Let's Move It

30 Movies Like ‘Dirty Dancing’ That’ll Make You Want To Move Your Feet

Nobody puts these movies in the corner.

by Becky Bracken
Originally Published: 
Movies Like Dirty Dancing
Vestron Pictures

A coming-of-age story for all time, Dirty Dancing is a forever fan fave for good reason. Released in 1987, the story follows Frances “Baby” Houseman (played by Jennifer Grey) on her summer vacation to the Catskills with her family, where she falls for Patrick Swayze’s character Johnny Castle, a resort dance instructor from the wrong side of the tracks. Ultimately, during her time at Kellerman’s summer mecca, Baby learns about dance, love, and life. Plus, you know, she carries a watermelon. Really, is it any wonder we’ve all been chasing the happy feelings this film gave us since its release? Although no film can truly replicate its magic, other worthy dance movies like Dirty Dancing do exist.

Before we dive into those, let’s revisit some of our most beloved scenes from this cult classic. One of the most iconic scenes of the movie takes place when Baby and Johnny practice their big dance number’s lift in the lake. Conservatively, at least 35 percent of the population has been dropped on their face trying to attempt the over-the-head partner heave — and, yep, we all loved every second of it. Other lasting pop-culture impressions left by Dirty Dancing include Baby’s knee-length cut-off jorts and Swayze’s “Hungry Eyes” single. Oh, and we’d be remiss not to mention the evergreen empowerment assertion that “nobody puts Baby in the corner,” which her dad (played by Jerry Orbach) emotionally said in tribute to his daughter in one of the flick’s final scenes.

But now that you’ve memorized every line and raged at Penny’s predicament (still seething at Robbie, TBH), it’s time to find something new. To that end, we’ve rounded up a list of movies like Dirty Dancing you might want to check out when you need your next cha-cha fix. Sure, there are others ways to go with recommending movies like Dirty Dancing. For instance, Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze also starred together in the 1984 classic Red Dawn, which is fantastic. However, this list takes another direction.

These are movies that celebrate dance, from ballet to breakbeats and beyond. So, move that coffee table out of the way and get ready to dust off your favorite moves as you gleefully groove along with one of these Dirty Dancing-inspired movie picks.

1. Flashdance (1983)

This is required viewing for anyone who wants to understand ultimate ’80s sex appeal, because Jennifer Beals is everything. From her off-the-shoulder sweatshirt and dancewear to her hot welder outfit, you can’t take your eyes off her. The story also happens to be an uplifting journey of a rough-around-the-edges star using her talent to carve out her very own space in the world of professional dance. It’s one of those movies that will leave you crying and cheering at the end.

2. Strictly Ballroom (1992)

An unlikely partnership forms (Baby and Johnny vibes, anyone?) with a ballroom dancer who adopts a distinctly untraditional style to mesh with his new partner and, ultimately, win the competition.

3. Breakin’ (1984)

The prequel to the famously titled Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, this film first introduced break dancing on a worldwide stage. In the movie, a jazz dancer finds his people when he befriends two breakdancers. And, voila! The legend of Turbo was born.

4. Black Swan (2010)

Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis absolutely slay this psychological thriller. Portman plays an elite ballet dancer battling for the ultimate role, while Kunis acts as her major competition — and the person who actually drives her crazy in the end.

5. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Newly released from a mental institution, Bradley Cooper playing Pat Solitano finds happiness in his dance partnership with Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Tiffany. This one’s a wild ride that includes Robert De Niro, the Philadelphia Eagles, and a killer dance routine.

6. White Nights (1985)

Real-life dance legends Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines star in this Cold War thriller. The plot? A Russian dancer is trying to escape his communist country, but he needs the help of an American expat living with a Russian woman. Through the language of dance, they build a relationship that transcends international borders.

7. You Got Served (2004)

Two friends, David and Rico, played by Omarion and Jarell Houston, need to win a dance contest to raise the money to open their dream recording studio. So, through the highs and lows of their own relationship, they must create the most incredible street dance routine ever to beat the competition.

8. Honey (2003)

Before she was running her own billion-dollar company, Jessica Alba starred in Honey, the story of an insanely hot street dancer who dreams of a life as a famous choreographer. She’s noticed by a music director who, after being turned down by Honey for a sexual relationship, threatens to sabotage her career before it even gets off the ground. Spoiler alert? This one has a happy ending with some super-cute (and pint-sized) dancers.

Other Movies Like Dirty Dancing That’ll Get You Moving

  1. Dirty Dancing Havana Nights
  2. Footloose
  3. Saturday Night Fever
  4. Fame
  5. Save the Last Dance
  6. Billy Elliot
  7. Ghost
  8. Can’t Buy Me Love
  9. Grease
  10. Shall We Dance
  11. Burlesque
  12. Mama Mia!
  13. A Chorus Line
  14. Step Up
  15. La La Land
  16. Stomp the Yard
  17. Center Stage
  18. And Then We Danced
  19. Dance With Me
  20. 500 Days of Summer
  21. Take the Lead
  22. Frances Ha

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