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Elvis Presley's Top 5 Movies

Image: Paramount Pictures

If you’re a fan of nostalgia, beautiful scenery and a charming, handsome young Elvis Presley, you’re likely no stranger to Elvis’s film career. Though his music is what really skyrocketed Elvis to success and made him a household name, his ultimate career goal was to become a dramatic actor.

Just a handful of Elvis’s roles turned out to require some real acting chops, as he typically ended up playing fictionalized versions of himself, amidst a paper-thin plotline and a really fun soundtrack. However, that never stopped fans from enjoying these movies! He starred in at least one film every year from 1956 to 1969 — with the exception of ’59 — for a grand total of 31 movies.

Unfortunately, Elvis himself wasn’t such a huge fan of being typecast and toward the end of his film career, he grew increasingly disillusioned with the film industry, claiming that producers were only interested in making money off of his name. That hasn’t tarnished his image in the film industry, though, as Elvis movies are still incredibly popular. Here are the Decades staff’s picks for the essential Elvis viewing party.

1

'King Creole'

Typically viewed as the quintessential Elvis movie, it was also one of his first, released before he served in the military. Made in 1958, King Creole takes place in the French Quarter and follows a rough-and-tumble kid supporting his father after his mom dies, while trying to juggle two women and getting in with the wrong crowd. Also starring Carolyn Jones and Walter Matthau, Elvis appreciated the opportunity to play a dramatic role in a film that also utilized his singing abilities. Later on, he said that Danny Fisher was his favorite role he ever played.

Image: Paramount Pictures

2

'Viva Las Vegas'

There aren’t many movies out there that are more fun than Viva Las Vegas. The 1964 movie starred Elvis and Ann-Margret, both of whom were on top of the world at the time. Elvis played Lucky Jacobson, a racecar driver attempting to raise enough money to get a new engine in time to compete in a race in Las Vegas. He ends up entering a talent contest with his hotel’s swim instructor in hopes of winning both her heart and the cash prize for his engine.

Image: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

3

'Blue Hawaii'

Is there anyone who doesn’t love Elvis’s beachy movies set in Hawaii? When Elvis’s military tour ended and he re-entered Hollywood, everyone enjoyed the soldier turned crooner storyline. The 1961 film Blue Hawaii tells the story of a soldier who returns to Hawaii after a tour of duty. Though his mom wants him to join the family fruit business, he’d rather relax on the beach with his friends and girlfriend, and surf his days away. He does need to make money, though, so he takes a job as a tour guide.

Image: Paramount Pictures

4

'Jailhouse Rock'

In Elvis’s early days, he usually plays your typical bad boy, who turns out to be not-so-bad after all. This is most popularly exemplified in the iconic 1957 Jailhouse Rock. Elvis plays a construction worker who goes to jail after accidentally killing a man during a bar fight. This turns out to be great for his career, as he gets discovered after singing on an inmate TV show. The legendary performance of “Jailhouse Rock” was actually choreographed by Elvis, too!

Image: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

5

'Clambake'

Elvis himself was not a fan of Clambake, and the movie certainly wasn’t met with critical acclaim. This 1967 movie was the last he made under his United Artists contract. However, the soundtrack is catchy and fun, and the storyline is lighthearted. Elvis plays Scott, an heir to his father’s oil fortune, who’s disappointed that women only seem to like him for his money. He takes off to Miami to find himself and decide what he wants to do outside of the family business. He decides to trade identities with a man who’s on his way to teach waterskiing and finds love in the process.

Image: United Artists

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