One of the most revered cultural icons of the 20th century, Elvis Presley is the bestselling solo musical artist of all time, has been crowned the “King of Rock and Roll,” and holds the record for the most albums certified gold or platinum by the RIAA.
Starting with his big-screen debut in Love Me Tender, Presley was one of the first musical artists to prove that musicians can star in movies to boost their profile on the music scene. But outside his own cinematic vehicles, Presley’s music has been used to create a bunch of great movie moments.
“A Little Less Conversation” In Ocean’s Eleven
George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and a handful of other A-listers replaced the Rat Pack in Steven Soderbergh’s remake of the classic heist movie, Ocean’s Eleven.
Elvis Presley’s hit “A Little Less Conversation” plays on the soundtrack over various slick-looking aerial shots of Las Vegas before the team convenes for the first time.
“Viva Las Vegas” In The Boss Baby
DreamWorks Animation’s The Boss Baby was surprisingly successful back in 2017. The premise of a corporation run by babies that controls the universe is ridiculous, but it paved the way for a healthy balance of absurdism and adorableness.
In the scene in which Tim and the Boss Baby disguise themselves as Elvis impersonators to get onto a flight to Vegas, Elvis’ “Viva Las Vegas” plays on the soundtrack.
“Santa Claus Is Back In Town” In The Long Kiss Goodnight
Starring Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson, The Long Kiss Goodnight is an underrated gem of action cinema. It was penned by Shane Black, the acclaimed screenwriter who created the Lethal Weapon franchise.
Like all of Black’s other movies, The Long Kiss Goodnight takes place around the holidays. In that spirit, Elvis Presley’s “Santa Claus is Back in Town” appears on the soundtrack.
“How’s The World Treating You” In Wild
Based on Cheryl Strayed’s memoir of the same name, Wild stars Reese Witherspoon as Strayed, a divorcée and inexperienced hiker who decided to trek over 1,000 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail in the hopes of finding herself.
During the journey, the movie cuts in various flashbacks as Strayed reflects on her past. Elvis Presley & the Jordanaires’ “How’s the World Treating You” is a well-placed soundtrack pick.
“Suspicious Minds” & “Can’t Help Falling In Love” In Blade Runner 2049
Ben Thompson played Elvis Presley in Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049. When Officer K finds Rick Deckard living in an abandoned Vegas casino, there’s a hologram of Elvis performing to an empty audience.
During K and Deckard’s fight across the casino, the hologram malfunctions in the middle of a performance of “Suspicious Minds” and instead plays one of Deckard’s favorites, “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”
“Hound Dog” In Forrest Gump
Throughout the revisionist history of Forrest Gump, the title character crosses paths with a number of 20th-century icons, from John Lennon to John F. Kennedy. In one early scene, a young, struggling Elvis Presley stays at Forrest’s mother’s B&B.
Presley’s iconic leg-swinging dancing style is shown to be inspired by Forrest’s movements in his leg braces. Forrest’s mother disapproves of the dance when they see him performing “Hound Dog” on television.
“Blue Suede Shoes” In Rocketman
In the visually stunning Elton John biopic, Rocketman, when a young Reggie Dwight first shows an interest in rock music, his mother gives him a copy of Elvis Presley’s debut album. The first track he plays from the album is “Blue Suede Shoes.”
Obviously, the most memorable music moments in Rocketman are the scenes that use Elton John’s own songs, but this offers an interesting glimpse into his early influences.
“Heartbreak Hotel” In This Is Spinal Tap
Most of the music featured in the iconic mockumentary This is Spinal Tap is played by the eponymous fictional group, touted as “Britain’s loudest rock band.”
But in one scene, the band members visit Elvis Presley’s final resting place in Graceland and sing a rendition of his classic track “Heartbreak Hotel” at his graveside.
“Mystery Train” In The Outsiders
Francis Ford Coppola’s most famous movies are about Italian-American mobsters and soldiers in Vietnam, but one of his most underrated films, The Outsiders, revolves around greasers. Since Elvis Presley was hugely influential on greaser culture, Coppola used a ton of his music on the soundtrack. “Mystery Train” plays when Johnny and Ponyboy hitch a ride on a train to Windrixville.
While “Mystery Train” is the best-used Elvis song in this movie, there are a bunch of others on the soundtrack: “Tomorrow is a Long Time,” “We’re Gonna Move,” “Milky White Way,” “When It Rains, It Really Pours,” and an alternate recording of “Blue Moon.”
“Jailhouse Rock” In The Blues Brothers
In the final act of The Blue Brothers, Jake and Elwood Blues race into Chicago to pay their orphanage’s tax bill and get them back in the black, pursued by dozens of police cars. As soon as they get the tax receipt stamped, they’re arrested and thrown in jail.
In the movie’s iconic closing scene, when the titular band is back behind bars, they perform a rendition of “Jailhouse Rock” for their fellow inmates.