The movie that made John Travolta a star and propelled The Bee Gees to the top of the charts. An enthralling mixture of working class realism and dance floor euphoria, Saturday Night Fever was a box office smash, coming in on the heels of Star Wars and Close Encounters. Travolta is Tony Manero, a Brooklyn born and bred Italian American. By day he works in a paint store. At night, he struts his stuff on the dance floor. He’s a crude macho narcissist, yet Travolta shows us his vulnerability and his charm. This new school musical isn’t so very different from the old school, but it has bags of energy and feels true to its place and time.
It’s Tony’s pent-up physicality – his needing to dance, his becoming himself only when he dances – that draws us into the pop rapture of this film. The mood, the beat, and the trance rhythm are so purely entertaining…
This isn’t simply a story about two people who win the dance prize and fall in love. It’s about the poverty of imagination and opportunity in Italian-American life, about families without much hope.
David Thomson, Have You Seen…?
August 24 only: Introduction from UBC educator William Brown
Ralf D. Bode
The Bee Gees
More Films in This Series
Dog Day Afternoon
Based on a true story of a New York bank robbery which turned into a hostage siege (and a media spectacle), Sidney Lumet's gripping movie showcases a bravura performance from Al Pacino as the homosexual, married, unhappy, decent, confused bank robber.
The biggest hit from the 70s phase of Brian De Palma's career, Carrie takes Stephen King's horror novel about a troubled telekinetic teen and weaves it into a purely cinematic rhapsody of angst and (retali-)elation, what Pauline Kael termed "a terrifyingly lyrical thriller".
All the President's Men
This gripping account of Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's investigation into the Watergate break-in is a masterclass of cinematic craft from director Alan J Pakula (Klute; The Parallax View) and DP Gordon Willis (The Godfather).
The Parallax View
The most lucid and ingenious, the most deeply, creepily satisfying of paranoia thrillers, Alan J. Pakula's film posits an assassination corporation. Reporter Joe Frady (Warren Beatty) is on to Them, or so he believes…
A passion project for producer-star Warren Beatty, this frothy boudoir comedy of Beverly Hills manners views its hairdresser hero's bed-hopping with a certain sadness. Goldie Hawn, Julie Christie, Lee Grant and Carrie Fisher come along for the ride.