Saturday Night Fever was one of the biggest hits of the 1970s! It put the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst on the map, it launched disco into the mainstream and it made John Travolta a household name.
Who could’ve known that so many years later the movie would still be stayin’ alive
So how deep is your love for the classic film? How many of these Saturday Night Fever facts do you know?
The opening credits is one of the most famous scenes in movie history.
Tony Manero strutting down 86th Street to “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees is one of the most famous scenes in movie history. We’ll take you to see the exact location on our Pizza Tour!
The movie was based on an article in New York Magazine.
The 1976 article was called, “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night“. The story was about an Italian guy named Vincent in Bay Ridge who loved the disco lifestyle. Years later, author Nik Cohn admitted he made the story up.
Brooklynite Donna Pescow had to relearn how to speak with a Brooklyn accent.
Seems silly that a girl who was born and raised in Brooklyn would have to learn how to sound like a Brooklynite, but Pescow trained to lose her accent during acting school. She was told she wouldn’t work with that accent. Well, the universe has a sense of humor and she had to relearn her accent to play Annette.
Saturday Night Fever was film critic Gene Siskel’s favorite movie.
He had seen it 17 times. His prized possession was Tony Manero’s famous white polyester suit. He paid $2000 for it then sold it 17 years later for $145,000 at a Christie’s auction.
What does Fran Drescher have to do with Saturday Night Fever?
Fran Drescher, from CBS’s The Nanny, played Connie who spoke the now famous words, “Are you as good in bed as you are on the dance floor?” It was her first speaking part.
The Bee Gees were a last minute addition.
“The Bee Gees weren’t even involved in the movie in the beginning … I was dancing to Stevie Wonder and Boz Scaggs,” said Travolta. They were called post production and wrote the songs in a weekend!
Remember when Tony and the guys pretended to fall of the Verrazano?
Director Badham wanted Annette’s reaction to be authentic, so she didn’t know there was a platform to catch their fall. Let’s just say the profanity she yelled in the film wasn’t in the script.
All the background dancers were amateurs.
Director John Badham didn’t want to use professional dancers (to the anger of many Broadway professionals).
What does Saturday Night Fever have to do with Rocky?
Pretty cool connection here. Tony Manero had a Rocky poster on his wall then a few years later, Sylvester Stallone directed the sequel to Saturday Night Fever which was called Staying Alive.
Fun stats about Saturday Night Fever:
It was the highest grossing dance movie of all time until Black Swan.
It had the top selling soundtrack of all time until The Bodyguard.
It was the top selling album until Thriller six years later.
The French Connection, connection.
The elevated subway line in the opening credits is the same as in the chase scene in The French Connection, another scene we recreate on our Pizza Tour!
Where they danced.
2001 Odyssey was a real disco in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn. It’s since been demolished and is now a medical office.
Keeping it in the family.
In the opening sequence of the film, Travolta’s sister Ann played the pizza vendor at Lennys’ and his mom Helen played the customer in the hardware store waiting for Tony with the paint.
The most famous bite of pizza in the world.
Tony struts into Lenny’s Pizza and shows the world how to eat a slice (or two) stacked on top of each other. Lenny’s is still there today!
Saturday Night Fever was a cultural phenomenon that elevated Brooklyn (and how to eat a slice of pizza) to new heights! Come and see the famous street where Tony Manero strutted his stuff, as well as other locations from the movie, on our Pizza Tour!