other work in this series: Saturday Night Fever
Grease is a 1978 American musical film directed by Randal Kleiser. It is based on Warren Casey’s and Jim Jacobs’s 1971 musical of the same name about two lovers in a 1950s high school. The film stars John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, and Jeff Conaway. It was successful both critically and at the box office; its soundtrack album ended 1978 as the second-best selling album of the year in the United States, behind the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever, another film starring Travolta.
In the summer of 1959, local boy Danny Zuko and vacationing Sandy Olsson meet at the beach and fall in love. When the summer comes to an end, Sandy—who is going back to Australia—frets that they may never meet again, but Danny tells her that their love is “only the beginning”. The film moves to the start of the seniors’ term at Rydell High School. Danny, a greaser, is a member of the T-Birds, consisting of his best friend Kenickie, Doody, Putzie and Sonny. The Pink Ladies also arrive, consisting of Betty Rizzo, Janet and Marty. After her parents decided not to return to Australia, Sandy enrolls at Rydell and befriends Frenchy (another Pink Lady), who considers dropping out of school to become a beautician. Oblivious to each other’s presence at school, Danny and Sandy tell their respective groups the accounts of events during the pair’s brief romance.
Upon learning Danny is Sandy’s sweetheart, Rizzo arranges for the two to reunite, but Danny is forced to maintain his bad-boy attitude in front of his pals, upsetting Sandy. Frenchy invites the girls to a pajama party, but Sandy falls ill from trying a cigarette and drinking. The T-Birds almost crash the party, but a guilty Danny leaves, followed by Rizzo, who departs to make out with Kenickie, who is actually her boyfriend. The two are disturbed by Leo, leader of the T-Birds’ rival gang, the Scorpions, and his girlfriend Cha-Cha, leading to a planned race between Kenickie and Leo. Wishing to win his way back into Sandy’s affection, Danny turns to Coach Calhoun to get into sports, eventually becoming a runner. He reunites with Sandy and they attempt to go on a date, but their friends crash it, resulting in Kenickie and Rizzo arguing and parting. Left alone, Frenchy is visited by a guardian angel who advises her to return to school after a mishap in beauty class leaves her with candy-pink hair.
The school dance arrives, broadcast live on television and hosted by DJ Vince Fontaine, who flirts with Marty. Rizzo and Kenickie attempt to spite one another by bringing Leo and Cha-Cha as their dates, whilst Danny and Sandy come together. During a dance, Danny and Cha-Cha (who were once boyfriend and girlfriend) perform together and win a dance-off. Danny tries to make it up to Sandy by taking her to a drive-in theater but ends up making several passes on her, causing Sandy to flee. Meanwhile, Rizzo fears she is pregnant after missing a period and confides to Marty, but Sonny overhears and spreads the rumour which eventually reaches Kenickie who is the potential father.
The race arrives, but Kenickie is knocked out by his own car door so Danny takes up the challenge. He and Leo race until Leo crashes and leaves humiliated, with Danny as the victor. Sandy watches from afar, concluding she still loves Danny and decides to change her attitude and look to impress him. On the last day of school, whilst Principal McGee and her assistant Blanche sob about the departing class, the class celebrates their graduation at the fair on the school grounds. Rizzo discovers she is not pregnant after all and reunites with Kenickie. Danny has become a jock, but is shocked when Sandy appears dressed in leather and is seen smoking. In song, the two admit they love each other and reunite. The film ends with Danny and Sandy departing in Danny’s car together, which then takes flight, and the pair waves goodbye to their friends as they live happily ever after.
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