Saturday Night Fever Rape Scene

For those who haven’t fully watched the movie “Saturday Night Fever,” I was in the same boat. I always heard how great it was. The film was always listed as a cult classic even though there was no reason as to why. Being the curious person I am, I watched it. Like most classic 70s and80s movies, the beginning scene didn’t tell us much regarding what the movie was going to be about. There is just a ridiculously long scene where John Travolta, playing as Tony Manero,  walks down the street, carrying a can of paint and checking out a couple of girls. This tone of boring nonsense was most of the movie. A racial slur here and a few people doing the disco there, but nothing was making the movie remotely interesting until after the scene where John Travolta and his dancing partner won the dancing competition at a local disco club.

After the competition, Tony is upset because he felt the competition was rigged and thought he didn’t deserve to have won the competition. He storms out and runs into an admirer of his who had been trying to date him since he started going to the club. Tony had been rejecting her since the beginning of the movie, but he seemed to be in a bad mood,  so he decided to have his way with her in his friend’s car. He was very forceful, even when she said no, and the only way to get him off of her was to knee him in the crotch. She ran out, but she then started to hang out with his friends. Tony tried to warn her not to hang out with them, but she didn’t listen and got into the backseat of one of the friend’s car while the rest got into the front. The admirer, Annette, and one of the friends began having sex in the backseat, and when they were done, the audience saw the regret on Annette’s face. As she was fixing herself up while the car was stopped, another one of Tony’s friends gets into the back seat and begins to rape her. The scene was pretty awful to listen to, but it was even weirder that Tony was still in front seat listening to what’s happening behind him. When the rape was finished, Tony turns around and says, “Now you’re a cunt.”

In the next scene, a minor character accidently fell off a bridge. I found it ironic that every character, including the woman who was just raped, cared, and Annette started crying into her rapist’s shoulder. Following, the ending scene didn’t make much sense. Tony runs away to a friend’s apartments to tell her he’s moving to a different city to get a real job.

The rape scene hasn’t received much attention, even today. After watching the movie, I tried to find an article or anything mentioning that scene. Sadly, all the articles about it are light pieces about how it is one of the few movies that is hard to watch today. I found it a bit appalling; when I type in the movie title into Google, I get all the articles on how good it was and how it was a cult classic. I also find it disturbing that no one is bringing attention to it or at least have the youngest generation give their input of the movie. I am not a huge fan of the fact that, just a few days ago, a news article about the good from  (here is the link to the article if you want to give it a read: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/jun/13/john-travolta-lennys-pizza-saturday-night-fever-brooklyn) This article just depicts how much the town that the movie was filmed in benefited from the movie putting it on the map.

Maybe I am overreacting to something that happened almost 50 years ago. Another thing to note is that the scene was not shown in theaters. To keep the movie PG, the director had to edit and remove a lot of the curse words and inappropriate scenes, including the rape scene.  However, I do believe this movie gives an insight into how the times were back in the day and how much was allowed to be taught to the next generation. It should be pointed out that scenes like these, being allowed in a movie after its theatrical release shouldn't be acceptable or continue to be called a "cult classic". I do agree that some movie does call for showing this kind of harsh scenes to prove a point but, in this particular movie, this scene was not needed nor did it prove any point. It felt unnecessary and just thrown into the movie just to cause a reaction out of the audience since nothing else did. I went into this movie thinking it was going to be like any other popular dancing movie, like Step up or Footloose. However, I just couldn’t give over that horrible scene along with how awful the entire movie was. I strongly recommend that this generation look into this movie and make certain that the popularity of the movie dwindles to a point where the next generation doesn’t even hear the title.