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‘Grease’ Harshly Criticized For Being’ Racist,’ ‘Rapey,’ and ‘Homophobic’

Since 1978, “Grease” has become one of the most iconic musical films in Hollywood. Almost everyone has seen a couple of scenes of the movie at one point in their lives.

But years after its first release, people who rewatched the film or watched it for the first time were not happy with its plot. Most of them find some of the themes offensive.

To recall, the musical film was originally written by Warren Casey and Jim Jacobs for a stage production in 1971. It got its title from the popularity of greasy hair, greasy food, and greasy engines during the 1950s.

Film producer Allan Carr used to host the so-called “Rolodex parties” where he invited the A-L guests in one night, then the M-Z crowd the day after. According to a Vanity Fair report, these events usually take place in an old abandoned jail in Los Angeles.

The film starred Danny Zuko as T-Birds gang leader Danny Zuko and Olivia Newton-John as the Australian immigrant-turned Danny’s girlfriend, Sandy Olsson.

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But originally, Paramount wanted “Happy Days” star Henry Winkler to portray the male lead character, while Carrie Fisher and Marie Osmond almost landed the role of the female lead.

Jeff Conway, who played the role of Danny’s best friend Kenickie, used to play the role of Danny Zuko in the Broadway version of the movie.

The film broke box office records since its release in the US on June 16, 1978. It earned a total of $132,472,560 at the end of the year. It also went on to become the highest-grossing musical at the time after it unseated the 13-year record of “The Sound of Music.”

It also had four songs topping the Billboard Top 10. including “Grease,” “Summer Nights,” “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” and the cult-favorite “You’re the One That I Want.”

While the movie earned massive critical success, some critics were not fond of the movie. Gene Shalit from The Today show called it a “visual junk food,” while the New York Daily News claimed that it must be part of the paper’s obituary page.

Despite its accolades, today’s viewers are also not impressed with the plot featured in the musical film. Some expressed their disappointments on Twitter.

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According to one netizen, the movie is “rapey,” especially in the part when Danny seduced Sandy to makeout. Other Twitter users also pointed out the scene when radio announcer Vince Fontaine, portrayed by Edd Byrnes, blurted out a homophobic comment during the Rydell High dance when he said that same-sex couples are not permitted in the dance.

Other viewers are also uncomfortable with the lack of diversity in the film’s cast.

It is not the first time that the film had been scrutinized for being politically incorrect. In October 2020, Newton-John had to defend the film, saying that it showed a fun story and she never took it seriously.

Whether you love it or hate it, “Grease” will continue to be one of Hollywood’s most memorable musical movies ever produced.

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Lisa Lee
Written By

Lisa Lee is a proud mother of three living in sunny San Diego county. With three children under 10 years old and a pet pug named Daisy, Lisa sure has her hands full. Before starting her career as a family lifestyle writer, Lisa worked as a third grade elementary school teacher. Through her time teaching and parenting, Lisa has become quite the expert at dealing with children and wishes to share her vast knowledge and experiences with other fellow parents.


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