Movie Review: Elvis and Nixon

Is it even feasible to make a 2 hour movie about an incident in time that took perhaps at most 2 hours? Despite the highly unusual side stories surrounding the meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon on December 21, 1970 who would actually think that this relatively short meeting in 1970 could be made into a movie? Some of the unusual circumstances surrounding this meeting mostly include Elvis Presley’s desire to receive some kind of an FBI badge so he could be an “Federal Agent At Large” and somehow despite his world wide fame, could go under cover for the FBI? Of course this never happened and Elvis even thinking that he could go under cover is both ridiculous and stupid but amazingly this is the main reason why Elvis wanted to meet Nixon in the first place as well as to get this special badge which seems in like something a 9 year old boy would desire. He also said he wanted to help the FBI with the Nation’s drug problem, even though he himself was a very heavy drug user; another ridiculous irony.

When first approached with the proposal of this meeting with Elvis Presley, Nixon immediately rejected the idea but after some bribery with Nixon’s youngest daughter Julie for pictures and an autograph Nixon finally agreed to meet him. Nixon originally only wanted to meet Elvis for only 5 minutes but after Elvis commented on how attractive his 2 daughters were and saying that because of his attractive daughters Nixon himself must also be attractive, the meeting between the 2 of them lasted several hours. This is another strange side effect of this famous moment in history between these two men almost 50 years ago.

Another weird side story is the letter Elvis wrote to the president while on board a commercial airline. The handwriting in this letter is barely readable, and poorly written: Elvis Letter to Nixon. The fact that Elvis even thought he had a shot at a special meeting with Nixon was rather insane in the first place but as this movie clearly shows, Elvis was rather insane and was using drugs frequently.

This movie is supposed to be mostly a comedy but it was not that funny. The acting was good especially by Kevin Spacey  who played Nixon and Michael Shannon who was an unusual choice to play Presley. None of these 2 actors overacted their impressions of these two men and I thought that they were both at just the right level. At the end of the movie it was announced that the most requested picture in the history of the White House archives is the picture (below) of Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon.

This movie was good, not great, not that funny, but good enough to recommend.

This is another link to the National archive page that documents this Nixon and Presley meeting:



Elvis and Nixon

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