Saturday Night Fever Never Dies

This week, Saturday Night Fever was released across the U.S. and Canada. The film was directed by John Badham and starred a young John Travolta as Tony Manero. To refresh your memory, Manero is a skirt-chasing Italian-American living in a rough part of Brooklyn. He lives at home with his squabbling parents and works a dead-end job at a hardware store. It is not quite the life of excitement one hopes for, but this all changes on Saturday nights. Every Saturday, Tony visits a local discotheque where he rules the dance floor and temporarily escapes his otherwise mundane life.

As we all know, the film was a massive commercial success, taking in more than $3 million on its opening weekend alone. The film also propelled John Travolta into superstardom. After his starring role in the film, he officially graduated from actor to movie star.

Any conversation about this movie usually ends up on the topic of disco music – it was arguably the most significant element of the entire movie. As a result, disco fever spread like wildfire in the winter of 1977 and marked a new era of pop music. The movie’s soundtrack, which was primarily composed by the Bee Gees, held the record for best-selling soundtrack of all time for several years. The album included six U.S. No. 1s, and it topped the charts for 24 weeks in the U.S., 18 weeks in the U.K. and single-handedly resurrected the career of the Bee Gees, making them one of the biggest pop groups of the late 1970’s.

SNF had a tremendous cultural impact and ultimately defined the era. It not only had transcending effects on the music and film industry but it dictated the fashions of an entire generation. In an attempt to embody the feeling of the flick, people everywhere wore platform shoes, big hair, the token white three-piece suit and T-strap shoes. Star Wars was another major film release of 1977 and, I don’t know about you, but I don’t recall very many people dressing like storm troopers or Jedi knights on a daily basis.

Saturday Night Fever deals with a variety of complex issues. Whether you loved it or hated it, there’s just no denying that it affected you.

– Brooke Benjamin