Freeview film of the day: Dirty Dancing

Raunchy dance instructor Patrick Swayze gives sweet Jennifer Grey the time of her life in this sleeper classic from 1987


Dirty Dancing  ★★★★
8.00-10.05pm C5


It was recently remade for US television to negative reviews, but the original Dirty Dancing defies age and maintains a constant place at the top table of enduringly popular movies. Patrick Swayze, who died aged 57 in 2009, spent the rest of his career trying to top his performance as the dance instructor who sweeps Jennifer Grey’s “Baby” off her feet, but it’s worth remembering both stars were unknowns before 1987. Director Emile Ardolino’s 60s-set dance flick can’t have felt like a phenomenon at the time of its making, but its simplicity is its strength. It tells of a posh teenager holidaying with her family at a New York resort, where she falls for a rough-house bluecoat-equivalent and learns to express herself through their sexually charged dance moves. Add power ballad The Time of Your Life and the famous, metaphorical “lift”, which elevated both Baby and the film to box-office glory, and you have an 80s classic. It’s not for me, but I’m probably in the minority.


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