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Dirty Dancing

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Director: Emile Ardolino
1987 / 97min / DCP

Of course there’s the pulsing pop soundtrack and Patrick Swayze at his most pinup perfect, but don’t forget that this crowd-pleaser has the very serious subject of abortion at its center. On summer vacation in the Catskills, “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey) swoons over sexy dance instructor Johnny Castle (Swayze), and starts filling in for his pregnant stage partner (Cynthia Rhodes), whose appointment for an abortion happens to coincide with the date of a crucial dance contest. Released more than a decade after Roe v. Wade but set in the early ‘60s, and a landmark for its depiction of abortion as a necessary right not up for debate.

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