Remembering Patrick Swayze’s 3 Simple Rules on the 32nd Anniversary of ‘Road House’

by Jim Casey

Road House.

Two nouns combined to elicit a prescribed response.

That response is awesomeness. Yes, I’m talking about the 1989 movie, Road House, starring the late, great Patrick Swayze as Dalton, a bouncer cooler at The Double Deuce in small-town Missouri. The cult classic debuted in New York and Los Angeles on May 19, 1989, which means the flick is 32 years old today.

Oddly enough, Road House was released on the same day—12 years later—as another classic, Smokey and the Bandit.

Road House was the perfect workout for both the mind and body. While Dalton waxed philosophical to stimulate our brains, his never-ending bag of martial arts moves warmed us to the core. Of course, (spoiler alert) his tiger-claw throat strike provided an outlet for Jimmy’s soul to reach the ether before a final spin-kick into the lake, but when a man puts a gun in your face, you got two choices.

Speaking of Dalton’s spin-kicking counterpart Jimmy, played by Marshall Teague, let’s not forget Swayze’s epic supporting cast, which has more real-life backstory than Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton.

Ben Gazzara as town kingpin, Brad Wesley. Sam Elliot as the best—albeit aging—cooler Wade Garret. Gazzara and Elliot are catalysts for any great movie (see The Big Lebowski). Professional wrestler Terry Funk as a beautifully haired henchman. Former Elvis Presley bodyguard Red West as Red Webster, a local businessman and the uncle of Dalton’s picnic-table-cloth-wearing love interest, Dr. Elizabeth Clay, who was played by Kelly Lynch. Joe Doe, the bassist in the punk band X, played bartender Pat McGurn. In addition, blind bluesman Cody, played by blind bluesman Jeff Healey, provided the majority of the soundtrack.

The movie had everything you could want in a late-’80s cult classic, including a monster truck, a barndominium, and a stuffed polar bear.

Swayze’s ‘Road House’ Rules

While I can’t exercise your body with the written word today, I can exercise your mind with Dalton’s three simple rules on the film’s 32nd anniversary.

I think Dalton’s words are as true in 2021 as they were in 1989.

Keep in mind, Dalton had a philosophy degree from N.Y.U. Man’s search for faith—that sort of sh*t.

  1. Never Underestimate Your Opponent
  2. Take It Outside
  3. Be Nice