Australian Council on Children and the Media

Grease

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Not recommended under 13, PG to 15 (Themes, substance use, sexual references and coarse language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Grease
  • a review of Grease completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 29 February 2012.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to themes, substance use, sexual references and coarse language
Children 13 - 15 Parental guidance recommended due to adult themes

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Grease
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Adult themes
Length 123 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Fresh faced Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) meets and falls in love with bad boy Danny (John Travolta) during a beach holiday in late 1950s California. When school goes back they are both surprised to discover that they are at the same high school. Danny however, is worried about his image and can’t be seen to like someone like Sandy, much to her dismay. Danny is leader of the T-Birds, a gang of leather jacketed greasers who love hanging out with ‘chicks’ and riding their motorbikes.

Sandy is befriended by the Pink Ladies, a group of girls led by Rizzo (Stockard Channing). As the term progresses Danny and Sandy both try to change to impress each other and re-kindle the love they found that summer.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Teenage sex and sexuality

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • pushing and shoving in the corridor
  • Danny thumps another boy on the arm
  • Rizzo throws a milkshake at Kenicke (her boyfriend)
  • A fight breaks out on the dance floor – very stylised fighting
  • Kenicke gets accidentally knocked out by a car door
  • During a car race, one driver damages another car with a blade protruding from his car door.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Nothing of concern

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Nothing of concern

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Nothing of concern

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Pepsi
  • Ipana toothpaste
  • Eskimo pie

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Chicks ‘putting out’
  • “Jugs bigger than Annette’s”
  • “Getting in her drawers”
  • “How far did you get?”
  • “Chicks are only good for one thing”
  • Losing your virginity
  • “Gang-bang”
  • Rizzo thinks she’s pregnant and talks of missing a period – there is much gossip about this
  • Sandy is teased by the Pink Ladies for being a virgin

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Rizzo and Kinecki have sex in the car – not much is shown but the condom breaks and they continue regardless
  • Three guys moon (show their bare bottoms) on the dance floor
  • Danny and Sandy kiss passionately
  • Danny tries to touch Sandy’s breast

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Lots of smoking – girls encourage Sandy to smoke
  • Drinking at parties, at home and in the car out of bottles
  • Someone puts aspirin in some coke

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • freakin’
  • crap
  • screws up
  • moron
  • shit
  • arse
  • pussy-wagon

In a nutshell

Grease is a lively and fun musical with now well-known music, dance scenes and comedy which make it enjoyable for adolescents. Parents may be concerned about exposing younger children to the language, smoking, drinking and sexual attitudes shown, particularly the attitudes of the boys to the girls.

The main messages from this movie may be confusing for children. Both Sandy and Danny make changes to their images to attract each other, but in her case this involves dressing like a “bad” girl and taking up smoking - a reversal of the usual “bad makes good” story.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • The inappropriateness of boys viewing girls as sex objects
  • Teasing someone because they’re still a virgin and how this might impact on them.
  • Whether someone’s appearance really tells you much about them
  • The problem of needing to conform and fit in at school.

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