The Karate Kid

The Karate Kid

Synopsis of Movie

“No such thing a bad student, only bad teacher. Teacher say, student do.”

The film that gave birth to three movie sequels, one Saturday morning cartoon, and more quotable lines than possibly any other movie of the decade (“Wax on, wax off,” “Strike first, strike hard, no mercy, sir!” and the list goes on...) And is there a human being alive who, when standing on any post-like object, doesn’t immediately raise his or her leg and arms into the powerful crane position? “If do right, no can defend…”

The Karate Kid certainly had its share of high kicks and body chops, but it was the story of hotheaded young teen Daniel Larusso and wizened old handyman Mr. Miyagi that kept audiences coming back for second and third viewings. Directed by John G. Avildsen, who also helmed the original Rocky, this film was another story of a triumphant underdog in a seemingly hopeless situation.

A native of New Jersey, Daniel immediately feels out of place when he and his mother move to California’s San Fernando Valley. The blond-maned local teens are a snooty, bullying lot, especially when Daniel sets his eye on the pretty debutante Ali Mills. Ali takes a liking to the young outsider, which really ticks off ex-boyfriend Johnny, the leader of the bullies.

Meanwhile, Daniel strikes up an unlikely friendship with Mr. Miyagi, the Okinawan handyman at his apartment complex. After a few verbal and physical warnings, Johnny and the boys decide to get Oriental on Daniel’s kiester, karate fighting the poor boy to a pulp. But then, seemingly from out of nowhere, Miyagi appears and takes the young chumps to school. When Daniel recovers and learns what Miyagi did, he begs the aging martial artist to train him.

Miyagi does so, but on his own terms. “Daniel-San” is put to work waxing cars, sanding a hardwood patio and painting Miyagi’s fence and house. It’s painful, repetitive labor, but Miyagi has his reasons. The pressure is still on from Johnny’s gang, and Miyagi suggests they go right to the source: the boys’ hard-nosed, ex-military sensei, John Kreese. Kreese is a brutish jerk, but he’s willing to settle the dispute like a gentleman—at the All-Valley Karate Championship, where Johnny is the defending champ. It’s a long, hard road, and Daniel isn’t sure he wants to take it, but the wise Miyagi knows what he’s doing.

A fairly simple tale of good versus evil, The Karate Kid came to life through the performances of Noriyuki “Pat” Morita as Miyagi and Ralph Macchio as Daniel. Morita received an Oscar nomination for his work, and the film went on to become one of the biggest hits of the year, spawning an entire franchise and inspiring thousands of young Daniel-San wannabes to suit up and start kicking.

Movie Release History

1984 - The Karate Kid
1986 - The Karate Kid Part II
1989 - The Karate Kid Part III
1994 - The Next Karate Kid

Movie Sub Categories

live-action
action/adventure
drama

Movie Studio

Columbia

Cast

Daniel Larusso  Ralph Macchio
Miyagi   Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita
Ali Mills   Elisabeth Shue
John Kreese   Martin Kove
Lucille Larusso   Randee Heller
Johnny Lawrence   William Zabka
Bobby   Ron Thomas
Tommy   Rob Garrison
Dutch   Chad McQueen
Jimmy  Tony O'Dell
Freddy Fernandez   Israel Juarbe
Mr. Mills   William Bassett
Jerry   Larry B. Scott
Susan  Juli Fields
Barbara   Dana Andersen
Chucky   Frank Burt Avalon
Billy   Jeff Fishman
Chris   Ken Daly
Alan   Tom Fridley
Referee   Pat Johnson
Ring Announcer   Bruce Malmuth
Karate Semi-finalist  Darryl Vidal
Lady with Dog   Frances Bay
Official   Christopher Kriesa
Mr. Harris   Bernard Kuby
Restaurant Manager   Joan Lemmo
Cashier   Helen Siff
Yahoo #1  Larry Drake
Yahoo #2   David Abbott
Cheerleading Coach   Holly Basler
Boy in Bathroom   Brian Davis
Waiter  David De Lange
Karate Student   Erik Felix
Soccer Coach   Peter Jason
Chicken Boy   Todd Lookinland
Referee #2   Clarence McGee Jr.
Doctor  William Norren
Referee #3   Sam Scarber
Eddie  Scott Strader

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