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Elvis Presley once named his favourite films of all time

The definitive American icon of the 20th century, Elvis Presley had a dominant impact on popular culture through his invaluable contributions to various artistic domains. While the ‘King of Rock and Roll’ will always be remembered for his unique approach to music, Elvis also took an active interest in cinema.

Having dreamt of being an actor of the stature of Marlon Brando and James Dean, Elvis wanted to explore the various elements of dramatic performances. He started out with his debut in Love Me Tender, going on to produce a prodigious output of films which are now fondly remembered and rewatched by his fans.

Elvis’ wife Priscilla Beaulieu even revealed in her book that her husband was nothing short of a cinephile. During his lifetime, Elvis found beauty in many cinematic masterpieces which are considered as classics in today’s world. The collection she mentioned contained a wide range of films, each possessing different artistic sensibilities.

It’s no surprise that Frank Capra’s 1946 gem It’s a Wonderful Life made it onto the list as it is still a widely beloved film, enjoyed by younger generations of audiences as well. Elvis also appreciated the works of pioneering masters such as William Wyler as well as the incredibly important Max Ophüls.

Check out the full list below.

Elvis Presley’s favourite films:

  • Les Misérables (Richard Boleslawski, 1935)
  • Wuthering Heights (William Wyler, 1939)
  • The Way of All Flesh (Louis King, 1940)
  • Mr. Skeffington (Vincent Sherman, 1944)
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946)
  • Miracle on 34th Street (George Seaton, 1947)
  • Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Ophüls, 1948)

Out of all these films, the one that impacted Elvis the most was actually Louis King’s 1940 remake of Victor Fleming’s eponymous short film from 1927 which is considered to be lost now. According to Priscilla, Elvis watched The Way of All Flesh with her and they both cried themselves to sleep.

The film revolves around a banker who is robbed and relegated to obscurity, returning to his home years later to see that his family had moved on. “Elvis identified so thoroughly with the story that he toyed with the idea of a remake. He intended to cast Vernon (Elvis’ father) in the lead role,” Priscilla said.

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