In this sequel to Saturday Night Fever, former disco king Tony Manero has left Brooklyn and lives in Manhattan. He stays in a cheap hotel and works as a dance instructor and as a waiter at a dance club, trying to succeed as a professional dancer on Broadway. The breakaway from his Brooklyn life, family and friends seems to have matured Tony and refined his personality, represented by his diminished accent and his avoidance of alcohol and profanity. However, certain attitudes have not changed, as with his most recent girlfriend, who’s also the singer of a local rock band.
Staying Alive is a 1983 American dance film and a sequel to Saturday Night Fever (1977) starring John Travolta as dancer Tony Manero, with Cynthia Rhodes, Finola Hughes, Joyce Hyser, Julie Bovasso, and dancers Viktor Manoel and Kevyn Morrow. It was directed, co-produced and co-written by Sylvester Stallone.
The title comes from the Bee Gees song of the same name, which was used as the theme song to Saturday Night Fever and is also played during the final scene of Staying Alive. It also goes hand-in-hand with Tony’s new lifestyle, in which he is barely surviving as he pursues his dream of making dancing his career. This is along with Homefront, one of only two films which Stallone has written without being the star (although he does have a cameo).
About the Story
Six years after the events depicted in Saturday Night Fever, former disco king Anthony “Tony” Manero is 25, out of Brooklyn, and now living in Manhattan. He lives in a flophouse and works as a dance instructor and a waiter at a dance club and searches for a big break in the modern dance productions on Broadway.
The break from his Brooklyn life, family, and friends seems to have matured Tony and refined his personality, including his diminished Brooklyn accent, an avoidance of alcohol and less use of profanity. Other attitudes remain unchanged, such as his disregard for his most recent girlfriend, the forgiving Jackie (Cynthia Rhodes). Still immature, Tony maintains some of his other macho and childish double standards, such as seeing other women but offended if he sees Jackie with other men.
Tony watches a show which features Jackie as a dancer in the chorus, but focuses on the lead, a seemingly-wealthy English dancer, Laura (Finola Hughes). Tony pursues her with seduction in mind, and spends the night with her. He’s annoyed when she dismisses him afterward, not understanding that she intended their encounter to be a one-night stand. Laura coldly justifies her treatment of him with a statement that “Everybody uses everybody,” and implies that Tony used her in order to get his dance role in her upcoming show.
Jackie is hurt when Tony breaks several promises to meet with her. Jackie is the vocalist for a local rock band in addition to her dance career. Unable to trust Tony, and tired of being disregarded when other women catch his eye, Jackie finally ends their personal relationship. She displays an apparent interest in her band’s rhythm guitarist (Frank Stallone). Tony’s wounded ego takes another blow in addition to his conflict with Laura. Jackie, Tony and Laura audition for the Broadway production Satan’s Alley. Jackie and Tony land small roles and Laura is cast in the role of the lead female dancer.
Tony begins to realize how callous he’s been to Jackie, and walks all the way from Manhattan to his old Bay Ridge neighbourhood in Brooklyn in the middle of the night. When he walks past The 2001 Odyssey, he sees that the Discothèque which was his former Saturday night hangout is now a gay nightclub, and that’s when realises how much his life has changed in those six years since he left Brooklyn.
When Tony goes to visit his mother (Julie Bovasso), and apologizes for his selfishness and trouble-making ways of his youth, she points out that his selfish behavior as a teen was what helped him escape a dead-end life in Bay Ridge. Tony feels better after this and heads back to Manhattan to repair his relationship with Jackie. His hostility and distance from the arrogant Laura increase as the production progresses.
Staying Alive (1983)
Directed by: Sylvester Stallone
Starring: John Travolta, Cynthia Rhodes, Finola Hughes, Steve Inwood, Julie Bovasso, Charles Ward, Norma Donaldson, Joyce Hyser
Screenplay by: Sylvester Stallone
Production Design by: Robert F. Boyle
Cinematography by: Nick McLean
Film Editing by: Peter E. Berger, Mark Warner, Don Zimmerman
Costume Design by: Tom Bronson, Bob Mackie
Set Decoration by: Arthur Jeph Parker
Art Direction by: Norman Newberry
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: July 15, 1983