Expecting the usual tedium that accompanies a summer in the Catskills with her family, 17-year-old Frances "Baby" Houseman is surprised to find herself stepping into the shoes of a professional hoofer -- and unexpectedly falling in love. The object of her affection? The resort's free-spirited dance instructor.
Pauline Kael The dancing here brings out the sensual dreaminess of the songs. Dirty Dancing -- what a great title! -- is such a bubbleheaded, retro vision of growing up in the sixties (or any other time) that you go out of the theatre giggling happily.
Richard Schickel If the ending of Eleanor Bergstein's script is too neat and inspirational, the rough energy of the film's song and dance does carry one along, past the whispered doubts of better judgment.
Jay Boyar Although the plot is sometimes implausible, the movie's music, dancing and romantic spirit carry a lot of it. In addition, Dirty Dancing has the virtues of a female main character (a bit unusual in a coming-of-age movie) and an interesting setting.
Jonathan Rosenbaum While the music on the soundtrack is predictably overloud, the period detail is refreshingly soft-pedaled.
Desson Thomson The dance finale between Gray and Swayze, although an obvious crowd-pleaser, is performed to a contemporary song clearly intended for the charts, which blows the period feel right off the dance floor.
Variety Staff Good production values, some nice dance sequences and a likable performance by Grey make the film more than watchable.
Anna Smith The film's easy charm, infectious soundtrack and tidy choreography should still win over new fans as well as old.