Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Saturday Night Fever
The movie significantly helped to popularise disco music around the world, and made Travolta a household name. The soundtrack, featuring disco songs by the Bee Gees, was also hugely popular. See Saturday Night Fever soundtrack
The actual plot of the movie has been largely forgotten by history behind the music, dancing, and the perceived coolness of Travolta's image as the polyester-clad dancer. In fact, it is basically a rather gritty coming-of-age tale, as Tony Manero (Travolta), along with his friend and dancing partner, Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney), decides to leave behind the grit of his uneducated, working-class life in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and move with her to Manhattan.
The story is based upon a 1975 New York Magazine article by Nik Cohn, "Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night". In the late 1990s, Cohn acknowledged that the article had been completely fabricated. A newcomer to the United States and a stranger to the disco lifestyle, the British Cohn was unable to make any sense of the subculture he had been assigned to write about. The characters who were to become Tony Manero and his friends sprang solely from his imagination.
There are two versions of the film: the "original" R version and the PG "edited version". The R-rated version is 119 minutes. The PG-rated version was released in 1978 as an attempt to attract a more youthful audience. It is 112 minutes, with profanity dubbed over and several scenes shortened or cut. Both are on VHS, but only the R-rated version is on DVD.
A sequel, Staying Alive, was released in 1983; this sequel also starred John Travolta reprising his Tony Manero role from the first movie.
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