Dirty Dancing

31. Dirty Dancing (1987) [Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements involving sexuality.]

summary from imdb.com:

Spending the summer in a holiday camp with her family, Frances (‘Baby’) falls in love with the camp’s dancing teacher.

directed by: Emile Ardolino

starring: Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze, Jerry Orbach, Wayne Knight

A Trailer

Non-Conservative Reviews

Abortion/Life Content:

Jennifer Grey: So, what’s wrong? What’s the matter with her?

Neal Jones: She’s knocked up, Baby.

Jennifer: Billy! What’s he gonna do about it?

Patrick Swayze: What’s he gonna do about it? Oh, it’s mine, right? Right away you think it’s mine.

Jennifer: But I thought that…

Patrick: It’s okay. Johnny’s here. Johnny’s here, it’s okay. I’m never gonna let anything happen to you. We got to go. Just hold on. Just hold on. Good girl. Good girl. What do you think you’re doing? You’re in trouble, you talk to me. I’ll take care of it. You should’ve come to me in the first place.

Cynthia Rhodes: Forget it, Johnny. I’m not taking what’s left of your salary.

Patrick: Penny, that’s my business.

Cynthia: Besides, it wouldn’t be enough. Oh, God, it’s hopeless!

Jennifer: Don’t say that. There’s gotta be a way to work it out.

Cynthia: Baby? Is that your name? You know what, Baby? You don’t know s### about my problems.

Neal: I told her.

Cynthia: J####! She’s gonna tell her management boyfriend and then we’ll all get fired. Why not skywrite it? “”Penny got knocked up by Robbie, the creep.”

Jennifer: Robbie?

Patrick: Look–

Neal: No, Baby. One of the counselors knows a doctor, a real M.D…. just traveling through New Paltz one day next week. We can get an appointment, but it costs $250.

Jennifer: But if it’s Robbie, there’s no problem. I know he has the money. I’m sure if you tell him–

Cynthia: He knows. Go back to your playpen, Baby.

Max Cantor: And just where do you get off telling me what’s right?

Jennifer: You can’t just leave her.

Max: I didn’t blow a summer hauling toasted bagels just to bail out some chick who probably balled every guy in the place. A little precision, please, Baby. Some people count and some people don’t. Read it. I think you’ll enjoy it. But return it. I have notes in there.

Jennifer: You make me sick. Stay away from me. Stay away from my sister or I’ll have you fired. […]

Jennifer: Daddy, someone’s in trouble.

Jerry Orbach: Besides your mother? You’re overcorrecting, Marge.

Jennifer: You always told me if someone was in trouble, I should help. Could you lend me $250?

Jerry: Are you all right, Baby? Are you in some kind of trouble?

Jennifer: No, it’s not me. Could you loan it to me?

Jerry: That’s a lot of money, Baby. What’s it for?

Kelly Bishop: Baby, stand up straight.

Jennifer: I can’t tell you. It’s hard for me to say that to you, but I can’t.

Jerry: You always said you could tell me anything.

Jennifer: I can’t tell you this.

Jerry: It’s not illegal, is it?

Jennifer: No, Daddy.

Jerry: That was a stupid thing to ask. Forgive me. I’ll have it for you before dinner.

Kelly: Is everything all right?

Jerry: Fine.

Jennifer: Thanks, Daddy.

[scene change:]

Jennifer: Here’s the money.

Cynthia: You mean Robbie?

Jennifer: No. You were right about him?

Cynthia: Then where’d you get it?

Jennifer: You said you needed it.

Cynthia: Is this kid for real?

Patrick: Takes a real saint to ask Daddy.

Cynthia: Thanks, Baby, but I can’t use it.

Patrick: What? What’s the matter with you? You should take the money.

Neal: I can only get her an appointment for Thursday. They do their act at the Sheldrake Thursday. If they cancel, they lose this season’s salary and next year’s gig.

Neal Jones: Johnny! Come on. It’s Penny. She wouldn’t go until you returned.

Patrick Swayze: Did you call an ambulance?

Neal: She said the hospital would call the police. She made me promise. He didn’t use no ether, nothing.

Jennifer Grey: I thought you said he was a real M.D.?

Neal: The guy had a dirty knife and a folding table. I could hear her screaming in the hallway and I swear to God, Johnny, I tried to get in.

Patrick: It’s all right. Johnny’s here.

[Jennifer Grey runs to her father’s room and wakes him up:]

Jerry Orbach: What? What is it, Baby? Is it Lisa?

Jennifer: No.

Jerry: Excuse me. Excuse me! Everybody clear out, please. Yes, I know that hurts. We’re gonna take care of that. Who’s responsible for this girl?

Patrick: I am. Please, is she…

Neal: Doc, thanks a lot.

Patrick: I don’t know how to thank you.

Jerry: Was that what my money paid for?

Jennifer: Daddy, I’m sorry. I never meant to lie.

Jerry: You’re not the person I thought you were. I’m not sure who you are. I don’t want you to have anything to do with those people. Nothing! You’re to have nothing to do with them ever again! I won’t tell your mother about this. Right now I’m going to bed.

Patrick Swayze: So, how you doin’?

Cynthia Rhodes: I’m okay. Dr. Houseman says I’m going to be fine. I can still have children.

Patrick: Oh, Penny, that’s really great.

Patrick Swayze: Dr. Houseman, can l, uh– Look, I’m going anyway and I know what you must be thinking.

Jerry Orbach: You don’t know anything at all about me.

Patrick: I know you want Baby to be like you. The kind of person people look up to. Baby is like that. If you could just see–

Jerry: Don’t you tell me what to see. I see someone in front of me who got his partner in trouble… and sent her off to some butcher… while he moved on to an innocent, young girl like my daughter.

Patrick: Yeah, I guess that’s what you would see.


from wikipedia:


The shooting wrapped on October 27, 1986, both on-time and on-budget. No one on the team however liked the rough cut that was put together, and Vestron executives were convinced that the film was going to be a flop. Thirty nine percent of people who viewed the movie did not realize abortion was the subplot. In May 1987, the film was screened for producer Aaron Russo. According to Vestron executive Mitchell Cannold, Russo’s reaction at the end was to say simply, “Burn the negative, and collect the insurance.”[10]

Further disputes arose over the question of whether a corporate sponsor could be found to promote the film. Marketers of the Clearasil acne product liked the film, seeing it as a vehicle to reach a teen target audience. However, when they learned that the film contained an abortion scene, they asked for that part of the plot to be cut. As Bergstein refused, the Clearasil promotion was dropped. Consequently, Vestron promoted the film themselves and set the premiere on August 16, 1987. The Vestron executives had planned to release the film in theaters for a weekend, and then send it straight to home video, since Vestron had been in the video distribution business before film production.[1] Considering how many people disliked the film at that point, producer Gottlieb’s recollection of her feelings at the time was, “I would have only been grateful, if when it was released, people didn’t yell at me.”

from a commenter at Jill Stanek’s pro-Life site:

Did anyone else HATE “Dirty Dancing”? What a dumb story.

I used to love that movie and now believe it’s about as wretched as a movie can get. I think my mind started to change when I actually listened to the monologue at the beginning…she’s 15/16 and sleeps with a 22 year old man (they hide it by making her appear early 20’s). Then, after I became fully pro-life, I noticed that she took her father’s money and paid for an illegal abortion, in the process showing how horrible it was for women back then. And worse, the father caves at the end and supports all this sin and doesn’t protect his young daughter. I can’t even stomach this movie anymore.

from pro-abortion commenter Katrina Galore at Susie Bright’s Journal:

How funny, I just had a discussion on this very same topic w/ my sister this Xmas. She thought Knocked Up was hilarious, whereas I had refrained from seeing it because I’m sick to death of these backlash “uppity working woman/quirky teenager + unhappily pregnant = comedy goldmine.” Didn’t we already go through this crap in the 80s? We don’t need a retread of Look Who’s Talking/Baby Boom/The Big Chill, even by “indie” directors, m’kay?

Exception to the 80s rule: while I can definitely see Cynthia Armistead’s problems with Dirty Dancing (the hoary cliché of “scarlet woman gets hers”), I’ve always had a slightly different take. DD takes place in 1963, pre-Roe vs. Wade, so the idea of a blotched abortion by a quack doctor was a reality, not just a narrative device. Baby is shown to be courageous (and RIGHT) in both getting the abortion money and asking her father (a doctor) to save the dancer Penny post-botched-abortion, despite the risk to Baby of losing her father’s respect and being banned from seeing her new boyfriend. Penny is not condemned by the other characters for choosing to have an abortion and the director/writer does not serve Penny “poetic justice” with a death sentence. The real villain is Penny’s callous would-be boyfriend Robbie, a spoiled rich kid who justifies leaving Penny in the lurch by invoking (genius!) Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.

from pro-abortion commenter Cynthia Armistead at Susie Bright’s Journal:

I’m having trouble remembering any films that include abortion without the requisite horrible effects to punish the immoral female – she dies, or comes close to it; is rendered infertile; the abortion provider is a monster; etc. Dirty Dancing is a good example of those cliches.

I wasn’t aware of some of the issues Thomas raised in his comment, but I did know that some people who get really weird ideas about who should and shouldn’t be allowed to adopt a child. Ironically, they’re the staunchest anti-abortionists, and I don’t know one of them who has actually adopted or even considered fostering children who need homes. My family of origin is an example. While discussing pregnancy very hypothetically when I was much younger, I said something to the effect that if I ever had an unplanned pregnancy I’d happily give the child to one of my cousins, who is infertile. My mother hit the roof, because that cousin is LDS (Mormon). My parents are Southern Baptist, and don’t consider LDS member “real Christians.” (The fact that I’m not even a Christian was beside the point.) I asked if she’d prefer that I aborted, then, and she absolutely could not give me an answer for a while. Then she said that there were plenty of “good Christian homes” for every baby and child, so nobody should ever abort. The actual figures for the vast number of children in foster care in our state just go right past her. They aren’t part of her reality.

We don’t have cable. We watch DVDs via Netflix and the like, including the occasional TV series, like The West Wing. Most of the media that comes into our house does so online or on dead trees. I can’t sit through movies in a theater easily, so by the time we see anything, it’s pretty old. My daughter (who is 17) sees a lot more movies than my partner and I dose. She saw Juno earlier this week.

When we consumed most media together, she often turned to us and said, “Why didn’t they use condoms? Does she not know about the morning after pill?” or “Why doesn’t she just get an abortion? What about adoption? This is silly.” Her response to most “romantic comedies” involving triangles has always been, “Can’t they just share? Haven’t they heard about polyamory?”

She’s a lot more “culture savvy” now and understands that many people don’t want to have condoms because that would be an acknowledgment that they might have sex (oooo, bad!) or haven’t really thought out all the consequences of terminating or continuing an unplanned pregnancy. She still points those things out to her friends, though, and I’m glad of it. We hear them in the playroom at times, and there’s always at least one person who says, “Katie, it’s not that easy!”

I’m looking forward to what she and her friends create as they grow up.

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One Response to Dirty Dancing

  1. Pingback: Welcome | Abortion in Film

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