All the actors who played Elvis Presley in the movies

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Over the years there has been a range of actors who have played Elvis Presley in movies. Baz Lurhmann’s new biopic Elvis is not the first to portray the life of the king of rock and the films have covered much of his life, including his high school years before fame. Elvis Presley himself made 31 movies but played fictional characters in all of those movies except his concert documentaries.

Elvis’ career as an artist spanned from music to theater to directing his own films. After leaving the military, he starred in films to become as established in the dramatic arts as his idols James Dean and Marlon Brando. Although it didn’t work out, with Elvis claiming his worst movie was Clampakehis success in the music industry spawned many adaptations in his life.

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Music plays the biggest role in these adaptations, but Elvis was a figure whose life was followed like any celebrity. His controversial marriage to Priscilla Presley was the focus of the 1988 film Elvis and me and many movies about him didn’t just focus on his musical career, but rather on him as a person. Not all of these Elvis films did well, although some were well received. So here are all the actors who have played Elvis Presley in movies.

Austin Butler – Elvis (2022)


Austin Butler;  Elvis Presley

Austin Butler stars in Baz Lurhmann’s 2022 biopic Elvis. The film focuses on the development of Elvis’ career, with Austin Butler singing his own version of Elvis songs, particularly the role of his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), in this complicated relationship. It sheds light on his sudden stardom and relationship with Priscilla Presley as America’s cultural landscape shifted. Elvis received a 12-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival and, despite heavy criticism of certain aspects of the film, it received an 83% on rotten tomatoes.


Dale Midkiff – Elvis and Me (1988)


Dale Midkiff;  Elvis and me

Dale Midkiff as Elvis in Elvis and me, the 1988 film telling the story of Pricilla Presley’s life with her husband, Elvis. The film is based on Priscilla Presley’s book of the same name and was nominated for the People’s Choice Award for Best TV Movie/Miniseries. There are no reviews for Elvis and me on rotten tomatoes but it received 6.9/10 on IMDb.

Don Johnson – Elvis and the Beauty Queen (1981)


Don Johnson;  Elvis and the beauty queen

Don Johnson, who was almost replaced on miami viceportrayed Elvis in Elvis and the beauty queen highlighting his affair with a young beauty pageant contestant, Linda Thompson (Stephanie Zimbalist), following her divorce from Priscilla Presley. Elvis and the beauty queen deals with the last four years of Elvis’ life with Linda and his drug addiction and is praised for some aspects of it. However, the film failed to make any lasting impressions and was rated fairly low on most review sites and by critics.


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Kurt Russell – Elvis (1979)


Kurt Russell;  Elvis

Kurt Russell stars in the first life biopic of Elvis Presley, Elvis (1979). Including the life of Elvis until 1970, the success of Elvis on American television got it theatrically released in Europe and Australia. Elvis was well received by critics with few reviews on the script, but was nominated for 3 Primetime Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe. It was Russell’s first time working with director John Carpenter, who nearly directed a Jaws scam, and they went on to work together in several blockbusters, such as The thing (1982).


Michael Shannon – Elvis and Nixon (2016)


Michael Shannon;  Elvis and Nixon

Elvis and Nixon (2016) is the true story behind the meeting of Elvis Presley and President Richard Nixon in 1970. Michael Shannon plays Elvis in the film which is based on the meeting behind the image of Presley and Nixon shaking hands, which is the most requested photo from the National Archives. Elvis and Nixon is considerably more popular with critics than audiences (via rotten tomatoes) and Shannon was nominated for the Indiana Film Journalists Association Best Actor Award.

Michael St. Gerard – Great Balls of Fire (1989)


Michel Saint-Gérard;  Elvis

Michael St. Gerard plays Elvis in Big fireballs! (1989) which is a biography not of the king of rock n’ roll himself, but of the man who was to become the next Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis (Dennis Quaid). Lewis rose to fame, but his controversial marriage to his 13-year-old cousin led to his downfall, keeping Elvis safe as king. It did not have a great box office reception and finished 7e during its opening weekend.


Paul Hipp – Liberace: Behind the Music (1988)


Elvis;  Liberace

Elvis Presley is portrayed by Paul Hipp in Liberace: Behind the Music (1988). This is an unofficial biopic about the life and death of Władziu Valentino Liberace, a famous American pianist and singer. The movie centers around him, but Hipp plays Elvis who was great friends with Liberace, and apparently Liberace was the one who told Elvis to have more glitz and flamboyance.

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Peter Dobson – Protect the King (2007)


Elvis;  Protect the King;  Pierre Dobson

Peter Dobson plays Elvis in protect the king (2007), a film about one of his bodyguards – not Elvis’ bodyguard who helped launch Bruce Lee’s career – who was hired at just 16. Elvis’ bodyguard, David Stanley (Matt Barr), was also Elvis’ half-brother and lived an excessive and lavish life by his side. Despite a fresh look at Elvis’ life and the people around him, the film performed poorly and only received a 35% viewership rating on rotten tomatoes.

Rick Peters – Elvis Meets Nixon (1997)


Rick Peters;  Elvis meets Nixon

Rick Peters plays Elvis in the first look at the famous meeting of Elvis and President Nixon (Bob Gunton) at Elvis meets Nixon (1997). Unlike Shannon’s 2016 version, Elvis meets Nixon is a mockumentary/comedy about the reunion that took place when Elvis went to the White House to become a Federal Marshal under the DEA, so it’s understandable that Rocky was afraid to meet Elvis. The story the mockumentary is based on is true but is embellished for the film; it was well received by the public and received 75% on rotten tomatoes.

Rob Youngblood – Elvis and the Colonel: The Untold Story (1993)


Elvis;  Col.;  Rob Youngblood

Rob Youngblood played Elvis in the first film to explore his relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Beau Bridges). The 1993 movie Elvis and the Colonel: The Untold Story explores the exploitative relationship Elvis had with his manager from the perspective of Elvis’ ghost. There are few reviews of the film but the ones that do exist don’t paint the film in its best light and it only received 5.1/10 on IMDb.

Tyler Hilton – Walk the Line (2006)


Tyler Hilton;  Elvis;  walk the line

walk the line (2006) is also a film centered on another star who had ties to Elvis Presley. In this film, which now has a walk the line extended version, Elvis is played by Tyler Hilton and it is based on the two autobiographies written by Johnny Cash, played by Joaquin Phoenix. Hilton’s role in walk the line is relatively small but pays homage to a friendship founded before either of them became famous. walk the line was positively received by critics and audiences, even grossing $187 million on a $28 million budget and 7 Oscar nominations (via IMDb).

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