Grease is the word, alright. Based on the long-running Broadway musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, this 1978 film provided an homage to the 1950’s, complete with catchy songs, impressive dance numbers, and a classic love story. Much of the movie’s success can be attributed to stars John Travolta, who was hot off his starring role in Saturday Night Fever, and Olivia Newton-John, already a pop music superstar. They were joined by talented real life 50’s icons Eve Arden, Sid Caesar, Edd Byrnes and Frankie Valli, and the result was a movie still fondly remembered by a generation of fans.
The film takes place at Rydell High School, where Danny Zuko, played by Travolta, is a member of the T-Birds, a gang sporting tight jeans and leather jackets. Newton-John’s Sandy Olsen is a good Australian girl who met Danny over the summer and the two fell in love. Sandy’s parents have decided to stay in America, and by a strange twist of fate, Sandy ends up going to Rydell where she meets Danny again. But sweet Sandy doesn’t fit into Danny’s greaser lifestyle at high school, and he’s torn between his feelings for her and the image he has to maintain.
Meanwhile, Sandy meets and befriends Frenchy, who’s a member of The Pink Ladies, a tough girl gang. Sandy doesn’t quite fit in there either, especially with the head of the Pink Ladies, Rizzo. Danny and Sandy try to figure out what to do in these newfound circumstances, while Danny takes on a drag racing challenge from The Scorpions, a rival gang. In the end, Sandy and Danny learn to follow their hearts, all with a big, choreographed musical number.
The film was the biggest hit of 1978 and one of the highest grossing films of the entire decade. The soundtrack spawned a series of hits, including “Summer Nights,” “Hopelessly Devoted To You,” “Grease,” “You’re the One That I Want,” “Greased Lightnin’,” “We Go Together” and more. The sequel, Grease 2 (which was never a Broadway musical), bombed, but the original film was re-released in 1998 to mark the 20th anniversary. To no surprise, it did respectable box office numbers the second time around as well. Time and time again, the fans of Grease have proven themselves hopelessly devoted to this timeless story.
If you have fond memories of seeing Grease at the theater, perhaps you’re even one of those people that knows every word to every song, we hope you’ll take a moment to share your thoughts on this beloved film in our comments section.