This Is Elvis (1981) - Rotten Tomatoes

This Is Elvis1981

This Is Elvis (1981)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

This Is Elvis Photos

Movie Info

This Is Elvis wants to have it both ways. At times, the film is a warm, loving tribute to The King. At other times, it merely exploits a dead man's reputation for the purposes of a fast buck. The documentary footage of Elvis in concert, overfamiliar though it may be, is excellent and well-selected. The dramatized portions of the film, featuring a quartet of Presley imitators portraying Elvis at different junctures of his life, range from passable to mediocre. For the record, and not in the order in which they appear, Paul Boensch III is Elvis at 10, David Scott is Elvis at 18, Dana MacKay is Elvis at 35 and an appropriately corpulent Johnny Harra is Elvis at 42. In addition, a fifth actor, Ral Donner, is heard as Elvis, narrating the whole affair.

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Dave Scott
as Elvis, Age 18
David Scott
as Elvis (age 18)
Paul Boensh III
as Elvis, Age 10
Paul Boensch III
as Elvis (age 10)
Johnny Harra
as Elvis (age 42)
Lawrence Koller
as Vernon Presley
Rhonda Lyn
as Priscilla Presley
Debbie Edge
as Gladys Presley
Larry Raspberry
as Dewey Phillips
Furry Lewis
as Bluesman
Liz Robinson
as Minnie Mae Presley
Dana MacKay
as Elvis (age 35)
Knox Phillips
as Sam Phillips
Cheryl Needham
as Linda Thompson
Andrea Cyrill
as Ginger Alden
Jerry Phillips
as Bill Black
Emory Smith
as Scotty Moore
Joe Esposito
as Himself
Lisha Sweetnam
as Priscilla
Michael Tomack
as Vernon Presley
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Critic Reviews for This Is Elvis

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (2)

Unlike previous documentaries, this one focuses on the star's life more than his music and gives the best hints yet of why Presley's skyrocket ride to stardom led him to self-destruct.

October 25, 2018 | Full Review…

The movie's lesson is brutal, sad, and inescapable: Elvis Presley was a man who gave joy to a great many people but felt very little of his own, because he became addicted and stayed addicted until the day it killed him.

October 23, 2004 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

The biggest issue with This Is Elvis is that it reduces the life of a singer who has become a myth to four biographical facts. [Full Review in Spanish]

August 21, 2019 | Full Review…

Although the film resembles a child's drawing of a life, it is enlivened by the use of documentary material which, if it does nothing else, at least recreates that era When 'rock-and-roll' was seen as the harbinger of things to come.

March 29, 2018 | Full Review…

The 1981 documentary begins with awkward recreations of Elvis' early life but soon turns into an excellent introductory portrait of the country boy turned rock and roll phenomenon...

August 14, 2007 | Full Review…

Fine documentary/showcase of the King.

November 9, 2006 | Rating: 5/5

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