Staying Alive (1983 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the Bee Gees song, see Stayin' Alive. For other uses, see Staying Alive (disambiguation).
Staying Alive
movie poster for Staying Alive
Directed by Sylvester Stallone
Produced by Sylvester Stallone
Robert Stigwood
Written by Sylvester Stallone
Norman Wexler
Music by Barry Gibb
Maurice Gibb
Robin Gibb
Cinematography Nick McLean
Edited by Peter E. Berger
Mark Warner
Don Zimmerman
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • July 15, 1983 (1983-07-15)
Running time
93 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $22 million[1]
Box office $64.8 million

Staying Alive is the 1983 film sequel to Saturday Night Fever, starring John Travolta as dancer 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 and co-written 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. 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 the only film other than Homefront which Sylvester Stallone has written in which he does not star (although he does have a cameo).


Kersti Adams-Ray interviews John Travolta in Sweden about Staying Alive, September 1983

Set some six years after the events of Saturday Night Fever, former disco king Anthony "Tony" Manero is now 25. He has left Brooklyn, and is now living in Manhattan, 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 Broadway. The breakaway he has from his Brooklyn life, family, and friends seems to have matured Tony and refined his personality, specifically represented by his diminished Brooklyn accent and his avoidance of alcohol and profanity. However, certain attitudes have not changed, as with his most recent girlfriend, the forgiving Jackie (Cynthia Rhodes). One attitude he holds consists of 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). While he seduces and spends the night with her, she only intended to be involved with him for one night, leaving Tony feeling used by her. Laura coldly dubs their relationship a mere one-night stand and justifies this by saying, "Everybody uses everybody," even implying that Tony used her in order to get a dance role in her latest show.

Jackie is unhappy by his breaking several promises to meet with her. Jackie is also the vocalist of a local rock band and, unable to trust Tony, instead presumably begins 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. The others land small roles while Laura is once again cast as the lead female dancer. Sick of being considered second best in Tony's eyes, Jackie finally leaves him. Tony realizes how cruel he has been to her.

Tony walks all the way from Manhattan to his old Bay Ridge neighborhood in Brooklyn in the middle of the night, he also walks past The 2001 Odyssey Discothèque, his former Saturday night hangout noticing that it's now a gay nightclub. Afterwards, he visits his mother (Julie Bovasso), who he apologizes to for his selfish and trouble making ways when he was young. Despite his apology, she tells him it was the selfishness that got him out of the dead-end life in Bay Ridge. Feeling better after this, Tony heads back to Manhattan to make things right with Jackie. At the same time, he and the snobby Laura remain distant and hostile as the production progresses.

Seeing an opportunity to replace the lead male dancer, Tony asks Jackie to help practice a number. Laura is disgusted by the fact that Tony lands the lead, meaning she must now dance with Tony during the production. Despite her animosity, the two display a chemistry on stage. But on opening night, Tony brashly goes against the script and kisses Laura. She is repulsed and scratches his face. Tony completes the rest of the performance without further problems, except when Laura almost refuses to jump in his arms, which at the last second, does manage to succeed on the elevated spot, creating excitement with the audience and cast. After the show, he apologizes to Jackie and the two get back together. Following his renewed relationship with Jackie, Tony exits by the stage door to "strut" in celebration, reminiscent of the opening scene of Saturday Night Fever as he walks alone through Times Square, beaming with newfound self-confidence.


Some actors from the first movie were also included in the cast, but their performances were cut: Donna Pescow appeared in the audience at Tony's Broadway debut, Val Bisoglio appeared as Tony's father in a small role.[2] His scene was cut, and the final film loosely implies that he has died.


The movie was blasted by film critics with comments such as "It lacked the heart"[3] and "It lacked the interesting characters of Saturday Night Fever." In 2006, Entertainment Weekly dubbed Staying Alive the "Worst Sequel Ever."[4] Many critics were unanimous in agreeing that the film did not contain the grittiness and realism that Saturday Night Fever possessed. As of 2014, it currently holds a score of 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 24 reviews and with the consensus being "This sequel to Saturday Night Fever is shockingly embarrassing and unnecessary, trading the original's dramatic depth for a series of uninspired dance sequences."[5]

The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of the The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.[6]

Despite its critical failure, Staying Alive was a commercial success. The film grossed nearly $65 million in the US box office against its $22 million budget. Though the box office intake was significantly less than the $94 million earned by Saturday Night Fever, the film nevertheless ranked in the top ten most financially successful films of 1983.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Nominated: Original Song ("Far from Over")
Nominated: Worst Actor (John Travolta)
Nominated: Worst New Star (Finola Hughes)
Nominated: Worst Supporting Actress (Finola Hughes)
Nominated: Best Album of Original Score Written for A Motion Picture or a Television Special


Staying Alive
Soundtrack album by Bee Gees and others
Released June 1983 (US)
July 1983 (UK)
Recorded February–March 1983
Middle Ear, Miami Beach, Florida, United States
Genre Rock, soft rock, funk, R&B, New Wave, dance
Label RSO
Producer Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb, Albhy Galuten, Karl Richardson
Bee Gees chronology
Living Eyes
Staying Alive

The soundtrack was released in 1983 and is mainly performed by the Bee Gees. Five new Bee Gees songs took up the first side, with side two featuring various artists performing songs mostly written by Frank Stallone, brother of the film's director Sylvester. The soundtrack reached number 14 in the United Kingdom, number 6 in the United States, number 1 in Switzerland, and number 2 in Italy and Japan, and sold 4.5 million copies worldwide. This LP was the final soundtrack and the final songs by the Bee Gees released under RSO.

All songs on Side A were performed by the Bee Gees and all songs on Side B were performed by various artists.

Side A
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Woman in You"   Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb 4:04
2. "I Love You Too Much"   Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb 4:27
3. "Breakout"   Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb 4:46
4. "Someone Belonging to Someone"   Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb 4:26
5. "Life Goes On"   Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb 4:26
6. "Stayin' Alive" (edited version) Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb 1:33
Side B
No. Title Writer(s) Length
7. "Far from Over"   Frank Stallone, Vince DiCola 3:56
8. "Look Out for Number One"     3:20
9. "Finding Out the Hard Way"   Frank Stallone, Roy Freeland 3:33
10. "Moody Girl"   Frank Stallone, Vince DiCola, Joe Esposito 4:08
11. "(We Dance) So Close to the Fire"   Randy Bishop, Tommy Faragher 3:45
12. "I'm Never Gonna Give You Up"   Frank Stallone, Vince DiCola, Joe Esposito 3:30
No. Title Writer(s) Length
13. "River of Souls"   Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb 6:57


  1. ^ "PowerGrid Project: Staying Alive". The Wrap. Retrieved June 13, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Staying Alive (1983) : Trivia". Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  3. ^ Roger's Ebert's review of Staying Alive
  4. ^ "The Worst Sequels Ever — Staying Alive Entertainment Weekly issue #867. March 10, 2006 .
  5. ^ "Staying Alive - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  6. ^ Wilson, John (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-69334-0. 

External links[edit]