Trivia: SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER
When shooting the opening sequence of the film where John Travolta walks down a Brooklyn street to the Bee Gees' song "Stayin' Alive," the song was actually played so that Travolta would be able to keep his step in synch with the music.
In the opening scene when Tony orders two slices of pizza, it is John Travolta's sister Ann who plays the pizza vendor.
John Travolta's mother Helen plays the woman customer in the hardware store in the beginning of the film dressed in black and wearing glasses. On the DVD commentary director John Badham recalled that because she was Travolta's mother, she got first class treatment. "Here's a woman with two lines of dialogue who got more treatment than Jack Nicholson would get on a movie."
Despite the success of Saturday Night Fever, director John Badham actually got fired from his next project because of the film. "One executive was so horrified by the tone of [Saturday Night Fever], and he figured that I was going to make a movie for him that was just as vulgar and just as ugly," he explains in the DVD commentary.
John Travolta had a natural tendency to put on weight easily, so he had to work extremely hard to stay slim while making Saturday Night Fever.
The actress who plays John Travolta's grandmother, Nina Hansen, kept trying to increase the size of her part in the film according to director John Badham. "...she kept writing new scenes for me and every morning would bring me new scenes between her and John that we were somehow supposed to do, and she was miraculously good at trying to pad her part...never did understand why we couldn't do them."
The disco in the film, the 2001 Odyssey, was a real disco in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. It has since closed.
Film critic Gene Siskel (of Siskel and Ebert fame) always considered Saturday Night Fever to be his favorite film of all time. Siskel even purchased one of Travolta's famous white suits worn during the dance contest finale of the film at a 1979 charity auction. When Siskel bought it, John Travolta wrote the following inscription on the suit's lining to him: "Gene, so here's to a classic. Your friend, John Travolta."
Fran Drescher of television's The Nanny fame is the girl who asks Tony in the film, "Are you as good in bed as you are on the dance floor?" It was her first speaking part in a film.
In the scene in which Tony and Stephanie are interrupted at the White Castle burger joint by Tony's buddies, director John Badham used real White Castle employees in the background to give the scene an air of authenticity.
John Travolta improvised the famous lines at the dinner table with his family, "Would you just watch the hair? You know, I work on my hair a long time and you hit it. He hits my hair." It was a spur of the moment decision from Travolta. "I just came up with that on the spot," he said, "because he hit my head so hard when he whacked it that it stung and I just thought wouldn't it be funny if this character thought it was more upsetting that his hair was messed up than his head was throbbing."
Saturday Night Fever was followed by an unsuccessful sequel in 1983 called Staying Alive in which Tony becomes a professional dancer on Broadway. It was directed by Sylvester Stallone.
Saturday Night Fever was based on a 1976 New York magazine article by Nik Cohn called "Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night." In it, Cohn chronicled the life of a Brooklyn teenager named Vincent as he blew off steam at a local disco every weekend. Vincent was supposedly a real person, but 20 years later Cohn admitted that Vincent was a figment of his imagination. "He is completely made up, a total fabrication," Cohn admitted in a 1996 interview with the New York Times.
When Saturday Night Fever was originally released in 1977 it received an "R" rating, which legally excluded any audience member under the age of 17 from enjoying it on the big screen. However, in 1979 the film was re-edited down to a "PG" version and released in theaters so that younger viewers could enjoy it. When asked by the New York Times if the edited version of the film would have the same impact as the original, Paramount chairman Barry Diller responded, "I don't know. It is not the same film because it doesn't have the impact of that raw reality. Is it as good a film? I doubt it, but at the same time, I don't think people who go to see the PG version will be cheated. They'll see the same story, hear the same music, see John Travolta-although he'll be more like the Travolta they've seen in Grease."
John Badham did not want to use professionals as the background dancers at the 2001 Odyssey disco, which upset many Broadway trained dancers who wanted to appear in the film. Instead, he wanted amateur talent, mostly from New York neighborhoods, who would look more realistic dancing in a Bay Ridge disco.
Actress Donna Pescow auditioned six times to win the role of Annette, the neighborhood girl who has a hopeless crush on Tony.
Saturday Night Fever helped usher in a whole new wave of soundtrack-based dance films that dominated the 1980s, including Flashdance (1983), Footloose (1984) and Dirty Dancing (1987).
Famous Quotes from SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER
"Would ya just watch the hair? Ya know, I work on my hair a long time and you hit it. He hits my hair." Tony (John Travolta)
"You make it with some of these chicks, they think you gotta dance with them." -- Tony
"Can I wipe your forehead?" Doreen (Denny Dillon) to Tony.
"Nice move. Did you make that up?"
"Yeah, well I saw it on TV first, then I made it up."
Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney) / Tony
"Four dollars? You know what four dollars buys today? It don't even buy three dollars!" Tony's dad Frank, Sr. (Val Bisolglio) to Tony (commenting on Tony's raise at the hardware store)
"Are you as good in bed as you are on the dance floor?." Connie (Fran Drescher) to Tony.
"You know, Connie, if you're as good in bed as you are on the dance floor, then you're one lousy f*ck."
"Then how come they always send me flowers the next morning?"
"I don't know. Maybe they thought you was dead."
"Oh f*ck the future!"
"No, Tony! You can't f*ck the future. The future f*cks you!"
-Tony / Dan Fusco (Sam Coppola)
"She can dance, you know that? She's got the wrong partner of course, but she can dance."-Tony, referring to Stephanie
"There's ways of killing yourself without killing yourself." -- Tony
"You know, you and I got the same last initial."
"Wow. Does that mean when we get married I won't have to change the monogram on my luggage?"
Tony / Stephanie
"Ain't ya gonna ask me to sit down?"
"No, 'cause you would do it."
"Bet you'd ask me to lay down."
"No, you would not do it."
--Annette (Donna Pescow) / Tony
"Al Pacino! Attica! Attica! Attica!." Tony
"I knew you'd p*ss on it. Go on, just p*ss on it alright. A raise says like you're good, you know? You know how many times someone told me I was good in my life? Two! Twice! Two f*ckin' times! This raise today, and dancing at the disco." Tony (to his father)
"My girlfriend, she loves the taste of communion wafers." Bobby C. (Barry Miller)
Compiled by Andrea Passafiume