From my perspective, below is a countdown of Elvis Presley’s 10 best fictional movies.
#10 Tickle Me (1965)
In this instance, a low budget worked to the advantage of Tickle Me. To save money, no songs were written or recorded. Instead, the movie drew from material Elvis previously recorded for non-movie purposes – meaning they were of higher quality than most songs from his other 1960s films. Tickle Me also has a comedic charm that sets it apart from some of his 1960s clunkers.
#9 Live A Little, Love A Little (1968)
People seem to either love or hate the sometimes zany comedy of Live A Little, Love A Little. As for me, I love it, a little. Michele Carey as Bernice is a definite highlight, as are each of the four songs: “Wonderful World,” “Edge of Reality,” “A Little Less Conversation,” and “Almost In Love.”
#8 Charro! (1969)
Elvis performs only the title tune in Charro!, which sets it apart from all of his other films. Though inspired by the Spaghetti Western trend, this movie failed fully to live up to its potential because it only partially challenged the clean, family image that had been created for Elvis in most of his previous 1960s films. However, Charro! is still quite entertaining, and Victor French as villain Vince Hackett is not-to-be-missed.
#7 Love Me Tender (1956)
As an actor, Elvis is still very raw in Love Me Tender, his first movie. Nevertheless, the Western has an endearing quality and a solid storyline. Debra Paget and Richard Egan bring quality performances in their starring roles. Unfortunately, three of the film’s four songs are abysmal – a sign of things to come.
#6 Flaming Star (1960)
In one of his best dramatic roles, Elvis stars as Pacer Burton, who is torn between his dual heritages. This one features only two songs, the solid title tune and the wretched “Cane and a High Starched Collar.” Flaming Star was directed by Don Siegel, who went on to direct Clint Eastwood in a number of films – including Dirty Harry.
#5 Loving You (1957)
Loving You captures the early rock ‘n’ roll era better than any other Elvis movie. Elvis sizzles on screen, along with co-star Dolores Hart. Unlike his other 1950s movies, this one is in full-color. Musical highlights include “Mean Woman Blues,” “Got A Lot O’ Livin’ To Do,” and the title tune.
#4 Viva Las Vegas (1964)
The chemistry between Elvis and co-star Ann-Margret elevates Viva Las Vegas above the other Elvis formula movies. This is the best example of the “typical” Elvis movie – but if only all had been this great!
#3 King Creole (1958)
As an actor, Elvis displays the most potential in King Creole. Only Jailhouse Rock‘s superior soundtrack stops this from being his best movie of the 1950s. I began a series of articles last year on King Creole, and the associated research brought me a newfound respect for this film – which would have otherwise been hovering at the bottom of this top ten list. I still have not finished that King Creole series, but I hope to get back to it at some point before The Mystery Train returns to the station for good.
#2 Change Of Habit (1969)
Outside of the Westerns, Change of Habit is one of the best movies to really feature Elvis in a “normal” role. Sure, he knocks out a few great tunes along the way, but Change of Habit is more drama than musical. Listen out for an instrumental version of “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” by Dr. John Carpenter (Elvis) on piano.
#1 Jailhouse Rock (1957)
Among Elvis movies, Jailhouse Rock has it all: fabulous story, co-stars, and songs. While every song is a highlight, the title tune is the real classic – one of his best-ever songs, movie or otherwise!