I just watched Dirty Dancing with my wife the other night. One line in particular utterly baffled me...when Baby (Jennifer Grey) apologizes to her father on the dock, she concludes by saying "I'm sorry I let you down, but you let me down, too!"

How? Was it because he assumed that the father of the girl's baby was Johnny (Patrick Swayze) EXACTLY LIKE SHE DID? Was it because he couldn't trust her word that Johnny was innocent? I can't even make out what the intended meaning was.

1 Answer 1


The whole transcript of the scene is as follows:

"I told you I was telling the truth Daddy. I'm sorry I lied to you. But you lied too. You told me everyone was alike and deserved a fair break. But you meant everyone who was like you. You told me you wanted me to change the world, make it better. But you meant by becoming a lawyer or an economist and marrying someone from Harvard. I'm not proud of myself, but I'm in this family too and you can't keep giving me the silent treatment. There are a lot of things about me that aren't what you thought. But if you love me, you have to love all the things about me. And I love you, and I'm sorry I let you down, I'm so sorry Daddy. But you let me down too."

She is talking about her father's description of life and how people lived and treated each other created a distorted view of society in her mind.

  • So...he lent her down by wanting her to become a lawyer, or marry someone from Harvard? That's his supposed crime? Or am I still missing something? Jul 16, 2014 at 15:09
  • @ChrisB.Behrens - Still missing. She is saying that he let her down because he discriminates. He says everyone deserves a break, but because they are poor. he assumes and discriminates against them. That's how he let her down.
    – JohnP
    Jul 16, 2014 at 15:44
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    In my view, he let her down because he created a distorted view of the world, where the upper echelon is to be revered and the lower echelon is to be reviled. When she discovered that Johnny was a good guy who was poor but deserved a break, she realized that people are people, rich or poor, and that lower-class people were every bit as good as upper class people. It's a class thing. Which is, to some degree, what the whole movie was about. Much like another Swayze classic; The Outsiders. Jul 16, 2014 at 19:30
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    True, @ChrisB.Behrens. We also don't have any back story other than what the dialogue gives us. I agree that what we see is different than what he's supposedly like, but if you forget what you know of the character and base his personality on the line of dialogue I posted, that's why she's saying he let her down. I don't think it was well-written, unless there are some scenes that show him more in that light that were cut from the theatrical release. Jul 17, 2014 at 12:48
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    @ChrisB.Behrens she's referring to his attitude towards the "employees" of the resort. He assumes all kinds of bad -- and wrong -- things about Johnny (that he's a thief, that he abandoned his pregnant girlfriends, etc) despite Baby's insistence otherwise, purely because Johnny is poor and real culprits were rich. Instead of "giving him a fair break", he got Johnny fired. He was also openly dismissive of Baby being in a relationship with Johnny, again solely because he's poor.
    – KutuluMike
    Dec 25, 2015 at 14:06

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