Critique of “Grease” (1978 film)

Grease follows an Australian girl, Sandy, who is in love with a Brooklyn boy, Danny, and the love triangle Sandy goes through with Danny and another guy. Other characters, such as the girls who call themselves the pink ladies and the guys who call themselves the thunderbirds, play major roles as well.


Danny as a character

As Sandy switches from dating him and another boy, Danny’s attitude changes, too. For example, after the sporting event that Sandy cheered at as a cheerleader, Danny gave Sandy a hard time in a “silly” way, which left her in tears.

But, of course, he has lots of perks. I liked the Romeo & Juliet reference right after the “Sandra Dee” number, when he asked Sandy, “Wherefore art thou Sandy?” Ha, ha, Shakespeare never gets tiring. The scenes where Danny is struggling with sports tryouts were great, as well. Anyone who wants to improve their athletic skills would really relate to him there.

The cartoons shown within the movie

I also didn’t expect a lot of cartoons within the movie, like what the characters watched, as well as how the film’s opening sequence worked. I really admire the old-fashioned 2D cartoons from the mid- to late twentieth century more than the CG animation today, especially because 3D animation is pretty much the only kind for movies these days. This was one of those moments.

The musical numbers

Who couldn’t acknowledge this? The musical numbers are amazing. I love the songs, “You’re the One that I Want,” “Sandra Dee,” “Beauty School Dropout,” “We Go Together,” and “Summer Nights.”

The song, “You’re the One that I Want” sounds like a pop song from the 70s—probably because it was only in the movie, and not the stage performance version of it. “We Go Together” and “Summer Nights” are also fun and catchy due to their fast paces and messages.

Although I enjoyed “Beauty School Dropout” and “Sandra Dee,” the messages are inconsiderate, especially “Sandra Dee.” Rizzo, one of the girls in the “pink ladies,” sings it to make fun of Sandy for fearing things, like ear-piercing, which was considered dangerous in the 50s. The lyrics might be obnoxious, but the song is still fun.

As for “Beauty School Dropout,” Frenchy, another “pink lady,” worries about quitting beauty school, and wonders what a guardian angel would say. For some reason, her envision is a man in the sky, along with some female clients who are supposed to get makeovers, telling her that she’ll have to go back to high school.


Some song lyrics in “Summer Nights” being unnecessarily nosy

I noticed that some of the questions in “Summer Nights” are rude to ask in real life. A couple of examples include “How much dough did he spend?” (shouldn’t Jan, another “pink lady,” have been taught not to ask money-related questions long before the events of this movie) or “Did she put up a fight?”

I guess trying to fit in, “That’s none of your business” into the lyrics would’ve been out of place felt forced. After all, the characters didn’t intend to be nosy about Danny and Sandy’s personal moments.

But Grease isn’t a kid’s movie. So, audiences will probably know the boundaries of what is okay in real life and what stays on the screen.

When a gay boy, dressed like a “nerd” was mistreated

There is a scene where a bunch of boys pick on this guy who wears glasses and dressed up a little bit more than those in street clothes. That kind of bullying has happened countless times after this movie.

Yet, standards were different. That meant stereotypes—such as a boy wearing glasses, and business-casual attire, like collared shirts, being considered nerdy—was normal and okay to do.

During the dance scene, where all couples have to be boy and girl, that same kid is mistreated again, and likely shamed for possibly being gay. One boy says, “Sorry,” to him—and in a way that makes him feel worse.

I get it. This takes place in the 50’s and was filmed in the 70’s, both of when being gay, lesbian, transgender, or gender-neutral was beyond out-of-the-question. However, watching something like that in a time when homosexuality and having different gender-identities are now acceptable (and have made progress sinxe the early 2010s) can be a bit insensitive.

I’m asexual and proud to call myself female both biologically and identity-wise. But I do have full empathy with homosexual and bisexual people as well as those who see themselves as different genders than how they were identified at their births.

Neither a strength nor a weakness

The sky-drive scene

The scene where Danny and Sandy drive into the sky was quite interesting. Not too long ago, there was a conspiracy theory about Sandy being dead during much of the movie. I don’t know if it’s true, though (I hope not). I do know that there’s a sequel to Grease, which I didn’t see.


I approached the movie not knowing the whole plot, even though I saw a live production of Grease at a local theater with camp when I was 13. But I don’t remember everything there.

I rate Grease 4 out of 5 stars. Although something about the film didn’t engage me fully, I enjoyed the story and musical numbers as well as the characters.

Published by Sunayna Prasad

I enjoy writing stories, creating artwork, watching movies and TV shows, cooking, and traveling. These are the topics of my posts. I also publish books, where you can learn about them on my website, Be sure to copy and paste the link and subscribe to my newsletter on the email list button on the homepage.

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