Parents' Guide to

Dirty Dancing

By Common Sense Media, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Hip-shaking guilty pleasure has mature themes, racy scenes.

Movie PG-13 1987 101 minutes
Dirty Dancing Movie Poster Image: Baby stands with her back to Johnny, her arm curled up and around his neck

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 26 parent reviews

age 13+

Uncomfortable for me; OK for my Kid

We are a blended family with two 12-year old boys (both 12 going onto 13). I am personally uncomfortable showing them this movie because of some of the themes discussed by other parents (prostitution, abortion, sexy dancing) BUT I'M GOING TO SHOW IT TO THEM because... We just busted one of our 12-year olds looking at inappropriate images of girls in bikinis online (he couldn't get to the naked ones due to porn blockers) so he's obviously getting interested in sexy subjects. I would like to show him movies that show intimacy and love so that those are his first ideas about sex. I think this movie is cheezy but it shows themes of love, family, understanding, communication, emotions and growth. There are lessons to be learned. We can use the show to discuss why they shouldn't have unprotected sex when they are older. I also like that the protaganist isn't the prettiest girl in the room and doesn't have the biggest breasts yet there is love and connection and intimacy (a contrast to most sexual images found online). I want them to know that boobs and "being hot" are not requirements for intimacy, love, and happiness and lots of different things can make a person sexy (including being a good dancer!) This was my little sister's favorite movie when it first came out back in the 80s. She was 10 when she first saw it and she always loved it. I asked her if she had any thoughts in hindsight and she had no regrets at seeing it at such a young age. And finally, when I was young my mother watched edgy movies with me, because they prompted questions and conversations and I think it was good for me. I would not play this for my son and his friends on a "play date" and walk away. This is something we will watch as a family and only as a family. If his friends want to see it they'll have to talk to their parents about it!

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
5 people found this helpful.
age 11+

Great movie

Really Good but a couple of scenes not for kids 9 or under. Only watch with kids who are mature. Also a couple swear words that include sh**.

This title has:

Too much sex
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (26):
Kids say (58):

Unabashedly schmaltzy, this movie is also a lot of fun. Grey is touching as the shy and idealistic Baby, whose sexuality is awakened by the charismatic Swayze in Dirty Dancing. Both are exceptionally well cast, and their skillful and convincing performances bolster some of the story's weaker elements, like the many stock characters and predictable events. Johnny gets some of the worst dialogue, and it's remarkable that he's able to make the immortal line "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" sound almost natural. Teens will get past such corny dialogue because of the dance sequences, which effectively mirror Baby and Johnny's emotions. (A cute touch: Many of the soundtrack tunes have "baby" somewhere in the title.)

As the two become drawn to each other, the dancing becomes more seductive, culminating in the liberating energy of the final scene. All of that said, Dirty Dancing's content may well be more mature than many adults remember; be sure to talk to kids about Penny's situation, and why things are so dire for her.

Movie Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate