was a phenomenal hit with its target teenage audience when it was released in 1977. The songs dominated the pop charts and brought heady success for its lead actors, John Travolta (Danny) and Olivia Newton-John (Sandy) despite the fact that--as with their energetic co-stars--their own teenage years were some way behind them. As they seize the chance to relive their schooldays, their verve and enthusiasm explodes from the screen. The real class, though, comes from Stockard Channing as feisty Rizzo and, in a couple of cameos, wisecracking silver screen actresses from yesteryear Eve Arden and Joan Blondel.
Based on the 1972 stage show and adding several new numbers, Grease is at heart a rites-of-passage movie with plenty of feel-good moments and a euphoric buzz. "You're the One That I Want", "Hopelessly Devoted to You" and "Summer Nights" became the soundtrack for a generation of high-school students on the cusp of adulthood. Today, it looks like a pastiche of those 1950s Connie Francis rock & roll beach films. But the steady stream of double entendres and knowing body language render it more accessible to the less innocent late 1970s. It's overwhelming nostalgia for anyone in the vicinity of 40.
On the DVD: The 25th anniversary special edition of Grease rolls back the years: the 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation transports you instantly back to fifth-form heaven in the local fleapit. The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound ensures that the songs--ever the staple of MOR radio--complete the nostalgia trip with real zip. The main extra is a short series of fond reminiscences from the actors and director Randal Kleiser, actually filmed for the 20th anniversary. --Piers Ford
John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, Eve Arden, Joan BlondellDirectors: Randal Kleiser