Dirty Dancing, Ghost, The Outsiders...Swayze made us fall in love with him over and over again.
Patrick Swayze once said that he wanted to achieve the heights of Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and Errol Flynn before he died. And in many people's opinions, the recently deceased actor/dancer did—fighting the bad guys as Flynn might in Red Dawn, dancing with the athleticism of Kelly in Dirty Dancing, and even serenading Jennifer Grey as Astaire might in the same movie.
But, contrary to what Swayze might have thought of himself or how the entertainment world chose to package him, it will not be his physical presence alone that we remember him for. As much a romantic lead as a dancer, Swayze made us fall in love with him over and over again throughout the years in roles that didn't include a single two-step. Below, we've listed some of our favorite romantic Swayze films. Let us know if there are any we left off that you wish were included.
1. The Outsiders (1983) — A live-action Teen Beat centerfold, The Outsiders didn't just make us swoon, it made us realize we were capable of swooning in the first place. Featuring Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe, Ralph Macchio, C. Thomas Howell, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, and Emilio Estevez, it was hard to choose a favorite castmember. But Swayze certainly stood out as one of them. As Darrel Curits—the oldest, wisest, and most responsible of the Curtis brothers—he brought the realities and responsibilities of burgeoning adulthood to this 1950s teenage drama of class consciousness.
2. North and South (1985) — We love ourselves a period romance. And rarely has the genre been done better on television than in the mini-series North and South. Featuring an all-star cast that included Elizabeth Taylor, Kirstie Alley, Gene Kelly, and Robert Mitchum, North and South followed the lives of two friends—one union and one confederate—leading up to and during the Civil War. Patrick Swayze, who made up the southern half of the friendship, kept us on our toes—making us fall in love with him as a romantic lead opposite Lesley-Anne Dawn, but also making us question his consciousness as a member of a slave-owning family. If there's any proof that Swayze wasn't a one-trick pony, this is it.
3. Dirty Dancing (1987) — Audiences didn't just love Dirty Dancing, but became addicted to it—returning to the multiplex over and over again to see Patrick Swayze dance with and romance Jennifer Grey. Set in the 1960s, and taking place at a posh Catskills resort, the movie's subplots included a botched abortion, petty theft, and class conflict. But the real reason women kept going back to see it was obviously not those subplots, but something far more fantastic and optimistic: the idea that a handsome man that everyone wants could fall desperately in love with an ordinary looking teenage girl who no one seems to notice.
4. Ghost (1990) — Sure, Whoopi Goldberg's performance was more irritating than Oscar-worthy. And yes, the evil ghosts of the underworld looked more like black plastic trash bags than ominous gatekeepers of hell. Nonetheless, Ghost was the movie that made ceramic arts sexy and Patrick Swayze an even bigger sex symbol than he already was after Dirty Dancing. Who'd of thought it was possible in a script that had him killed off in the first half hour?
5. Point Break (1991) — As surfer/suspected bank robber Bodhi, Swayze had lots of gals swooning over his tan, toned abs. But even more appealing than his body was his easy, amiable way with the people who surrounded him. So charming was he, that even undercover FBI agent/surfer apprentice Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) couldn't resist liking him—even as he was investigating him. Sure, it was a bromance as opposed to a romance, and yes, the whole story was ridiculous, but that doesn't mean we didn't love Swayze a little more after watching it.