AFI Movie Club: DIRTY DANCING – American Film Institute
Dirty Dancing Film Still - Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze



DIRTY DANCING is featured on three of AFI’s lists of the greatest American films, earning a place on the list of the greatest love stories of all time. “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” is ranked #86 on AFI’s greatest songs in American film, and “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” is on AFI’s list of the 100 best movie quotes!

Watch Natalie Portman announce the film:


Movie Trivia for DIRTY DANCING

-DID YOU KNOW that DIRTY DANCING was inspired by screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein’s life? She also grew up in Brooklyn with a doctor father, visited the Catskills during the 1960s, was called “Baby” and learned how to dance at house parties.  

-DID YOU KNOW that DIRTY DANCING struggled to find a financier? Producer Linda Gottlieb ultimately took it to Vestron Pictures, which was up until that point a home video distributor. The movie became their very first theatrical release. 

-DID YOU KNOW that DIRTY DANCING was director Emile Ardolino’s debut narrative feature? He had previously directed and produced the Academy Award®-winning documentary HE MAKES ME FEEL LIKE DANCIN’. 

-DID YOU KNOW that Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey previously starred together in director John Milius’ RED DAWN? 

-DID YOU KNOW that dancer and choreographer Kenny Ortega’s other credits include the hit ‘80s films FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF, PRETTY IN PINK and ST. ELMO’S FIRE? Ortega also worked with Gene Kelly earlier in his career! 

-DID YOU KNOW that Frances “Baby” Houseman’s namesake is Frances Perkins, the U.S. Secretary of Labor from 1933 to 1947 and the first woman in the Cabinet? In the film, Baby also plans to attend Mount Holyoke College in the fall – Perkins’ own alma mater! 

-DID YOU KNOW Kelly Bishop – who plays the role of Baby’s mother – is an accomplished dancer herself? Bishop originated the role of Sheila in “A Chorus Line,” for which she won a Tony Award® for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical!  

-DID YOU KNOW that in addition to DIRTY DANCING’s box office success, the film’s soundtrack rose to the top of the pop charts and went platinum in just five weeks? “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” also went on to win the Oscar® for Best Original Song. 

Learn more at the AFI Catalog.


The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions 

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram now using #AFIMovieClub. Or post your responses in the comment section below. 

-What is your favorite song in DIRTY DANCING? 

-Do you think the stars Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey have good chemistry? 

-How does Baby evolve from the start of the film? How does she break free from her sheltered life? 

-Does DIRTY DANCING make you nostalgic for any summer vacations or romances? 

-How does the film take on issues of class through the social hierarchy of the staffers and guests at Kellerman’s? 

-What do you think of the relationship between Baby and her father? How does it change throughout the film? 

-How would you rank DIRTY DANCING? 


Watch this exclusive AFI Archive clip of Patrick Swayze talks about his famous line in DIRTY DANCING:


New to AFI Movie Club? Want to learn more?

In this time when we are reminded “There’s no place like home,” AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies. Each day’s film is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to enrich your viewing experience.

Learn more in our FAQ section.


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