An Evening with Director John Badham

An Evening with Director John Badham

October 12, 2017 A Special Projects Committee Event

On October 12, 2017, the DGA Special Projects Committee hosted the event, An Evening with Director John Badham. DGA members and guests gathered in the Guild’s Los Angeles Theater for a special 40th Anniversary screening of Badham’s classic musical drama, Saturday Night Fever, followed by a conversation with the director about the making of the film and more.

After opening remarks from Special Projects Committee member Randal Kleiser (Defrost) and Badham himself, the audience viewed the recently-restored, “Director’s Cut” of the 1977 film which tells the story of Tony Manero (John Travolta), an uneducated Brooklyn teenager who still lives at home and works as a paint store clerk. The only truly bright spot in his life is when he showcases his talents as the king of the dance floor each weekend at the local disco. When Tony hears about a big dance competition, he wrangles the beautiful and talented Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney) to be his partner even though they come from different sides of the track. As the two train for the big night and attempt to rectify their disparate lives, they start to fall for each other as well.

Saturday Night Fever earned John Travolta his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role. The film was also deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress in 2010 and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

After the screening, Badham sat down for a conversation with Director Howard Deutch (American Horror Story) and the two engaged in a discussion that covered not just Saturday Night Fever, but several of Badham’s other acclaimed works such as The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings, Nick of Time and Short Circuit, and included topics from pre-production and casting to the challenges of directing and advice to young filmmakers.

A DGA member since 1970, Badham received Emmy nominations for his directing on the 1970s series The Bold Ones: The Senator and The Law before his 1977 feature Saturday Night Fever became a worldwide hit. His 1983 features, Blue Thunder and WarGames, received four Academy Award nominations. His other credits include the features American Flyers, Short Circuit, Stakeout, Point of No Return, Drop Zone and Nick of Time; the movies for television The Jack Bull and The Last Debate; and episodes of the series Blind Justice, Psych, Rush Hour, The Shield and Supernatural. He has also served on the DGA National Board and currently sits on its Western Directors Council.

Pictures & Video

Event photos by Shane Karns - Print Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

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Saturday Night Fever John Badham John Travolta
Saturday Night Fever