Although I thought they were two very different movies. To my surprise, ‘Grease’ and ‘The Outsiders’ do have some very similar characteristics. Even though the genres are different, they have similar themes. Not surprisingly, sound and lighting had almost no similarities. However; camerawork is very similar at various points of the two films.
‘Grease’ and ‘The Outsiders’ are very similar in numerous ways: Both movies involve gangs, the struggle to fit in and peer-group pressure. Alcohol also plays a major part in both movies. In ‘Grease’ for example, the T-Birds spike the punch at the school dance. In ‘The Outsiders’, most of the Socs have a drinking problem and we see them drunk throughout a lot of the movie. Even though these films have similar themes, their genres are quite different. ‘Grease’ is a light hearted Musical, whereas ‘The Outsiders’ is a Drama. As mentioned earlier in the paragraph, gangs are prominent in both movies, however; they settle their differences in a different way. In ‘The Outsiders’, the gangs face off in a fight, or as they refer to it in the film a “Rumble”. In ‘Grease’, the gangs have a car race at “Thunder Road”.
There are almost no similarities between the plots of these two movies. ‘Grease’ is based around a love story of two teenagers trying to find a place to fit in. The main character Danny Zucco is struggling to juggle his split personality. When he is around his fellow gang members he acts “cool” and tough. Around his girlfriend Sandy he is a sweet, sensitive guy. Peer-pressure from his friends does not allow him to act this way around Sandy when they are there. We see this at the Bonfire. ‘The Outsiders’ is completely different. It is based on a fourteen year old boy named Ponyboy. He is a member of a gang called the Greasers and they are struggling to survive in a part of town where family support is minimal, and gang life is everything. The Greasers are fairly poor and come mainly from dysfunctional families. Their rival gang the Socs are rich, have fancy cars, are popular at school and are respected. The only likeness here is that of trying to fit in.
Both movies tend to have similar characters at various times. For example, both movies main characters are gang members. The Greasers seem to be a cross between the T-Birds and the Scorpions from ‘Grease’. They are soft inside like the T-Birds, but can be very rough like the Scorpions. All three gangs usually wear denim and leather. The Socs from ‘The Outsiders’ and the Jocks and Cheerleaders from ‘Grease’ are also alike. They are very clean cut, where stylish clothes and are up to date with fashion. Though both movies are about gangs as mentioned previously you kind of get the idea that the T-Birds are harmless.
Conversely the Greasers and the Scorpions are street wise, and carry knives and other weapons. Even though Kenickie from ‘Grease’ has a knife we get the feeling he would never use it, much like Ponyboy from ‘The Outsiders’. Another connection the Greasers have with the T-Birds is how they both struggle to show emotion. We see this in ‘Grease’ outside the garage when Danny and Kenickie give each other a hug, then quickly pull back after they realise what they are doing. In ‘The Outsiders’, we see an example when Dally is trying to deal with Johnny’s death and starts hitting walls. He then storms out and takes out his frustrations on the owner of a store and subsequently robs it.
For the majority of the two films, sound is completely different. ‘Grease’ is a musical comedy and therefore has lively and happy music most of the time. The lyrics in some of the songs even add to the storyline and play a big part in the film. ‘The Outsiders’ on the other hand has little music. It is not a significant part of the movie. You will occasionally hear popular music from the 60’s era, which is the time this movie is based. ‘Grease’ also has popular music from the 60’s as it is also based throughout this time. However; it also has music written and composed especially for this film. Even though music is not a big part of ‘The Outsiders’, some forms of sound can be. In the movie Ponyboys parents died in a train accident, so every time something dramatic happens, we hear a train whistle to inform us that something important is about to happen or has happened.
At times, the camerawork in the films are quite similar. They both have close-ups at dramatic and vital moments and when people are talking. They both have wide shots to introduce a new setting and both movies have scenes with superimposed images. During ‘Grease’, it has one when Sandy and Danny sing “Summer Loving” and when Sandy sees Danny’s face in the pool while she sings, “Devoted to you”. ‘The Outsiders’ has the scene when Ponyboy is reading Johnny’s letter that he wrote to him just before he died. We see images of Dally and himself on either side of Ponyboy.
There are no existent similarities between the two films in terms of lighting. ‘Grease’ tends to be much brighter than ‘The Outsiders’ which is very dark and foggy. There are some scenes in ‘Grease’ where it is dark, but rarely do we feel that the mood of the film is dark. It is still light hearted and happy. For example, at the school dance during the “Moon” scene, it is pitch black, although the emotion this scene gives is the complete opposite. An example of the dark, foggy light from ‘The Outsiders’, is just prior to and during the rumble. The lighting sets the mood for what we are about to see.
Overall, these seemingly different films have quite a lot in common. Though at times, their differences are vast upon closer analysis we can clearly see that these movies are very similar, despite having different plots and genres.