6.8/10
685
16 user 58 critic

The King (2017)

Trailer
2:31 | Trailer

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ALL
Forty years after the death of Elvis Presley, a musical road trip across America in his 1963 Rolls Royce explores how a country boy lost his authenticity and became a king while his country lost her democracy and became an empire.

Director:

Eugene Jarecki

Writers:

Eugene Jarecki, Christopher St. John (co-writer)
1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Reagan (2011)
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Reagan examines the enigmatic career of one of the revered architects of the modern world - icon, screen star, and two-term president Ronald Reagan.

Director: Eugene Jarecki
Stars: Bud Abbott, Walter Abel, Spiro Agnew
The Providers (2018)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Three healthcare providers bring care to those living on the margins, in a rural American community struggling with a shortage of doctors and the ravages of the opioid epidemic.

Directors: Laura Green, Anna Moot-Levin
Studio 54 (2018)
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The story of the notorious 1970s New York City nightclub.

Director: Matt Tyrnauer
Stars: Ian Schrager, Steve Rubell, Donald Rubell
Whitney (2018)
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An in-depth look at the life and music of Whitney Houston.

Director: Kevin Macdonald
Stars: Whitney Houston, Ellen White, Michael Houston
Why We Fight (2005)
Documentary | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Is American foreign policy dominated by the idea of military supremacy? Has the military become too important in American life? Jarecki's shrewd and intelligent polemic would seem to give an affirmative answer to each of these questions.

Director: Eugene Jarecki
Stars: Gore Vidal, John McCain, Ken Adelman
Love, Cecil (2017)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Respected photographer, artist and set designer, Cecil Beaton. was best known for his Academy Award-winning work, designing for such award-winning films such as Gigi (1958) and My Fair Lady... See full summary »

Director: Lisa Immordino Vreeland
Stars: Rupert Everett, David Bailey, Manolo Blahnik
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A documentary film focusing on viewing adults in prison through the eyes of their children. Three boys: Tre Janson, 13, Maison Teixeira, 11 and Dasan Lopes, 6 visit with their parents who ... See full summary »

Director: Denali Tiller
Stars: Tre Janson, Dasan Lopes, Maison Teixeira
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A portrait of unsung Hollywood legend Scotty Bowers, whose bestselling memoir chronicled his decades spent as sexual procurer to the stars.

Director: Matt Tyrnauer
Stars: Scotty Bowers, Lois Bowers, William Mann
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A kaleidoscopic and humanistic view of the Black community in Hale County, Alabama.

Director: RaMell Ross
Stars: Latrenda 'Boosie' Ash, Quincy Bryant, Daniel Collins
Documentary | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A documentary set at the final of the 1984 French Open between John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl at a time when McEnroe was the world's top-ranked player.

Director: Julien Faraut
Stars: John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Mathieu Amalric
Love, Gilda (2018)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In her own words, comedienne Gilda Radner looks back and reflects on her life and career. Weaving together recently discovered audiotapes, interviews with her friends, rare home movies and ... See full summary »

Director: Lisa D'Apolito
Stars: Andrew Alexander, Anne Beatts, Chevy Chase
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Our modern global economy connects disparate individuals in unexpected ways. At the intersection of international commerce, racial identity, and historical narrative, this story follows the... See full summary »

Director: Chico Colvard
Stars: Malcolm X
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Alec Baldwin ... Himself
Tony Brown Tony Brown ... Himself
James Carville ... Himself - US Political Analyst
Rosanne Cash ... Herself
Chuck D ... Himself
Maggie Clifford Maggie Clifford ... Herself
Lana Del Rey ... Herself
Emi Sunshine & The Rain Emi Sunshine & The Rain ... Themselves
EmiSunshine EmiSunshine ... Herself
Jane Fonda ... Herself (archive footage)
Radney Foster ... Himself
Patricia Gaines Patricia Gaines ... Herself
Mary Gauthier Mary Gauthier ... Herself
Emmylou Harris ... Herself
Ethan Hawke ... Himself
Edit

Storyline

Forty years after the death of Elvis Presley, a musical road trip across America in his 1963 Rolls Royce explores how a country boy lost his authenticity and became a king while his country lost her democracy and became an empire.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Rise of a King, the Fall of an Empire.

Genres:

Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Germany | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 June 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The King See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$29,050, 24 June 2018

Gross USA:

$259,291

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$273,601
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
some dead ends along the journey
19 July 2018 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. Those of us in the United States have always loved a rags-to-riches success story ... it's the personification of the American Dream. The only thing we seem to enjoy more is tearing down the pedestals that we build for those folks, and then ripping apart their legacy. Acclaimed director Eugene Jarecki (WHY WE FIGHT, 2005) strains rigorously in his attempts to connect Elvis Presley selling out his talent for money with the transformation of the U.S. from a democracy to a crumbling capitalistic empire (likened to ancient Rome). The really interesting thing is that the film, despite being a staccato mess, is quite fascinating.

Director Jarecki's gimmick here is that he is taking a musical and historic road trip in the 1963 Rolls Royce once owned by Elvis. Along the way, he picks up passengers - some of which are musicians who perform in the backseat. The passenger list includes James Carville, John Hiatt, M Ward, Linda Thompson (ex-girlfriend of Elvis), Immortal Technique, and "best friend" Jerry Schilling (a comical description if you've read his book).

Chuck D from Public Enemy is interviewed due to his famous lyric: "Elvis was a hero to most, but he never meant s**t to me". The contradictions from this interview fit nicely with the contradictions throughout the film. George Klein takes Jarecki on a quick tour of Humes High School, and Ashton Kutcher babbles about fame - though he makes one spot on remark regarding the prison of fame, something much of the film seems to ignore. Producer Ethan Hawke spends a good amount of time on camera and in the front seat, while author and activist Van Jones seems narrowly focused on cultural appropriation and angry that Elvis never used his clout to help the minorities that influenced him.

Filmed in 2016, the film works hard to include the Presidential election, and we even see the sanctimonious Alec Baldwin adamantly proclaiming that Trump won't win. Jarecki is himself an activist, and here he stretches to prove his points - tying together everything from Elvis' induction into the Army to the Trump election more than a half-century later (and 40 years after his death). The road trip kicks off in Elvis' birthplace of Tupelo, where we meet some locals who talk about the lasting impact of Elvis on their town - a town still drenched in poverty. Memphis is next, and we hear about the 3 local kings: BB, Elvis and MLK. Jarecki even inserts a shot of the Rolls next to the Lorraine Motel. There is a terrific bit with the students from Stax Music Academy who perform "Chain of Fools" in the backseat. We then head to NYC and Nashville, capping off the musically creative portion of Elvis' career. Next up is Hollywood, Hawaii, and finally Las Vegas.

At times, the film is just flat out weird. One segment force feeds parallels with the 1933 King Kong movie (yes, really), then Elvis as a tourist, and finally, Dan Rather's all too familiar voice performing "America the Beautiful" ... each piece featuring the Empire State Building. But just when a Bernie Sanders rally makes you want to turn off the film, we get an insightful Mike Myers effectively pointing out the hypocrisy of the American Dream as sold by the government, or David Simon questioning the choice of the Rolls over one of Elvis' prized Cadillacs, or Sam Phillips' (Sun Records) son re-telling the story of how his father lost Elvis to the carnival-barker Colonel Tom Parker (neither a Colonel nor a Parker).

Jarecki and co-writer Christopher St. John try to weave a tapestry of fame and money with cultural and societal shifts. Some segments work, while others fall flat. The editing of talking heads sometimes gives the feel of a debate, but often the scattered and choppy film meanders through multiple messages whilst driving the backroads of the country. We get clips of Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show and getting his famous locks sheared in the Army, and the 1968 comeback special; however, there is little mention of Priscilla, Lisa Marie or Graceland.

Judging Elvis for money grab without seeming to take into account his young age (he was 21 when he first appeared on Sullivan, and 23 at his Army induction) and his extreme poverty of youth, much less the power of his domineering agent, seems to be harsh judgement in an era that had never seen such media giants as the Kardashians or Justin Bieber. When Jarecki's road chief admits, "I don't know what the hell you're doing" (when Jarecki asks him what he thinks he's doing with the movie), it's the first time we can actually relate to what someone has said. Despite all of that, you'll likely be glued to the screen for the full run time - either enjoying the songs, watching the clips, or trying to see if Jarecki's puzzle pieces even fit together.


20 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 16 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed