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Staying Alive is the 1983 sequel to Saturday Night Fever, starring John Travolta as the main character, Tony Manero, with Cynthia Rhodes, Finola Hughes, Joyce Hyser, Steve Inwood, Julie Bovasso, and dancers Viktor Manoel, Kate Ann Wright, Kevyn Morrow and Nanette Tarpey. It was directed by Sylvester Stallone. The title comes from the Bee Gees song, Stayin' Alive, which was used as the theme song to Saturday Night Fever and is also played during the final scene of Staying Alive.

Plot summary

This film takes place six years after the events of Saturday Night Fever. Former disco king Anthony "Tony" Manero has left Brooklynmarker and is now living in Manhattanmarker staying in a flophouse while he works as a dance instructor and as a waiter at a dance club, looking for his big break in the modern dance productions on Broadwaymarker. Although his breakaway from his Brooklyn life and friends seems to have matured Tony and refined his personality (specifically represented by his diminshed Brooklyn accent and his avoidance of alcohol and swear words), he continues to hold some injustices, especially toward his most recent girlfriend, the forgiving Jackie (Cynthia Rhodes). He holds a double standard whereby he feels at liberty to see other women, but becomes vexed if he finds Jackie with other men.

While watching a show in which Jackie is a dancer in the chorus, Tony focuses instead on the lead, a wealthy English dancer, Laura (Finola Hughes), whom he seduces and spends the night with; however, it becomes clear that she only intended to be involved with him for one night. Tony tries to see Laura other times, only to find that he has been used by her: at last, she coldly dubs their relationship a mere one-night stand and justifies this simply by her hurtful idea that "everybody uses everybody". Jackie, meanwhile, suspects Tony's involvement with Laura and is unhappy by his breaking several promises to meet with her. Jackie is also the vocalist of a local band and, unable to trust Tony to stick to his promises, instead presumably begins some degree of a relationship with the band's rhythm guitarist (Frank Stallone), further upsetting Tony after his conflict with Laura.

Jackie, Tony, and Laura all try out for the Broadway production, Satan's Alley, and all three land chorus dancer parts with the exception of Laura, who is once again cast as the lead female dancer. Jackie, sick of being considered second best in Tony's eyes, finally leaves Tony, and he soon realizes how cruel he has been to her while so focused on getting Laura. It becomes evident how self-serving and snobby Laura is and she and Tony now remain distant and hostile as the production progresses.

Tony, eventually seeing an opportunity to replace the lead male dancer and make amends with Jackie, asks Jackie to help practice the lead dance part with him and she finally agrees. Laura is disgusted by the fact that Tony replaces the former lead male dancer, meaning that she must now instead dance with Tony on several occasions during the production. Despite Laura's animosity toward Tony, the two display exquisite dancing chemistry which climaxes on opening night, during which Tony brashly goes against the script and kisses Laura; repulsed, she scratches him under the eye. Despite this minor setback, Tony completes the rest of the performance without further problems, earning back Laura's trust and ending full of exhilaration and with a second wind of excitement. Using this burst of energy, Tony apologizes to Jackie and the two get back together. The film ends with Tony still ecstatic, leaving the stage door in order to "strut" in celebration, reminiscent of the opening scene of Saturday Night Fever as he walks alone down the boulevard, beaming with newfound self-confidence.


The film was a success at the box office, earning almost $65 million in the US. While the figure is significantly less than the $94 million earned from its 1977 predecessor Saturday Night Fever, Staying Alive ranks among the top ten most successful films of 1983.

Despite its economic success, critics blasted the movie, saying it lacked the heart and interesting characters of Saturday Night Fever. In 2006, Entertainment Weekly dubbed Staying Alive the "Worst Sequel Ever." Many critics complained that the sequel did not contain the shock possessed by Saturday Night Fever. At Rotten Tomatoes, all the reviews (of which most are written retrospectively nearly 20 years after the film's release) are negative, where the movie has a "zero percent" Tomatometer rating.

Awards and nominations

Nominated: Original Song ("Far from Over")

Nominated: Worst Actor (John Travolta)
Nominated: Worst New Star (Finola Hughes)

Nominated: Best Album of Original Score Written for A Motion Picture or a Television Special

See also

External links


  1. Roger's Ebert's review of Staying Alive
  2. "The Worst Sequels Ever — Staying Alive Entertainment Weekly issue #867. March 10, 2006 .
  3. Staying Alive page at Rotten Tomatoes

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