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Elvis (1979)

Kurt Russell , Shelly Winters , John Carpenter  |  PG |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Kurt Russell, Shelly Winters, Season Hubley, Bing Russell, Pat Hingle
  • Directors: John Carpenter
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Shout! Factory
  • DVD Release Date: March 2, 2010
  • Run Time: 170 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0030ATZI0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,091 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Elvis" on IMDb

Special Features

Bringing A Legend To Life Featurette With Archival Interviews Of Kurt Russell And John Carpenter (1979)

Commentary By The Voice Of Elvis Ronnie McDowell And Author Edie Hand

Rare Clips From American Bandstand

Photo Gallery

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Just two years after Elvis Presley passed away, Kurt Russell brought him back to life in the original biopic about the King of Rock n Roll. Released through ABC in 1979, Elvis marked the first time director John Carpenter and actor Kurt Russell would work together in what would become a legendary pairing in film history (Escape From New York, Big Trouble In Little China, The Thing and Escape From L.A.).

Tracing Presleys life from his impoverished childhood to his meteoric rise to stardom to his triumphant return to Las Vegas, Elvis features Shelley Winters (Gladys Presley), Season Hubley (Priscilla Presley), Bing Russell (Kurts real-life father as Vernon Presley), Pat Hingle (Colonel Tom Parker), Joe Mantegna (Memphis Mafia member Joe Esposito) and Ed Begley Jr. (drummer D.J. Fontana) in an all-star supporting cast for an effort that garnered numerous Emmy nominations including Outstanding Lead Actor for Russell. Restored From The Original Film Elements

Bonus Features

* Bringing A Legend To Life Featurette With Archival Interviews Of Kurt Russell And John Carpenter (1979)

* Commentary By The Voice Of Elvis Ronnie McDowell And Author Edie Hand

* Rare Clips From American Bandstand

* Photo Gallery

Well it's one for the money (John Carpenter), two for the show (Kurt Russell), three to get ready (Ronnie McDowell's uncanny vocals), now go, cat, go! This legendary and elusive 1979 made-for-TV feature was the first Elvis biopic, and it remains the best. Presented for the first time on DVD complete and uncut (thankyouverymuch), Elvis was produced less than two years after Presley's death. The script hits all the career milestones. It treads lightly on Elvis's dark side (his disdain for his film career, his penchant for shooting out television sets), but don't look here for dirt, scandal, or sordid details of his bloated final years. This is a sincere and sympathetic treatment of the King's life, framed by his apprehension over his upcoming do-or-die 1969 Las Vegas concert. Elvis marked the first collaboration between Carpenter and Russell. From sneer to sideburns, the former Disney child star is a revelation in his Emmy-nominated performance. He is ably supported by Shelley Winters as Elvis's beloved mother, Bing Russell (Kurt's dad) as father Vernon, Pat Hingle as Colonel Tom Parker, and Season Hubley as Priscilla. Look for Joe Mantegna in one of his earliest roles as Joe Esposito, a member of Elvis's infamous entourage, the Memphis Mafia. This DVD rocks with a hunka hunka extra features, including an archival featurette about the production of the film, audio commentary by McDowell (who recorded all of the film's songs in one day), and Elvis-less tribute clips from American Bandstand. Well worth the wait, Elvis is highly recommended for fans who will ever love him tender. --Donald Liebenson

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kurt is King May 17, 2004
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I bought this recently and remember it well from it's many viewings on TV. Kurt Russell is very, very good as Elvis, no-one has ever really bettered this performance. However, it is his performance that has really made this a cult classic. The script seems to be just a collection of Elvis quotes made over the years and a lot of scenes are out of sequence to true events. Elvis's first girlfriend was not Bonnie, he didn't get up on stage and perform in Germany and so on, but I guess it had to be done for dramatic reasons. Season Hubley as Priscilla is terrible, wooden and stilted. Shelley Winters is excellent as Gladys Presley although poor old Vernon only gets about 2 lines in the whole movie. Charlie Hodge makes an appearance as himself and does a good job (how could he go wrong?!). Although Kurt Russell has made many movies since, he has never quite hit the highs promised with this performance.
It's worth buying if you're an Elvis fan, however beware as there are many lengths of the movie ranging from 120 min up to 200 min. It would be worth putting out on DVD as there are many fans out there and this the best of the Elvis bios. DVD would also clean up the picture and the sound would be better. I'm surprised it hasn't been done before now.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Review of "Elvis: The Movie" Starring Kurt Russell August 24, 2001
By "lore1"
Format:VHS Tape
Elvis has been played by many different actors since he found his way into the national consciousness as an icon of twentieth century culture, but none have handled the role with the skill that Kurt Russell displays in this 1979 ABC tv movie. While the story does take some artistic license by using composite characters and rearranging some of the chronology of Elvis' life, it still is full of accurate biographical about the singer. John Carpenter's (a frequent collaborator of Russell's) direction is amazing considering the typically limited budget of the average tv movie. Russell does an excellent recreation of Elvis' speaking voice, while country singer Ronnie McDowell provides the vocals on some of Elvis' biggest hits. McDowell sounds so much like Elvis when singing that it's absolutely indistinguishable from the real thing. This movie is the best of the Elvis biographies. If you're an Elvis fan, order ir now. If you're not, well, get it anyway. At the very least, you'll become a Kurt Russell fan.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Snake Plissken IS Elvis!! April 12, 2010
Wow! Hard to believe that the very youthful-looking Kurt Russell was just two years away from "Escape From New York" and three years away from "The Thing" when he made this TV movie.

I saw this TV movie when it was first broadcast in 1979 but hadn't seen it since. In the intervening years I moved to Memphis (by coincidence, not design), visited Graceland several times as a tourist, met oodles of people who knew or were closely associated with Elvis, spoke several times with some of his then-living family members, spent a couple of years driving fanatical Elvis fans around Memphis in tour buses, and generally have "absorbed" Elvis into my life's orbit about as closely as a non-fanatical non-insider can. In other words, I view Elvis the man and ELVIS the cultural phenomenon with considerable warmth and respect.

So with that pair of eyes I finally got to see the "Elvis" TV movie again, this time with a beautifully cleaned-up DVD print. Five stars! The movie is fun, informative, and covers a lot of ground in its nearly three hour running time. No, it doesn't cover every aspect or event of his life. This isn't a comprehensive documentary as is not meant to be. Rather, it is a loving portrait of a young boy from Mississippi who was devoted to his mom, mournful of his stillborn twin brother, ridiculed and occasionally tormented as a young man for being a little different, simultaneously delighted by and overwhelmed by his rapid success and popularity, lonely after the death of his mother, having great difficulty dealing with the inability to have a "normal" life when he wanted to escape the fishbowl, occasionally paranoid, and quite often scared and insecure.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kurt Russell gives a first-rate performance! March 5, 2010
Less than 2 years after Elvis Presley died on August 16th, 1977, this made-for-television movie was originally presented on the ABC network in the spring of 1979. On that occasion, it went head-to-head against 2 Oscar winning Best Pictures: "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" on NBC and "Gone With The Wind" on CBS. "Elvis" triumphed on that night. And, after viewing thia film, it is easy to see why. Directed by John Carpenter, Kurt Russell turns in one of his finest performances of his stellar career, perfectly capturing the true essence of the king of rock and roll. Season Hubley portrays Priscilla, the woman who would become Mrs. Elvis in 1967. Interestingly, Season Hubley would marry Kurt Russell in real-life, shortly after this film was completed. Kurt's real father, Bing Russell, would play Elvis' father Vernon. Oscar winner Shelley Winters is brilliant as Elvis' mother Gladys. Joe Mantegna as Joe Esposito, Robert Gray as Red West, Pat Hingle as Col. Tom Parker and Charles Cyphers as Sam Phillips round out the supporting cast. Look carefully for Ed Begley, Jr. as original drummer D.J. Fontana. 2 Memphis Mafia members, Charlie Hodge and Larry Gellar, appear briefly as themselves. Country singer Ronnie McDowell, who had scored a huge hit with the song "The King Is Gone" in September 1977, shortly after Elvis passed away, provides the vocals for the songs that were utilised within the film. Among the memorable songs depicted here are "Old Shep", "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", "Tutti Frutti", "Unchained Melody", "How Great Thou Art", "Suspicious Minds" and "Blue Suede Shoes". Russell went on to recieve an Emmy nomination for his unique and excellent portrayl of Elvis, carrying it off with ease. What a great thrill it is to finally have this film available on DVD, after nearly 31 years. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
it was okay, definitely seemed to me that it showed Elvis as an insecure man.
Published 18 days ago by Carol Jankeloff
5.0 out of 5 stars Must See!!
Kurt Russell is Elvis!!
Published 21 days ago by Doug Richardson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent movie!
Published 1 month ago by JR
5.0 out of 5 stars He did a good job as Elvis more than some of the others ...
He did a good job as Elvis more than some of the others I did not like as well. It's kind of ironic as he was in a earlier Elvis movie just a little kid then. Read more
Published 1 month ago by P. Liedel
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie felt like forever because i loved every second of it
Wow. Just wow. Movie felt like forever because i loved every second of it.
Published 1 month ago by pat
4.0 out of 5 stars Elvis DVD movie with Kurt Russell
Kurt Russell does a great job in this biopic.
Published 1 month ago by David A Young
5.0 out of 5 stars I love Kurt Russell and I love Elvis
I love Kurt Russell and I love Elvis. I remember seeing this movie on TV when I was a kid. I HAD to have it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Christy Maguire
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Kurt Russell did a great job! Really enjoyed the movie!
Published 1 month ago by George S. Inamine
4.0 out of 5 stars Great deal on great product
Great deal on great product
Published 2 months ago by SWard
3.0 out of 5 stars Great video but no 5
Great video but no 5.1 audio (which you would expect for a movie with a lot of singing and music).
Published 2 months ago by Rocky Mountain Man
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Product Isn't Even Out Yet...
Agree completely. It bothers me to no end that so many people don't get this.
Aug 18, 2010 by Alex Faber |  See all 2 posts
Elvis 1979 DVD
It says 170 min. IF that is true, then yes, that is the full 2 hr.50 min. print originally broadcast as a mini series on ABC in 1979. My latest copy came from Encore's " True Stories " cable channel, and it looked and sounded superior, and yes, was 170 in length. Only wish they'd take... Read More
Feb 17, 2010 by Mike Z. |  See all 2 posts
is there any english subtitles Be the first to reply
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