1. Dirty Dancing’s screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein based the movie on her youth. She was the youngest daughter of a Jewish doctor that spent summers in the Catskills. She also participated in Dirty Dancing competitions and was nicknamed Baby.
2. Jennifer Grey (Baby) and Patrick Swayze (Johnny) had worked together previously on Red Dawn. They did not get along. Swayze had to convince Grey to take part in the movie and the duo had great chemistry in their screen test. Unfortunately, as filming continued, the two actors began to butt heads again and were fighting before scenes. Bergstein and director Emile Ardolino sat the actors down to watch their screen test again and Grey and Swayze were able to put aside their differences and finish the film.
3. Throughout the movie, Johnny and Baby are dressed in contrasting colors. Baby is always in lighter colors while Johnny is in dark colors and black.
4. Wayne Knight (NEWMAN1) had his first big movie role in the film. He played Stan, the social director of the resort.
5. The movie takes place over the summer, but filming was during fall. Many of the trees had to have their leaves painted green for the outdoor scenes. However, you can sometimes see the leaves falling in the background.
6. Speaking of the season, that scene filmed in the river was in freezing water and no close ups could be shot, lest the camera pick up the blue sheen of the actors. According to Swayze:
It was horrifyingly, hypothermically cold in that lake, and we filmed that scene over and over. And despite the fact that Jennifer was very light, when you’re lifting someone in water, take after take after take, even the skinniest little girl can feel like 500 pounds. By the time we finished shooting that sequence, my arms were like rubber, my body temperature had plunged.
7. The famous lift Johnny and Baby do in the end of the movie was the first time they duo had attempted it since the audition. Grey’s and Swayze’s first attempt is the one in the movie.
8. Sarah Jessica Parker was considered for the role of Baby while Val Kilmer and Billy Zane tried for Johnny. Coincidentally, Jennifer Grey was dating Parker’s now-husband Matthew Broderick while filming Dirty Dancing.
9. There was a short-lived Dirty Dancing television series in 1988 that starred Paul Feig (Freaks and Geeks, Ghostbusters) and Melora Hardin (The Office). It lasted 11 episodes.
10. Finally, a general, universal fact: Everyone that watched this movie as a kid shit their pants when they got older and realized Penny was having an abortion.