Little-Known Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The Beloved Classic ‘Dirty Dancing’

There have been plenty of big budget blockbuster movies that will remain in our memories forever. The writing, the acting and the story all come together for a brilliant display of cinema. There’s really nothing else like it.

Sometimes, though, a movie with a low budget and unknown actors can have the same impact on an audience. It’s always a nice surprise when a movie with low expectations shocks everyone with an Academy Award-winning effort.

Dirty Dancing, starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, is one of those movies. It had a mostly unrecognizable cast and a very low bankroll, but it managed to become one of the most famous movies of all time. Enjoy 24 little-known facts about this great flick, and then go watch it again!

1. In the scene where Johnny (Swayze) and Baby (Grey) are alone practicing their dance moves, Johnny runs his fingers down Baby’s arm and she bursts out laughing. This was a genuine reaction from Grey, as is the frustration on Patrick’s face.


2. Jennifer Grey initially refused to work on this film because Patrick Swayze was going to be a part of it. Apparently, she didn’t enjoy working with him previously on Red Dawn. Swayze was able to convince her, though.


3. There is one scene where Johnny and Baby crawl to each other. The actors were actually just joking around during the filming of this, but the director thought it added a nice touch and decided to keep it in.


4. During the filming of the lake scene, which was one of the most popular scenes in the movie, it was actually extremely cold on set. The actors had to tough out the scene, and their lips turned blue because of it.


5. Jennifer Grey had to prove to the casting directors that she could play a younger girl. Her role of Baby was supposed to be 10 years younger than her actual age. She had five minutes to prove it in her audition, and she did.


6. After the success of the first film, studios wanted to cash in on a sequel. Swayze was offered $6 million to return to the screen as Johnny, but he really wasn’t into doing sequels and declined the offer.


7. There is one scene where Johnny and Baby are dancing in the woods. Since it was shot in October, the leaves on the surrounding trees were changing color. The crew had to spray paint the colored leaves green to give the impression that it was still the summer season.


8. In the original film, the dance during the love scene that Johnny and Baby perform wasn’t supposed to be in the final cut, it was only meant to be what Swayze and Grey performed for the screen test. However, the director liked it so much that he kept it.


9. The script was penned by a woman named Eleanor Bergstein in 1987. During an interview, Eleanor claimed that the lead characters of the movie, Johnny and Baby, were actually influenced by her biography.


10. Many fans might not have noticed this but throughout the film, Baby usually wears very light colors and Johnny is mostly dressed in dark. This is to subconsciously contrast their personality types.


11. One of the main songs from the movie’s soundtrack was titled “She’s Like the Wind.” It was co-written by Patrick Swayze and also performed by him as well. He’s got acting and singing credits on the film!


12. Jennifer Grey’s father Joel Grey starred in a very short-lived musical called Goodtime Charley. The lead character played the son of Charlemagne, and one of the backup dancers on set was none other than Patrick Swayze!

23Alan Light / Flickr

13. The assistant choreographer for the film, Miranda Garrison, was actually given a starring role due to a scheduling conflict. The director was, at one point, left without an actress to play Vivian Pressman. They hired Garrison soon after.


14. Conan O’Brien had a big part to play in the film’s 1997 re-release. He had written a petition that asked for fans to write personal letters requesting a re-release. The petition ended up working.


15. Mount Holyoke College is the school that viewers learn Baby will attend at the beginning of the film. Her character in the film, Frances Perkins, was an actual graduate of the class of 1902.


16. The book that Swayze offers Baby is called The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand. The book preaches objectivism, a philosophy that holds the belief that it is better to care for yourself than others. He wants to lend it to Baby as an excuse for not helping Penny.


17. You might be surprised to hear this, but Patrick Swayze wasn’t the first choice to play Johnny. The role was initially offered to Val Kilmer, but he turned it down due to other commitments.

25Gisela Giardino / Flickr

18. Sometimes in films, certain scenes need to be cut for budget reasons or time constraints, but they can be added in afterwards during special releases. The love scene between Johnny and Baby that was missing from the original version was added back into the film on the 20th anniversary DVD release.


19. The iconic love scene, set to the song “Cry To Me” has been voted by movie fanatics all over the world as “one of the sexiest movie moments in all of cinematic history.” Considering how many movies are in existence, that is quite a title to hold!


20. The character of Robbie Gould was played by a man named Max Cantor who was the son of the famous Broadway producer Arthur Cantor. Unfortunately, Max died of a heroin overdose at age 32.

26Newtown Graffiti / Flickr

21. When a casting call goes out, all sorts of big names will show up if they think the finished product will be a hit. Both Billy Zane and Sarah Jessica Parker auditioned for the lead roles of Dirty Dancing.


22. There is a scene where Johnny and Baby are dancing, and Baby is wearing a very uniquely sewn dress. Swayze needed to keep his fingers on her back for the a large portion of the dancing, and he kept getting them stuck in the seams.


23. During the dangerous log-dancing scene, Swayze refused to let a stuntman fill in for him while he was high above the ground. He fell off several times and had to get fluid in his knee drained because of it.


24. The song “Hula Hana” in the film was co-written by the woman who played Baby’s older sister. Oddly enough, she was never given credit for the song until March, 18, 2002. Better late than never!


Check out the original trailer from 1987 and relive all your favorite moments from the movie that will stay in our hearts forever!

When actors come together and create a masterful piece of cinema like this, it makes us proud to be a movie goer.

Share these awesome facts with your friends below!

Recommended From Eternally Sunny

Stay up to date on the
latest trending stories!

like our facebook page!