Nineteen-year-old Brooklyn native Tony Manero lives for Saturday nights at the local disco, where he's king of the club, thanks to his stylish moves on the dance floor. But outside of the club, things don't look so rosy. At home, Tony fights constantly with his father and has to compete with his family's starry-eyed view of his older brother, a priest. Nor can he find satisfaction at his dead-end job at a small paint store. However, things begin to change when he spies Stephanie Mangano in the disco and starts training with her for the club's dance competition. Stephanie dreams of the world beyond Brooklyn, and her plans to move to Manhattan just over the bridge soon change Tony's life forever. Written by
The night they take the priest to the club, Tony starts dancing solo (to the song "You Should Be Dancing") and the dance floor clears. His dance partner Connie (the woman in the green dress) is stood up by the stage and standing in place, as are the rest of the dancers off the dance floor as they watch him dance. The lady in the green dress briefly disappears and reappears between shots. See more »
While the movie is more apt to be recalled for its impact on American pop culture, few who watch the movie will ever see beyond the admittedly fantastic dance sequences. As a result, many people might never recognize Saturday Night Fever as perhaps one of the best movies ever made about class struggles among white ethnics.
While his quick study under Denny Terrio for those dance sequences showed a great deal of determination, Travolta's Tony Manero shines in so many other way. The looks of embarrassment and exasperation that his character expresses when confronted with the possibility of working in a Bay Ridge paint store all of his life, or the prejudice and regional chauvinism of his friends, or the behavior of his friends at White Castle or his initial inability to express himself to Stephanie in any way that might impress her, all of these and more contribute to a fully realized character.
While Tony's friends idolize him, the movie never really does, but it does allow empathy for his plight, because even Tony realizes that he is virtually trapped by the current conditions of his existence. While much might be made of the homophobia, racism, and misogyny of the protagonist and his friends, these things are never excused and the movie goes to some lengths to express Tony's own recognition that these are shortcomings in not only his character, but those borne of a provincial mentality which he desperately longs to escape.
Forget those who call this a musical. While the music is an intricate part of the film and setting, Travolta's performance is what sets this film apart.
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