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Published on September 15th, 2009 | by Niall

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Patrick Swayze Tribute – Top 5 Movie Roles

Like Darren earlier I was saddened this morning to learn of the the passing of screen icon Patrick Swayze at age 57. Swayze was diagnosed in 2007 with aggressive pancreatic cancer which he defiantly fought for the past year and a half whilst continuing to film his TV show The Beast. Most people will probably know Swayze for his roles in the likes of ’80s classics Red Dawn, Dirty Dancing, Road House and 1990’s Ghost.

Patrick Swayze

By way of a tribute to his inherent and brilliant acting ability I’d like to share my Top 5 favourite Patrick Swayze Movie Roles.

Jed – Red Dawn (1984)

The first ever PG-13 movie in the U.S. sees Swayze play the leader of a rag-tag bunch of high-schoolers who lead a rebellion against a Soviet incursion in their home town. Fragile yet a fighter, his portrayal of Jed, while not his first film-role, kick-started his career and laid the fountain for his tough-guy image.

Johnny Castle – Dirty Dancing (1987)

Dirty Dancing is easily one of the best dance movies ever made and is a firm favourite with women worldwide. It may not have aged well with the hair and outfits, but Swayze has a tour-de-force as the wayward dance instructor and the screen chemistry between him and co-star Jennifer Grey still jumps from the screen. This was the role that should have made him a superstar.

Sam Wheat – Ghost (1990)

Swayze’s on-screen death re-ignited his career, which had stagnated in since Dirty Dancing 3 years before. As in Dirty Dancing the on-screen chemistry between Swayze and Demi Moore was believable and poignant. Clichéd though the movie may be Swayze proved beyond any doubt that he could play leading man.

Jim Cunningham – Donnie Darko (2001)

Richard Kelly had nobody else in mind when he wanted a dark scene-stealing star for his directorial debut. Jim Cunningham sees a confident and inspired performance from Swayze as he delicately balance a two-sided personality, playing the charismatic motivational speaker with the serious dark side.

Bodhi – Point Break (1991)

Finally my personal favourite Patrick Swayze role: Bodhi in Point Break. All energy, bravado and machismo this is Swayze in the zone. Bodhi is the extreme embodiment of everything Keanu Reeve’s Johnny Utah wants to be, and isn’t. Whether surfing, sky-diving or robbing banks Swayze does it all with integral style and unbelievably ease.

One of the saddest things for me as a movie fan is why a man with such screen presence and natural ability failed to reach the kind of Tom Cruise-esque level of fame and recognition that his talent warranted. Even in the face of death he refused to give in and his struggle has highlighted the cause of cancer victims world-wide. Mr. Swayze I salute you and thanks for the memories. Rest in peace.

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About the Author

The proverbial man lost in La Mancha. Sports aficionado and all-round scoundrel. Über-geek to boot. I run the movie website Scannain.com and can usually be found twittering away as @niallxmurphy.



4 Responses to Patrick Swayze Tribute – Top 5 Movie Roles

  1. Ann Donnelly says:

    Hard to pick 5:
    – Just remembered that he was the big brother in The Outsiders, which is a real classic you never hear about.
    – To Wong Foo is one of my favs. I think the lads did great jobs with the roles.

    Interesting how many different types of movies and roles he’s taken – and done well. I was just getting into The Beast and was surprised to see him in it after hearing about the cancer.

  2. Ronan says:

    It’s just a shame people only ever talk about Dirty Dancing and Ghost.

  3. Jade John says:

    This is a terrible loss, for his wife-first, then for his extended family and friends, then for Hollywood. He was a great actor and now cancer took his life. Well, life is short and the unexpected does happen!

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