Elvis Presley’s ‘Blue Hawaii’

This time of year, Elvis fans in the Northern Hemisphere appreciate anything that takes their mind off of cold air, snow and ice.

Enter one of Elvis’ fan-favorite movies: “Blue Hawaii.” The musical comedy was released 55 years ago this week, on November 22, 1961. This movie’s sun, sand and surf are the perfect cure for the winter blues.

“Blue Hawaii” sees the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll as Chad, who has recently gotten out of the Army and is looking forward to some fun and romance the Aloha State. His mother, played by the great Angela Lansbury, wants him to take over the family business, but he’d much rather work as a tour guide for his girlfriend’s agency. The colorful, exotic locales, fabulous soundtrack and light-hearted storyline make this comedy one of Elvis’ most beloved films. It’s the first of three films he made in Hawaii, and just before shooting this film, Elvis performed a benefit show at the Bloch Arena.

Elvis was 26 when he filmed "Blue Hawaii." His mother, played by Angela Lansbury, was only 36 at the time.

Elvis was 26 when he filmed “Blue Hawaii.” His mother, played by Angela Lansbury, was only 36 at the time.

“Blue Hawaii” was originally titled “Hawaiian Beach Boy.” The movie was filmed on Oahu and Kauai, and the famous wedding scene was filmed at the Coco Palms Resort Hotel on Kauai. The hotel was devastated by Hurricane Iniki in 1992, and it was further damaged by a fire in 2014. The hotel has since been demolished and owners hope to re-open a new hotel on the site in 2018.

"Blue Hawaii" was Elvis' eighth movie.

“Blue Hawaii” was Elvis’ eighth movie.

“Blue Hawaii” was directed by Norman Taurog, who directed nine of Elvis’ films. Elvis would work with many of his “Blue Hawaii” co-stars in future films.

Joan Blackman, who stars as his leading lady Maile in “Blue Hawaii,” would also later team up with Elvis in “Kid Galahad.” Roland Winters starred in both “Blue Hawaii” and Elvis’ follow-up film, “Follow That Dream.” Pamela Austin appeared in both “Blue Hawaii” and “Kissin’ Cousins.” Howard McNear played Mr. Chapman in this film and would also star in “Follow That Dream” and “Fun in Acapulco.” Actor Steve Brodie played a troublemaker in three Elvis movies: “Blue Hawaii,” “Paradise, Hawaiian Style” and “Roustabout.” Guy Lee starred in both this film and “Girls! Girls! Girls,” and Richard Reeves had small parts in five Elvis films: “Blue Hawaii,” “Girl Happy,” “Tickle Me,” “Frankie and Johnny” and “Harum Scarum.”

Elvis worked with "Blue Hawaii" director Norman Taurog on eight other movies: "G.I. Blues," "Tickle Me," "Spinout," "It Happened at the World's Fair," "Double Trouble," "Speedway," "Live a Little, Love a Little" and "Girls! Girls! Girls!"

Elvis worked with “Blue Hawaii” director Norman Taurog on eight other movies: “G.I. Blues,” “Tickle Me,” “Spinout,” “It Happened at the World’s Fair,” “Double Trouble,” “Speedway,” “Live a Little, Love a Little” and “Girls! Girls! Girls!”

“Blue Hawaii” features the most songs in an Elvis film with 14 tracks. The “Blue Hawaii” soundtrack spent 79 weeks on the Billboard charts, with 20 of those weeks at #1. The soundtrack was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1961 for Best Soundtrack Album or Recording of Original Cast from a Motion Picture or Television. The soundtrack features many fan favorite tracks, like “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” “Hawaiian Wedding Song” and, of course, the title track.

“Blue Hawaii” was incredibly successful, but it was not the highest-grossing Elvis movie. That honor goes to “Viva Las Vegas.”

The song "Blue Hawaii" originally appeared in a Bing Crosby film called "Waikiki Wedding."

The song “Blue Hawaii” originally appeared in a Bing Crosby film called “Waikiki Wedding.”

Still, “Blue Hawaii” is a fan favorite. Tell us – do you have a favorite song from this movie? A favorite scene or favorite line of dialogue? Share it with us!

And don’t forget, you can dive into Elvis’ Hollywood career with our VIP exhibit, “Elvis in Hollywood: From Teen Idol to Leading Man.” Make your plans to visit Graceland.


47 Comments

  1. Favorite dialouge: When Mylie thanks Chad for buying her swim suit by saying, “Thanks for thinking of me”, Chad replies, ” Oh, I wasn’t thinking of you…I was thinking of me!”

  2. Harry gardiner

    I was a student at UH, 22, and had a friend who was a cinematographer on the film. He arranged for me to do a few seconds of extra work on the film and I had a chance to talk with Elvis over a period of several days. It is still a great memory and my children and grandchildren are proud of the photo he and I shared. I gave up “acting” to become a university professor and let Elvis continue with the acting.

  3. Shelia Clark

    MY FAV MOVIE!!

  4. phyllis depczynski

    i love blue hawaii n i cant help falling in love n my favorite scenes are when ally got a spanking from elvis n when they kicked the sand at eto n my favorite dialogue is when miale said go home yankee boy

  5. Mike Davis UK

    Always will be one my favourite Elvis films, just love the music and an excellent film which is full of colour and humour

  6. Margaret Duggan

    I loved all of Blue Hawaii..But he Wedding & The Hawaiian Wedding song my favorite…. xx

  7. Teresa House-Hatfield

    Song: Rock A Hula
    Scene when Elvis gives Maili bikini: “Oh, I wasn’t thinking of you. I was thinking of me!”

  8. For the most beautiful ballad Elvis ever recorded, of course, “Can’t Help Falling In Love”; however, my favorite song in the movie is “Slicin’ Sand”, where Elvis moves like only he can. “Rock-A-Hula, Baby” is a close second.

  9. Peggy Goodson

    I liked this movie.

  10. Mike Hall

    Pam Austin was in “Blue Hawaii” under her original name, Pamela Akert and in “Kissin’ Cousins” as Pamela Austin. She was not in “Spinout”.

  11. Tony Brice

    The article states,,, “Elvis worked with actress Pamela Austin in both “Blue Hawaii” and “Spinout.”
    I don’t think she was in “Spinout,” but she was in “Kissin’ Cousins.”

  12. Charlotte

    My favorite song is “Can’t Help Falling in Love”
    and I always loved the way Angela Lansbury said her son’s name…Chadwick.

  13. Cheryl Tolbert

    Blue Hawaii is my favorite movie and it will always be my favorite. I will always have Elvis Presley in my heart.

    • Cheryl Tolbert

      His legacy will live on forever. I have a 13 years old granddaughter,who loves his music,because of me. His music will stay around my house as long as I am around,then after I am gone,my granddaughter will take over.

  14. gessi de Freitas

    o melhor pra mim é o filme seresteiro de acapulco, assisti na TV quando tinha 19 anos,hoje tenho 57.

  15. Love Love Love Elvis. Loved Blue Hawaii and all the Songs.

  16. hi, I’m from Poland and I love this film and all films with Elvis.
    I think that: Elvis was a good person and he had beautiful voice.
    My favorite songs from “Blue Hawaii” is I can’ help falling in love with you.

  17. Linda Steinmetz

    Love the movie

  18. rita woodburn

    Loved Elvis all my life ….he was Awesome loved all his movies seen him in person in New Haven, Ct. man y years ago at $15.00 Hugs Rita

  19. Ricky Lee JOHANSEN Jr

    Loved Blue Hawaii, never could afford to go to Hawaii, but Elvis Presley made Hawaii seem enchanting and wonderful. Nice to know his first name in that move was Rick my namesake! Whoa how!!

  20. Debbie Hannas

    Can’t help fallingin love with you is my favorite. Song from that movie. I have loved Elvis since I was 5 yrs old not soon to be 61.Elvis was a gift from God. I truly believe that. There will never be anyone like him.

  21. David Neu

    LOVE ELVIS ALWAYS & FOREVER>Seen all his movies & loved them all most of them happy tone!

  22. stephen stathis

    No More was a song that is one of his best. Always fun to spot one of the Memphis Mafia in his movies. Red West is off to one corner when EP sings Rock A Hula Baby.

  23. stephen stathis

    Aloha Ho is a song that is in the movie and the very last song that Johnny Cash sang just before he died. Weird symmetry.

  24. wanda newby

    I loved blue Hawaii Elvis is awesome and the songs were some of the best he ever recorded

  25. Favorite Blue Hawaii Song: Blue Hawaii Theme

  26. Carolyn Wood

    Favorite Blue Hawaii song is the Theme – Blue Hawaii

  27. JOHN SCOTT

    My favourite from this movie was, Ku Ka Wi Por. Not exactly sure that’s how it is spelt.

  28. Have been to Hawaii 7 times and fell in love with it each time. Usually we stay at Poi Pou south shore in Kauai. My husband passed away in 2009 so the memories are precious to me. We saw Don Ho and his show in Oahu.

  29. Mary Alice Pena-Lopez

    There is no one like Elvis, and never will be!!!!!!! We married across Graceland in 1993, and had a Blue Hawaii theme wedding! Our song is
    The Hawaiian Wedding song! Still in love and going strong, and we love you Elvis, always!

    Jaime and Mary Alice Lopez in San Antonio,Tx

  30. Faye Walsh

    Blue Hawaii, is my favourite Elvis’s movie, on our wedding day for our first dance, we played the Hawaiian Wedding Song, and it also my favourite Elvis songs.

  31. Elizabeth Gostyla

    Love Elvis…took my mother to Graceland in 1992. She loved it! It was her last vacation before she passed. I will always remember how happy she was to be there.

    Elizabeth Gostyla Winter Garden, Fl

  32. I can remember the first album I bought after he died “Separate Ways” We happen to be in TN at the time. I loved all of his movies “Blue Hawaii was one of the best

  33. We are coming to Graceland in August of next year. Can’t wait

  34. carmelina Conia

    the song no more is just beautiful and the film love it and still watching all his movies we have an elvis movies weekend nearly every month.xx

  35. Luis Molina

    I love Blue Hawaii

  36. Love Elvis family

  37. Ἀργυρῶ Κουκουλᾶ

    ”Slicin sand ” scene is one of my most favourite scenes of the film. Elvis acts so vividly there!

  38. Joyce Standley

    love, love, love this movie Elvis is so Handsome in this movie.

  39. Kathryn Briggs

    I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve watched Blue Hawaii, still do. I love all the songs, but especially Ku U I Po.
    Miss him to this day, and so proud of what Priscilla and Lisa have accomplished.

  40. Lorraine Pull

    I first fell in love with Elvis after seeing Blue Hawaii about 53 years ago and I have loved him with a passion every since! Still a great movie and he will always be the most beautiful man with the best voice of any entertainer in the world, living or dead. Long live the King!

  41. Loren Kacon

    Who cannot, not pick “Beach Boy Blues?”…and after the song the old guy playing the harmonica punches out the loud mouth and says, “Beautiful, just beautiful. I hope you guys get life with me.”….and Elvis gives the look of death!…LOL….so sad about the Coco Palms Hotel. I was fortunate enough to go over in 1987. I stayed a couple nights there. They had clamshell shaped bathroom sinks if I recall. I went out to the library that they had out back of the hotel. The librarian was an older Hawaiian lady and I got to talking with her and she worked there and met Elvis. She talked with him and could always remember that she had nothing but nice things to say about him. He was kind, and courteous and polite. He stayed in one of the Bungalows out back she said. Will never forget that story….lastly, my son Brady is 12 now. He plays guitar, drums, and a little piano. He told me this past summer that it was my constant playing of Elvis songs, that got him interested in music….thank you to all the fans, and everyone at Graceland that keeps the memory alive of this wonderfully talented man that left us much too soon….Loren Kacon

  42. art parente

    the title song was my favorite; angela landsbury line “my baby’s home from the big house” was just perfect!

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