Grease (film)

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Writer: Allan Carr & Bronte Woodard
Starring: John Travolta,
Olivia Newton-John
Stockard Channing
Jeff Conaway
Director: Randal Kleiser
Music by: John Farrar, Barry Gibb & others
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: June 16, 1978 (USA)
Runtime: 110 min.
Language: English
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Peoples Choice Award, Favorite Musical 1979 {{{awards_label}}}

Grease (1978) is the name of a film directed by Randal Kleiser and based on Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey's musical, Grease. The film stars John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Jeff Conaway and Stockard Channing.


Plot summary

In the summer of 1959, Danny Zuko (Travolta), member of Rydell High School's boy gang the T-Birds, meets Sandy Olsson (Newton-John), an innocent girl from Australia, at the beach and they fall in love. When autumn nears, Sandy must return to Australia.

However, Sandy's plans are changed and she ends up attending Rydell High as an exchange student. She meets a group of girls named the Pink Ladies and quickly befriends them. Not knowing what has happened, both Danny and Sandy let their friends know of their romantic conquest over the summer.

Eventually, Danny and Sandy are re-introduced by Betty Rizzo (Channing), the leader of the Pink Ladies, and they decide to revive their romance, but not without constant interference from the T-Birds, Pink Ladies and a rival gang, The Scorpions.

Danny and Sandy are separated again at the school dance contest. Although they arrive together, the T-Birds conspire to get Danny back together with his old girl friend and dance partner, Cha-Cha DiGregorio. They succeed and Danny and Cha-Cha go on to win the contest. Feeling betrayed, Sandy leaves the dance in disgust.

In an effort to reconcile with Sandy, Danny asks her to "be his girl" and offers her a ring. She initially accepts but then Danny tries to kiss and grope her as he feels that is what he should do with his girl. Sandy throws his ring back at him and again leaves in disgust.

But at the end of the school year graduation carnival, a new, badder looking Sandy emerges. She seems to have decided to "loosen up" in an effort to be with Danny. Meanwhile, Danny has received a letterman's sweater in track in an effort to impress Sandy. The two meet in the middle and Danny and Sandy fly off arm in arm in a shiny roadster, turning the film into somewhat of a fantasy.


Although Travolta was already famous for the movie Saturday Night Fever, Grease reconfirmed his status as a superstar. Newton-John's fame also reached new heights after the movie released. The movie received five Golden Globe Award nominations in 1979. The film was re-released to theaters in 1998 for the film's 20th anniversary.

The movie's soundtrack was a number one album in many different countries. In the United Kingdom, the two Travolta/Newton-John duets, "You're The One That I Want" and "Summer Nights" were both number one hits and appear eighth and 21st respectively in the official all-time UK best-selling singles list issued in 2002. The song "Hopelessly Devoted to You" was nominated for an Academy Award (1979) for Best Music - Original Song. The movie's title song was also a number one hit single for Frankie Valli.

Grease spawned a sequel, Grease 2 (1982 with an entirely different cast) which was much less successful.

Main cast



  • Randal Kleiser hated the opening title song, "Grease" (he thought that the cynical lyrics and disco beat were inappropriate for a film set in the 1950s).
  • Danny's blue windbreaker at the beginning of the film was intended as a nod to Rebel Without a Cause (1955).
  • "Greased Lightning" was supposed to be sung by Conaway's character, Kenickie. John Travolta used his clout to have his character sing it.
  • The original stage play had more sexual references than the MPAA judges wanted to allow. Among these was the use of plastic wrap as protection. To overcome the censors, there weren't any blatant references but Danny rubs plastic wrap over his crotch during "Greased Lightning".
  • The scene in Frenchy's bedroom while Rizzo is singing the line about Elvis Presley was actually filmed the same day that Presley died.
  • In the song "Look at Me I'm Sandra Dee", it originally references Sal Mineo in the stage version. However, due to Mineo's murder the year before shooting began the reference was given to Troy Donahue.
  • The dance contest scene was filmed during the summer, when the school was closed. The gym had no air conditioning and the doors had to be kept closed to control lighting, so the building became stifling hot. On more than one occasion, an extra had to be taken out due to heat related illness.
  • Choreographer Patricia Birch worked with Sha Na Na to ensure that the tempo of the dance contest would be correct. She appears, uncredited, as one of the dancers during the contest.
  • Several musical numbers were not used in the film. They appear, however, as jukebox tunes, or band numbers at the high school dance. Among them "Freddy, My Love", "Those Magic Changes", and "It's Raining on Prom Night" all of which were performed by characters in the stage musical.
  • In the scene where the cast are near the bridge after the drag race, the water on the ground was stagnant and dangerous. Some cast members became ill from filming as the setting was a derelict place full of dirt and rubbish.
  • Randal Kleiser hated the song "You're The One That I Want" saying it "sounded awful".
  • "You're the One That I Want" took just one afternoon to film.
  • Due to a zipper breaking, Newton-John had to be sewn into the trousers she wears in the last sequence (the carnival at Rydell).
  • The final musical scene, "You're the One That I Want", was filmed with the help of a traveling carnival. However, director Kleiser decided the next day that additional scenes were needed for close-ups. Unfortunately the carnival had left town so set decorators were called in to build replica backgrounds, that matched the carnival ride's construction for the close-ups.


  • Harry Reems was originally signed to play Coach Calhoun. Producers got cold feet weeks before filming and replaced him with Sid Caesar.
  • Jeff Conaway had to walk slightly stooped so John Travolta would appear taller.
  • Singer Olivia Newton-John had hardly done any acting before Grease, and was terrified of the idea of playing a lead role in a film musical. The more-experienced John Travolta (who was also a singer) was really supportive though, and sometimes when Newton-John made a mistake during filming, he would make it look like it was his fault and take the blame for it.
  • Henry Winkler, who was playing Fonzie on Happy Days (1974), was originally chosen to play Danny but didn't for fear of being typecast.
  • Marie Osmond turned down the role of Sandy.
  • Set in high school, most of the principal cast were way past their teenage years at the time of filming. John Travolta was 24; Jeff Conaway, Michael Tucci, Barry Pearl, and Didi Conn were all 28; Olivia Newton-John was 29; Jamie Donnelly was 30 and Stockard Channing was the eldest at 34. Dinah Manoff and Lorenzo Lamas were still teenagers; both were 19.
  • When Newton-John was cast as Sandy, her character's background had to be changed to accommodate her own background. In the original Broadway musical Sandy was an all-American girl and her last name was Dumbrowski. In the movie version, she became Sandy Olsson, foreign-exchange student from Australia.
  • John Farrar (Newton-John's frequent songwriter) wrote two new songs for the film while other songs from the Broadway musical were dropped.
  • Carrie Fisher was considered for the role of Rizzo.


  • The film was released in Spain as Brilliantina (Brilliantine) because its English title translated as "fat" in Spanish.
  • For a time, it was the third highest grossing movie of all time behind only Jaws (1975) and Star Wars (1977).
  • In 1988, an Indonesian computer virus named Den Zuk spread. The name comes from the nickname of the author since he resembled the protagonist Danny Zuko.
  • It was released again in theaters in 1998 for a couple of reasons: to mark the 20th anniversary of the original and because the year before, a dance mix of songs from the soundtrack became a big hit on radio.

External links

de:Grease fa:گریس (فیلم) fr:Grease nl:Grease es:Grease

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