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The Karate Kid (1984)

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A boy and his mother move to California for a new job. He struggles to fit in, as a group of karate students starts to bully him for dating a rich girl from their clique. It's up to the Japanese landlord, Miyagi, to teach him karate.

Director:

John G. Avildsen
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Popularity
304 ( 396)
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
Pat Morita ... Miyagi (as Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita)
Elisabeth Shue ... Ali
Martin Kove ... Kreese
Randee Heller ... Lucille
William Zabka ... Johnny
Ron Thomas ... Bobby
Rob Garrison ... Tommy
Chad McQueen ... Dutch
Tony O'Dell ... Jimmy
Israel Juarbe Israel Juarbe ... Freddy
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

Gross USA:

$91,077,276

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$91,077,276
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

Mr. Miyagi's medal is the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration awarded by the United States. It is easily recognizable by its blue ribbon and the inscription containing the word "valor." In real life, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team had 21 Medal of Honor awardees, including Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii. Its members also received 52 Distinguished Service Crosses, 560 Silver Stars, 4,000 Bronze Stars, and 9,486 Purple Hearts. See more »

Goofs

Mr. Miyagi's military service may have been valorous, but it wouldn't have included the Medal of Honor. In the mid-1980s, no living Asian American soldier had been awarded the Medal of Honor. Only one Asian American soldier received it during WWII. Seventeen others, including Daniel Inouye, longtime US Senator from Hawaii, received it in the 1990s, after the Department of Defense reviewed their Distinguished Service Cross awards. See more »

Quotes

Daniel: [seeing the giant water slide at the amusement area] Whoa, look at that slide.
Ali: Oh yeah, we'll do that next time.
Daniel: Why next time?
Ali: Because we didn't bring a bathing suit!
See more »

Alternate Versions

NBC edited 6 minutes from this film for its 1987 network television premiere. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Recess: School's Out (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Birthday to You
(uncredited)
Written by Patty S. Hill and Mildred J. Hill
Performed by Pat Morita
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The 'old one' taught him the secret to karate lies in the mind and heart. Not in the fist!
30 January 2003 | by Old JoeSee all my reviews

Having a man teach you a valuable art such as that of Karate, is invaluable especially if you are young, inexperienced and in a battle with people who you have no hope against. However viewers of the 'Karate Kid' get to learn a valuable lesson for life out of this story, that fighting is a waste of time, and with time and patience anything can be achieved. In addition viewers get to hear the cute pronunciation of `Daniel-san' by the great teacher!

Fatherless teenager Daniel is a new arrival in Los Angeles when he becomes the object of bullying by the Cobras, a menacing group of Karate students. Daniel asks his handyman Miyagi, whom is a martial arts master, to teach him how to fight. Miyagi teaches Daniel that karate is mastery over the self - mind and body - and that violence is always the last answer to a problem. Under Miyagi's guidance, Daniel learns the physical skills while gaining faith and the self-confidence to compete against the odds as he faces the fight of his life in the exciting finale.

I remember watching this film along time ago, but boy was it a thrill. Sure it didn't have 'big stars' or big action in it. One thing it did have was 'heart'. The character of Daniel was one person that typifies this. At no stage does this teenage loner from New Jersey ever give up, when at times that might have been the best thing for him to do. I feel that this story and character for that matter, is how we need to approach our own lives, because if you keep putting in the hard yards and stand-up for what you believe in, things will soon turn around.

The stars of this movie are not bad. Firstly main star Ralph Macchio was excellent as Daniel. I felt he brought the struggling teenage character to the screen perfectly. He is a very naïve and inexperienced young man, yet with time and patience he makes what was a terrible situation seem nothing big at all. I enjoyed Macchio in other movies including 'The three wishes of Billy Greer', a movie which again suited this tough actor, about a young man who is dying from premature aging, in addition to movies such as 'The last POW? The Bobby Garwood Story'. I cannot praise Macchio any higher.

Other stars are just as worthy. Pat Morita was wonderful as the wise and what I feel was the humorous `Miyagi'. His role was just as good as his counterpart Macchio, yet it was also very different. Miyagi is one person that does not like the spotlight, yet when his young friend is placed in a very precarious position in his new home town, he steps in and shows what a great Karate man he really is. Then you have the other side of this story, which of course has to have a girl in it, with Daniel striking up a relationship with the popular Ali Mills. Actress Elizabeth Shue, who has also had a somewhat 'celebrated' career, played Ali. She has starred in films such as the controversial 'Leaving Los Vegas', 'Back to the future II' and 'III' and the 1988 hit 'Cocktail'. Though there are times that you expect Daniel to never make it with Ali, in the end he does have a faithful person outside of Miyagi.

The bad guys are not bad in this film either, with that part of the cast including Martin Kove as the arrogant Karate Teacher John Kreese, who will stop at nothing to see the end of the fairytale of LaRusso and Miyagi. His main student and the person who wants Daniel's blood the most is Johnny Lawrence played by William Zabka, and although he has not go on to big and better roles, his bad guy role was enjoyable in the Karate Kid. I did read in one review on IMDb where a person claimed that the bad guys were not given enough of their own treatment. However I disagree, considering the bullying and beatings that Daniel receives, I feel that Daniel and Miyagi teach the 'Cobras' a lesson. Sure we don't get to see Kreese get what he deserves, but if you have not seen the second Karate Kid, then you will get to see what awaits this cruel and relentless individual.

The Karate lessons and fighting sequences in this film are incredible. I guess like Daniel, most of the fans of this film would assume that Daniel is not learning anything, yet being Miyagi's personal slave. However we get to see how intelligent this old Okinawa man is, through all of his work for Daniel he teaches him some very basic and vital Karate moves. I love the attitude that this movie brings to everyone, that fighting is the last option for any situation, whether it is verbal or physical. I think this is so true, as fighting gets people nowhere. It just makes life bad for both parties, again this movie shows this to be so true.

In conclusion, the Karate Kid is a truly great film, but perhaps I am showing what era that I grew up in? I cannot say that I totally agree with Karate, as it is a very Chinese practice, but if it is based around what Miyagi teaches, that is for self-defence, and then it might be ok. I am sure many moviegoers will never forget the finale to this movie, because I am sure I never will. The sequels which follow slowly start to lose there appeal with this story, but not to matter, if you are looking for a story which shows you that giving up is not really an option, then see what is so special about this story of a courageous Karate student and his clever teacher!

CMRS gives 'The Karate Kid': 5 (Brilliant Film)


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