How old is the movie dirty dancing

How Old Baby & Johnny Are In Dirty Dancing

By Quinn Hough


Dirty Dancing features an iconic pairing in Patrick Swayze's Johnny and Jennifer Grey's Baby, but their characters are far from the same age.

Dirty Dancing features an iconic pairing in Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, but how old is Jennifer Grey, how big is their age gap, and does it make the movie problematic? Dirty Dancing is somewhat autobiographical for screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein, as it's based on her own teenage experiences. This fact only brings the question of Baby and Johnny's age difference further into the light. While the movie doesn't explicitly state the two protagonists' ages, there's enough evidence to suggest that the years between them borders on creepy.

Johnny and Baby's ages in Dirty Dancing (of which Patrick Swayze hates the best line) come into question simply by looking at Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray. The two don't even look like they're in the same age group, and the movie takes no strides to explain any part of it. While this could be a product of the time it was made, Dirty Dancing might not hold up well under today's magnifying glass in terms of its more problematic areas. So, how old is Jennifer Grey? Here's exactly how old Baby and Johnny are in Dirty Dancing, and whether their age is far too wide.

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How Old Are Baby And Johnny

How old is Jennifer Grey? Well, clues in Dirty Dancing place Johnny's age at 25 years old and Baby’s age at 17. At the beginning of Dirty Dancing on HBO, Baby's narration references the "summer of '63." Early dialogue reveals that she's planning to attend Mount Holyoke (an all-female private college in Massachusetts) to study the economics of underdeveloped countries. In the politically charged Dirty Dancing, Baby also states that she plans to join the Peace Corps shortly before laying eyes on Johnny for the first time. Some reports have suggested that Baby is supposed to be 18 or even 19 years old. However, based on iMDB's trivia notes and a 2017 interview with Grey (via Closer Weekly), it seems that Baby was presumably born in 1946 and is supposed to be 17 years old. The character doesn't actually reveal her age in Dirty Dancing, nor does Johnny ask on-camera. If Baby is indeed a minor, that would explain her father's confrontational attitude toward Mr. Castle throughout most of the film.

In Dirty Dancing, Johnny's 1938 birthdate makes him 25 years old. The character initially questions why Baby gained access to a private dancing area, but then invites her to boogie and subsequently teaches her some moves. Johnny and Baby/Frances slowly become friends while dealing with Penny's medical procedures (Jake Houseman provides the appropriate assistance), and they eventually become romantic partners. Dirty Dancing on HBO never addresses the eight-year age difference between the two characters, which makes the film somewhat controversial – both then and now – because Baby is indeed a minor. In 1963 America, though, it wasn't uncommon for men and women to commit at a young age. The focal Dirty Dancing relationship may not be appropriate, but the age gap isn't enough to make Baby's father concerned during the climactic performance. In fact, Jake Houseman essentially apologizes to Johnny.

How Old Were Patrick Swayze And Jennifer Grey During Dirty Dancing?

The late Swayze was approximately seven years older than Grey in real life. When Dirty Dancing premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1987, Roadhouse star Patrick Swayze was 34 years old and was best known for portraying Darrel "Darry" Curtis in The Outsiders and Jed Eckert in Red Dawn. As for Grey, she had just turned 27 and had previously portrayed Jeanie Bueller in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. She also appeared alongside Swayze in Red Dawn as Toni Mason. In 2010, Grey won Dancing with the Stars season 11, just over a year after her Dirty Dancing co-star, Swayze, passed away at age 57 from pancreatic cancer.

Johnny And Baby’s Age Gap In Dirty Dancing Is Questionable At Best

Johnny and Baby's ages in Dirty Dancing are certainly problematic. And worse still, if she was 17 years old, and he was 25, then New York state law would deem nothing wrong with their relationship. This is a problem, as the age gap is discomforting to think about, technically legal, and would definitely raise concerned discussions were a movie to feature it today. Despite this, age gaps like in Patrick Swayze's Dirty Dancing are unfortunately too common. Movies like Licorice Pizza can get away with extensive lovers' age differences, and people seem to be forgiving of its inclusion. After all, Dirty Dancing is still a beloved and critically acclaimed movie when it comes down to it. The film is so prolific that it got a (pretty terrible) TV remake in 2017. Dirty Dancing remains popular, but when put up to today's standards, the age gap between Johnny and Baby wouldn't fly unquestioned were a script to include it today.

Related: Why Road House Is Patrick Swayze's Most Misunderstood Movie

Dirty Dancing's Problematic Age Gap Isn't Alone

While the age gap in Dirty Dancing is certainly creepy, it's not the only movie to feature a problematic age gap between the two leads. Whether it's the ages of the actors themselves or the characters they play, Hollywood has pumped out plenty of iconic films that showcase uncomfortable age differences between romantic partners. Take, for example, any Woody Allen film. The romance between Colin Firth and Emma Stone in Allen's 2014 rom-com Magic in the Moonlight is a more modern example. The age gap between the two actors is 28 years, with Firth being 53 at the time and Stone being 25. While legal, the knowledge Firth was 28 when Stone was born made many viewers uncomfortable.

A more overt example of narrative enabling uncomfortable, and also illegal, age gaps is 90s classic American Beauty. American Beauty shows a 42-year-old Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey, then 39) falling in love with his teenage daughter's 16-year-old friend Angela (Mena Suvari, then 19). The 1980 Martin Scorsese drama Raging Bull shows an adult Robert de Niro fall for a 15-year-old character played by a 17-year-old actress. Finally, Entrapment, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery, showed sparks fly between the two characters, but did nothing to explain Sean Connery and Zeta-Jones' nearly 40-year age gap. The age difference in Dirty Dancing may be problematic, but it doesn't exist in a vacuum. In the end, the movie isn't alone in its depiction, and it's far from the worst offender.

Next: What Happened To Dirty Dancing's Jennifer Grey

Dirty Dancing (1987) - IMDb

  • Cast & crew
  • User reviews
  • Trivia


  • 19871987
  • PG-13PG-13
  • 1h 40m


7. 0/10




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13 Videos

99+ Photos


Spending the summer at a Catskills resort with her family, Frances "Baby" Houseman falls in love with the camp's dance instructor, Johnny Castle.Spending the summer at a Catskills resort with her family, Frances "Baby" Houseman falls in love with the camp's dance instructor, Johnny Castle.Spending the summer at a Catskills resort with her family, Frances "Baby" Houseman falls in love with the camp's dance instructor, Johnny Castle.






    • Emile Ardolino
    • Eleanor Bergstein
  • Stars
    • Patrick Swayze
    • Jennifer Grey
    • Jerry Orbach
    • Emile Ardolino
    • Eleanor Bergstein
  • Stars
    • Patrick Swayze
    • Jennifer Grey
    • Jerry Orbach
  • See production, box office & company info
    • 536User reviews
    • 124Critic reviews
    • 65Metascore
  • See more at IMDbPro
    • Won 1 Oscar
      • 11 wins & 6 nominations total


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    Top cast

    Patrick Swayze

    • Johnny Castle

    Jennifer Grey

    • Baby Houseman

    Jerry Orbach

    • Jake Houseman

    Cynthia Rhodes

    • Penny Johnson

    Jack Weston

    • Max Kellerman

    Jane Brucker

    • Lisa Houseman

    Kelly Bishop

    • Marjorie Houseman

    Lonny Price

    • Neil Kellerman

    Max Cantor

    • Robbie Gould

    Charles 'Honi' Coles

    • Tito Suarez
    • (as Charles Honi Coles)

    Neal Jones

    • Billy Kostecki

    'Cousin Brucie' Morrow

    • Magician

    Wayne Knight

    Paula Trueman

    • Mrs. Schumacher

    Alvin Myerovich

    • Mr. Schumacher

    Miranda Garrison

    • Vivian Pressman

    Garry Goodrow

    • Moe Pressman

    Antone Pagán

    • Staff Kid
    • (as Antone Pagan)
      • Emile Ardolino
      • Eleanor Bergstein
    • All cast & crew
    • Production, box office & more at IMDbPro

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    User reviews536


    Featured review




    One word sums up this film "Perfection". That's it really!! I saw this film in 1987 when it was released and was completely blown away and like Baby I fell in love with Johnny and Patrick Swayze. It has such classic lines as "I carried a watermelon" and "Nobody puts Baby in the corner" and too many others to mention. I loved the story, the characters, the setting, the dancing, and well … the music was phenomenal not one bad song in the whole soundtrack. It just shows that you don't have to spend a fortune to make a great film. Thank you to the cast and crew for making such a wonderful film which makes me smile like a Cheshire cat whenever I watch it.



    • AgentFalco
    • Mar 13, 2015

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    • What is 'Dirty Dancing' about?

    • Is 'Dirty Dancing' based on a book?

    • What is dirty dancing?


    • Release date
      • August 21, 1987 (United States)
      • United States
      • Official Site
      • English
    • Also known as
      • Vũ Điệu Hoang Dã
    • Filming locations
      • Mountain Lake Resort - 115 Hotel Circle, Pembroke, Virginia, USA
    • Production companies
      • Great American Films Limited Partnership
      • Vestron Pictures
    • See more company credits at IMDbPro

    Box office

      • $6,000,000 (estimated)
      • $64,577,242
      • $3,900,000
      • Aug 23, 1987
      • $214,577,242
    See detailed box office info on IMDbPro

    Technical specs

    • 1 hour 40 minutes

      • Dolby Stereo(original release)
      • Dolby Atmos
      • 1. 85 : 1

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    Movie Dirty Dancing (USA, 1987) – Movie Poster


    Dirty Dancing, USA, 1987

    , an innocent spoiled girl from a wealthy family, spends her holidays with her parents at a resort hotel. She meets Johnny, a handsome professional dancer, and becomes his student and lover.

    Country USA


    Directed by Emil Ardolino

    Running time 1 hour 40 minutes

    Release date August 17, 1987

    Age limit12+


    Patrick Swayze, Jack Weston, Jane Brooker, Kelly Canter, Bea Orbach Knight, Miranda Garrison,

    Most anticipated events

    Films directed by Emile Ardolino


    Emile Ardolino

    Died in 1993 at the age of 50, films: 4

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    Best reviews about the movie Dirty Dancing


    409 reviews, 3101 ratings, rating 826


    movie for all time! Those who have not watched - I envy you and advise you to do it as soon as possible. Well, for those who watched (including me), I want to say my thought - it’s still difficult to revise it again, the film will be a little delayed in the middle ...

    October 2, 2009

    Elena K

    3 reviews, 5 ratings, rating 3


    The film is just wonderful, I love it. The game of actors, their dances are simply impressive. I don't know how many times I've already watched this film, I'm ready to watch it again and again....

    August 22, 2013 all the time and always up to date. One of the most romantic films in the world, full of bright dances and a love story. The famous dance-gait of Patrick Swayze will forever go down in the history of world cinema! nine0079 The second part, filmed in 2004, I don't even want to watch.

    February 9, 2011

    Anna U.

    412 reviews, 630 ratings, rating 389


    Incredible movie! of the film, I realized that the second part is just a carbon copy. A young girl of Jewish appearance comes to rest with her parents. Well, what to do on vacation? Of course, to seek adventure. And she finds them in the face of handsome Patrick Swayze. bare-chested, dances like God, and it’s absolutely impossible not to fall in love with him ... Yes, he was a good actor, it’s a pity that he died at a rather young age .... In general, the girl learns to dance, doing good things along the way business, and Johnny (the hero of Patrick Swayze) comprehends his life and its image. The dances in the film are very coolly staged, everything is very cool. And even the romance in the film is not, as usual, sugary, but just such a romance of the 70s .. Very, very, very good film. Just 5 plus. If I had a rating of 6, I would have put it. nine0003

    May 29, 2010

    Maria Nikolaeva

    6 reviews, 7 ratings, rating 7


    Yes, I just looked. Yes, it's not a shame :) And now about the main thing. You can simply keep silent about dancing - it is indescribable.
    You need to watch. Be sure to watch. Watch everyone. Everyone without exception. After all, every dreamer of that very man will share that... I want just such a simple Patrick, just to be Swayze. So that you can snuggle up with your albeit not curly, but still not bad head. So that he also beautifully takes off your T-shirt, carelessly throwing it off "as unnecessary" ... So that he also does not want you to sit in a dark corner. To also. To simply, beautifully and sensually, without excuses. So that you can know that he really is, not just Swayze, but also not just Patrick. Just to be yours. And not just to be. nine0079 And you... You just need to be a little modest, a little wealthy and a little naive. A little curly, rather even in the shower, and to believe in fairy tales, which is quite difficult. But... After watching, you really understand how many people like Robbie are around you. .. But you also want to believe that your Johnny is still ahead. Life-affirming, gentlemen, albeit naive - after all, just a little, isn't it ?.

    P.S: Patrick Swayze - let the earth rest in peace...

    November 2, 2009

    All reviews



    Dirty dances-2

    2004, melodrama


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    • Patrick Swayze (1952 - 2009)
    • Jennifer Gray (1960)
    • Jerry Orbach (1935 - 2004)
    • Kelly Bishop (1944)
    • Cynthia Rhodes (1956)
    • Jane Brooker (1958)
    • Jack Weston (1924 - 1996)
    • Dirty Dancing Movie Trailer (Video):

    Dirty Dancing, a melodramatic film directed by Emil Ardolino, first saw the light of day in 1987. The film was originally planned to be low-budget, but the tape was a success at the box office, and the soundtrack “(I've Had) The Time of My Life” became a platinum disc. After that, the sequel “Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights” was released, as well as the musical of the same name. nine0003

    The story is about two young people from different social strata who meet and develop mutual sympathy.

    The actors who played the main roles in the film "Dirty Dancing", as well as their photos then and now - in the material of the editors of 24SMI.

    Patrick Swayze (1952 - 2009)

    Film "Dirty Dancing": actor Patrick Swayze as Johnny Castle - then and in recent years

    American actor Patrick Swayze in the film "Dirty Dancing" played the role of professional dancer Johnny Castle. This character helped the actor to become the most famous, in his filmography such pictures as “Road House” and “Ghost” appeared. nine0003

    It is noteworthy that it was easy to play the professional dancer Swayze, since the actor had been dancing since childhood. Among his childhood hobbies also appear martial arts, he received a black belt in kung fu. In addition to acting, Patrick wrote and performed songs.

    In 2008, it became known that Swayze was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and after a while the actor said that timely treatment helped to stop the growth of the tumor. In 2009, doctors reported metastases in Patrick's liver, and on September 14, the actor died. nine0003

    Jennifer Gray (1960)

    "Dirty Dancing" movie: actress Jennifer Gray as Baby - then and now

    American actress Jennifer Gray in "Dirty Dancing" played Frances "Baby" Houseman, a girl from a wealthy family. It is noteworthy that the picture was released a couple of weeks after the accident in Northern Ireland. Then the actress was driving with actor Matthew Broderick, the car drove into the oncoming lane and crashed into the car of a 30-year-old woman and her mother. Both women died on the spot. Gray said that the grief from what happened prevented her from enjoying the triumph. nine0003

    In the early 90s, Jennifer had two rhinoplasty surgeries and became almost unrecognizable. The career of the actress was not entirely successful, after "Dirty Dancing" she was invited only to secondary or episodic roles. In 2010, Gray took part in the American show "Dancing with the Stars", after which there was a lull in her career.

    Jerry Orbach (1935 - 2004)

    Dirty Dancing: actor Jerry Orbach as Jake Houseman - then and in recent years

    American actor Jerry Orbach played the role of Jake Houseman, Baby's father, in the film Dirty Dancing. After that, the artist began to appear more and more often in films and on television, however, mostly playing minor characters. Orbach's huge popularity was brought by the character Lenny Briscoe, whom he played for 12 years in the TV series Law & Order. nine0003

    Jerry Orbach passed away in 2004 after a 10-year battle with prostate cancer. In 2005, the US Screen Actors Guild posthumously awarded the actor an award for best performance in Law & Order.

    Kelly Bishop (1944)

    Film "Dirty Dancing": actress Kelly Bishop as Marjorie Houseman - then and now

    American actress Kelly Bishop, who played Baby's mother Marjorie Houseman, dreamed of becoming a ballerina since childhood. The artist's dream partially came true, she participated in Broadway musicals, for which she even received Tony and Drama Desk awards. In addition to her career as a dancer, Bishop made her way into the movies, playing several minor roles. The popularity of the actress was brought by the character of Emily Gilmore in the TV series Gilmore Girls. nine0003

    After filming ended, Bishop returned to the theater and in 2012 starred in the TV series Ballerinas. The actress is married to TV presenter Lee Leonard, the couple has no children.

    Cynthia Rhodes (1956)

    Dirty Dancing Movie: Actress Cynthia Rhodes as Penny Johnson - Then and Now

    American actress and singer Cynthia Rhodes played Johnny's dance partner Penny Johnson in Dirty Dancing. This helped her become famous, after which Rhodes starred in the film "The Curse of the Crystal Eye." In addition, Cynthia acted as a dancer in video clips, where she met singer Richard Marks, from whom she had three children. nine0003

    In 1991, Rhodes decided to end her creative career, devoting all her free time to her children. In 2014, the actress divorced her husband, nothing more is known about her life.

    Jane Brooker (1958)

    The film "Dirty Dancing": actress Jane Brooker as Lisa Houseman - then and now

    The role of Lisa Houseman, Baby's sister, was the biggest in the career of American actress Jane Brooker. After that, she got only episodic roles in the films Steal a House and Doctor, Doctor. Brooker was once misquoted by the media as Dirty Dancing was to blame for her failed career. In 2012, the actress herself denied these words, noting that she was extremely grateful for being part of this film. nine0003

    After finishing her acting career, Brooker devoted herself to raising her daughters.

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