(NEW YORK) — Thirty years ago today, moviegoers had the time of their lives.
Dirty Dancing, starring Jennifer Grey and the late Patrick Swayze, was released August 21, 1987. Grey played Frances “Baby” Houseman, who in the 1960s visits a resort in upstate New York with her family and falls for her camp’s bad-boy dance instructor, Swayze’s Johnny Castle. Her character’s name is referenced in Swayze’s memorable line: “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”
The film is also notable for its soundtrack — specifically, the song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” which won an Oscar in 1988 for best original song.
To longtime film critic Leonard Maltin, Dirty Dancing isn’t a cinematic classic, but he concedes, “The definition of a ‘classic’ is something that has stood the test of time. And in that sense it’s a classic, because people love and cherish and remember this movie.”
Loved it, indeed. Made for a reported budget of $6 million, Dirty Dancing grossed just shy of $64 million domestically in 19 weeks, plus another $150 million globally.
A short-lived TV series of the same name followed in 1988, and a follow-up film that recycled the plot of the original movie, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, was released in 2004.
A remake of the original, directed by Kenny Ortega of the High School Musical films, debuted on ABC in May; the movie starred Abigail Breslin in Grey’s role. Debra Messing of Will & Grace fame, who played Baby’s mom, told ABC Radio the original was a “turning point” for her.
“I remember being a kid when it came out and sitting in the movie theater and thinking, ‘This is the first time that I’ve actually seen a leading lady who isn’t perfect,'” said Messing. “And it’s like, ‘Oh, so there might be a place for me in Hollywood.'”
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