Ricky Hanson Video: Grease
Grease is a 1978 American musical romantic comedy film directed by Randal Kleiser (in his feature directorial debut) from a screenplay by Bronté Woodard and an adaptation by Allan Carr, based on the stage musical of the same name by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. The film depicts the lives of greaser Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and Australian transfer student Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John), who develop an attraction for each other during a summer romance.
Grease was released in the United States on June 16, 1978, by Paramount Pictures. The film was successful both critically and commercially, becoming the highest-grossing musical film at the time. Its soundtrack album ended 1978 as the second-best-selling album of the year in the United States, only behind the soundtrack of the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever (which also starred Travolta), and the song “Hopelessly Devoted to You” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 51st Academy Awards. The film also received five nominations at the 36th Golden Globe Awards, including for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and two for Best Original Song, for “Grease” and “You’re the One that I Want”. In 2020, Grease was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
A sequel, Grease 2, was released in 1982, starring Maxwell Caulfield and Michelle Pfeiffer as a newer class of greasers. Few of the original cast members reprised their roles. As of 2023, a short-lived prequel television series, Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies, debuted on Paramount+, with a prequel film, titled Summer Lovin’, currently in production.
In the summer of 1958, local boy Danny Zuko and vacationing Australian Sandy Olsson meet at the beach and fall in love. When the summer comes to an end, Sandy frets that they may never meet again, but Danny tells her that their love is “only the beginning”.
At the start of the seniors’ term at Rydell High School, Danny resumes his role as leader of the T-Birds greaser gang consisting of Doody, Sonny, Putzie, and his best friend Kenickie. Sandy’s parents remain in America and enroll Sandy at Rydell where she meets greaser girl clique the Pink Ladies consisting of Frenchy, Marty, Jan and leader Rizzo.
Danny and Sandy recount their brief romance to their respective groups, Sandy recalling a romantic summer and Danny implying a more physical experience. When Sandy finally says Danny’s name, Rizzo arranges a surprise reunion at a pep rally where Sandy meets Tom, a jock, and Kenickie unveils his new used car, Greased Lightnin’, which he plans on street racing after a restoration. Caught between his feelings and his bad-boy reputation, Danny snubs Sandy in front of his gang and she becomes upset.
At a Pink Ladies pajama party, Sandy falls ill from drinking, trying a cigarette, and having her ears pierced by Frenchy, while Rizzo, after mocking Sandy’s wholesome and chaste personality, departs for sex with Kenickie in his car, during which their condom breaks; they are disturbed by Leo, leader of the rival gang, the Scorpions, and his girlfriend Cha-Cha. After the slumber party comes to an end, Sandy realizes she still loves Danny after all.
The next day, Danny apologizes to Sandy for having brushed her off the night earlier and, with Coach Calhoun’s help, becomes a runner and successfully wins her back from Tom, but their friends crash their date, and Kenickie and Rizzo break up after an argument. After a disastrous beauty class leaves Frenchy with candy-pink hair, she reluctantly decides to return to Rydell to complete her high-school education.
During the school dance, broadcast live on National Bandstand and hosted by DJ Vince Fontaine, Rizzo and Kenickie spite each other by bringing Leo and Cha-Cha as their dates. In a chaotic hand jive contest, Danny and Sandy dance well, but just before the winners are announced, Sonny pulls Sandy away and Cha-Cha cuts in to win with Danny, as Sandy storms out. Danny tries to make it up to Sandy by taking her to a drive-in theater, but a more direct and pushy advance causes Sandy to flee in a huff. Rizzo fears she is pregnant after missing a period and confides in Marty, who tells Sonny, who inadvertently spreads the rumor to the apparent father Kenickie, though Rizzo denies it to him.
On race day, Kenickie is concussed by his own car door, so Danny takes the wheel, winning the race after Leo spins out. Sandy, watching from afar and rejoicing for Danny’s victory, concludes she still loves him and enlists Frenchy’s help in changing her attitude and looks to impress him.
On the last day of school, Rizzo finds she is not pregnant and reunites with Kenickie. At a carnival, Danny and Sandy each find they have changed for each other: Danny has become a letterman, and Sandy a greaser girl. The two depart in the Greased Lightnin’ car, which takes flight into the sky.
We had this movie on laser disc and watched it over and over, singing every song, and saying every line.