Saturday Night Fever Director’s Cut (Blu-ray Review)

Saturday Night Fever Director's Cut (Blu-ray Review)Disco is defined as a genre of dance music containing elements of funk, soul, pop, and salsa.  I define it as a whole lot of fun.  Although being born in 1974 doesn’t constitute you to essentially remember living during the solid gold age of disco quite well, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t a fan of it and still am.  Like Paul Stanley of KISS always said there’s just something about that disco bass shaking your rump to onstage or in the case of a nightclub like in Saturday Night Fever, the dance floor.   Speaking of Saturday Night Fever (do you like my segue into our topic here?) there’s no bigger fan of the 1977 movie than me.  It’s one of my Top 5 all-time favorites.  Why?  Well for starters Saturday Night Fever has something for everyone.  What more can you really ask for in a motion picture?  You have teenage angst, promiscuous sex, pregnancy, squabbling parents, drinking, racism, gangs, fashion, glitter, lights, hair, drama, romance, betrayal, dancing, disco balls and best of all that Bee Gees infused soundtrack.  Oh yeah!  I’m just getting started here too.


When I was in college back in the late nineties I interned for this show call S.E.P. TV.  That stood for Sports Entertainment Productions.  It was basically a spoof of the WWE wrestling crap back in those days (formerly called the WWF).  One day the show’s producer needed an extra onscreen character.  Back then I had really long hair and was completely under the influence of the grunge period of that time.  So me and my black leather, biker jacket was offered a spot on the show,  When asked what they should call me I immediately blurted out Grunge Manero.  You see it’s a cross between my love for everything grunge at the time and my adoration of the disco period because Manero was the last name of the fictional character portrayed by John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.  You picking up what I’m dropping here?  It was the ultimate homage in my opinion.

So can you believe it has been 40 years already for this historic film?  I can’t!  That makes me really old.  Ha ha.  And wait!  Are you telling me there’s a Director’s Cut of Saturday Night Fever?  Are you fricking kidding me?  Where has this been my whole life?  Well I guess that’s what I’m telling you all.  Paramount is making it real with this historic release that showcases Joh Travolta’s Oscar nominated performance, the legendary Bee Gees’ soundtrack and of course that electrifying boogie dancing.  Isn’t it just absolutely amazing that 40 years later a film about a kid from Brooklyn with no prospects other than his Saturday nights continues to be revered and celebrated?  Basically once the music stops here life goes back to being ordinary.  Talk about an impact to pop culture this film had from White Castle all the way to Sesame Street.  Wow!

I guess you can label Saturday Night Fever as a musical drama film, but I call it an essential rite of passage or coming of age one.  John Badham kind of fell into this one as the director in my opinion as the former Rocky director got canned some three weeks prior to principal photography.  Talk about a bad break!  Imagine if you could have followed the equally legendary boxing film Rocky up with this one?  Wow again!  We all know the star of the picture is Welcome Back Kotter’s John Travolta, but let’s take a quick moment to list the other essential players in the game here.  There’s Karen Lynn Gorney, Donna Prescow, Barry Miller, Joseph Cali, Paul Paps, Bruce Omstein, Martin Shakar and Julie Bovasso.

Remember me talking about pop culture momentarily up above?  Well there’s a very good reason I use those words because it’s really two-fold here.  In 2010, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”  Now I did say two-fold didn’t I?  Remember me talking about that legendary soundtrack before?  Well it contains unforgettable anthems, composed and performed primarily by the Bee Gees, featuring mega-hits such as the incredible “Stayin’ Alive,” “Night Fever,” How Deep Is Your Love,” “More Than A Woman” and “If I can’t have you to name a few.  The album has gone on to sell more than 40 million copies and like the film itself was added to National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress.  How’s that for a double whammy?  Boom!

So this is all fine and dandy, but is there really anybody out there reading this that has never experienced Saturday Night Fever?  You know the tale of a 19-year-old paint salesman with the fabulous hair and electrifying dance moves, Tony Manero, from Brooklyn.  He has a very cynical and dismal take on life until something within him clicks.  The complexity of Tony’s would be dance partner, Stephanie (Gorney), awakens something in him and suddenly Tony wants more.  Better yet he wants out!  He wants to utilize his mad dancing skills and become something, but more importantly he wants to do it with Stephanie.  Tony, Tony, Tony didn’t momma ever tell you life is hard?  Tony may be the champion on the dancer floor but on the sidewalk of life he has a lot to learn, namely rising above his immature friends, unsupportive parents and dead end job.  He needs to get a real life.  Ladies and gentlemen this is Saturday Night Fever.

There’s no doubt about it that the huge commercial success of this movie greatly helped to popularize disco music around the world.  John Travolta went onto become a household name.  And of course the film’s soundtrack went onto become one of the best selling of all time.  There’s a lot of accomplishments to discuss here and my simple one paragraph recap of the protagonist’s struggles is just the tip of the iceberg here because it’s a little more complex than just about one man.  There’s the family drama too, not to mention the friends.  Like I said up above Saturday Night Fever is more like a rite of passage and coming of age film for all characters within the movie.  All of them must grow and adapt together or else they will fall by the wayside.  Some make it and some even thrive, but it’s like real life.  Not every one is dealt a great hand and more practically not every one wins.

So I gave you many reasons as to why Saturday Night Fever is mentioned amongst some of the greatest films of all time.  I even went not to tell you over and over how much I adore everything about the flick.  Come to think of it I didn’t even go into John Travolta’s dreamy hair he works so hard on here either.  Oh well I digress on that matter because it’s a perfect film in my opinion and there ain’t too many of them unless you’re talking Back To The Future, Braveheart, Fight Club, Moulin Rouge, etc.  Ha ha.  I’m just kidding.  You don’t have to believe me, but when famed film critic Gene Siskel listed this as his favorite movie, did you flinch then?  I didn’t think so.  Just go with it.  In my opinion there’s very little changed between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Version so which ever one you watch just enjoy and let the emotions of the soundtrack take over your body and mind.  Saturday Night Fever is a timeless masterpiece.  Now that we all agree on that let’s talk about the audio/video presentations of this 40th anniversary classic.


The following comments in regards to the video presentation here is based upon my viewing of the Director’s Cut of Saturday Night Fever on this Blu-ray.

  • Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Clarity/Detail: I’m probably scoring the video a wee bit better than it deserves, but I can’t help it.    At least I’m honest when all you haters decide to bash me.  I really can’t picture this one looking any better on the Blu-ray format.  I’m smitten by the way things look here.  It’s unmistakably 1970’s looking complete with the soft focus and all, but don’t let that deter you.  My only wish in life now is to see how this one would look in 4K Ultra HD.  Light, natural grain is intact, but unlike films of its eras it’s never distracting or overblown.  It’s just a clean, pleasing, natural cinema looking presentation here that I simply adore.  Clarity and prominent details include textures such as the fabrics in the clothing, paint on the walls and stones in the brick to stubble on Travolta’s baby face and his perfected hair.  It really feels like I’m seeing this one for the first time and taking in all of the nostalgic posters that adorn Tony’s bedroom walls.
  • Depth: Despite the soft focus here the characters all exhibit a three-dimensionalpop to them all and that separates them from the rich backgrounds they inhabit.  From the constraints of the paint store to the vastness of the 2001 Odyssey dance floor the New York City of the 70’s is on full display for all to see and take in.  The images of Tony looking out at the bridge over the water is as iconic as the posters in his bedroom.
  • Black Levels: The black levels are not the inkiest you’ve ever seen, but I dare you to find fault with them.  For a presentation of its age the black levels here are all dark and natural looking.  I could only imagine how awesome an HDR treatment, especially in the nighttime scenes, would make things even better here.  Please Paramount I’m begging you.  Do this one justice!
  • Color Reproduction: Here’s where I’m also impressed.  The colors are rich, but with the exception of the reds never oversaturated.  They are a bit neutral at times and if you ask me, completely representative of their era in this film.  Does that make sense?  In other words they are lifelike and never overblown.
  • Flesh Tones: The temperatures of the skin tones are spot on perfect, never over exaggerated or stressed.  They are all lifelike and very natural throughout.
  • Noise/Artifacts: I think I did notice a slight hint of edge enhancement, but honestly the only other thing that really stood out to me were a few white specks near the beginning.  Otherwise this presentation is flawless.  Paramount did an outstanding job with this.  Kudos!


The following comments in regards to the audio presentation here is based upon my viewing of the Director’s Cut of Saturday Night Fever on this Blu-ray.

  • Audio Format(s): English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, French 5.1 Dolby Digital (theatrical version only), Spanish Mono Dolby Digital (theatrical version only), Portuguese Mono Dolby Digital (theatrical version only)
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
  • DynamicsSaturday Night Fever seems like it wouldn’t be big in the dynamics department and you’d be right to think that, but trust me a lot goes down in here.  Yes, the fist fights sound really fake, but thankfully no sound effect gets lost in the shuffle here.  Dialogue is always prominent over screeching car brakes and/or that infectious soundtrack and that’s all you can really ask for in my opinion.  Honestly, I heard things in my separate front channels throughout the movie like discreet sound effects and musical instruments that I don’t remember hearing before.  Truth be told though like the video score up above I am rating this audio section high because in all honesty there are moments of flatness, bad ADR and the lulls you would expect from a film this age, but that music.  Oh my God!  It’s worth the price of admission here!  It’s one of the greatest sounding soundtracks of all time and it sounds remarkable here.
  • Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel has a very aggressive punch thanks to all the bass in the infectious Bee Gees disco masterpieces littered throughout.  Of course there are other uses like screeching car breaks, the subway train, fist fights, etc.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: The surround sound presentation in this 40th Anniversary of  Saturday Night Fever is actually quite impressive.  I was taken aback by how immersive it really is.  Most of the rear channel usage is overspill of the soundtrack, but who cares.  Discreet sound effects can be heard in them too, but nothing over the top or forced sounding.  It’s the soundtrack that you come here for that stirs the wild emotions throughout and thankfully things never sounded better in any Saturday Night Fever presentation I’ve ever heard and/or seen before.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: There are some moments of flat and bad ADR, but that’s to be expected for a movie of this age.  Other than that the dialogue is loud, prioritized and intelligible throughout the presentation and I couldn’t be happier about it.  Stop touching my hair!  Ha ha!


The 40th Anniversary of Saturday Night Fever Blu-ray here includes both the Director’s Cut and Theatrical Version of the film.  It also features a commentary track by director John Badham, a five part look at the film called “Catching the Fever,” deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes, a 70’s Discopedia and more.  Sadly there is no Digital Copy to be found here.  Boo!  However, that’s my only ding here because there’s actually a lot of extras to get through.   Now let’s take a closer look at everything you’ll find here in the way of extras down below from the 30th Anniversary release of this film.  So sadly the only real new extra here is the Director’s Cut of the film with 4 extra minutes.  Oh well!  I’ll take it!

  • Director’s Cut (HD, 122 min.)
  • Theatrical Version  (HD, 118 min.)
  • Commentary (HD) – For the fans there’s a very worthwhile commentary track with Director John Badham.  I do want to point out though this commentary track is available only on the theatrical version only.  However, it was very interesting to not only learn about the casting of Travolta in this one, but to learn the Bee Gees songs were a last minute choice due to the cheapness of them.  Wow!
  • ‘70s Discopedia  (HD) – This fun pop-up track consist of colored disco tiles that display interesting tidbits about the film and its influences such as the disco movement and more.  It seems to work on both versions of the film on this Blu-ray disc.  It’s a cool way to watch this film and learn all you can about it and everything else it touched.
  • Catching the Fever  (HD, 52:39) – This retrospective documentary here is actually broken down into the following 5 segments below.  Interviews within include Director John Badham, stars Joseph Cali, Donna Pescow, Karen Lynn-Gorney, Barry Miller and Martin Shakar, producer Robert Stigwood and Bee Gee Barry Gibb and many more.
    • A 30 year Legacy 2007 (15:25) – This 30th anniversary look back covers a lot from the casting of Travolta all the way to what this film was based off and the culture it displays.  I love how they talked about how they needed this film to feel real despite Paramount’s objection of the language or the rape scene in particular.  It’s also very interesting to see what the stars look like 30 years later, but I digress.
    • Making Soundtrack History (12:40) – This one is all about music, baby!  Err…I mean the Bee Gees who were the anthem of this movie.  The members of the Bee Gees and others talked about the power of this music and how this not only revitalized their careers, but how this soundtrack went on to become the biggest selling of all time.  The Bee Gees blew my mind how they said not only were some of these songs written prior to this offer to be on the film’s soundtrack, but they never seen the film either so in other words these 5 of these songs would have been recorded anyway.  Barry Gibb found his falsetto voice recording these songs, something he never knew he had prior.
    • Platforms and Polyester (10:37) – This one is all about the fashion and clothes worn in the movie.  They said it’s all based upon clothes kids were going to wear on a Saturday night to go dancing in.
    • Deejays and Disco (10:19) – This one is an amusing look at the movement of disco, where it all started and where it was at when Saturday Night Fever came out.  It was interesting to learn about its underground club New York roots and how it was ending when this film came out, but this propelled it even further breathing new life into the genre.  It was also the start of deejays and mixing music.  Hence the deejays became celebrities too as a result of the popularity of this film and its movement.  Brilliant, huh?  Absolutely!
    • Spotlight on Travolta (3:36) – This one is obviously all about John and how everyone said he was such a pleasure to work with.  Badham said some of the funniest lines in the film were the ones he ad-libbed.
  • Back to Bay Ridge  (HD, 9:01) – Joseph Cali (the actor who portrayed Joey) is back on the streets in Brooklyn here where Saturday Night Fever was shot 30 years ago.  Obviously this extra was shot 10 years ago.  This is kind of cool though as it looks at some of the classic locations from the film 30 years ago and what they look like today (or 10 years ago in this case).  In this extra you can not only go int the infamous hardware store, but also get pizza John Travolta style.  Both Philip’s Dance Studio and Travolta’s family house were not accessible and sadly the 2001 Odyssey is no more.
  • Dance Like Travolta with John Cassese  (HD, 9:50) – This is one extra I’m going to study intensely after I’m done with my hip surgeries.  Celebrity Dance instructor John Cassese slows down the infamous Tony and Stephanie “More Than A Woman Dance.”  Then he goes into a lesson by demonstrating a few of the steps from the dance.
  • Fever Challenge!  (HD, 4:00) – Here’s another kind of dancing tutorial utilizing an interactive feature of lights to teach you the steps.
  • Deleted Scene  (HD, 1:32) – There is only one deleted scene to be found here called “Tony & Stephanie In The Car.”


As if this 40th anniversary release of the film wasn’t already enough to dance about, I also wanted to clarify per a memo received from Paramount that this brand new director’s cut has been restored in 4K in collaboration with director John Badham, and the surround sound mix has been updated to further enhance the incredible soundtrack.  With the addition of scenes that round out the characters and plot, this is the definitive representation of Badham’s original vision.  It’s just a shame in my opinion that Saturday Night Fever could not have received a proper 4K release on the Ultra HD Blu-ray format.  Until that time a boy can still dream, but there’s no denying this is the definitive version to own on the Blu-ray format.  Pre-order today and boogie dance with it on May 2nd.


You Should Be Dancing When

Saturday Night Fever Director’s Cut

Struts onto Blu-ray May 2nd!

Pre-Order Now!



Saturday Night Fever Director's Cut (Blu-ray Review)


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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