Dirty Dancing was Swayze's breakout hit. In addition to starring in the film, Swayze sang one of the tracks, "She's Like the Wind."
Patrick Swayze, who passed away today from cancer, left behind a legacy of films in every genre, from the romantic comedy to the action flick. Here's a brief career retrospective of his contributions to the world of film, widely known as "Awesome Best Awesome Flicks Giddyup."
In which Swayze forces C. Thomas Howell to drink deer blood
The penultimate 80s red scare flick (second only to the schlock and awe Norris-ian masterpiece Invasion USA), Dawn was the first-ever PG-13 movie, and it celebrated a band of resistance fighters rebelling against a Communist invasion of North America. Swayze played Colorado proto-bumpkin Jed Eckert, a post high-school ex-jock who hung out in the woods with high school girls -- so basically, he was a murderous Wooderson.
The scene: The finale. Swayze carries Charlie Sheen to a playground. A Cuban grows a heart. The war ends. The entire movie's on YouTube. Don't miss C. Thomas Howell killing himself. That's just good cinema.
In which Swayze's a philosophizing kung-fu bouncer
Like a romantic comedy of ass-kicking, Roadhouse sees Swayze as Dalton -- a girly-waisted-yet-deadly bouncer with a degree in philosophy from NYU, which allows him to dispense high plains wisdom like "pain don't hurt" and "you are such an assh*le." Like Kate Hudson is a woman's ideal in every romcom (cute yet sensual, shy and reserved until she's suddenly a silver-tongued wit), Swayze in Roadhouse is the American guy's hero: quiet but deadly. Or as Dalton would say, nice, until it's time not to be nice. Also he rips out a dude's throat. So there's that.
In which Swayze has sex with a boyish version of Demi Moore
Ghost is the story of a man condemned to haunt the earth until he finds the agent who made him do that clay pot sex scene. Along the way he meets the only reason this movie's worth watching, i.e., Vincent Schiavelli, who was condemned to haunt the earth because his career peaked in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Also the moaning ghost demons that carried away a shrieking Tony Goldwyn? Those were cool too.
In which Swayze is more awesome than you'll ever be
The only way Point Break could've been any better was if every character was played by Swayze. Then the surfer bank robbers could've worn Swayze masks, and ripped them off their Swayze faces to reveal even more Swayze. That would've been so Swayze. This high octane, high testosterone-y action flick was directed by Kathryn Bigelow, who should be your hero, even though she also directed Blue Steel.
Scene: Point Break's been sanitized off the interwebs. But this compilation of scenes from a Japanese show is just swell.
In which Swayze's a motivational pedophile
Like Tarantino casting Travolta after Look Who's Talking, Too, freshman director Richard Kelly threw a line to Swayze after ... the 90s. Of course, Swayze played a motivational speaker and horder of child pornography who was exposed by a futuristic bunny and a time-traveling suicide. So. Hard to say if Darko worked out for him. Swayze did go on to play a Chicago cop in the A&E drama The Beast. And hey. Chi's not a bad place to end up.
Scene: Sadly, Swayze is not in the Sparkle Motion clip. But fast forward to about 4:58 in the clip below to see Swayze in all his motivational glory. Rest in peace, you master thespian.
If you're looking for other Swayze clips -- The Outsiders, Youngblood, Dirty Dancing -- may we suggest the complete YouTube archive of Patrick Swayze's work, where Swayze's placed upon the pixelated pedestal he deserves.
Because nobody -- Nobody -- puts Swayze in a corner.