John Travolta: Tony Manero vs. Danny Zuko

One actor. Two film roles. You tell us which portrayal was the best. The most memorable. Or iconic. Or simply your favorite.

But before you pass judgment, a few words defending the “character” of each…

The case for Tony Manero

The strut. The suit. The hair (my God, that hair). Mention the word “disco” and who’s face pops immediately into your mind? That’s right: Tony Manero, John Travolta’s Brooklyn bad boy who has Saturday Night Fever. Like Manero when he cuts a rug, there is no competition between the two characters. Manero wipes the (dance) floor with Zuko.

The case for Danny Zuko

No competition, huh? Five reasons why you should be hopelessly devoted to Zuko. First of all, lest we forget Manero LOST the dance contest. Second, disco sucks. Third, if Grease is the word then Danny Zuko is the personification of said word. Fourth, the ‘50s teen greaser and leader of the T-Birds at Rydell High is way more fun than the sullen paint store clerk. And lastly, disco sucks.

Now that you’ve heard the arguments for both it’s time to render your verdict!

  • SoonerAlfie

    . If one looked at character alone, Manero had it over Zuko, who presented himself as one type of person for Newton-John, and yet “Mr. Cool” for the T-Birds and all other schoolmates. Manero was Manero, 24/7, with no pretense. Actually, these two are too close to call…. they remain memorable roles for Travolta, and each had special merits. Besides, I still like disco!

  • Wayne P.

    I like both characters and he can act and dance well but some of the stars from golden age of the studios could truly do it all, including singing, even better!

  • dog888k

    Disco Lives. In Grease Danny and Sandi riding in Greased Lightening float off into the clouds and who knows if they come back to earth some time. Tony stays on the ground and has an earthbound future of some kind.

    • kp22kc

      Tony went on to be in the horrible Staying Alive, where he was trying to be a Broadway dancer.

  • Chad David

    Tony Manero. This was definately John Travolta’s signature role!

  • fbusch

    Never liked Disco, and didn’t own a leather jacket in High school. But, travolta does a great job “being” both characters. It took many years to erase the teenybopper face, but as a more mature person, he demos both everyman and pure evil adroitly. (never did get the connection between fever and that other dance flick). My high school days were in the ’50’s, so hotrods and switchblades were all around me. But most of the people I knew were in the middle and not at either extreme.

  • ljw

    I love DISCO! The couple are least dancing together in sinc and not doing their own thing all over the dance floor. And I equally enjoy the movie Grease and the enthusiasm of the characters. Zuko is a closet romantic! Women do appreciate a romantic man!!!

  • Bruce Reber

    I’ve seen both SNF and Grease, and I have to go with Danny Zuko (I always thought it was Zucco) IMO a 50’s high school tough guy greaser in a black leather jacket beats a 70’s Disco stud in a white suit any time! Also, Zuko reminds me a lot of Vinnie Barbarino, leader of the Sweathogs played by John Travolta on the 70’s TV sitcom Welcome Back Kotter.