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Elvis Movie: Facts Vs. Fiction

Hulton Archive/Archive Photos/GettyImages

There are two sides to every story, including the ones told on the big screen. Austin Butler’s portrayal of Elvis Presley recently hit theaters in June of 2022, and critics are raving about the film. However, certain elements of the late singer’s life were modified for the interest of an engaging storyline.

Character Portrayal

  1. Fact: Elvis’ upbringing was portrayed accurately during this film. The star was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. The area was known as “The Hill,” and was a predominantly Black neighborhood.
  2. Fact: The drug addiction that Elvis faced led to his passing in 1977. According to Westgate Resorts, “there were 14 drugs in his system total” when he died. Leading up to his death, Presely took an abundance of prescription drugs that were inappropriately prescribed to him by Dr. George Nichopoulos.
  3. Fiction: “Colonel” Tom Parker was not actually in the military, and that was not his real name. He changed his name because he entered America illegally, and wanted to avoid deportation.

Relationship Dynamics

  1. Fiction: The movie highlights the friendship between the late singer/songwriter, B.B. King and Elvis Presley. According to the plotline in the film, the two appeared to be closely linked, however in Presley’s real life, they were not.
  2. Fiction: Though Priscilla Presley cared deeply for her husband at the time, she was not the one to initiate Elvis’ journey to rehab. Priscilla wrote a book titled ​Elvis and Me,​ where she explained how “Elvis would have undoubtedly laughed away any attempt at an intervention.” The film suggests otherwise.
  3. Fact: Elvis and his now ex wife Priscilla truly did meet while Presley was serving in the Army in Germany. Priscilla was just 14 when they met, and she was 21 when they got married. The couple had a 10-year age difference.

Chronological Changes

  1. Fiction: The film shed light on the taping of Elvis’ 1968 comeback special. The storyline suggests that Robert F. Kennedy was killed while the show was taping, however, this was not the case. RFK was shot two days after Elvis arrived for his rehearsals, but this did not impact the filming process.
  2. Fiction: Elvis and Tom Parker did not actually meet at a carnival as the movie portrays it. The reality is that the two became intertwined after Parker watched Presley perform live, and felt compelled to take him on as a client.
  3. Fact: Throughout Elvis’ career, women truly were enthralled by his presence. The film shows how females would respond to the site of Elvis both in his element and normal life. These expressive reactions of screaming, crying, and reaching accurately represent how his female fans would act around him.
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