Patrick Swayze was one of the biggest stars of his time.
Rugged but dreamy, cool but sensitive, Swayze could do it all, equally at home in cult genre flicks as in romantic blockbusters.
Swayze’s life was cut short when he passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer in 2009. He was 57.
To honor the iconic star’s birthday (he would have been 67 today), we’re taking a look at his most essential films.
Everyone knows this one. Swayze shines as Johnny, a misunderstood dance instructor at a sleepy Catskills resort who falls in love with Baby, a tender-hearted girl who’s spending the summer with her family before heading off for a stint in the Peace Corps. The sparks didn’t fly instantly between Johnny and Baby (played by Jennifer Grey), and off-camera it wasn’t too different. Swayze almost didn’t get the role due to the bad taste he left in Grey’s mouth on the set of their other movie “Red Dawn,” where he pranked her by lighting firecrackers outside her door while she tried to sleep.
A film ripe with classic scenes, the chilling presence of “Ghost” is still felt like an apparition in pop culture today. Featuring a forlorn Demi Moore, a heartsick Swayze with unfinished business, and a mediating Whoopi Goldberg who delivers in turns messages from the afterlife and comic relief, this movie is as melodramatic and gripping as a love story about ghosts can be.
Cool and collected but ready to brawl, Swayze was perfect for his role in this film as a bar bouncer protecting a small town in Missouri from a corrupt businessman. No rocket science here, just great bar fights and easy livin'.
An adaption of the 1967 coming-of-age classic novel of the same name, "The Outsiders" follows a group of adolescent greasers from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Francis Ford Coppola-directed film starred Swayze alongside a cast of yet-to-be superstars, including Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillon, and Tom Cruise.
Get ready for some action in this 1984 alternate history war film in which the United States is invaded by the Soviet Union and its Cuban and Nicaraguan allies. There's some hinting at World War 3 in the background, but you're not coming to this wartime explosion jamboree for the political analysis.