Back in 1987, a film was released which took the world by storm. With a budget of just $6 million, Dirty Dancing, which has just celebrated its 30th anniversary, was to star the relatively unknown Patrick Swayze, a young actor who, up until that point was most known for his work on the TV series North and South, and the minor hit Red Dawn. Its safe to say that the film’s eventual reach wasn’t predicted, the movie billed as a simple teenage romance, set in the 1960s, with little expectation at its conception.

Of course, Dirty Dancing has since become a global success, an enduring teenage-heartbreak/ love story that sits alongside other greats like Grease and even Hairspray, the former being released nearly ten years before.

Set during the summer of 1963, Dirty Dancing revolves around a 17-year-old girl named Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman (Jennifer Grey), who has journeyed to the Kellerman’s resort in the famous Catskill mountains in the state of New York. Frances is the youngest of two daughters, a young politically motivated individual who plans to visit under-developed countries with the Peace Corps. Her father is a doctor, friends with the great Max Kellerman (Jack Weston), owner of the sprawling holiday camp in the mountains, who is keen to set her up with his son and heir to the business, Neil (Lonny Price). However, Baby almost immediately develops a crush on dance instructor Johnny Castle (Swayze), a rough-and-ready, headstrong, leather jacket-clad pretty boy whose womanising reputation reaches all corners of the famous resort. What follows is their evolving summer romance and accompanying introduction to the ‘dirty dancing’ of the title, a raunchy, underground movement threatening to make its way up to the main floors.

The reason for Dirty Dancing’s eventual success could be put down to several factors – a coming together of many elements which created a Hollywood classic.

The first could be down to the sound – film had a wonderful soundtrack – using classic songs from the likes of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, to The Countours, Otis Redding and The Ronettes, but it was the film’s original song which truly captured the imagination of the pubic. ‘(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life’ was a massive hit for The Righteous Brothers’ Bill Medley and American singer and songwriter Jennifer Warnes, a track which ends the movie in stunning, uplifting fashion. It won an Academy Award for “Best Original Song” and a Grammy, but more importantly shifted hundred of thousands of copies around the world.

In a recent interview with The Hollywood News, Medley explained why he things the film, and the soundtrack were such a success. “First off, it is great movie, a really great movie, kind of like Rocky”, Medley said. “[It’s] just a really soulful movie and so was thins and so, thank God, it hit and I think the album sold 32 million copies and the single was number one all over the world at the same time. That’s pretty amazing.”

It’s difficult to imagine a film like Dirty Dancing being made today due to its rather controversial story. Would a studio take a big chance on a film, largely aimed at the teen market that features heavy themes of abortion, religion and class? Is the relationship between Johnny and Baby even legal – after all, Grey plays a character who is only 17 years old in the film, while Swayze, who was 34 at the time of filming, was playing Castle who was obviously much older.

Back in the 80s though, the film was well-received, both by critics and the public. Dirty Dancing made $10 million in its first ten days in the U.S. alone. Since then, it has made over $200 million around the world, not including licensed spin-offs, which would include the soundtrack, the recent television remake, merchandise – like a Dirty Dancing themed slot game, t-shirts and other memorabilia, a sell-out Secret Cinema series in London, as well as perhaps its most successful spin-off, the musical.

Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage is one which still tours around the world to this very day. At the time of writing, the show is playing to audiences every day across the United Kingdom, and in Australia, but has also played to sell-out crowds in the United States and on London’s prestigious West End stage. Its success out-shines the original movie, its takings around the world in the multiple hundreds of millions of dollars – and climbing, every single week.

It’s safe to say that Dirty Dancing is a global phenomenon, one that shows no sign of slowing down, putting the likes of Grease and Saturday Night Fever firmly in the shade. The reason for its success can’t be put down to just one thing, but its welcoming, uplifting story, one about summer love in its purest form, mixed with a killer soundtrack, thrilling dance sequences and outstanding performances, mean that this is one that will be enjoyed long after we’re all gone.