Saturday Night Fever (1977)

R | 118 mins | Drama | 16 December 1977

Director:

John Badham

Writer:

Norman Wexler

Producer:

Robert Stigwood

Cinematographer:

Ralf Bode

Editor:

David Rawlins

Production Designer:

Charles Bailey
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HISTORY

       End credits include the following written statement: “Filmed entirely on location in New York City.”
       An 11 Jun 1976 HR article announced that producer Robert Stigwood purchased the film rights to the 7 Jun 1976 New York article “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night” by Nik Cohn, who was also hired to write the screen adaptation; however, Cohn is not credited onscreen in this role. Filming was scheduled to begin Fall 1976.
       According to a 5 Dec 1997 article in The Times (London), Cohn admitted that he fabricated the story, using composites to create the protagonist, “Vincent,” who was renamed “Tony” for the film.
       A 22 Sep 1976 HR report, which announced John Travolta’s three-picture, $1 million deal with Robert Stigwood, stated that John Avildsen would direct the film and thatprincipal photography was set to start 14 Feb 1977, with a $3 million budget. While HR referred to the film’s title as Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night, a DV news item published the same day listed the picture as Saturday Night.
       On 17 Feb 1977, a DV column stated that John Badham replaced Avildsen as director and production would start in Mar 1977. A 31 Mar 1977 DV column noted Avildsen left due to “conceptual disagreements.”
       A 25 Apr 1977 Box brief reported that principal photography began 14 Mar 1977 and a 25 May 1977 DV news item noted that location shooting in New York City was completed. A 9 Mar 1983 NYT brief stated that Jeff Zinn ... More Less

       End credits include the following written statement: “Filmed entirely on location in New York City.”
       An 11 Jun 1976 HR article announced that producer Robert Stigwood purchased the film rights to the 7 Jun 1976 New York article “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night” by Nik Cohn, who was also hired to write the screen adaptation; however, Cohn is not credited onscreen in this role. Filming was scheduled to begin Fall 1976.
       According to a 5 Dec 1997 article in The Times (London), Cohn admitted that he fabricated the story, using composites to create the protagonist, “Vincent,” who was renamed “Tony” for the film.
       A 22 Sep 1976 HR report, which announced John Travolta’s three-picture, $1 million deal with Robert Stigwood, stated that John Avildsen would direct the film and thatprincipal photography was set to start 14 Feb 1977, with a $3 million budget. While HR referred to the film’s title as Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night, a DV news item published the same day listed the picture as Saturday Night.
       On 17 Feb 1977, a DV column stated that John Badham replaced Avildsen as director and production would start in Mar 1977. A 31 Mar 1977 DV column noted Avildsen left due to “conceptual disagreements.”
       A 25 Apr 1977 Box brief reported that principal photography began 14 Mar 1977 and a 25 May 1977 DV news item noted that location shooting in New York City was completed. A 9 Mar 1983 NYT brief stated that Jeff Zinn was John Travolta’s stand-in and double, including shots during the opening credits sequence as “Tony Manero” walks along 86th Street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York City, but Zinn is not credited onscreen.
       A 14 Dec 1978 HR news story announced that Paramount Pictures Corp. planned to release a PG-rated version of Saturday Night Fever in Mar 1979. That version, which was originally prepared for television, was submitted to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for certification 4 Dec 1978, according to a 12 Jan 1979 LAHExam article.
       Many reviews focused on Travolta’s breakout performance, with the 16 Dec 1977 LAHExam calling the film “the story of a love affair – between John Travolta and the camera.” Travolta received an Academy Award nomination for Actor in a Leading Role. He reprised his role as Tony Manero in Staying Alive (1983, see entry). More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
25 Apr 1977.
---
Box Office
19 Dec 1977.
---
Daily Variety
22 Sep 1976.
---
Daily Variety
17 Feb 1977
p.3.
Daily Variety
31 Mar 1977
p. 1, 6.
Daily Variety
25 May 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Sep 1976
p. 1, 12.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Dec 1977
p. 3, 46.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Dec 1978.
---
Independent Film Journal
23 Dec 1977.
---
LAHExam
16 Dec 1977.
---
LAHExam
12 Jan 1979
Section B, p. 1, 5.
Los Angeles Times
11 Dec 1977
p. 74.
Motion Picture Production Digest
21 Dec 1977.
---
New Republic
11 Feb 1978.
---
New Times
23 Jan 1978
p. 64.
New York
9 Jan 1978
p. 64.
New York Times
16 Dec 1977
p. 10.
New York Times
9 Mar 1983.
---
New Yorker
26 Dec 1977
pp. 59-60.
Newsweek
19 Dec 1977.
---
The Times (London)
5 Dec 1997.
---
Time
19 Dec 1977.
---
UCLA Daily Bruin
10 Jan 1978
p. 15, 17.
Variety
14 Dec 1977
p. 12.
Village Voice
26 Dec 1977
p. 41.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures Presents
A Robert Stigwood Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Gaffer
Key grip
Discotheque lighting provided by
Asst cam
2d asst cam
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Scenic artist
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Set dec/Outside props
Props
MUSIC
Orig mus
Orig mus
Orig mus
Addl mus and adapt
SOUND
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd boom
VISUAL EFFECTS
Main title des
DANCE
Mus numbers staged and choreog
Asst choreog
Dance consultant
MAKEUP
Hair des
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Loc exec
Scr supv
Prod office coord
Extra casting
Unit pub
Tech consultant
Asst to Mr. Stigwood
Asst to Mr. Stigwood
Asst to Mr. Stigwood
Asst to Mr. Badham
Farrah Fawcett poster compliments of
Unit mgr
Asst to exec prod
Secy to dir
Prod auditor
Prod auditor
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Teamster capt
Driver
STAND INS
Stunt coord
John Travolta's double
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the magazine article "Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night" by Nik Cohn in New York Magazine (7 Jun 1976).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
"Night On Disco Mountain," adapted by David Shire from Ussorgsky's "Night On Bald Mountain," courtesy of RSO Records, Inc., Stigwood Music, Inc. and Ensign Music Corp. BMI.
SONGS
"How Deep Is Your Love," courtesy of RSO Records, Inc., Stigwood Music, Inc. (Unichappell Music, Inc.) BMI and Bros. Gibb, B.V., written by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb, performed by the Bee Gees
"Night Fever," courtesy of RSO Records, Inc., Stigwood Music, Inc. (Unichappell Music, Inc.) BMI and Bros. Gibb, B.V., written by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb, performed by the Bee Gees
"Staying Alive," courtesy of RSO Records, Inc., Stigwood Music, Inc. (Unichappell Music, Inc.) BMI and Bros. Gibb, B.V., written by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb, performed by the Bee Gees
+
SONGS
"How Deep Is Your Love," courtesy of RSO Records, Inc., Stigwood Music, Inc. (Unichappell Music, Inc.) BMI and Bros. Gibb, B.V., written by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb, performed by the Bee Gees
"Night Fever," courtesy of RSO Records, Inc., Stigwood Music, Inc. (Unichappell Music, Inc.) BMI and Bros. Gibb, B.V., written by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb, performed by the Bee Gees
"Staying Alive," courtesy of RSO Records, Inc., Stigwood Music, Inc. (Unichappell Music, Inc.) BMI and Bros. Gibb, B.V., written by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb, performed by the Bee Gees
"More Than A Woman," courtesy of RSO Records, Inc., Stigwood Music, Inc. (Unichappell Music, Inc.) BMI and Bros. Gibb, B.V., written by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb, performed by the Bee Gees
"If I Can't Have You," courtesy of RSO Records, Inc., Stigwood Music, Inc. (Unichappell Music, Inc.) BMI and Bros. Gibb, B.V., written by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb, performed by Yvonne Elliman
"More Than A Woman," courtesy of RSO Records, Inc., Stigwood Music, Inc. (Unichappell Music, Inc.) BMI and Bros. Gibb, B.V., written by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb, performed by Tavares
"Manhattan Skyline," composed and arranged by David Shire
"Barracuda Hangout," composed and arranged by David Shire
"Salsation," composed and arranged by David Shire
"K-Jee," courtesy of Philadelphia International Records Inc., Dunbar Music Inc. and Rutri Music, Inc., written by Charles Edward Hearndon, performed by M.F.S.B.
"A Fifth Of Beethoven," courtesy of Private Stock Records, Ltd. and RFT Music Publishing Corp., written by Ludwig Van Beethoven and Walter Murphy, performed by Walter Murphy
"Disco Inferno," courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corporation and Six Strings Music, written by Leroy Green and Tyrone G. Kersey, performed by the Trammps
"Open Sesame," courtesy of Delite Records and Delightful Music Inc., performed by Kool and the Gang
"Dr. Disco," courtesy of RSO Records, Inc. and Stafree Music, performed by Rick Dees
"Disco Duck," courtesy of RSO Records, Inc. and Stafree Music, written and performed by Rick Dees
"Boogie Shoes," courtesy of TK Records and Sherlyn Publishing Company, Inc., written by Harry Wayne Casey and Rick Finch, performed by K.C. and the Sunshine Band
"You Should Be Dancing," courtesy of RSO Records, Inc., Stigwood Music, Inc. (Unichappell Music, Inc.) BMI and Bros. Gibb, B.V., written by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb, performed by the Bee Gees.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night
Saturday Night
Release Date:
16 December 1977
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 16 December 1977
Production Date:
14 March 1977––May 1977 in New York City
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby System®
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
118
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Nineteen-year-old Tony Manero swaggers through the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, on his way to work at a hardware store. His boss, Dan Fusco, likes that Tony charms customers, but he refuses the young man’s request for an advance. At home, Tony primps to go out, then rushes through dinner with his Italian-American parents, Frank, Sr., and Flo, his grandmother, and his younger sister, Linda, all of whom compare him unfavorably to his older brother, Frank, Jr., a Catholic priest. Outside, Tony’s friends Bobby C., Joey, Double J., and Gus, wait in Bobby C.’s car on their way to the 2001 Odyssey discotheque. Crowded and pulsing with music, the Odyssey is where Tony and his friends spend their weekends and their paychecks. Annette, one of the regulars, asks Tony to dance, but he squashes her romantic notions. Later, Tony notices a new girl, Stephanie Mangano. He retreats to another room in the club where Annette joins him, suggesting they be partners for the club’s upcoming dance competition. Tony makes it clear they will need to practice often, and the partnership is strictly about dancing, not dating. Joey interrupts because he wants Tony to get Double J. out of the car, where he is having sex with a girl whose name he does not know. The next morning, the five young men express their cynical views of the future, but Tony learns Fusco has given him a raise. That night, Tony’s father dismisses the pay increase and Tony angrily points out that the raise and the attention he gets for his dancing are the only positive acknowledgements he has ever received. Later, Tony meets Annette at a dance ... +


Nineteen-year-old Tony Manero swaggers through the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, on his way to work at a hardware store. His boss, Dan Fusco, likes that Tony charms customers, but he refuses the young man’s request for an advance. At home, Tony primps to go out, then rushes through dinner with his Italian-American parents, Frank, Sr., and Flo, his grandmother, and his younger sister, Linda, all of whom compare him unfavorably to his older brother, Frank, Jr., a Catholic priest. Outside, Tony’s friends Bobby C., Joey, Double J., and Gus, wait in Bobby C.’s car on their way to the 2001 Odyssey discotheque. Crowded and pulsing with music, the Odyssey is where Tony and his friends spend their weekends and their paychecks. Annette, one of the regulars, asks Tony to dance, but he squashes her romantic notions. Later, Tony notices a new girl, Stephanie Mangano. He retreats to another room in the club where Annette joins him, suggesting they be partners for the club’s upcoming dance competition. Tony makes it clear they will need to practice often, and the partnership is strictly about dancing, not dating. Joey interrupts because he wants Tony to get Double J. out of the car, where he is having sex with a girl whose name he does not know. The next morning, the five young men express their cynical views of the future, but Tony learns Fusco has given him a raise. That night, Tony’s father dismisses the pay increase and Tony angrily points out that the raise and the attention he gets for his dancing are the only positive acknowledgements he has ever received. Later, Tony meets Annette at a dance studio and she offers to make love with him, but Tony again insists the relationship remain platonic. When Tony notices Stephanie practicing in another room, he chases off Annette, but Stephanie is cool toward him. Returning home, Tony finds his family somber as Frank, Jr., the priest, has returned to announce that he is leaving the church. The next day, Tony is energized and invites Stephanie for coffee. She tells him she is not interested in him romantically, pointing out their six-month age difference and the cultural superiority she feels because she works in New York City at a public relations firm. She agrees to be Tony’s partner in the dance competition, but will not date him because he is immature and his life is going nowhere. Tony tells her that he wants to find other ways to experience the high he feels from dancing because the thrill will not last forever. Later, Tony’s friends inform him that Gus is in the hospital after being beaten by a Hispanic gang, the Barracudas. Bobby C. announces that he is getting married, but Tony dismisses the idea. He later informs Annette that he has found another dance partner for the competition. At the rehearsal studio, Tony and Stephanie begin to click, but when Stephanie again declines Tony’s invitation to coffee, he deems her pretentious. When Tony presses to know why they never discuss the romantic feelings that emerge from their dancing, Stephanie says he should have seduced without asking permission first. Later, Tony and his friends bring Frank, Jr., to the discotheque. While Bobby C. confides to Frank, Jr. that his girl friend is pregnant, Tony dances solo and the crowd clears the floor in appreciation. Frank, Jr., is impressed by his brother’s talent. Afterward, Tony is annoyed to learn from the doorman that Stephanie has not arrived. Annette corners Tony and suggests they can be lovers now that they are not dance partners, but Tony dismisses the idea until she threatens to have sex with one of his friends, instead. Tony escorts Annette to Bobby’s car, but their revelry is cut short when he discovers she is not using birth control. Later, the boys and Annette drive to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Tony, Joey, and Double J. climb the support cables and pretend to fall, frightening Annette. In the morning, a car arrives to take Frank, Jr. to a settlement house until he figures out his next move. He counsels Tony to pursue dancing and not let the family limit his dreams. Later, at the studio, Tony chides Stephanie for not going to the discotheque the previous night. After rehearsing, they join Tony’s friends for burgers and the boys’ rowdy behavior embarrasses Tony. Bobby C. hypothetically asks Stephanie what she would do if she was his pregnant girl friend, and she says she would choose an abortion over marriage. The next day, Tony’s boss refuses the boy’s request for the day off, and when Tony takes the day anyway, he is fired. Tony borrows Bobby C.’s car and promises to call his friend later. As Tony helps Stephanie move into her New York City apartment, an older man, Jay Langhart, is moving out. He kisses Stephanie and tells her to keep the furniture since she picked it out. Alone with Stephanie, Tony asks what is going on and she confesses to having an affair with Jay to boost her career. Upset, Stephanie asks Tony to take her back to Bay Ridge, but Tony instead takes her to Shore Park, where he comforts her and demonstrates his extensive knowledge of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Afterward, Tony returns to the hardware store and Fusco gives him back his job, promising the boy a prosperous future. However, Tony observes the men who have worked there for years and is unnerved. Later, Tony finds Stephanie dancing with Pete, the owner of the studio, and leaves, enraged. Outside the 2001 Odyssey, Annette shows Tony a handful of condoms, but he walks away and Annette is crushed. Tony, Bobby C., Double J., and Joey stake out the Barracudas hideout, and Bobby C. tries to tell Tony he has decided to marry pregnant Pauline. Double J. grabs the wheel of Bobby C.’s car and crashes into the clubhouse. A fight ensues with the Barracudas and although Bobby C. hides in the car, he is attacked. Bobby C. puts the car in reverse and drives away. Tony is badly beaten, but Double J. and Joey drag him outside just as Bobby C. returns; however, his friends are angry he left. Tony and the others visit Gus in the hospital only to learn that he is not sure if the Barracudas beat him after all. Cleaned up from the fight, the friends return to the discotheque for the dance competition. An African American couple takes the floor and is treated rudely by the audience. Meanwhile, Annette asks Joey for amphetamines. Tony and Stephanie perform the hustle, during which they share a kiss, and the crowd roars its approval. Next, a Puerto Rican couple dances extremely well, impressing Tony and most of the crowd, but there are scattered jeers. The judges award first place to Tony and Stephanie, followed by the Puerto Ricans. However, Tony is convinced the other couple deserved to win and he accuses his friends of hypocrisy. Tony gives the trophy and prize money to the other couple and takes Stephanie outside to Bobby C.’s car. She rebuffs his sexual advances and they argue. Tony tries to force himself on her and she flees. Double J., Joey, Bobby C. and an intoxicated Annette join Tony in the car. As they drive around Bay Ridge, Joey has sex with Annette in the backseat. Double J switches places with Joey and when Annette realizes that Tony is not going to stop his friends, she begins to cry. At the bridge, Joey and Double J. begin climbing on the support beams as Bobby C. watches. In the car, Tony asks Annette if she really wanted to be treated this way. Intoxicated, Bobby C. joins Joey and Double J. on the beams and Tony tries to talk him down, but Bobby C. rebukes Tony for failing to call him the day of Stephanie’s move. When Bobby C. falls to his death, police interrogate the friends. Tony leaves on foot and rides the subway until morning. In New York City, Tony visits Stephanie’s new apartment. Through the door, he apologizes and she reluctantly invites him in. Tony announces that he is not going back to Bay Ridge and that he intends to get a job in the city. Stephanie is wary, but confesses she enjoyed Tony’s admiration and respect. They agree to be friends. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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