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The Karate Kid (1984)

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

Director:

John G. Avildsen
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Popularity
449 ( 56)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ralph Macchio ... Daniel LaRusso
Pat Morita ... Mr. Miyagi (as Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita)
Elisabeth Shue ... Ali Mills
Martin Kove ... John Kreese
Randee Heller ... Lucille LaRusso
William Zabka ... Johnny Lawrence
Ron Thomas ... Bobby Brown
Rob Garrison Rob Garrison ... Tommy
Chad McQueen ... Dutch
Tony O'Dell ... Jimmy
Israel Juarbe Israel Juarbe ... Freddy Fernandez
William Bassett ... Mr. Mills
Larry B. Scott ... Jerry
Juli Fields Juli Fields ... Susan
Dana Andersen Dana Andersen ... Barbara
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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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Japanese

Release Date:

22 June 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Karate Kid See more »

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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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Toshirô Mifune auditioned for the role of Mister Miyagi. According to director John G. Avildsen in the DVD Commentary, Mifune was great in the audition, but Avildsen felt that his version of Miyagi was too serious and too much like the samurai warriors he played in Akira Kurosawa movies. See more »

Goofs

When Myagi and Daniel go to the karate dojo to ask Kreese to stop his students from beating Daniel up, as they back out of the studio the last shot is of the formation of students. The two students at the right-rear of the formation (screen left) start laughing, especially the one in the last row, as the scene closes. See more »

Quotes

Kreese: What do we study here?
Karate Class: THE WAY OF THE FIST SIR.
Kreese: And what is that way?
Karate Class: STRIKE FIRST. STRIKE HARD. NO MERCY SIR.
Kreese: I can't hear you.
Karate Class: STRIKE FIRST. STRIKE HARD. NO MERCY SIR.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also cut from AMC airings are the scenes in which Daniel talks to a history teacher, the bathroom footage of Johnny rolling a joint (though the action is still referenced), and a frame in the scene where Miyagi rescues Daniel from the Cobra Kai guys (the frame of Miyagi kicking one of the guys in the crotch area is removed.) See more »

Connections

Referenced in Aerobic Man (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Fascination
(uncredited)
Written by Fermo Dante Marchetti and Maurice de Féraudy
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
History and time give this movie a different feel
25 June 2017 | by A_Different_DrummerSee 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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