As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are temporarily closed to the public as of Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time.
In 1977 John Travolta helped launch the disco craze with his Academy Award–winning performance in Saturday Night Fever. He played Tony Manero, a young Italian American whose fantasy life flourished at a local Brooklyn discotheque. The disco was his outlet for an otherwise dead-end life: when Tony put on his white suit and hit the floor, his dancing ruled the night.
Saturday Night Fever was the first film since Cabaret (1972) to showcase dance, and the soundtrack by the Bee Gees became one of the best-selling soundtracks of all time.
The dancing of the disco era fueled social dancing and club-going throughout the 1970s, perhaps most notably at New York’s Studio 54, which from 1977 to 1981 was frequented by such celebrities as Liza Minnelli, Andy Warhol, and Mikhail Baryshnikov.