The Karate Kid (1984)
January 7, 2023 1:17 PM - Subscribe

Daniel (Ralph Macchio) moves to Southern California with his mother, Lucille (Randee Heller), but quickly finds himself the target of a group of bullies who study karate at the Cobra Kai dojo. Fortunately, Daniel befriends Mr. Miyagi (Noriyuki "Pat" Morita), an unassuming repairman who just happens to be a martial arts master himself. Miyagi takes Daniel under his wing, training him in a more compassionate form of karate and preparing him to compete against the brutal Cobra Kai.

Also starring Elisabeth Shue, Martin Kove, William Zabka, Ron Thomas, Rob Garrison, Chad McQueen, Tony O'Dell, Israel Juarbe, Larry Drake.

Directed by John Avildsen (Rocky). Written by Robert Mark Kamen. Music by Bill Conti.

89% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on AMC Plus and available for digital rental. JustWatch listing.

Wax on.
posted by DirtyOldTown (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I loved this film as a kid; I desperately wanted karate lessons, but my mom wouldn't sign me up. When I rewatched the movie as an adult, I mostly felt sorry for Mr. Miyagi that all those darn kids were ruining his peace and quiet.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 2:44 PM on January 7, 2023 [1 favorite]

Watched this for the first time in probably thirty years a couple of years back and I absolutely did not remember the emotional core of the film being the surrogate father/son relationship between Daniel and Mr. Miyagi, which is sweet. The scene where we learn about Miyagi's backstory is way more devastating than it needed to be; Pat Morita absolutely killed it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:47 PM on January 7, 2023 [5 favorites]

Pat Morita absolutely killed it.

Nominated for an Oscar, which I think he would have won if it hadn't been going up against the freaking Killing Fields.
posted by madajb at 4:28 PM on January 7, 2023 [4 favorites]

Like Pope Guilty, I think this movie hits a lot different when you are older.

As a kid, all I remember is everyone on the playground practicing the Crane Technique on each other, being the best around and, of course, having a crush on Elisabeth Shue.

But watching it with your kids as an adult, there is a lot of movie there.
Pat Morita is great, Billy Zabka was appropriately menacing, Macchio convincingly awkward.

The message of believing in yourself, the surrogate father relationship between Miyagi and Daniel contrasted with the one between Johnny and Kreese.

I think it's a better movie than it gets credit for.
posted by madajb at 4:43 PM on January 7, 2023 [5 favorites]

Pat Morita was 51 when this was released.

Ralph Macchio will be 62 in November.

That is all.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:13 PM on January 7, 2023 [7 favorites]

Then, of course, there's Barney Stinson's take.
posted by Pryde at 1:15 PM on January 8, 2023 [2 favorites]

music trivia: the song "You're the Best," which plays over the montage of Daniel working through the tournament challengers, was originally written for Rocky III (which is why it features odd lines for a karate amateur like "history repeats itself" and "you've reached the final bell.")
posted by AgentRocket at 7:48 AM on January 9, 2023 [2 favorites]

For the knockoff version there's No Retreat, No Surrender. Features a scene shot at Bruce Lee's actual grave!
posted by Servo5678 at 12:53 PM on January 10, 2023

« Older Movie: Journeyman...   |  Movie: The Karate Kid Part II... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments