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This Is Elvis
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Reviews & Ratings for
This Is Elvis More at IMDbPro »

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

This is one of the best documentaries I've ever seen!

10/10
Author: edbelcher-2 from United States
10 May 2005

"This is Elvis" is an interesting and fantastic documentary to watch even if you are not an Elvis fan.

As an Elvis fan, I am very critical when it comes to inaccuracies about his life. I found this documentary to be very accurate and honest with the way it told the story of Elvis' life. The blend of actual Elvis footage along with very believable reenactments makes the documentary flow with continuity and excitement.

In addition, the song selections that accompanied the various video sequences were always right on the money. It was like watching Elvis' life story being told through entertaining and poignant music videos.

One thing I respected about the documentary, although difficult to watch, was the way the creators did not try to candy-coat the details of the sad way Elvis' life began to spiral down a self-destructive path during the 70's until his untimely death at the age of 42.

All in all, "This is Elvis" is a very entertaining, empathetic, and honest look at the life of Elvis Presley; the American Icon who rightfully earned the title as the King of Rock 'n Roll.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Tremendous documentary spotlighting a dynamic Icon.

8/10
Author: Michael O'Keefe from Muskogee OK
16 August 2000

Malcolm Leo and Andrew Solt: enough said. These guys do deep research and do everything first class. This will be one of the best documentaries of an entertainer ever put on film. Elvis Presley meant so many different things to so many different people. He effected society, hair and clothing styles like no one before him. He changed the music world with the power of an Atomic Bomb. He has sold over one billion records and was the first visual founding father of the phenomenon that became rock 'n' roll. His influence will live for decades to come. This is a personal look as well as a tribute to the world's most loved entertainer.

I have the expanded 144 minute version of THIS IS ELVIS and watch it at least once a year. The soundtrack is like a history and not a greatest hits project. Even the non Elvis fan will be impressed with this entertaining look at musical history.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

The King Still Rules

10/10
Author: Boyo-2
17 August 2000

On Elvis' birthday this past year, I watched his movies and documentaries on television all day long. By the end of the day, I was a hooked fan and understood why this man is worshipped around the globe. Since then I have seen many of his movies, concerts and read books.

This movie is separate from all of that, as it reveals the man inside the myth. Anyone with even a casual interest in Elvis would find this interesting, but to a fanatic like myself this is immeasurably important. I enjoyed seeing him in the later years practising karate, to the song "Kung Fu Fighting".

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

THE BEST DOCUMENTARY OF THE 20TH CENTURY!!!!

10/10
Author: Joe-290
6 April 1999

This has to be the best documentary of the 20th century because it gives a detailed description of the man who started rock 'n' roll and made it the most popular form of music in history. Since music and mainly rock 'n' roll music is the most popular form of entertainment, this is an important movie to show people the first and last person in rock who knew the real meaning of music ( and thats all forms of music). The film goes through the years and stages of Elvis and shows how he fell apart in the seventies and how he died of sadness, loneliness and total depression. It shows the greatest performances of Elvis. Clips from his movies and concerts and rare footage taken during his life. The film is quite sad and will bring a tear to your eye by the way it is made showing the truth on the sadness Elvis lived after his break up with his wife Priscilla. It will make people look at life differently and see tragedy in the life of someone so nice, kind and generous. Someone so human and gentle and the man who was probably the only person in rock 'n' roll to have great faith and love in God.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Odd Docu-Something Hybrid

Author: Randy A. Riddle from Mebane, NC
25 August 2001

"This is Elvis" is one of the oddest "documentaries" I've ever seen. Using extensive archival footage, mixed with recreations shot to look like archival footage, the film looks at the rise of fall of Elvis.

The problem is that the recreation footage comes off as bad TV movie of the week, standing in stark contrast to the original, compelling material presented in the piece.

The success of "This is Elvis" was the impetus behind the current style of historical documentaries that attempt to recreate drama where no original footage exists to illustrate it. In that sense, "This is Elvis" looks a bit embarrassing at times, since it doesn't have the slickness of more contemporary "docu-drama-documentaries" in the genre.

What I'm waiting for is an Elvis documentary done with the taste and skillfullness of the "Beatles: Anthology" mini-series aired on ABC.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

"The King" as a human being...

8/10
Author: George R. Willeman from Culpeper, VA
9 September 1999

I remember when this film first appeared on HBO in the early eighties. I was never a huge Elvis fan, but found myself watching this film every time it came on. It is a fascinating portrait of a man thrust into overwhelming fame and fabulous wealth and how it eventually destroys him. The "recreations" are very well done and the film as a whole is very balanced in it's view of Elvis' life. It neither canonizes nor trashes him, but shows him as an ordinary guy dealing with extraordinary fame. The longer version now available on video is nice, but I miss the late concert performance where Elvis, sick, overweight, and bathed in sweat, forgets the lyrics of "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" and nervously "wings it". Maybe that was too much truth, even for this documentary.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

This Is Elvis (1981) ***1/2

9/10
Author: JoeKarlosi from U.S.A.
17 August 2007

Very good documentary from Malcolm Leo and Andrew Solt on Elvis Presley's life, as "narrated" by Presley from beyond, in the voice of sound-alike impersonator Ral Donner (who doesn't sound exactly like Elvis if you're someone who's really become familiarized with Presley's speaking voice). Anyway, this is essential viewing for fans, naturally, but even for those who aren't big followers of Elvis. It shows the rise and fall of a music legend, and along the way are a plethora of choice musical performance clips, interviews, home movies, and montages.

The one thing that has always bugged me slightly about this film are the occasional "faked" interviews supposedly done with fans at various times over the years, like the segment after Elvis and Priscilla got married in 1967. This was completely unnecessary, and some of the re-enactments with a phony Presley supposedly walking around his hospital with his current girlfriend Ginger are equally silly and not needed. The movie hit theaters in 1981 at around 100 minutes, but for home video in 1983 there were an additional 40 or so minutes of performance clips added, which is the version I watched, and is the one this review is based on. In the theatrical version, an original line is left intact during a backstage Elvis exchange where he says that the girl he had the other night "gave great head"; on the extended version, this is overdubbed into "could raise the dead". Another change regards a song switch during Elvis' final 1977 concert... originally, the film had him singing "Are You Lonesome Tonight" where he's nervously laughing and screwing up the lyrics; in this edition it is changed to the less embarrassing "Love Me". Perhaps the shorter theatrical edition might work even better, since the 144 minute cut does feel occasionally padded in the earlier years. Whatever the cut chosen, it's still an important and vital piece of music history. ***1/2 out of ****

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Very Interesting Movie

7/10
Author: kwbucsfan from Florida
29 August 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This was one of the most interesting movies, I have ever seen. I like the way it has people portraying Elvis, and the way the narration is done, it is almost authentic. The stock files of Elvis are really interesting. Seeing the real Elvis on the Ed Sullivan show, and the other shows he did during the early part of his career, are really cool. Listening to his obvious frustration of being drafted into the army, and the hurt he felt when his mother passed away and his total disgust for the movie treadmill he was on, it revealed quite a bit about the man. I loved watching his comeback and seeing him back on stage in the 1970's again. I had never realized how many health problems that he was having by the mid 1970's and the movie touches somewhat on that as well. For most of the movie, Elvis looked good, and healthy, the most shocking part was near the very end of the movie, when he walks out on stage for the last time in the movie, in one of the two concerts taped for the CBS Special "Elvis In Concert", just how terrible he looked. Seeing him so overweight, and obviously so unhealthy, was quite a shock. And watching him forget the words to "Are You Lonesome Tonight?", was sad. At that point, I think he was already dying. But still a great movie.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great new DVD set

10/10
Author: CATMAN-6 from United States
6 September 2007

I recently purchased the new DVD of this film from Amazon, and it's great.

I'm so glad they included both the theatrical version and the extended version. I'd never seen the latter, and It's by far the better of the two. It includes more footage of the upstairs. You get to see Elvis' bedroom and even get a look at the bathroom, though from a distance. But the best part of all is the footage from the June, '77 tour. It's about ten minutes and has "Love Me", which isn't in the theatrical version. The video quality is perfect, much better than the original release. Seeing it makes me long for the day when EPE will release all the footage shot by CBS during the tour.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

This Is Elvis

9/10
Author: Jim Colyer from Nashville, Tennessee
7 October 2007

This is an excellent biography about the life of Elvis Presley on the heels of his death. Ral Donner, an Elvis clone, does his voice. It is as if Elvis speaks to us from beyond the grave. A young actor plays Elvis in scenes from his early life. Leo and Solt managed to tap Elvis' private film archives. Young Priscilla is shown at Elvis' birthday party in Germany. Of course, there is the condescending Ed Sullivan assuring us that Elvis is "a fine boy, thoroughly alright." Roger Ebert's review implied that Elvis was an alcoholic. Nothing could be farther from the truth. He did not drink. There is a marked contrast between Elvis in his 20s and Elvis in his 40s, but I sense in some a grim exultation regarding the fall of Elvis Presley. The soundtrack contains Always On My Mind. Elvis' version is far superior to Willie Nelson's.

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