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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
965 ( 244)
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 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:

Only the 'Old One' could teach him the secrets of the masters. 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:

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

The song Miyagi drunkenly sings during the "celebration" of his anniversary is actually fragments of the Japanese folk song "Back Street Life" written by Takeo Abe that Pat Morita often heard as a child. See more »

Goofs

When Daniel picks up Ali for their first date and his mother's station wagon won't start, they push start it and ask Ali to "pop the clutch", however you can hear the starter is used to start the engine. See more »

Quotes

Daniel: I'm not by myself. I'm with you.
Miyagi: To make honey, young bee need young flower, not old prune.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK cinema version was cut by 19 secs by the BBFC and completely removed the scene of Johnny rolling and lighting a reefer for a PG certificate. Later video releases were uncut and the certificate upgraded to 15. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Come Dine with Me Canada: Tracy Cato: Block 15 (2012) 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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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