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Saturday Night Fever (1977)

tomatometer

60

Average Rating: 6/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.

audience

72

liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 177,859

My Rating

Movie Info

John Travolta graduated from minor celebrity to superstar with Saturday Night Fever. Travolta plays Tony Manero, a Brooklyn paint-store clerk who'd give anything to break out of his dead-end existence. In life, Tony is a peasant; on the disco dance floor, he's a king. As the soundtrack plays one Bee Gees hit after another (including "Stayin' Alive"), we watch white-suited Tony strut his stuff amidst flashing lights and sweaty, undulating bodies. Tony's class aspirations are mirrored in his

R,

Drama, Musical & Performing Arts, Classics

Nik Cohn, Norman Wexler

Aug 10, 2002

Paramount Pictures

Watch It Now

Cast

Latest News on Saturday Night Fever

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All Critics (41) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (4) | DVD (35)

A small, solid film, made with craft if not resonance.

April 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comment (1)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Travolta's characterization, given the script and directorial demands, is okay. It will please the already-committed; but it won't win him any new fans.

March 5, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety | Comment (1)
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In the end, the real killer is the movie's abject sincerity.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comment (1)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mr. Travolta is deft and vibrant, and he never condescends to the character, not even in a scene that has Tony and Stephanie arguing about whose Romeo and Juliet it is, Zeffirelli's or Shakespeare's.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's a lot in the movie that's sad and painful, but after a few years what you remember is John Travolta on the dance floor in that classic white disco suit, and the Bee Gees on the soundtrack.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a remarkable drama...

November 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Disco drama is not just daaancin' yeah!

December 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Saturday Night Fever's heart is actually in the right place. It's ears, though? That's another story.

May 10, 2009 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine | Comments (3)
Slant Magazine

Today, it's like a kind of '70s jukebox that hasn't quite aged that well.

May 7, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis | Comment (1)
Movie Metropolis

John Badham's film (his best to date), a zeitgeist picture that captures the disco subculture of the 1970s like no other work, features a star-making performance from John Travolta who dominates every frame.

November 29, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

My "how to" book as a teenage.

April 29, 2005
Nolan's Pop Culture Review

strong and engaging

February 7, 2005
Shadows on the Wall

One of the best films of all time

November 18, 2003
Moviehole

It holds up beautifully, mainly because it puts the characters and their flaws first and the disco nightlife second. Travolta remains an amazing, graceful presence on the dance floor.

October 10, 2003 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

The very epitome of 'outdated', but oddly enough that's what makes it such a (mini) classic.

June 23, 2003 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Too bad the kids didn't really jump off that bridge...

April 6, 2003
MovieCrypt.com

Today mostly regarded as disco camp, Saturday Night Fever should rank as one of the great American films.

March 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Few films have managed to capture the spirit of their times as thoroughly and successfully as Saturday Night Fever.

February 10, 2003 Full Review
rec.arts.movies.reviews

Dates as badly as the clothes.

January 22, 2003 | Comments (6)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Travolta's ad-libbing about his hair alone is enough to merit remembering SNF as a classic.

October 26, 2002 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

It's as cool as it gets, but it's also smart and well crafted, and the soundtrack is one of the best ever. Definitively a must-see.

September 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Montreal Film Journal
Montreal Film Journal

Audience Reviews for Saturday Night Fever

I was shocked. This film was way better than I expected. I was tempted to fast-forward the many dance sequences, but around them, John Travolta builds an interesting and compelling character with a performance worthy of its Academy Award nomination. His character, Tony Manero, has Rocky and Serpico posters on the bedroom wall in his parents' Brooklyn home, and he joins his idols as an Italian-American everyman on-screen, breaking free from a traditional family, and learning - when he meets Stephanie, who's leaving Brooklyn for Manhattan thanks to a job at an advertising agency - that his big-fish-in-a-small-pond days may be coming to an end. And though the film culminates in a dance competition, the movie's not about disco dancing at all; it's about class, and upbringing, and social status: a place to stand in the world... but yeah, fast-forward the dance sequences. There are some Bee-Gees songs that deserve to stand the test of time, but those used in this film, if not for this film, would have been otherwise forgettable.
November 27, 2012
danperry17

Super Reviewer

Silly but, for some strange reason, charming.
April 13, 2012
DragonEyeMorrison
Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer

First off, a disclaimer: no, I had never actually seen this before (but still had preconceived notions about it), and I don't really care for the disco scene.

You might be wondering then why I finally decided to give it a chance and watch it. Well, a couple of reasons. As a burgeoning historian wishing to specialize in 20th century pop culture studies, specifically the 60s and 70s, I kinda can't ignore this. Also, even though I'm still not a fan of disco music or dancing, I've grown to respect and appreciate it. Thus, all my old views that this movie was some stupid, cheesy piece of disco kitsch, while still a bit existant, had overtime softened some, and I felt like I would be mature enough to give it a chance, maybe even realize that there's more to it than it seems.

Wouldn't you know it, I ended up being right. It's wrong to just marginalize this movie as disco kitsch. Yes, the disco scene is a major part of it, but it is, really, just the backdrop. If you take away the fashion, music, and dancing ,you'll see that this is really a great coming of age story and touches upon some deep issues that are very important to people. Unfortunately it's the music, fashion, and dancing that were capitalized on in the ad campaigns and seem to be what people would prefer to remember, and I don't think that's right.

Tony Manero is an immature working class 19 year-old who lives with his family in Brroklyn's Bay Ridge neighborhood. By day he works at a paint and hardware store, but every Saturday night, he puts his reality on hold and becomes the king of the local disco, wowing people with his moves, and really living it up. He pals around with a bunch of immature macho thugs, and, while he likes them, you can tell that he really wants more out of life, and knows that he needs to grow up and moe on if he really wants to make his life more fulfilling, perhaps by using his dancing to get the job done.

I wasn't expecting this movie to be a serious drama that does deal with some deep issues as serious subtext. The material is taken seriously, and, while some of this movie is fun (it really is hard to not get swept up in the mess that was the late 70s), there's also a lot of sadness, and some grim and grittty moments that, while uncomfortable, are very much real and unavoidable. If only I would have known from the beginning that this movie was a touching coming of age character study I probably would have been mroe eager to give it a chance sooner.

John Travolta became a star here, and yes, he does give a fantastic performance. He's not the only one, though. Karen Lynn Gorney is great as Stephanie the woman who agrees to partner with Tony for a dance competition. Donna Pescow is really good as a woman who's love for Tony is unrequited, and Val Biscoglio and Julie Bovasso as wonderful as Tony's bickering parents.

The music does grow on you, and in context, the whole disco era does too. It was a messed up time in the world. I'm still not that big on disco tunes, but compared to contemporary club music, this at least comes off as being real music. You really should give this one a chance. You don't have to care about or enjoy disco appreciate this movie. The worst hting you can do is be like me and make unwarranted judgments before actually sitting down and watching this. Give it a shot. Like me, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised by what you see.
September 25, 2011
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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