The Way It Is" was released in November 1970. It was filmed over the summer of that same year.

Directed by Denis Sanders, “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” was released in November 1970. It was filmed over the summer of that same year.

  • The working title was simply “Elvis.”
  • 2015 is the 45th anniversary of this documentary. Elvis Presley’s Graceland just opened a new exhibit, which a part of the VIP tour experience, that focuses on the film. Fans can see photos, Elvis’ jumpsuits and much more in this exhibit.

 


 

Which Elvis movie is your favorite? Don’t forget to vote! You can vote once per day, and the more you vote, the more times you’re entered to win an Elvis movie prize pack.

And if you love Elvis’ films, you must see all of the movie artifacts at Graceland. There’s an entire section dedicated to Elvis’ movies, and it includes a number of costumes, scripts, props and much more. These special artifacts are only at Graceland in Memphis.

Plan your trip to Graceland today!


48 Comments

  1. Love every one of these, except …..Tickle Me. This one I didn’t think was a very good one for Elvis. But the rest? I’d watch over and over again. Nice seeing all the little differnt stories behind these movies. Thanks for sharing.

  2. stephen stathis

    Flaming Star was very good. Follow That Dream was very underrated as he nailed the character; didn’t know if the characater was smart or not.

  3. Lucille Walkup

    Lot of fun voting onthese movies. I enjoyed them all and still do today.

  4. wayne crumpler

    king creole

  5. kim collison

    I love every single. Film……but G I Blues just has an edge xx

  6. Kathy D Mayo Presley

    I Loved All Of Elvis Presley’s Movies & His Music, I Simply Just Loved Elvis A Presley, May He R.I.P.

  7. definitely blue Hawaii
    Although I did and still do, like all his movies.

  8. Melissa

    i seen Love Me Tender, King Creole, G.I. blues, Blue Hawaii, Girls,Girls,Girls, Fun In Alcapulco, Roustabout and a girl Happy but my fave is king creole and love me tender. Love his movies and music. Elvis Presley’s fan 4ever!!:)

  9. Κουκουλᾶ Ἀργυρῶ

    ”King Greol” along with ”Wild in the country” and ”live a little love alittle”shows the wide range 0F acting capacities Elvis had.

    • jenniferlee

      Love Live a Little, Love a Little too great movie! Definitely underrated!

  10. Cortney

    Jailhouse Rock!

  11. I have loved Elvis since I was 7 years old.I am now 47… I’ve watched all his movies over and over again.
    We are so very blessed to have these memories. If only he was alive today to see how much people love and adore him. His resting in the arms of Jesus, thank you God for bringing us Elvis Presley the world will never forget him.

  12. mary ann scudiero

    Viva las Vegas I think one of the best as I libe here now and its ELVIS.THANK U VERY MUCH.

  13. king creole !!

  14. Chris Scott

    You mist out Jail house rock and Follow that dream and a few others Stay away Joe too

  15. theresa

    I like tickle me ! Theres some comedy too!! How come yheres no mention of at least 3other movies? Oh I guess I love them all but tickle me is a fun movie! :-)

    • jenniferlee

      I read some where Elvis won best Musical of the year with Tickle Me!

  16. favorite, viva las vegas

  17. Angela Sinclair

    “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” is my favourite but love anything Elvis appears in. x

  18. I liked the one where he was an ignorant lazy guy with blonde hair. I remember the group he was with were driving along and where the road ended. They made their home

  19. Marlys Denhardt

    I love them all but I have two favorites are VIVA LAS VEGAS & CHANGE OF HABIT

  20. Sue elliott

    Love all Elvis’s films but Change of Habit and Paradise Hawaiin Style are my favourites

  21. Anne Rhodes

    It has to be Love in Las Vegas for me. I absolutely adore the soundtrack as well, especially Today, Tomorrow and Forever both the film version and the duet with Ann-Margret which was a well kept secret for over 40 years!

  22. Peggy gray

    ELVIS IS MY FOOD OF LOVE

  23. Peggy gray

    Thats the way it is give blue

  24. Vickie Varela

    Favorite movie has to be King Creole.Not just because it was Elvis Presley’s favorite move, it was his best acting performance. I still find it a superior performance. Black and white makes it all the more thrilling. He really expressed his character in a strong and meaningful way. This was and still is a revelant film. The contrast of good and evil is executed masterfully. My test for a great film is if I want to see it over and over again. All the actors were cast perfectly and gave terrific performances. See it, you will love Elvis in it and you can see so much of his struggles and passions reflected in this ageless film.

  25. They all have something different to offer. Just shows how versatile he was.
    My two faves are Jailhouse Rock and Viva Las Vegas.

  26. I loved them all but I think my favorites were Blue Hawaii and GI Blues. We lost someone so very special when we lost Elvis.

  27. jenniferlee

    I love G.I. Bues, Blue Hawaii, Fun in Acapulco!……All of them!!

  28. Pretty sure GIRL HAPPY was released in 1965 NOT 1964

  29. Steven Chew

    I love all Elvis movies. He showed great acting potential in King Creole and Wild In The Country, his comedic timing and talent in Follow That Dream, his care and love in Change of Habit, his romantic side in Girl Happy but Elvis -That’s The Way It is is where Elvis shone as the brightest star in the entertainment history.

    For me, I have to vote Elis-TTWII as my favourites. Must have seen it over 40 times.
    Thank you, Elvis and rest in peace.

  30. Louanne Fox

    I love them all because they are ELVIS and my favorites are FOLLOW THAT DREAM & BLUE HAWAII

  31. Marie Ford

    My favorite is “Change Of Habit”, because by the tender age of 7, Dr John Carpenter had me convinced to be HIS NURSE! I also love “Jailhouse Rock”, for the dance sequences, and “Charro” because Elvis looked so DAMN SEXY with a beard! God bless him for his contribution to the American music industry, and we will all see him again, on Side B…Peace, Love and TCB!

  32. Donita Martino-Garrison

    How do you choose a favorite movie that Elvis did, they are all my absolute favorites.

  33. Bonnie Carpenter

    I love all his movies, but really love Girl’s, Girl’s, Girl’s with him singing the shrimp song…

  34. Mary J. Merullo

    I Have three favorites:
    1. Charro
    2. Elvis Thats the Way it Was
    3. Change of Habit

    But, of course, I loved all of Elvis’s movies.

    I was fortunate enough to see Elvis live in Concert
    once in Las Vegas (1974). I also saw him in Providence, RI in 1976.

    Naturally, I have seen all of his movies and own copies of most of them,
    I own all of Elvis’s LPs, CDs including some demo LPs.

  35. The early movies: Loving You, Jailhouse Rock, King Creol, Wild in the Country and Flaming Star.
    These films showed Elvis’s raw dramatic talent and demonstrated that he could act as well as other movie greats if he was given the right script and director. It’s a shame that making money through soundtracks was the determining factor in the movies he would later play.

  36. Angela Manciagli

    I love all of Elvis’ films and own them all. I have loved Elvis since I saw my first film, G I Blues in 1961 aged 11, I am now 65. My favourite is naturally G I Buues, also love Viva Las Vegas, and Blue Hawaii. Hard to choose as love them all. Elvis, my dream, love you forever.

  37. Anthony Luizza

    Has to be That’s the Way it is.I see my Dad in the audience 4 times during the movie.My Dad died in 1974,He saw all the great ones ,Sinatra,Martin,Davis YOU name them my Dad saw them.He said that Elvis was the best out of all of them.I got to see Elvis 1972 Madison Square Garden and again in 1975 at the Nassau Coliseum.My Dad was right, He was the Greatest there ever was or ever will be.NOT a day goes by that I don’t listen to His music,or watch a movie or Concert.Thank you Elvis for all the enjoyment you gave to my Dad and are still giving to me.

  38. Too hard to pick the best Elvis movie! Every time I watch one I think it’s the best. I just love them all because they are “Elvis.” Movies did not have to have content; just loved watching Elvis be Elvis. He was and will always be the best.

  39. Sharron

    That’s The Way It Is. I saw Elvis in Las Vegas and was sitting down at the stage in 1971 and 1973. There were no cameras allowed so when I watch this performance, it brings back the wonderful memories of being there. My son was 10 years old in 1973. When Elvis saw him he took both of his hands. My son asked him for a scarf. Elvis winked at him and said “Sure”. Elvis walked over to Charlie Hodge, got a scarf, which he put on and he walked back to my son. He slid the scarf off and handed it to my son. He also handed him a napkin that someone had given him, which he used to wipe sweat from his face and his chest. They are treasured momentos at our house. I told my son, when I die, he can have them back. LOL

    Elvis was the highest priced entertainer in Las Vegas at that time. In 1971, we got a prime rib dinner and the show for $15.00 each! In 1973, the price went up to $16.50. Those were the days! Today shows start at around $100.00 or so and go way up….

    I have a license plate on my car that reads “ELVIS 1971”. It was a surprise gift from my late husband. Since I wouldn’t fly back then, my wonderful husband drove me across the country from Ohio to Las Vegas TWICE!

    I also saw Elvis in 1957 in Ft. Wayne, and in Cincinnati in 1972.

  40. I loved all of Elvis’ movies, King Creol is one of my favorites.

  41. evan wilson

    i love roustabout girls girls girls love me tender jailhouse rock blue hawaii and it happened at the world’s fair

  42. Blue Hawaii, because somehow Elvis seemed so relaxed and maybe we were lucky enough to see more of the real Elvis in this film than in any of the other wonderful films he made.

  43. My wife and I are retired now and we make a point of watching at least one Elvis movie a day. We really did grow up with Elvis learning to rock and roll and it was so much fun. We are in our 70’s now, and still able to show our daughter how to rock and roll. Thank you Elvis us for allowing us to feel that we were part of your very happy life. You were truly a gentleman who cared for mankind. I vote for G.I.Blues and Blue Hawaii

  44. Change of Habit relating to him more casual and looked to really enjoy the event would be my second. I believe he could of gone much further with a great script.

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