Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
Saturday Night Fever
Nineteen-year-old Tony Manero lives for Saturday nights at the local disco, where he's king of the dance floor. But outside of the club, things don't look so rosy. At home, he fights constantly with his father and has to compete with his family's starry-eyed view of his older brother, a priest. Then, he meets Stephanie at the disco and they agree to dance together in a competition. Stephanie resists Tony's attempts to romance her, as she aspires to greater things; she is moving across the river to Manhattan. Gradually, Tony also becomes disillusioned with the life he is leading and he and Stephanie decide to help one another to start afresh
There are movies that manage to capture the times they are portraying perfectly. Saturday Night Fever is so seventies you can almost smell the Hai Karate and Brut oozing from the pores of John Travolta's Tony Manero, the undisputed king of disco dancing in his native Brooklyn. That however is where the fairy-tales of the local kid from the neighborhood branching out as a star end. This isn't Glee, there are no happy endings here among the flick-knives and the tortured Catholic upbringing of our Italian/American brothers. Travolta and his brooding good looks and snake-like hips do catch the eye on the dance-floor, but this is about so much more than just that. Yes there are some incredible dance sequences…
Review In A Nutshell:
Saturday Night Fever follows the story of a young man from Brooklyn, Tony Manero, who has a passion for dancing and frequently hangs out with his friends. He then signs himself up in a dancing competition hosted in his favorite club, 2001 Odyssey, with a talented woman who loves dancing as much as he does.
A few years ago, when I was around 15-16 years old, I was into the trends that were found during the time, and one of those included dancing. Most of my life during that time was preoccupied by these trends as I truly wanted to be perfect at it, and show my "skills" off with any chance I get. Though I…
Future viewings will determine if the slight reservations I have with this are actually just reservations with the disco aesthetic itself. Either way, this is a pretty masterful, harrowing character study that somehow sneaked its way into the pop culture fabric in a way that few harrowing character studies do (this is like the disco Taxi Driver!). Good movie, wish I'd first watched it years ago.
I watched this so that I could watch Staying Alive, and I'm watching Staying Alive so that I can listen to the new episode of How Did This Get Made (a tremendously funny movie podcast) where they cover it. I'm sure Staying Alive will be just the worst. But hey, this was pretty good.
it's a little troublesome that there doesn't seem to be any honor here in a working-class life, presented as an almost entirely hopeless dead end, something to be escaped at all costs. but if the men in this community feel like they've got limited options, the movie goes out of its way to alert you to the trap women (and minorities) are facing. the guys shirk responsibility with alarming regularity: leaving the priesthood, quitting a job or being unemployed, you can get out of that stuff as long as you don't get "tied down" by an unplanned pregnancy. but for the women "either you're a nice girl, or you're a cunt". pretty quietly crushing, especially a late, momentary contrast between disco nightclub lights and those on a squad car.
There are still some people out there labouring under the misapprehension that Saturday Night Fever is essentially Grease at the disco, a teenybopper delight crumbling under the weight of cheese and stereotype that in hindsight we now view the disco phenomenon as hopelessly being in possession of.
These people have clearly never actually seen Saturday Night Fever.
It's a grubby, foul mouthed, shocking blue collar delight about a man who lives for his weekends. He may be a loser day to day, but he's a king in the clubs, with all the arrogance and crassness that such a lofty position among your contemporaries entails - it's a working class dream and its message of momentary pleasures gleaned from the very depths of a scummy, over populated inner city existence still resonates to this day.
Like Mean Streets with dancing.
Hilarious because its that silly at times but its meant to be that way that makes Saturday night fever an awesome movie that makes you care about your hair well some people.
This is certainly a film we should love no matter what, John Travolta, gives his finest performance ever. This is a grand picture, loved each and every frame of it.
Saturday Night Fever is probably one of the most innovative musicals I've ever seen because it manages to root itself in reality, instead of becoming a LaLa Land Musical. This film focuses on highlighting the key aspects of a musical, the bright lights, the dancing, the wardrobe, the relationship proxy, yet no singing. That's because Saturday Night Fever is a deconstructed musical, it repackages the best elements of the genre in a way that gives the narrative greater meaning and as a result showcases the songs instead of revolving around them. This allows characters to deal with bigger struggles then a typical musical, morality comes more into question, desperation is met, faith is tested and family is disbanded. The cherry on top of all this movie magic, is John Travolta's insanely good dance moves!
Even though I was unsure if I'd ever seen the entire film before, I knew it went to dark places but wasn't expecting things to get that dark. I'm not sure how well those darker moments sit alongside the lighter and more iconic moments which, to someone the same age as the film, appeared to perfectly embody the 70s and disco.
How do you wash down a cheeseburger with coffee??? This is a pretty remarkable movie, though. Sublimely carefree one moment and bitterly ugly the next.
A mess - tonally jarring with its packaged genres & attributes (disco, violent & profane detestable thugs, romance, coming of age, sexism, racism, homophobia, rape, etc... and yet as a time capsule of the 70's - which it tries so hard to pinpoint with posters of popular film releases of the era like Serpico and Rocky - the sum is better than its parts), with a flawed narrative (subplot-wise - the priest brother who abandoned the church in particular was just superfluous, accomplishing at most a liberating juxtaposition with John Travolta's lead character as the black sheep of their family... and then there's that annoying brusque conclusion which left me producing an audible ''ha, is that really the end?'' comment to myself)…
John Travolta plays a Brooklyn disco master looking for a break. The two hours run time absolutely flies by, and the film literally glows brighter than most of the outfits, but it's also surprisingly steely in its depiction of the '70s disco subculture with homophobic, sexual and even racist overtones in places.
That said, not all of it feels finished, with some story arcs being let go entirely in the third act. The soundtrack is great though, as is the choreography and cinematography, particularly in the scenes that matter - those on the floor.
One of the most famous, commercially successful, and iconic movies from the 1970s, Saturday Night Fever was even better than expected. Its soundtrack, whether you like disco music or not, is legendary and culturally relevant, as well as the film itself. John Travolta's performance is arguably the best of his career and once I saw him in this, I understood why Tony Manero is often considered his signature role, and well, few actors have had a better breakthrough performance.
At first I found it pretty hard to sympathize with the main character since he was very unlikeable at the beginning. He was a loser and an idiot at the same time and his friends were just like him. At the…
Can four songs make a movie? Hardly, I'd say. A film that earned its place in collective pop culture history due to its use of a few songs by The Bee Gees hasn't got much else to offer. I actually watched this film because I recently watched the Chilean film Tony Manero which is a film about a man in the Chile of Pinochet who is obsessed with the onscreen persona of John Travolta. If you want to go dark and dirty, pick that movie instead of Saturday Night Fever. This film tells the story of a young Italian American, stuck in life and balancing his personality between traditional family and trashy friends. His main source of joy is his…
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Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!