This Is Elvis

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This Is Elvis
THis Is Elvis Movie Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Written by
  • Malcolm Leo
  • Andrew Solt
Produced byDavid L. Wolper
Narrated byRal Donner
CinematographyGil Hubbs
Edited byGlenn Farr
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • April 4, 1981 (1981-04-04)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2 million (US)

This Is Elvis is a 1981 American documentary film about the life of Elvis Presley, written and directed by Andrew Solt and Malcolm Leo. It combines archival footage with reenactments, and voice-over narration by pop singer Ral Donner, imitating Presley's speaking voice. It was screened out of competition at the 1981 Cannes Film Festival.[1] The film grossed $2 million at the box office in the U.S. and Canada, ranking #92 for 1981.[2]


For the reenactment scenes, Presley was portrayed in the film by four actors:

  • Paul Boensch II as Presley at age 10 (Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1946)
  • David Scott as Presley at age 18 (Memphis in 1953, singing in high school, and at a Sun recording session; vocals by [David Scott])
  • Dana MacKay as Presley at age 35
  • Johnny Harra as Presley at age 42 (Opening credits, August 16, 1977 death scene from extended version)

Other narrators provided voice-over narrations for Vernon Presley, Gladys Presley, and Priscilla Presley. Presley's former road manager Joe Esposito and girlfriend Linda Thompson provided their own narrations. Presley receives credit only in the extended version prepared for cable and later home video release.

RCA Records released the soundtrack as a double LP album from the film in March 1981,[3] featuring the first official release of several of Presley's 1950s television appearances as well as other previously unreleased performances. The soundtrack album was certified Gold on August 6, 2002 by the RIAA.

This Is Elvis (Soundtrack)
Elvis LP Cover This Is Elvis.jpeg
Compilation album by
ReleasedMarch 1981
GenreRock Music
Elvis Presley chronology
Guitar Man
This Is Elvis (Soundtrack)
Elvis: Greatest Hits Volume 1

A two-disc DVD set of the film was released on August 7, 2007 commemorating the 30th anniversary of Presley's death. Disc 1 features the original version shown in theaters, Disc 2 includes the extended version with 45 extra minutes of footage.

This Is Elvis is the only Presley movie produced and released by Warner Brothers. Warner Bros. also currently owns other titles with Presley via purchasing Turner Entertainment, including Presley's Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer films and National General Pictures' Charro!.


Chart (1982) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[4] 84


In a contemporary review, Variety wrote, "A real curiosity item, This Is Elvis is a fast-paced gloss on Presley's life and career packed with enough fine music and unusual footage to satisfy anyone with an interest in the late singing idol."[5] Though he criticized the reenactment scenes, Ian Jane of DVD Talk called it "a pretty essential release for fans".[6]


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: This Is Elvis". Retrieved 2009-06-07.
  2. ^ "Box Office Mojo - This Is Elvis". Retrieved 2010-04-25.
  3. ^ "Elvis Records".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 283. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  5. ^ "Review: This Is Elvis". Variety. 1981. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  6. ^ Jane, Ian (2007-09-10). "This Is Elvis". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2016-10-13.

External links[edit]