Elvis Presley in a movie still from ‘Blue Hawaii’

Ranking every Elvis Presley movie

Written by:
July 11, 2022
Michael Ochs Archives // Getty Images

Ranking every Elvis Presley movie

With Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” biopic making waves, what better time to look at the real Elvis Presley films that made waves long before Austin Butler was alive to bat his beautiful long eyelashes.

In truth, Presley had a pretty pitiful film career. Though many of the films were box-office successes, they were critical bombs more often than not. Presley himself rarely got positive reviews for his performances. And some of the movies have even gotten worse with age, with cultural appropriation and misogyny abounding, which makes the films all the more difficult to rank.

Stacker looked at IMDb data on all of Presley’s feature films and ranked them by user rating, with ties broken by votes. His two live music documentaries were not included. All of the films fall below a 7 out of 10 IMDb user rating, and more than half fall below a 6. Those are dismal numbers. Only four movies in his filmography have over 5,000 votes, which is a substantially low count for IMDb, where top movies have over 1 million votes and even underseen indies and lesser-known historic films crack five digits with ease. None of Presley’s movies get above 10,000 votes, and more than half of the 31 features have less than 2,500.

Despite this, it’s interesting to see the early days of what one might call the “stan” culture today. The Presley movies could be considered the beginnings of an era where, collectively, society felt the need to see its favorite singers in acting roles and paid money to see the movie no matter how genuinely terrible it was.

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Elvis Presley in a scene from ‘Stay Away, Joe’
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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#31. ‘Stay Away, Joe’ (1968)

- Director: Peter Tewksbury
- IMDb user rating: 4.5
- Runtime: 102 minutes

A suspiciously tan looking Elvis Presley plays Joe Lightfoot, a half-Native American from the Navajo nation returning to his reservation with chaos on his trail. “Stay Away, Joe” was a critical disaster at the time and remains one of The King’s least popular.

Elvis Presley in a scene from ‘Harum Scarum’
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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#30. ‘Harum Scarum’ (1965)

- Director: Gene Nelson
- IMDb user rating: 4.6
- Runtime: 95 minutes

In “Harum Scarum,” Elvis Presley portrays Johnny Tyrone, an American movie star who travels to Baghdad on a promotional tour for his latest film and gets swept up in a scheme to kill the king. Featuring “slave” women, sultans, and a dwarf named Baba, it’s not a movie for those with modern-day cultural sensibilities.

Elvis Presley and The Wiere Brothers in ‘Double Trouble’
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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#29. ‘Double Trouble’ (1967)

- Director: Norman Taurog
- IMDb user rating: 5.1
- Runtime: 91 minutes

Elvis Presley plays singer Guy Lambert in “Double Trouble” as he travels from London to Antwerp, Belgium, facing the greatest of adversities—being wooed by two beautiful women. The film is complete with a jewel heist and a bounty of musical numbers sung by Presley.

Elvis Presley and Marlyn Mason in ‘The Trouble with Girls’
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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#28. ‘The Trouble With Girls (And How to Get Into It)’ (1969)

- Director: Peter Tewksbury
- IMDb user rating: 5.2
- Runtime: 97 minutes

It’s 1927—but the skirts are as mini as 1969 would allow—and Elvis Presley plays the manager of a touring tent show. One girl in his troupe tries to form a union, while a girl in town murdered her sexual harasser. Presley’s 30th film and the only one with a subtitle took several years to make it to the big screen. During that time, Glenn Ford and Dick Van Dyke were considered for the lead role before Presley got the part. With fewer musical numbers than in his better films, Elvis still fit in enough to satisfy his fans.

Elvis Presley and Dodie Marshall in ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’
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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#27. ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’ (1967)

- Director: John Rich
- IMDb user rating: 5.2
- Runtime: 95 minutes

In “Easy Come, Easy Go,” Elvis Presley plays Ted Jackson, a former U.S. Navy frogman who spends his retirement deep-sea diving and singing in nightclubs. The plot revolves around a race for a treasure buried on the ocean floor, but the soundtrack, which was Presley’s first since 1956 that featured no ballads, turned out to be his worst-selling record released for RCA Victor.

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Elvis Presley in a scene from ‘Kissin' Cousins’
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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#26. ‘Kissin’ Cousins’ (1964)

- Director: Gene Nelson
- IMDb user rating: 5.2
- Runtime: 96 minutes

“Kissin’ Cousins” features barefoot mountain maidens, men in uniform, a bounty of relatives, and Elvis Presley playing two different characters: U.S. Air Force pilot Josh Morgan and his blond cousin from the Smoky Mountains, Jodie Tatum. Two of Josh’s cousins compete for his affection, while Jodie falls for a military gal. There’s also a plot revolving around the U.S. government’s attempt to lease a mountaintop from the clan’s elder, Pappy Tatum.

Elvis Presley and Irene Tsu in ‘Paradise, Hawaiian Style’
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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#25. ‘Paradise, Hawaiian Style’ (1966)

- Director: Michael D. Moore
- IMDb user rating: 5.4
- Runtime: 91 minutes

The last of his three movies made in Hawaii, “Paradise, Hawaiian Style” features Elvis Presley as Rick Richards, a reckless, risk-taking pilot who starts a helicopter charter business with his friend Danny in Hawaii. There definitely is a plot, but it’s mostly about how many babes Elvis can land.

Elvis Presley and Donna Douglas in ‘Frankie and Johnny’
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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#24. ‘Frankie and Johnny’ (1966)

- Director: Frederick De Cordova
- IMDb user rating: 5.5
- Runtime: 87 minutes

Elvis Presley plays Johnny, a riverboat casino singer who performs with his girlfriend Frankie. Johnny gets his fortune told and is convinced that a woman named Nellie—not his girlfriend—is his lucky charm, so he keeps her close as he gambles his way to success. Frankie becomes jealous, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back, and so on. The film ends with Johnny’s life being saved because a medallion that Frankie gave him stopped a bullet. The film was directed by Fred De Cordova, who went on to become the executive producer for television’s “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” from 1971 through Carson’s retirement in 1992.

Elvis Presley, Bill Bixby, and Nancy Sinatra in ‘Speedway’
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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#23. ‘Speedway’ (1968)

- Director: Norman Taurog
- IMDb user rating: 5.5
- Runtime: 94 minutes

In “Speedway,” Elvis Presley portrays Steve Grayson, a NASCAR driver who gives away his earnings to friends in need, and a manager who gambles too much. Enter Susan Jacks (Nancy Sinatra), an IRS agent who shows up to investigate Grayson’s finances when his taxes become overdue and ends up falling for him. This is the only Presley movie that features a track performed without Elvis—Sinatra’s solo, “Your Groovy Self.” Richard Petty, Buddy Baker, and Cale Yarborough were among a group of NASCAR drivers who appeared as themselves in the film.

Elvis Presley in a promotional still from ‘Clambake’
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United Artists

#22. ‘Clambake’ (1967)

- Director: Arthur H. Nadel
- IMDb user rating: 5.5
- Runtime: 99 minutes

Elvis Presley’s character Scott Heyward in “Clambake” hates his rich dad and rebels by switching identities with a water-skiing instructor. Of course, he then sets his eyes on a girl (Shelley Fabares)—but she only likes rich guys. She falls for him despite the fact that she believes he is poor and is later thrilled to discover he’s actually a rich oil fortune heir. This was Presley’s 25th movie and his last as a single man. He married Priscilla Beaulieu in May 1967, shortly after the filming ended.

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Elvis Presley in a scene from ‘Girls! Girls! Girls!’
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Paramount Picture

#21. ‘Girls! Girls! Girls!’ (1962)

- Director: Norman Taurog
- IMDb user rating: 5.5
- Runtime: 106 minutes

“Girls! Girls! Girls!” is a story that features Elvis Presley as Ross Carpenter, a poor fisherman with big dreams of buying his boss’s boat before he retires. Carpenter is caught in a love triangle and must decide between a mean nightclub singer and a nice girl who is secretly rich. The film was nominated for Best Motion Picture—Musical at the 1963 Golden Globes and Presley’s rendition of “Return to Sender” reached #2 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart.

Elvis Presley and Michele Care in ‘Live a Little, Love a Little’
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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#20. ‘Live a Little, Love a Little’ (1968)

- Director: Norman Taurog
- IMDb user rating: 5.6
- Runtime: 90 minutes

This film revolves around Greg Nolan, played by Elvis Presley, a magazine photographer who falls for an eccentric girl with multiple personality syndrome. “Live a Little, Love a Little” also introduced the world to Presley’s song, “A Little Less Conversation,” the remix of which, by Junkie XL, went on to become a worldwide hit in 2002.

Elvis Presley in a scene from ‘Charro!’
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National General Pictures

#19. ‘Charro!’ (1969)

- Director: Charles Marquis Warren
- IMDb user rating: 5.6
- Runtime: 98 minutes

The only film in which Elvis Presley doesn’t sing on screen, “Charro!” was primarily a vehicle for his acting chops. Presley plays an ex-outlaw being chased down by his former gang, only for him to end up becoming a hero for a small Mexican town.

Elvis Presley in a scene from ‘Spinout’
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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#18. ‘Spinout’ (1966)

- Director: Norman Taurog
- IMDb user rating: 5.7
- Runtime: 90 minutes

In “Spinout,” Elvis Presley plays Mike McCoy, the lead singer of a band and a part-time race car driver who has three different women chasing after his hand in marriage. The film features fast cars, swinging parties, and, of course, bikinis.

Elvis Presley in a scene from ‘Tickle Me’
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Allied Artists Pictures

#17. ‘Tickle Me’ (1965)

- Director: Norman Taurog
- IMDb user rating: 5.8
- Runtime: 90 minutes

An out-of-work rodeo star, played by Elvis Presley, gets hired to work at a new ranch that turns out to be a fitness salon hosting a weight-loss program for models and actresses. The plot of “Tickle Me” devolves into a tale of missing treasure, masked men, and romance. Most of the songs in this film are recycled hits like, “It Feels So Right” from Presley’s 1960 album “Elvis is Back” and “Night Rider” from his 1962 album “Pot Luck with Elvis.”

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Elvis Presley, Ursula Andress, and Alejandro Rey in ’Fun in Acapulco’
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Paramount pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

#16. ‘Fun in Acapulco’ (1963)

- Director: Richard Thorpe
- IMDb user rating: 5.8
- Runtime: 97 minutes

Elvis Presley plays Mike Windgren, a boat worker-turned-hotel lifeguard and singer who gets over his fear of heights by jumping off a 136-foot cliff to impress a girl. The film was the top-grossing movie of 1963 and features the hit song “Bossa Nova Baby.”

Elvis Presley and Mary Tyler Moore in ‘Change of Habit’
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Universal Pictures

#15. ‘Change of Habit’ (1969)

- Director: William A. Graham
- IMDb user rating: 5.9
- Runtime: 93 minutes

“Change of Habit” ended up being Elvis Presley’s final acting role. It also features Mary Tyler Moore as a nun and Ed Asner as a lieutenant, prior to their “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” days. This film is a tale of a doctor attending to underprivileged inner-city kids and falling in love with a nun along the way.

Elvis Presley in a scene from ‘Roustabout’
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Wallis-Hazen

#14. ‘Roustabout’ (1964)

- Director: John Rich
- IMDb user rating: 5.9
- Runtime: 101 minutes

In “Roustabout,” Elvis Presley plays musician Charlie Rogers who winds up with a carnival gig and falls in love with a fellow carnie. The film features a late-career role for Barbara Stanwyck and the soundtrack went on to become Elvis’ last #1 album until “From Elvis in Memphis” was released in 1969.

Elvis Presley and Joan O’Brien in ‘It Happened at the World’s Fair’
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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#13. ‘It Happened at the World’s Fair’ (1963)

- Director: Norman Taurog
- IMDb user rating: 6.0
- Runtime: 105 minutes

Elvis Presley plays Mike Edwards, a pilot who winds up in Seattle and becomes friends with a little girl named Sue-Lin. Mike and Sue-Lin go to the World’s Fair together where Mike falls in love with the fair’s nurse, Diane. The film also marks Kurt Russell’s film debut as a boy who Presley pays to kick him in the shin.

Elvis Presley in a scene from 'Kid Galahad’
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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#12. ‘Kid Galahad’ (1962)

- Director: Phil Karlson
- IMDb user rating: 6.1
- Runtime: 95 minutes

In “Kid Galahad,” Elvis Presley portrays a recently discharged U.S. Army officer who becomes a small-time boxer and wins over the boxing promoter’s younger sister, and her brother’s approval, by being incredible in the ring. The film is a remake of a 1937 Humphrey Bogart picture.

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Elvis Presley and Juliet Prowse in a scene from ‘G.I. Blues’
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Hal Wallis Productions

#11. ‘G.I. Blues’ (1960)

- Director: Norman Taurog
- IMDb user rating: 6.1
- Runtime: 104 minutes

Released during Elvis Presley’s peak—pre-Beatlemania—the “G.I. Blues” soundtrack was nominated for two Grammy Awards: Best Soundtrack Album and Best Vocal Performance Album, Male. The film features Presley as Spc. Tulsa MacLean, a U.S. Army tank crewman stationed in West Germany who starts a band with his fellow officers and tries to win the heart of a much-desired nightclub singer named Lili, played by Juliet Prowse.

Elvis Presley in a movie still from ‘Blue Hawaii’
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Michael Ochs Archives // Getty Images

#10. ‘Blue Hawaii’ (1961)

- Director: Norman Taurog
- IMDb user rating: 6.1
- Runtime: 102 minutes

Elvis Presley is back in an Army uniform, but trades it in for Hawaiian florals. In the first of his three movies filmed in Hawaii, he plays Chad Gates who returns to his Hawaiian home after his release from the U.S. Army and becomes a tour guide with his girlfriend. At one point he saves a teenage girl from drowning. The film also features Angela Lansbury as Chad’s mother and introduced the world to his song “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”

Elvis Presley and Debra Paget in ‘Love Me Tender’
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Twentieth Century Fox

#9. ‘Love Me Tender’ (1956)

- Director: Robert D. Webb
- IMDb user rating: 6.2
- Runtime: 89 minutes

“Love Me Tender” is named after Elvis Presley’s hit song, which passed 1 million in advanced sales upon the single’s release. In the first of his 31 films and set during the Civil War, Presley plays Clint Reno, whose older brothers leave to fight for the Confederacy. Clint marries his brother’s girlfriend thinking he’s died in the war, but when the brother returns, very much alive, things become romantically and familially complicated.

Elvis Presley in a scene from ‘Wild in the Country’
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Jerry Wald Productions

#8. ‘Wild in the Country’ (1961)

- Director: Philip Dunne
- IMDb user rating: 6.3
- Runtime: 114 minutes

In “Wild in the Country,” Elvis Presley plays Glenn Tyler, a troubled 25-year-old from a dysfunctional family who defies all odds and goes to college to become a writer with the help of a beautiful counselor. The film features multiple ballads, alcoholism, and romance.

Elvis Presley and Mary Ann Mobley in ‘Girl Happy’
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Warner Bros.

#7. ‘Girl Happy’ (1965)

- Director: Boris Sagal
- IMDb user rating: 6.3
- Runtime: 96 minutes

Elvis Presley plays a nightclub singer whose employer, Big Frank, pays him to keep an eye on his daughter, played by Shelley Fabares, as she takes her spring break in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In the first of three movies to feature both Presley and Fabares, the two fall in love, and complications ensue.

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Elvis Presley, Ann-Margret and Cesare Danova in ‘Viva Las Vegas’
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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#6. ‘Viva Las Vegas’ (1964)

- Director: George Sidney
- IMDb user rating: 6.3
- Runtime: 85 minutes

Elvis Presley plays a race car driver who is in need of a new engine and enters a talent competition to earn the cash. He also falls in love with a hotel swimming instructor played by Ann-Margret. “Viva Las Vegas” went on to become Presley’s most financially successful film, returning more than $5 million to MGM Studios on an investment of less than $1 million.

Elvis Presley in a scene from ‘Loving You’
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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#5. ‘Loving You’ (1957)

- Director: Hal Kanter
- IMDb user rating: 6.4
- Runtime: 101 minutes

“Loving You” was Elvis Presley’s second film and first starring role. He played an average Joe who skyrockets to fame after being convinced to join a country-western show by a success-thirsty woman and her country singer ex-husband. The single from the film, “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear,” backed with “Loving you,” sold over a million copies and was later certified platinum. Gladys and Vernon Presley, Elvis’ parents, were cast as audience members in the film.

Elvis Presley in a scene from ‘Flaming Star’
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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#4. ‘Flaming Star’ (1960)

- Director: Don Siegel
- IMDb user rating: 6.4
- Runtime: 101 minutes

Another Western with Elvis Presley playing part-Native American, “Flaming Star” revolves around the character Pacer Burton feeling torn between two worlds—the Texan and the Kiowa. Presley received some of the most positive reviews for his acting performance in this film, and it continues to be cited as an influential Western from this era.

Elvis Presley in a scene from ‘Follow That Dream’
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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#3. ‘Follow That Dream’ (1962)

- Director: Gordon Douglas
- IMDb user rating: 6.5
- Runtime: 109 minutes

“Follow That Dream” follows Toby, played by Elvis Presley, and his family of vagabonds as they set up a makeshift home in Florida. An evil rich man attempts to evict them, a custody battle ensues, and Toby falls in love with the babysitter. The extended play record from the film has been certified both gold and platinum since its release.

Elvis Presley and Mickey Shaughnessy in ‘Jailhouse Rock’
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Warner Bros.

#2. ‘Jailhouse Rock’ (1957)

- Director: Richard Thorpe
- IMDb user rating: 6.5
- Runtime: 96 minutes

In arguably his most iconic and identifiable film role, Elvis Presley plays Vince Everett, a prisoner who learns how to play guitar in jail and subsequently becomes a rock ’n’ roll star. Presley’s iconic hip thrusting is on full display in this movie. The film has been preserved in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

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Elvis Presley and Carolyn Jones in ‘King Creole’
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Paramount Pictures

#1. ‘King Creole’ (1958)

- Director: Michael Curtiz
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Runtime: 116 minutes

Elvis Presley received a 60-day deferment from military service to act in this film, where he plays a troubled teenager with a past just trying to avoid a life of crime. The film received both critical and commercial success and the song “Hard Headed Woman” from the film reached #1 on the Billboard Singles chart and went on to become certified gold.

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