Decade-defining box office smash starring Patrick Swayze in one of his most famous roles. Frances 'Baby' Houseman (Jennifer Grey) is a teenage girl on holiday with her family at a resort in the Catskill Mountains. Stumbling upon an off-limits employees-only party, she witnesses the staff getting down and dirty to the R 'n' B hits of the day. The hotel's dance instructor Johnny (Swayze) catches her eye in particular, and, despite their differences in class, age and experience, the couple begin to fall in love. Features the Oscar-winning song '(I've Had) the Time of My Life' as performed by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes.
As with Grease
(1978) and Footloose
(1984) before it, Dirty Dancing
was a cultural phenomenon that now plays more like camp. That very campiness, though, is part of its biggest charm. And if the dancing in the movie doesn't seem particularly "dirty" by today's standards--or 1987's--it does take place in an era (the early '60s) when it would have. Frances "Baby" Houseman (Jennifer Grey, daughter of ageless hoofer Joel Grey), vacationing in the Catskills with her family one summer, falls under the sway (as it were) of dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze). Baby is a pampered pup, but Johnny is a man of the world. Baby's father Jake can't see the basic decency in greaser Johnny that she can. It should come as no surprise to find that Baby, who can be as immature as her name, learns more about love and life--and dancing--from free-spirited Johnny than traditionalist Jake. Dirty Dancing
spawned two successful soundtracks, a short-lived TV series and a stage musical. It may be predictable, but Grey and Swayze have chemistry, charisma and all the right moves. It's a sometimes silly movie with occasionally mind-boggling dialogue--"No one puts Baby in a corner!"--that nonetheless carries an underlying message about tolerance and is filled with the kind of exuberant spirit that is hard for even the most cynical to resist. Not that they would ever admit it. --Kathy Fennessy
On the DVD: The information outlined on the package makes the special features appear very appealing: you too could "Learn to Dirty Dance". However, all the DVD actually teaches you is how to move from side to side with a slow "cha cha cha"--not exactly "dirty". Other additional features include the obligatory scene selection and a directors commentary from Eleanor Bergstein, offers interesting snippets of trivia, but overall is dull and stuttering. There's also the original theatrical trailer plus a very poor selection of filmographies for the cast and crew which (none of whom aside from Swayze ever amounted to much) which is difficult to read due to the italic scrawl they insist on using across the whole features section. That being said with a 1.78:1 ratio and Dolby Digital 5.1 this release is the closest you will get to reliving those 1980s school discos and back-seat cinema rows. --Nikki Disney
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.