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


John G. Avildsen
413 ( 71)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »





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


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


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


Action | Drama | Family | Sport


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Using the filming locations listed for the LaRusso trek from New Jersey (Franklin Avenue and Hamilton Street in Harrison) to the apartment complex in Reseda (19223 Saticoy Street), Google Maps lists the trip as being 2,790 miles. This was calculated using the southernmost route through Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. The trip would take 42 hours to complete if driving nonstop. See more »


In the beginning scene, when Daniel and his mother are driving away down the street, they are said to be leaving Newark, NJ. However, that street is actually in Harrison, NJ, and is also a one-way street going the opposite way. Harrison is a neighboring town. See more »


Daniel: Hey, you got a name?
Ali: Ali... with an I. Hey, what's your name?
Daniel: Daniel... with an L.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The late-2000's/early 2010's AMC broadcasts in the US slowed down the film's audio pitch and speed at 4% (excluding the ending sequence, which remained normal-pitched). However, the entire film retains its original audio pitch and speed on current AMC broadcasts. See more »


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

User Reviews

Mr Miyagi is the mentor we all wish we had... A life impacting movie
17 September 2019 | by joebloggscitySee all my reviews

Is there anything more that can be truly said of this inspiring movie? Possibly it is the most unlikely hit movie that has generated a strong faithful following.

I rewatched it after 30 years on the back of falling for the Cobra Kai series, and loved it every bit as much as when I first saw it. I'm much older but find so many new things to relate to and remind myself of in life.

The premise of the film is simple, but it is almost impossible to explain the impact this movie had on a certain young generation on its release. It was its run in the video market that made it the huge success it became, and so much of it has become part of pop culture be it in its quotable lines and simple action.

What made it stand out was that it clearly was the antithesis of all other martial arts movies of the time which were in a boom period on video rental, but they were all muscle bound and flying around at 100mph. The Karate Kid instead centres on peace, life philosophy, defence and self-betterment.

The crux is the central partnership between the central pair of Mr Miyagi and Daniel, which begins as teacher mentoring pupil but develops into a father & surrogate son relationship.

There are so many layers to this film, and the truth is that the karate is really secondary to all. Any action is short, simple and down to earth. The real fights are for the soul, against bullies and personal defeat. For Mr Miyagi it is a reawakening for him, for Daniel it is a journey of self discovery.

The greatest part is the acting. You simply can't take away from either of the two leads, the chemistry between them is just perfect. Pat Morita plays Mr Miyagi almost effortlessly but perfectly as the mentor to a young insecure Daniel, which becomes a father and surrogate son relationship. If anything the relationship helps bring Mr Miyagi out of his shell. For example, we see inside the soul of Mr Miyagi, and some of his inner torment (i.e. loss of wife & child), and Daniel becomes closer to him for it.

Mr Miyagi is the mentor & father all men wish they had. He practices & teaches peace & self-respect with humour & dignity. Something we can all learn from. His dry wit and personal reserve are humbling to see. Winning the tournament against the bullies is secondary, but the personal development is what comes first.

The Oscar nomination for Pat Morita for the role was deserved, and unfortunate not to win it, but his role has left a lasting legacy and is in the hearts of so many. I can only say to him thank you, and also to all who helped put this wonderful touching film together.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | Japanese

Release Date:

22 June 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Karate Kid See more »


Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,031,753, 24 June 1984

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo


Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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