It's 1958, summer is over and the hormonally-charged seniors of Rydell High are reluctantly returning to school, ready to fall back in with old friends and trade stories of the previous months' conquests. Danny Zuko, leader of a local greaser gang called the T-Birds, brags to his crew about nights of passion spent on the beach with a mystery girl. Elsewhere, sweet Sandy Olsson - the new girl in town - is taken under the wing of the no-nonsense Pink Ladies and shares fond memories of a brief romance with an unknown sweetheart.
When it turns out that Danny and Sandy's mismatched tales are about each other, Sandy is humiliated, and Danny has to win her back. To do so, he'll have to negotiate all of the romantic rites of passage a teenager in America's golden age could imagine: jiving school dances, awkward drive-in movies, deadly drag-races and the looming threat of graduation.