Tony Bennett's version was used at the beginning of the film Goodfellas, just after Henry Hill closes the trunk of the car and says in voice-over, "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster." The song was also used in an episode of Columbo.
The opening line of the song was sung regularly and exuberantly by the character Carmine Ragusa on the television series Laverne & Shirley, typically when he had good news.
"Rags to Riches" provided the basis for an unusual moment late in Elvis Presley's career. Near the end of a New Year's Eve concert on December 31, 1976 – January 1, 1977, Elvis announced he would sing the song—which his band evidently had not rehearsed and did not know. Playing piano, and giving chord instructions to his surprised band members, Elvis delivered a passionate rendition, climaxing with a series of near-operatic high notes before the last word "you". The effort earned a loud ovation from the audience in Pittsburgh's Civic Arena. This was the only time Elvis sang the song in live performance. The moment was captured on a recording by an audience member that was bootlegged.