Friday, December 16, 1977

Saturday Night Fever premiered in U.S. theaters

December 16, 1977

Saturday Night Fever premiered

This 1977 drama told the story of Brooklynite Tony Manero, played by John Travolta. It made him a household name and earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. His character lived with his unsupportive parents and worked a dead-end hardware store job. However, his weekends were devoted to dancing at the local discotheque.

British writer Nik Cohn provided the inspiration for the movie with his 1976 New York magazine article “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night”. Cohn was a newcomer to the United States and a stranger to the disco lifestyle. Unable to grasp the subculture which he was expected to write about, he fabricated the article based on a Mod acquaintance. WK

The film was considered by many critics to be one of the best movies of 1977. It was featured in The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made and in 2010 was selected to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. The DMDB ranks it as one of the top 50 music movies of all time.

The movie has been largely credited with popularizing disco around the world. The soundtrack, which prominently featured the Bee Gees, was one of the best-selling albums of all time and ranks #2 on the DMDB’s list of the top soundtracks of all time. In fact, the film was the first example of cross-media marketing with a single being used to promote the film before its release. WK

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First posted 12/16/2011; updated 12/12/2023.

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