Olivia Newton-John's 9 Best Movies & TV Shows, According To Rotten Tomatoes

Olivia Newton-John sadly passed away on August 8th 2022, and her death marks the loss of one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood.

A natural entertainer, Olivia Newton-John first found success as a singer. She produced several albums, won a Grammy, then became a pop-culture icon with her appearance as Sandy in 1978's Grease. After this, she became an international star, and her career went from strength to strength. With a plethora of memorable movies and TV shows to watch, these are considered her best, according to Rotten Tomatoes.


9 Two Of A Kind (1983) - 37%

Olivia Newton John and John Travolta flexing in a promo image for in Two Of A Kind.

A less-discussed collaboration between John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, 1983's Two Of A Kind. The plot follows four angels, desperate to curb God's wrath, who attempt to find good in a pair of young lovers. One, a petty thief (Travolta); the other, a bank teller (Newton-John).

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While it's clearly inferior to their earlier work in Grease, there is little denying the chemistry that Travolta and Newton-John share. While her character is no Sandy, her performance depicts her character as a confident, headstrong young woman, who can stand her own against Travolta's more intimidating side.

8 Sharknado 5: Global Swarming (2017) - 38%

Olivia Newton-John's cameo in Sharknado 5 Global Warning.

​​The fifth entry in the infamous Sharknado franchise, Sharknado 5: Global Swarming reunites audiences with its ragtag group of protagonists. The plot follows our dysfunctional heroes as they head to various locales around the world, struggling to save the world from a "global swarming."

Where does Olivia Newton-John fit into all this? Simple. She appears as Orion, part of the supporting cast, and comes in, guns akimbo, to deal with the sharks falling from the sky. It's a gloriously silly performance befitting of a gloriously silly franchise. To critique it is to miss the point entirely. It's a ridiculous horror comedy. Nothing more and nothing less.

7 Score: A Hockey Musical (2010) - 46%

Noah Reid and Olivia Newton-John in a scene from Score A Hockey Musical.

A rather unconventional musical stroke sports movie Score: A Hockey Musical has a simple premise, but it's one any audience member can get behind. The plot follows a teenage hockey player who, despite never playing professionally in his life, becomes a national sensation.

Olivia Newton-John appears as Hope Gordon and lends her musical talents to this sweet little movie. Her character is kind and supportive of the protagonist, never letting hardships get him down. While there are far flashier movies out there, Score: A Hockey Musical is a warm and inviting musical. Do not be deterred by the low score!

6 Xanadu (1980) - 58%

Kira singing and dancing in Xanadu.

A movie that just screams '80s, Xanadu is an oft-maligned cult classic that doesn't deserve its reputation. The plot follows a struggling artist who becomes fascinated with Kira (Newton-John), whose picture he falls in love with. Upon meeting her, she convinces him to build a roller-skating disco.

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Olivia Newton-John plays Kira with a wide-eyed enthusiasm that helps make Xanadu a playful and carefree movie. Her character has high ambitions and doesn't let things get her down, often turning to song and filling the screen with her smile. As if that wasn't enough, Gene Kelly, a legend of the 'Golden Age of Hollywood', co-stars alongside her. Talk about a great cast!

5 A Christmas Romance (1994) - 64%

A couple talking to two kids in A Christmas Romance.

A made-for-TV movie in the vein of the Hallmark movies of today, A Christmas Romance follows a relationship that blossoms between a widowed mother, financially struggling, and a bill collector, after she comes to his aid when he crashes his car.

Newton-John stars as the aforementioned widow, and plays the part with more commitment than is expected for a made-for-TV movie. Her chemistry with the bill collector, Gregory Harrison, is very endearing, and the movie will give audiences that warm, fuzzy feeling, that feeling only a Christmas rom-com can provide.

4 Glee (2010) - 71%

Olivia Newton-John and Sue Sylvester singing on Glee.

One of the most iconic shows of the 2000s, Glee remains a large part of pop culture to this day. The show tracks an ambitious group of high school misfits, who, under the helm of a passionate Spanish teacher, join the school choir.

Olivia Newton-John appears as herself in a number of episodes, playing a (very) exaggerated version of herself: rude, mean, and utterly thoughtless. She is a good sport, going along with the jokes with good spirits. She also contributes to the music of the show, singing the theme and even giving a rendition of "Physical," her '80s smash-hit.

3 A Mom For Christmas (1990) - 72%

Olivia Newton-John in the poster for A Mom For Christmas.

Directed by George Miller, though, not to be confused with Mad Max's George Miller, A Mom For Christmas is a sweet and wholesome family movie. The plot follows a young girl who wants a mother, and finds her wish granted when a store mannequin (Newton-John) comes to life!

Newton-John plays the titular mum perfectly: as a fish out of water. Being a mannequin, she doesn't understand the more complex human emotions, leading to some amusing moments and misunderstandings. For those with young children, or for those who enjoy some light entertainment, this is a perfect watch.

2 Sordid Lives (2001) - 85%

The cast of Sordid Lives.

A pitch-black comedy that knows what it is and is proud of it, Sordid Lives follows a range of Texan eccentrics, whose lives intertwine when they meet to mourn the loss of the family matriarch. What follows is... not the average funeral.

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Amongst a wildly varied cast of characters is Olivia Newton-John, who plays Bitsy Mae Harling, a singer with a reputation. She, once again, lends her musical talents to the movie, whilst also fitting in perfectly with this madcap bunch of characters. For anyone who's unsure of her range as an actress, this movie will prove otherwise.

1 Grease (1978) - 87%

Sandy's makeover in Grease.

One of the most quotable movies of all time, Grease is an absolute classic. The movie takes place on the grounds of a high school in the 1950s and follows the whirlwind summer romance between Danny Zuko, played by John Travolta, and Sandy Olsen, played by Olivia Newton-John.

It is inarguable to say that Grease is the definitive Olivia Newton-John movie, as her portrayal of Sandy is what made her the household name she is today. Her switch from the wholesome exchange student of the first act to the "bad girl" of the third highlight her versatility as an actress. With infectiously catchy songs and enough charm to get a smile on anyone's face, Grease is a must-watch.