Authored by Mike Bacon in Movies and Television
Published on 10-31-2009
When Patrick Swayze passed away from pancreatic cancer on September 14, 2009 he left a body of work that included several Academy Award winning films. Swayze himself was never nominated. From his break out role in “The Outsiders” (1983) to his performance as the spectral main character in “Ghost” (1990) Swayze came across as a real person, never an actor playing a role. Swayze will be missed.
Here are a few of Patrick Swayze’s best films. Please bear in mind that any list like this cannot be all-inclusive.
Red Dawn (1984)
Swayze starred in this film about an invasion by foreign troops which signals the beginning of World War III. Leading a troop of teenagers to fight back under the battle cry of “Wolverines”! (The name of the teens’ high school football team) they take to the hills above the town that has been overrun by professional soldiers. The kids are the only ones able to fight back, as the adults have been captured or killed. The film also starred Lea Thompson, C. Thomas Howell, and Jennifer Grey. This was Charlie Sheen’s big screen debut. Ron O’Neal played the commander of the enemy troops who develops a grudging respect for these “children soldiers”. Oscar Winners Ben Johnson and Harry Dean Stanton also starred.
Road House (1989)
Swayze played Dalton, a bouncer hired to clean up a dirty bar. Dalton soon finds himself in conflict with Brad Wesley (Ben Gazzarra) the local crime boss that owns the town and terrorizes its residents. He is backed by Elizabeth “Doc” Clay, (Kelly Lynch) a local doctor who he soon falls in love with, and several business owners who have had enough of Wesley’s reign of terror. Red West and Sam Elliott have supporting roles as Dalton’s new found friends.
Whoopie Goldberg won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar as the con artist cum medium who is somehow able to hear the murdered Sam Wheat. (Swayze) Unable to contact his grieving girlfriend Molly (Demi Moore) Sam has no choice but to convince Rita May (Goldberg) to help him protect Molly, and solve his murder. Tony Goldwyn also starred in this film. Bruce Joel Rubin won an Academy Award for the screenplay.
Point Break (1991)
Swayze took a darker turn in this heist movie which also starred Keanu Reeves, and Gary Busey as FBI agents on the trail of bank robbers who wear masks and refer themselves as “The Ex Presidents”. When Reeves character Johnny Utah, a rookie fed, discovers the gang are expert surfers, he convinces his bosses to allow him to go undercover to gain Bhodi’s (Swayze) trust, and capture the gang. Johnny doesn’t count on becoming friends with his quarry. Lori Petty and John C. McGinley co-star. The surfing footage is breathtaking.
To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995)
Swayze showed his lighter side in this road trip film. He plays Vida, a drag queen who wins a competition in New York, and travels to Hollywood along with Noxema Jackson, another Drag Queen and inexperienced Drag princess Chi Chi. Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo play Noxema and Chi Chi. Their trip is cut short when their car breaks down in a little town in the middle of nowhere. Stockard Channing, and Melinda Dillon play local residents who befriend the ‘girls’ and Chris Penn plays a homophobic cop. Swayze looks like the character he is playing, a drag queen. However Snipes and Leguizamo are almost convincing as females!