A teenage girl learns about love, adult responsibility, and how to do The Dirty Boogie in this romantic drama. In 1963, “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey) is a 17-year-old spending the summer with her family at a resort hotel in the Catskills; she plans on being in the Peace Corps next summer, so this is expected to be her last summer as a carefree adolescent.
Baby doesn’t get along with her older sister, Lisa (Jane Brucker), and she’s bored to tears by most of the older guests at the resort. However, one night Baby hears what sounds like a party going on in the employee’s dormitory, and she pokes her head in to discover most of the hotel staff enjoying the sort of close dancing that would get you kicked out of the senior prom in no time flat.
Baby is particularly struck by handsome Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze), a dancer in the resort’s floor show, and falls head over heels in love, wanting to be near him. When Johnny’s dance partner, Penny (Cynthia Rhodes), finds herself pregnant after a fling with one of the waiters, Baby volunteers to learn her steps and take her place; however, Baby’s father, Dr. Jake Houseman (Jerry Orbach), will have none of it, convinced that Johnny is a low life and that his daughter is too young to understand her own feelings.
Dirty Dancing was a surprise box-office hit, and the soundtrack album was an even bigger success, spawning several hit singles and inspiring a top-drawing concert tour featuring several of its artists. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi