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4K Ultra HD Review: Saturday Night Fever: 45-Year Anniversary Edition

November 8, 2022

By John Corrado

To mark the film’s 45th anniversary this year, Paramount is releasing the classic Saturday Night Fever for the first time in 4K Ultra HD.

Directed by John Badham, the 1977 film stars John Travolta in an Oscar-nominated role as Tony Manero, a working class Italian-American kid from Brooklyn who blows what money he makes during the week at the disco clubs on Saturday night, and escaping problems at home.

While predominantly remembered for its electrifying dance numbers, and the incredible Bee Gees soundtrack, the film is primarily a gritty slice-of-life drama centred around a group of wayward young adults, that isn’t afraid of showing the darkness and emptiness of the “working for the weekend” lifestyle shared by Tony and his hedonistic friends.

It’s a film about drifting through New York City nightlife, and reaching a point where you have to decide if you want to keep drifting or actually move forward (“fuck the future” Tony tells his boss early on, “no, Tony,” he responds, “you can’t fuck the future, the future fucks you”). This includes the heavy realization that maybe your friends are holding you back. Badham’s film remains a gripping character study some 45 years later, carried by Travolta’s excellent performance in the leading role, and cinematographer Ralf D. Bode’s incredible framing of the iconic dance scenes.

I’ve owned and watched the film in several formats over the years (DVD, Blu-ray, and now 4K), and the 4K Ultra HD edition offers an impressive upgrade with its pristine image quality. The set includes the theatrical version of the film in 4K with Dolby Vision and HDR-10, along with a Blu-ray disc that includes both the theatrical version and director’s cut in 1080p. It would have been nice to get the director’s cut in 4K as well, but this is otherwise a solid upgrade for fans of the film.

For my deeper thoughts on the film itself, you can read my review of the 40th anniversary Blu-ray release from 2017 right here.

Bonus Features (4K Ultra HD):

There are no bonus features on the 4K disc, but the regular Blu-ray holds a number of archival bonus features along with the theatrical and director’s cuts. A code for a digital copy is also included in the package, which ships with a slipcover.

Commentary by Director John Badham (theatrical version only)

70s Discopedia (pop-up trivia track)

Catching the Fever (Play All – 52 minutes, 39 seconds)

A 30 Year Legacy (2007) (15 minutes, 25 seconds)

Making Soundtrack History (12 minutes, 40 seconds)

Platforms & Polyesters (10 minutes, 37 seconds)

Deejays & Discos (10 minutes, 19 seconds)

Spotlight on Travolta (3 minutes, 36 seconds)

Back to Bay Ridge (9 minutes, 1 second)

Dance Like Travolta with John Cassese (9 minutes, 50 seconds)

Fever Challenge! (4 minutes)

Deleted Scene – Tony & Stephanie in the Car (1 minute, 32 seconds)

Saturday Night Fever is a Paramount Home Entertainment release. The theatrical version is 118 minutes, and the director’s cut is 122 minutes, both are rated R.

Street Date: November 8th, 2022

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