7.2/10
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The Karate Kid (1984)

A martial arts master agrees to teach karate to a bullied teenager.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Miyagi (as Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita)
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Ali
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...
Rob Garrison ...
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Jimmy
Israel Juarbe ...
...
Mr. Mills
...
Jerry
Juli Fields ...
Dana Andersen ...
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Storyline

Daniel and his mother move from New Jersey to California. She has a wonderful new job, but Daniel quickly discovers that a dark haired Italian boy with a Jersey accent doesn't fit into the blond surfer crowd. Daniel manages to talk his way out of some fights, but he is finally cornered by several who belong to the same karate school. As Daniel is passing out from the beating he sees Miyagi, the elderly gardener leaps into the fray and save him by outfighting half a dozen teenagers. Miyagi and Daniel soon find out the real motivator behind the boys' violent attitude in the form of their karate teacher. Miyagi promises to teach Daniel karate and arranges a fight at the all-valley tournament some months off. When his training begins, Daniel doesn't understand what he is being shown. Miyagi seems more interested in having Daniel paint fences and wax cars than teaching him Karate. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He taught him the secret to Karate lies in the mind and heart. Not in the hands. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Family | Sport

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

22 June 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Karate Kid  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,031,753, 24 June 1984, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$90,815,558
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Daniel and his mother moved to California as a result of her new job with Rocket Computers ("Flight to the future!"). The original script reveals why Freddy had "never heard of it" and also sheds some light on why it seems that Mrs. LaRusso might be an employee of the restaurant across from the Cobra Kai dojo.

As she shares with Daniel:

"They went bankrupt!...[But] listen to this. I walk out of Rocket with the beginning of Excedrin headache one through ten about to come on, and I'm going back to the car when this woman comes flying out of this restaurant, The Orient Express, and she's screaming, 'I quit! I quit!' Right behind her is this guy and he's yelling just as loud, 'You can't quit! You're fired!' It's one minute to noon, people are coming in to lunch, I'm the first but only applicant - I got the job!"

When Daniel questions her new position as a waitress, his mother clarifies that she is not a waitress. She is a hostess. See more »

Goofs

During the matches, the judges move the name cards as the completion eliminates some of the participants. As La Russo's name card is moved up, you can tell it was printed on a printing press. When Mr. Miyagi earlier conned Daniel's entrance, his name card had to have been hand written since there were no printing presses in the gymnasium. See more »

Quotes

Daniel: I don't know if I know enough karate.
Miyagi: Feeling correct.
Daniel: You sure know how to make a guy feel confident.
Miyagi: You trust the quality of what you know, not quantity.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dads: Bully Gene (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

No Shelter
Written by John Mark and Richard Fenton
Produced by John Ryan
Performed by Broken Edge
Courtesy of Polygram Records, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
History and time give this movie a different feel
25 June 2017 | by See all my reviews

Done by the same director as Rocky, this unusual "feel good" movie became a hit in 1984 and generated two sequels before the mania died and the franchise imploded.

I remember the phenomenon from the 80s yet as a "prolific reviewer" for the IMDb now (which, for buffs, is not the same thing as a "Voracious Eater" from the Claymore series) I now see the film differently.

I see a very competently done film that is literally lifted off the ground and carried to the finish line by the extraordinary one-of-a-kind performance from a (then) 50 year old Pat Morita, an actor who essentially spent his entire career doing "asian walkons" and offers us only this one role as a chance to see what he actually could do. Given half a chance.

Macchio and Shue were competent (the former had some momentum from Happy Days/Laverne and Shirley and the latter was beginning a short career as a type of "brat pack" teenage star) but it was Morita who owned the film and kept your interest.

Unfortunately the historical record even on the IMDb does not reflect any of this. Shue actually won an award for a completely forgettable part and Morita not only did not win anything for this film but the only nominations he received were in the "supporting role" category. This is clear "color blindness" on the part of Hollywood. He has almost as much screen time as Macchio (I counted) but because his career was merely bit parts before (and after) this was the prevailing mindset. The film would have failed without him.

As a footnote, I was not able to identify precisely why he was cast in the role, but historically Okinawa has indeed been associated with its own unique brand of martial arts and, in the martial arts world, short stocky older men have long been acknowledged as champions even though in the films of our present era someone of Morita's age or body-type would never even be considered for such a part.

The two sequels were much weaker but the demand for them was great and, when there is money on the table, Hollywood will always oblige.


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