On This Day: ‘Dirty Dancing’ Premieres in Theaters in 1987

by Megan Molseed

On this day thirty-five years ago, movie fans learned one absolute truth… “nobody puts Baby in the corner.” Now it’s 35 years to the day since the August 21, 1987 release of the hit throwback dance-drama classic Dirty Dancing, and we can’t help but recognize the anniversary by remembering some of the most iconic moments from the film.

Dirty Dancing Remains A Timeless, Even 35 Years After The Film’s Release

Starring Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, and Law & Order star Jerry Orbach, Dirty Dancing tells the timeless tale of young Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey) as she discovers things about herself while vacationing with her family in the Catskills.

Taking place in 1963, Dirty Dancing begins as the Houseman family arrives at the endlessly fancy resort called Kellermans for the summer. Baby takes advantage of all of the amenities that the swanky resort has to offer its guests. Amenities such as arts and crafts, hair styling classes, and ballroom dancing lessons.

However, the excitement of the trip continues to elude her. Baby’s vacation soon gets exciting when, through a series of unexpected events, Grey’s character meets the “too cool” dance instructor Johnny Castle. Castle is famously portrayed by the late actor Patrick Swayze.

Sparks Fly At The Catskills Resort As Baby And Johnny Leap Towards An Iconic Movie Moment

As the story evolves, Baby volunteers to stand in for another dancer for a major annual dance event. As Baby and Johnny begin their work together (Baby has never danced like Castle and his partner before) the two are like oil and water. However, the sparks soon fly as the two grow closer during their endless hours working on the dance moves.

Of course, all of this leads up to some of the film’s most famous and pivotal moments. Sure, we will never forget the moment Johnny and Baby first meet. You know, when Baby “carries the watermelon.”

We will always love the moment in the iconic dance flick when Johnny and Baby run off into the woods in order to practice the legendary “lift” in the safety of the water…and of course, there’s the scene where Baby is finally getting down some of the core moves of the couple’s dance as Eric Carmen’s classic Hungry Eyes plays during the montage.

But nothing will ever top the movie’s finale moments. The moment when Swayze’s Johnny Castle returns to the resort after being unceremoniously fired, bringing Baby onto the stage to perform their dance number…finally nailing the move that starts it all…the “lift”!

Part Of Dirty Dancing’s Timeless Appeal Lands Squarely On The Film’s Legendary Soundtrack

Fans of the iconic dancing flick will continue to play the movie over and over again. Even long after the film’s 35th anniversary, no doubt. However, there is one aspect that truly drives the movie…the classic soundtrack.

In fact, the Dirty Dancing soundtrack was so favored that it remained on the top of the billboard list for months after the movie’s release. Making it just as popular, if not a little more, as the hit film.

The soundtrack features a mix of songs from the era in which the film is set as well as some major 1980s hits. One song, She’s Like The Wind is even sung by the film’s male lead, Patrick Swayze. The final product is a soundtrack that still gets us going even three decades after it was released. Evoking memories of both the 1980s and the film’s own retro setting.