7.3/10
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307 user 104 critic

The Karate Kid (1984)

Trailer
2:15 | Trailer
A martial arts master agrees to teach karate to a bullied teenager.

Director:

John G. Avildsen
Reviews
Popularity
61 ( 21)
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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Did You Know?

Trivia

On How I Met Your Mother (2005), Barney insists that Johnny is the real Karate Kid, and his personal hero. A real-life fan theory states that Daniel is the real bully, while Johnny is the real Karate Kid. The argument includes the fact that Johnny only uses his skills for defense or de-escalation, while Daniel is always the attacker. It also suggests that Daniel wanted to learn karate not just to compete with Johnny, but to take revenge. See more »

Goofs

During the last fight scene with Johnny and Daniel, Johnny's black headband falls off in one shot, and the referee picks it up and throws it off the mat. Subsequent shots show Johnny still wearing the headband, and some shots have him without it on. Also during the final fight, Johnny's hair alternates between being dry and soaked with sweat. See more »

Quotes

Miyagi: Karate come from China, sixteenth century, called te, "hand." Hundred year later, Miyagi ancestor bring to Okinawa, call *kara*-te, "empty hand."
Daniel: I thought it came from Buddhist temples and stuff like that.
Miyagi: You too much TV.
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Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Referenced in Hansel & Gretel (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

(It Takes) Two to Tango
Written by Dennis Lambert and Peter Beckett
Produced by Dennis Lambert and Brooks Arthur
Performed by Paul Davis
Courtesy of Arista Records
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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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Frequently Asked Questions

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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:

$91,119,319
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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