Oh, Patrick Swayze. My first celebrity crush, with the pouty lips and the brooding stare. He was a treasure gone too soon from Hollywood, and I’m still sad that there will never be another movie poster hot off the presses with his roguish jawline front and center. But, even though all I’ve seemed to mention were Swayze’s good looks thus far, no one can argue that what he brought to films and TV was something special. Swayze had the ability to make us laugh, cry, fall in love and want to wrap him up a cuddle him until everything was all better. Whether it was comedy or drama, he made us truly believe that the characters he portrayed were real people, and that’s what watching a movie is all about.
Without further ado, here are the Top 5 Patrick Swayze films, as decided by me:
5. Red Dawn (1984)
In all his action hero glory Swayze plays Jed Eckert, a young man who helps lead a band of teenage guerrillas against an invading Soviet army. With guns blazing, it’s Jed’s survival and training that allows the young groups of kids to claim victories over the enemy soldiers, but Swayze’s true moment of glory in the film arrives when his character sacrifices himself along with his brother Matt (played by Charlie Sheen) so that their remaining teammates can escape into Free American territory. You fought a true action hero’s battle, Swayze.
4. The Outsiders (1983)
When I read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton in 7th grade, it instantly became one of my favorites. And when we watched the movie in class (as every American public school lit class does after finishing a novel) I fell in love with the story even more. Having Swayze play Darrel, the main character’s oldest brother, was an awesome moment. And his breakdown scene in the hospital after he’s reunited with Ponyboy (the aforementioned brother) is still one of the most emotional scenes of the film. Bring it in for that brother-hug, guys!
3. To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995)
An amazingly funny comedy, Swayze plays a drag queen along side Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo whose car breaks down in the middle of a small town. These fierce ladies win over the townsfolk with their fashion know-how and manage to befriend Stockard Channing’s character Carol Ann, who has her own problem in the form of her abusive husband. As if seeing Swayze in drag wasn’t awesome enough (and by the way, he makes a wonderful woman. Rocks heels much better than I ever could…) his character Vida puts the smack down on said abusive husband, and it is glorious.
2. Ghost (1990)
If someone tells you they don’t like Ghost, they’re lying. Between the clay scene, and Demi Moore crying over Swayze’s body in the alley, all the way to “I’m Henry VII, I Am” being stuck in your head for the next 24 hours, there isn’t a single moment of this movie that isn’t golden. I seriously believed that reincarnation had to be the endgame of this film the first time I saw it, because how could they not let Sam and Molly live happily ever after when he worked so hard to let her know he was there?! But alas, that’s not how the cookies crumbled. Although I’m sure there were plenty of people like me saying “Come back, Sam! I’m cool with the whole ghost thing. We’ll work it out! Ditto! DITTO!”
1. Dirty Dancing (1987)
Here it is. The best Swayze movie in the history of all Swayze movies. Dirty Dancing, the film that left every girl hopelessly carrying around watermelons for weeks, constantly asking “Where’s my Johnny Castle?” has to find itself at the top of this list because there’s just too much to love. His sunglasses, that leather jacket, the final dance number and don’t even get me started on how he delivers the line “The reason people treat me like I’m nothin’ is because I’m nothin’.” Let me cuddle you until your amazing sinks in, Johnny! Seriously though, Swayze never looked brighter and more alive than he did in Dirty Dancing, and it’s the one film he will always be known for. So why not embrace the awesome?
So what do you say, people? Let’s all curl up with blankets and popcorn, gather all of our Swayze DVDs and have ourselves a marathon in memory of our favorite leading man. Because, in the words of Dean Winchester…