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Film / Dirty Dancing

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The ultimate chick flick.

"Nobody puts Baby in a corner."
Johnny Castle

Dirty Dancing is a 1987 romance film starring Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze, written by Eleanor Bergstein, directed by Emile Ardolino, and choreographed by Kenny Ortega. A sleeper hit, it became a sensation upon release, with reports of people supposedly viewing the film, then immediately returning to the theater to watch it a second time. Amusingly, the studio that produced and distributed Dirty Dancing, Vestron Pictures, planned to release the film in theaters for only a weekend, and then send it straight to home video, since they had originally been in the home video distribution business long before entering film production.

Frances "Baby" Houseman and her wealthy family decide to spend the summer of 1963 at Kellerman's, a Jewish resort in the Catskills. Baby's father, Jake (Jerry Orbach), is the personal physician for resort owner Max Kellerman (Jack Weston). While being squired around by Max's creepy grandson, Neil (Lonny Price), Baby quickly develops a crush on Johnny Castle, the resort's working-class dance instructor, eventually leading her to one of the staff's secret after-hours dance parties, where they engage in "dirty dancing" and Johnny teaches her some basic steps.

Soon after, she learns Johnny's dance partner Penny (Cynthia Rhodes) needs an illegal abortion resulting from an affair from resort waiter Robbie Gould (Max Cantor), who has begun dating Baby's older sister, Lisa (Jane Brucker). But the only night they can see the abortion doctor is the same night Johnny and Penny are due to earn extra money performing at a neighboring hotel named The Sheldrake. With no one to fill in, they might lose the gig, so Baby offers to help. As Johnny teaches her how to dance, the two grow close. But Baby's family would never approve of the relationship, and she needs to decide if it's worth fighting for...

As mentioned above, this film was a major coup for Vestron Pictures, which, up until this point, was largely only involved with home video distribution. As a result of this film's success, Vestron turned it into a minor franchise, cranking out a TV series (see below) and a music tour which played in 90 cities for three months and was telecast in First-Run Syndication. They also began getting more involved in making movies and actually began fully financing them (Vestron had released movies before Dirty Dancing came out, but those movies were made by outside filmmakers and Vestron was only handling distribution). Unfortunately, however, many of these other films ended up tanking at the box office, and these flops, coupled with the fact that many of Vestron's former clients were now forming their own home video divisions and thus no longer needed their services, caused the company to eventually declare bankruptcy and close down on January 11, 1991.

In 2004, a prequel entitled Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights was released by Lionsgate, which holds the rights to the original courtesy of their ownership of the Vestron Pictures library. Set during the Cuban Revolution, the film's only connection to the first is a cameo by Patrick Swayze, who got $5 million for this scene (compared to the $200,000 for his starring role in the original film), and in fact, it's a repeat of the original. Havana Nights was based on a script written by Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me host Peter Sagal that was not intended to be a Dirty Dancing sequel. Sagal has a story credit on the final film, even though very little of his script made it into the final product aside from the setting, time period, and some of the characters. Havana Nights bombed with audiences and critics and was quickly forgotten.

In addition to the prequel, there was a very short lived TV series based on the film, which ran on CBS from 1988 to 1989. In addition to not having any of the original cast and very limited involvement from the crew, the show had one glaring plot change: Baby (played by a young Melora Hardin) was now Max Kellerman's (played by McLean Stevenson) daughter and in charge of Johnny (played by Patrick Cassidy) as the resort's talent director.

A musical stage adaptation titled Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story On Stage debuted in Australia in 2004, and various versions have toured throughout the US and the UK.

A Made for TV musical, starring Abigail Breslin as Baby, Colt Prattes as Johnny, Debra Messing as Mrs. Houseman, Bruce Greenwood as Dr. Houseman, Sarah Hyland as Lisa, Tony Roberts as Max Kellerman, Trevor Einhorn as Neil Kellerman, and Nicole Scherzinger as Penny, aired May 24, 2017 on ABC.

I've... had... the trope of my life:

  • Abortion Fallout Drama: Penny goes through an abortion without a second thought, even though she's scared, and her friends support her throughout. The operation turns out to be a back-alley abortion that nearly costs Penny her life, but Dr. Houseman saves her, doesn't report her, and even assures her that she'll still be able to have children later, without once blaming her or condemning her for her choice; his criticism is reserved entirely for the guy who got her into the predicament to begin with, and to his daughter for lying to him and getting involved.
  • Actor Allusion: When Kelly Bishop, playing Baby's mother, Marge, says of her daughter's dancing abilities, "She gets that from me." Kelly Bishop is a former ballet and Broadway dancer who was Sheila Bryant in the original production of A Chorus Line. Jerry Orbach himself was also a well known Broadway dancer and he was Billy Flynn in the original production of Chicago. In fact, both musicals engaged in a famously publicized rivalry for box office receipts and Tony awards when they opened within months of each other in 1975.
  • All for Nothing: Baby provides an alibi (ahem) for Johnny when he's accused of theft. He gets canned anyway for having a sexual relationship with a guest. She even screams this after everything that happened. Though it wasn't all for nothing, not for Johnny anyway, since nobody like her ever stood up for someone like him.
    • Not to mention Johnny is saved from a robbery conviction and subsequent criminal record.
  • Alliterative Title
  • Back-Alley Doctor: The abortion clinic. i.e. "A dirty knife and a folding table."
  • Borscht Belt: Kellerman's is a Borscht Belt resort, though Borscht Belt comedy is not heavily featured in the movie.
  • Break the Haughty:
    • Lisa, when she catches Robbie in bed with another woman.
    • Vivian, too, who is sitting alone during the final dance.
  • Broken Pedestal: Baby is saddened to discover her father's elitism when he bans her from associating with Johnny and the other staff members (though in all fairness, it's because of his mistaken belief that Johnny knocked up Penny and wants to protect Baby from a similar fate). Similarly, her father is sorely disappointed in Baby's involvement in Penny's illegal abortion and her deceit, and even more disappointed when he learns that she actually did have sex with Johnny. Most tellingly, however, Dr. Houseman has this reaction at the end towards Robbie, when he discovers that Robbie, who he had permitted to date his other daughter, Lisa, all because he thought he was actually a good boy with a promising future ahead of him, is actually a dirty sleaze who was the actual culprit who got Penny "in trouble" and who didn't even bother to take responsibility. This of course causes the pedestals between Baby and her father to be perfectly repaired.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Baby tells Jake off in an emotional scene for his treatment of Johnny and herself.
  • Can't Believe I Said That: This is Baby's reaction to awkwardly telling Johnny that she "carried a watermelon" when they first meet.
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: Baby. To the point where in one deleted scene, she threatens to lie about Lisa when the latter threatens to tell their parents about her sneaking around, warning her that their parents will believe her because she never lies, and in another, her father instantly believes her when she confesses to a minor incident, simply by saying, "It has to be true. Baby never lies". This is after discovering her deception regarding Penny's abortion, when he'd have every reason to doubt anything she says.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Neil Kellerman. He's short and unattractive (compared to Johnny), but boasts that he's "the catch of the county" because he's heir to the Kellerman empire.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • When Penny and Baby help Mrs. Schumaker when she drops her purse, multiple wallets can be seen.
    • Penny can be seen glaring at Robbie while he flirts with Lisa, this is later revealed to be due to hurt and anger at him impregnating and abandoning her.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • The lift, or rather, Baby's inability to do one. Also, if you look in the background during the scenes in the staff quarters, you can see the staff practicing the step-kick "Cuban rhythms" that Johnny demonstrates for Neil, and which they perform in the end.
    • A doctor's work is never done. Baby's father swoops to the rescue following Penny's botched abortion.
    • A deleted scene shows Dr. Houseman is an OB/GYN.
  • Coming of Age Story: The shy wallflower Baby starts blossoming through dance and her relationship with Johnny.
  • Coordinated Clothes: Inverted with Baby and Johnny, who wear clothes of contrasting colours throughout the movie, even for their dance number, where couples very often wear matching outfits. Notably, in the final dance scene, Johnny wears jet-black, while Baby wears a pale pink dress that, under the rose-colored gel lights, reads as pure white.
  • Covert Pervert: After the Sheldrake dance, Baby changes in the back seat of Johnny's car and he checks her out in the rear view mirror.
  • Creator Cameo: As mentioned below in Present-Day Past, period music consultant "Cousin Brucie" Morrow has a brief role as a magician who saws Baby in half as a trick.
  • The Cutie: Baby.
  • Daddy's Girl: Baby, so much so that Lisa bluntly taunts her about finally having their father's attention after the incident with Penny puts Baby out of his good graces.
  • Dance of Romance: Pretty much the entire point of the movie.
  • Dance Party Ending: Includes a now legendary leap off the stage into the audience by Swayze, who at that point had reinjured his knees and was in considerable pain, but did it anyway so there'd be a visually impressive hook to the scene.
  • Dancing Royalty: Invoked to an extent, through the vacation resort's annual talent show on the final day, with Johnny and Penny as the final act. The two of them are celebrities among the staff and Baby even meets Johnny after he and Penny are dancing as a centerpiece on an empty floor surrounded by cheering colleagues and background dancers. This is possibly one of the reasons why Neil, the grandson of the resort owner, is determined to keep Baby away from Johnny after she finds out that he and Penny are just friends.
  • Date Rape Averted: A mild version implied with Lisa and Robbie—early in the film, Baby and Neil spot them coming out from a secluded pathway with Lisa hurriedly adjusting her clothes and demanding an apology from Robbie, who sarcastically refuses. Disturbingly, she continues to date him throughout the film.
  • Delusions of Local Grandeur: This movie was filmed on-location at Mountain Lake in Giles County, Virginia. A fact that WSLS, a Roanoke, VA-based NBC station, will make DAMN sure you don't forget if you watch it. Also Lake Lure, North Carolina. Every Girl Scout at Camp Occoneechee knew it too.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The dancing is deliberately (both in- and out-of-universe) meant to look sexual.
    • The lift is a metaphor for orgasm.
    • The dance training. Penny symbolically places Baby in Johnny's arms and guides her through the dance moves, essentially giving her permission to "take" Johnny, even though Penny was only his dance partner, and they weren't actually romantically involved.
  • End of an Age: Max is painfully aware that the era of Borscht Belt resorts in the Catskills is coming to an end, stating outright that package holidays to Europe were becoming the norm. Indeed, by the time the film was released, many resorts like Kellerman's had shut down or were on the verge of doing so.
  • Epic Fail:
    • At the end of the film, Billy is trying to teach Lisa how to dirty dance and all she can really do is just bounce in place. Billy even laughs at it.
    • Not that bouncing in place is a bad dance for someone like her.
  • Establishing Character Moment: At the beginning of the film, as the family is driving to Kellerman's, the girls are seen sitting in the backseat of the car. Lisa is gazing into a mirror, fussing with her hair, while Baby is reading a book. Without a single word being spoken, Lisa is established as The Ditz while Baby is the intelligent one.
  • Fanservice:
    • Mostly of shirtless Patrick Swayze, although soaking wet Jennifer Grey (in the river scene) is nothing to sneeze at.
    • In the montage of Baby dancing up the stairs on her way to practice, her outfits grow more and more revealing, vividly illustrating her growing attraction to Johnny.
    • You can probably throw in all the Panty Shots of the dirty dancing girls, Penny in her dancing gear, and Lisa's prominent bustline in the bikini in the end scene.
  • Female Gaze:
    • As noted on the DVD commentary, Baby is in every scene, and the view is entirely hers. Two other minor examples: when Robbie is hitting on Lisa and Penny stares at him, and when Vivian watches Baby coming out of Johnny's cabin.
    • Baby being in every scene is justified, as the film itself is her reciting her recollections.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Flaky, fashion-obsessed Lisa vs. studious, intelligent Baby.
  • Funny Background Event: When Johnny is beating the crap out of Robbie, several of the other entertainment staff gain be seen smiling gleefully in the background watching the beating.
  • Gilligan Cut: "It's a stupid idea. She cannot do it." Cut to: Baby stepping on Johnny's feet.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: One-sided on Lisa's part. However, Baby has a few moments like this, where it's implied that she doesn't think she's as pretty as Lisa—who visibly smirks at her when Robbie hits on her and completely ignores Baby—thus explaining her initial shyness and awkwardness around Johnny.
  • Hidden Depths: Ditsy Lisa coldly accuses Baby of not caring about her and taunts her about how "Daddy listens when I talk now", indicating that for all her flakiness, she's genuinely hurt and resentful about him favoring her.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: How Jake finds out the truth about Penny's abortion. Near the end of the film, while some of the staffers are singing the resort's anthem, Jake approaches Robbie, hands him an envelope containing either a check or a letter of recommendation, and wishes him good luck in medical school. Robbie replies by thanking Jake for helping Penny out and telling him, "I guess we've all gotten into messes", effectively confessing and insulting Penny at the same time. Jake, who is understandably miffed, and not just over Robbie's deed, but also at himself for allowing Robbie to date Lisa at the same time, takes the envelope back.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: The joke of the talent show is that Lisa is a terrible singer who can't carry a tune, but makes up for it by revealing her "real talents" in a skimpy costume. In true Hollywood Tone Deaf fashion, however, her actress's singing is in tune, and she is forced to portray "bad" singing by being pitchy and lacking projection. She also sings "Hula Hana," a tune without a lot of variation in its chord structure, to increase the impression that she's singing in monotone.
  • Honorable Marriage Proposal: Becomes a point of confusion when Dr. Houseman asks who's responsible for the pregnant girl (meaning "who knocked her up?"), and Johnny Castle says "I am" (meaning "I'm taking responsibility for helping her out"). It should be noted, however, that Johnny actually knew very well what Dr. Houseman meant, and only claimed responsibility because he was afraid that it would be "Penny" who would be fired for sleeping with Robbie, due to the severe classicism going on at Kellerman's.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Johnny's hands are longer than Baby's waist. Also overlaps with One Head Taller.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: Kellerman's! Come for the charades, stay for the foxtrot lessons.
  • Informed Judaism: Aside from their last name and their vacationing at a Borscht Belt resort, neither the Housemans or the other resort guests say or do anything that indicates their Jewish faith.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: How Lisa gets wise to Robbie. Lisa goes to Robbie's cabin in order to surprise him and finally go all the way with him, only to catch him in bed with Vivian (see Jerk Ass below).
  • Ivy League for Everyone : A few examples. Mr. Kellerman, when he's giving the "show the daughters a good time" speech to the wait staff, says he recruited them all from Harvard and Yale. Robbie the Jerkass waiter goes to Yale Medical School. Neil (Mr. Kellerman's grandson) goes to Cornell School of Restaurant Management. Baby will be attending Mount Holyoke (one of the "Sister Schools"). And when she gives Jake her speech at the end, she says that he thinks saving the world means marrying someone from Harvard. The trope is probably Justified, given the movie's time and setting (the Catskills).
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine:
  • Jerkass: In addition to Robbie, there's also Vivian Pressman (Miranda Garrisonnote ), a highly oversexed resort guest who falsely accuses Johnny of stealing her husband Moe's wallet after he spurns her sexual advances in favor of Baby.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jake. Neil, too. He's a condescending, elitist snob. . .who's planning to join the Freedom Riders the following summer. Anyone planning to do something like that can't be that bad. Max, as well. Despite all the flack he gives Johnny and his friends, he still treats the resort's black bandleader, Tito Suarez, as an equal, not an inferior. Even Johnny himself might be seen as a downplayed example (that is, downplayed in "jerk", not in "gold").
  • Lovely Assistant: Baby is recruited to be the assistant of a stage magician who saws her in half as a trick.
  • Mating Dance: It's called Dirty Dancing for a reason. All the dancing seen in the movie is very erotically charged. This includes Baby and Johnny's dances, underscoring their growing attraction.
  • Maybe Ever After: We don't really know if Johnny and Baby continue their romance after the film ends as she's only there on vacation.
  • Meaningful Name: Or nickname rather. "Baby", representing her naivete and innocence. Penny even taunts her about this at one point—"Go on back to your playpen, Baby", in response to the latter's clueless insistence that Robbie will do the right thing regarding her pregnancy.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Expect women to leave the room to change their panties after every scene with Patrick Swayze.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Baby, whose real name was Frances, was named after Frances Perkins, the first female to serve in the U.S. Cabinet, serving as Secretary of Labor under Franklin D. Roosevelt and during the first year in office for Harry S. Truman.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Penny and Johnny, though they may have been at some point before the story. Despite their flawless chemistry as dance partners, they're nothing more than very good friends.
  • Not So Above It All: Despite being Max's closest friend and an older formal band leader, Tito happily dances along with glee to "Time of My Life" at the end. His approval seems to help convince Max.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Baby, who's actual name was Frances.
  • Parental Obliviousness: Baby's mother, Marge (Kelly Bishop) remains blissfully unaware of what goes on throughout the film, though a deleted scene indicates that she isn't as clueless as initially presented—she sternly chastises Baby for her behavior and reveals that she had been in a similar situation before meeting Jake. Jake also. He never realizes what Baby is involved in until he's dragged into it on one occasion—when she runs to get his help after Penny's botched abortion—and when Baby confesses at another time. This isn't due to stupidity, he simply has never had any reason to doubt or distrust her.
  • Parenthetical Swearing: "He wouldn't know a new idea if it hit him in his pachanga!"
  • Pet the Dog: Lisa offering to do Baby's hair, then hugging her as she breaks down.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Johnny and Penny, dating back to childhood. Although Baby initially thought they were a couple, even thinking he was the one who got her pregnant.
  • Present-Day Past: Baby's outfits look more '80s than '60s, and much of the soundtrack is contemporary music. However, the film also features a good amount of songs from the era when the film takes place, thanks to the work of the film's period music consultant, Bruce Morrow, who also appears in the film as a magician who saws Baby in half as a trick. Morrow was actually given the job of period music consultant on the strength of his work as a disc jockey for New York City oldies radio station WCBS-FM 101.1, where he was known to listeners as "Cousin Brucie," a stage name he still uses on SiriusXM after leaving WCBS in 2005 because of an ill-advised experiment in jocklessness.
  • Pretty in Mink: A couple of the rich lady guests at the resort wear white fur wraps.
  • Rich Bitch/Woman Scorned: Johnny's previous "dance student". She ends up sleeping with Robbie.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: Pretty much the only area of romantic conflict.
  • Rule of Symbolism: From the second time Baby visits the staff quarters, her clothes become more revealing as the film progresses, coinciding with her developing sexuality. Then they revert to plain and frumpy when she tries to talk to her father after he learns of her and Johnny's relationship. Her very name (or nickname rather) represents her naivete and innocence.
  • "Sesame Street" Cred: Applies to Lonny Price, Miranda Garrison, Jerry Orbach, choreographer Kenny Ortega, and music supervisor Michael Lloyd. Price previously played Ronnie Crawford in The Muppets Take Manhattan, while Garrison went on to choreograph The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. Meanwhile, Orbach later went on to voice Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast, while Ortega went on to direct and choreograph Newsies and High School Musical. Finally, Lloyd was simultaneously working as music producer for Kidsongs.
  • Sexy Soaked Shirt: The lift. Practiced in water.
  • Shirtless Scene: Take a drink everytime you see one. Hope you enjoy getting your stomach pumped.
  • The '60s: Though you would never know it from Jennifer Grey's '80s Hair.
  • Smash Cut: Baby's father learning of her sexual relationship with Johnny. Cut to Dr. Houseman sitting comatose at the lakefront.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs:
    • The wealthy patrons vs. the help.
    • Even within the help this clash is seen. The waiters were recruited from Ivy League schools, are practically ordered to romance the girls—Max outright says "I brought you here to show the goddamn daughters a good time"—and clearly look down on the dance teachers, who are from the wrong side of the tracks and threatened with punishment should they become involved with a guest—indeed, Johnny is fired when his and Baby's relationship is revealed. Note that Dr. Houseman sternly disapproves of them while having no problem with Robbie and Lisa's relationship (to be fair, though, this is largely only because he mistakenly believes that Johnny got Penny "in trouble and sent her off to some butcher while he moved on to an innocent young girl" like Baby). Meanwhile, Penny fears that it's she who will be fired for sleeping with Robbie.
    • Indeed, the only members of the entertainment staff who aren't treated condescendingly are the resort's house band. If anything, Max doesn't see Tito as merely an employee, but also as a friend and confidant as well, and thus treats him as an equal.
  • Stage Magician: There is one in the resort. During the show, he saws Baby, his Lovely Assistant, in half.
  • Stylistic Suck: Lisa's singing during the final show. Extra intentional, as the actress wrote it herself for it to be like that.
  • Taking the Heat: While treating Penny, Jake asks point blank, "Who's responsible for this girl?" and Johnny replies, "I am." And, of course, Baby admitting that she was with Johnny when the wallets were stolen, despite the consequences.
  • Touché: Jake when he apologizes to Johnny at the end of the movie.
    Jake: I know you weren't the one who got Penny in trouble.
    Johnny: Yeah.
    Jake: When I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong.
  • The Un-Favourite: In one of her few scenes with genuine emotional depth, Lisa implies that she has felt like this for some time, and gloats that Baby is in this position now.
    Lisa: (in response to Baby's advice to not sleep with Robbie) "Oh, come on. You don't care about me. You wouldn't care if I humped the entire Army as long as they were on the right side of the Ho Chi Minh trail. What you care about is that you're not Daddy's Girl anymore. He listens when I talk now. And you hate that." (turns away)
  • Uptown Girl:
    • Wealthy Baby is this to wrong-side-of-the-tracks Johnny.
    • Gender-inverted to a lesser extent with wealthy Robbie and wrong-side-of-the-tracks Penny.
  • Watching the Reflection Undress: While driving back from their dance performance, Johnny watches Baby change via the car's rearview mirror.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: A quick exchange during the final show between Max and Tito:
    Tito: Hei, Landsman, vos hert zikh mit dir? (Roughly "Hello, friend, how are you?"
    Max: Freg nisht. (Roughly: "Don't ask.")
  • You Have to Believe Me!: When Johnny was accused of theft, Baby tries to tell everyone it wasn't Johnny without revealing that she slept with him at the time. None of them take her word for it until she confessed.
    Baby: I know Johnny didn't take Moe's wallet.
    Jake: How do you know?
    Baby: I can't tell you. But please just trust me!
    Jake: I'm sorry Baby, I can't.

Tropes found in the 2017 Made-for-TV Movie

  • Adaptational Jerkass: Both Jake and Johnny are much douchier in the remake than they were in the original.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Penny is considerably friendlier in the remake than her 1987 film counterpart, and Lisa and Baby's relationship is less antagonistic. Neil is no longer a jerk, but a budding feminist and friend to Baby.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The remake is three hours long and features a couple of new characters, some added character backgrounds, and a couple of minor subplots.
  • Ascended Extra: Jake and Marjorie get this treatment due to now having a subplot involving their marriage being on the rocks, as does Tito due to the presence of his son, Marco, who also has a subplot involving him romantically pursuing Lisa after she breaks up with Robbie.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: After Johnny and Baby sleep together the first time, he gives her the cold shoulder, and she stands outside his cabin door yelling for him to come out and deal with her. He responds by throwing open the door and offering up The Big Damn Kiss.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The ending reveals that Baby and Johnny didn't stay together, with her marrying and having a child with someone else, but they still have fond memories of the summer of 1963, with his final line to her being "Keep dancing".
  • Break-Up Song: Performed by Marjorie, with a Reprise from Jake.
  • Brick Joke: The Marilyn wig Baby tries on at the start of the film reappears on someone else's head during the talent show.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Vivian gives Johnny an expensive watch. Later, when he rejects her for Baby, Vivian accuses him of stealing it.
  • Composite Character: Neil doubles as the Emcee/bad comic.
  • Date Rape Averted: Just like in the first film, Robbie tries to do this to Lisa. Unlike the first film, however, Lisa actually dumps Robbie for good after it happens and instead pursues a new love interest, Marco Suarez, a member of the resort's house band, which is led by his father, Tito Suarez.
  • Demoted to Extra: Robbie's role is much smaller than in the original film, with Lisa instead pursuing a new love interest, Marco, a member of the resort's house band, which is led by his father, Tito.
  • Distant Finale: The film opens with a 1975 Baby watching Dirty Dancing: The Musical and reminiscing about her time at Kellerman's. In the end Johnny catches up with her, and she wrote a book about the experience, upon which the musical is based.
  • Framing Device: The movie starts with Baby attending a performance of "Dirty Dancing: The Musical" (possibly referring attempts to create a musical based on the movie, which the remake essentially is) before flashing back to the summer of 1963, then ending back at the musical performance.
  • Friendship Song: Penny teaches Baby how to be a sexy dance partner using "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On."
  • Minor Character, Major Song: Penny, Marjorie, and Vivian each get a show-stopper.
  • Parents as People: In contrast to being Happily Married in the first film, Baby's parents are having serious marital issues in the remake, with her mother revealing that they've had a Sexless Marriage for the past year.
  • She Is All Grown Up: When Baby puts on her dancing dress, and the white gown at the end.
  • Spicy Latina: Penny, although she's more Ambiguously Brown.
  • The Vamp: Vivian, more so than in the original. Katey Sagal even gets to perform the ultimate "torch song."

Tropes Found In The 2004 Prequel Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights:

Along with many of the tropes in the original film, the prequel also includes:

  • Actionized Sequel: The threat of the Cuban revolution looms over the story and finally happens on New Year's Eve.
  • Date Rape Averted: Katey's date, James—the son of her father's boss—gets fresh with her during their evening out. Unlike other instances of this trope, however, he actually has the decency to apologize and even provides her with an alibi for whenever she sneaks off to see Javier.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Kind-hearted Katey is blonde.
  • Lady in Red: Katey borrows a red dress from her family's housekeeper.
  • Maybe Ever After: Katey and her family have to leave Cuba after the revolution. She tells Javier "I'm taking you with me." He responds, "I'm keeping you here." They share one last dance at a local nightclub and Katey vows that while it might be their last dance in Cuba, it won't be their last dance, period. The film ends there, so we never know what happened.
  • Musical Nod: The mambo played during the first dance scene with Johnny and Penny is heard several times, as is an instrumental version of "I've Had The Time Of My Life".
  • Pink Is Feminine: Katey wears a pink dress when she and Javier compete in the finals.
  • Remake Cameo: Patrick Swayze appears in several scenes as a dance teacher.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: James is the rich suitor to Javier's poor.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Javier and Katey embrace, begin to undress. . .cut to the outside of the cabana as we see their silhouettes lying down. The next morning, they're snuggled together, with him shirtless and her wearing his shirt.
  • Their First Time: Katey's likely, though it's uncertain if it was Javier's as well.
  • True Blue Femininity: Katey wears a blue dress during her final dance with Javier.
  • Uptown Girl: Wealthy Katey is this to waiter Javier.
  • Wife-Basher Basher: Katie fights off her date James when he gets fresh with her, running back into the nightclub they just left. Javier notices her disheveled state, instantly deduces what happened, and angrily asks "Where is he?!", clearly intending to invoke this trope, only relenting when Katie assures him she's okay.


Video Example(s):


The Time of My Life

Baby gets out the corner and she & Johnny perform their iconic dance scene.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / SignatureScene

Media sources: