The 25 Greatest Jewish Characters in Movies

12. Jennifer Grey as Frances "Baby" Houseman in Dirty Dancing (1987)

Notable Jewish Moment: It's never mentioned explicitly, but a family that goes "summering" in the Catskills in the '60s to a place where meat and dairy are never served in the same scene? Short of being a Rabbi, about as Jewish as you could get at the time.
Classic Quote: "Me? I'm scared of everything. I'm scared of what I saw, I'm scared of what I did, of who I am, and most of all I'm scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I'm with you."

A young girl, dragged by her rich parents to the Catskills for the summer, falls in love with a badass non-Jew named Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) with all the right dance moves. Jennifer Grey (as Baby Houseman) is on some classic Young Liberal Jewess Rebellion-type life, shrugging off what's expected of her and her father's eventual order to stay away from Johnny.

What does she get done over the course of the movie? Not much. She pouts and learns how to dance, funds a botched abortion, and comes forward about sleeping with her blue-collar dance instructor, and he gets fired. But the movie and Grey's performance are classic for a reason, despite both being panned on release: It all somehow just works, and even though Baby Houseman probably doesn't deserve it, we cheer for her whitewashed, upper-class life, anyway.

Sometimes, we want the girl who already has it all to win more. Seriously, nobody puts Baby in the corner.

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