In John G. Avildsen's THE KARATE KID, Daniel (Ralph Macchio) and his mother (Randee Heller) move from New Jersey to Southern California, where he's not too keen about his new home--until he meets Ali (Elizabeth Shue), an attractive girl who seems to like him. But trouble looms when Ali's ex-boyfriend (William Zabka) and his gang of ruffians start tormenting Daniel. One day, as Daniel is suffering a beating at the hands of these louts, Mr. Miyagi (Noriyuki "Pat" Morita), an elderly Japanese handyman, comes to his rescue. To Daniel's amazement, Miyagi manages to take down the whole group all by himself using karate. Daniel begs to learn this ancient martial art, and soon Miyagi begins the boy's training, teaching Daniel that there is more to karate than fighting. Through a series of lessons, the wise mentor instills a sense of honor and nobility in his young pupil while preparing him for the ultimate karate showdown. However, as Daniel studies the discipline and art of karate, his enemies are learning a dirtier kind of fighting from Kreese (Martin Kove), a cold-blooded ex-marine. Ultimately, the boys will fight to the finish in the All Valley Karate Championship in a rousing and triumphant finale. Morita is a gem as the elderly father figure Miyagi, giving the character warmth, wisdom, and comic charm. Macchio's underdog character inspired an entire generation to run out and join the nearest karate school while chanting "wax on, wax off."
Elisabeth Shue - American Actress, LEAVING LAS VEGAS (1995)
John G. Avildsen - American Director/Director of Photography/Editor
William Zabka - TV/Film Actor
Randee Heller - TV/Film Actress
Noriyuki Morita - Actor, THE KARATE KID/HAPPY DAYS
Pat Morita - Actor, THE KARATE KID/HAPPY DAYS
Ralph Macchio - American actor, THE KARATE KID
When a New Jersey teenager relocates to sunny southern California, he finds trouble in the form of bullies and a friend in the form of Mr. Miyagi, the local handyman who teaches him karate.
Although Ralph Macchio portrays a teenager in THE KARATE KID, he was 23 when the film was released. The film features Elizabeth Shue's first major screen role. Pat Morita uses his real Japanese first name, Noriyuki, in the credits. Morita was a real-life WWII California Japanese Internment Camp survivor. Chad McQueen, who plays Dutch, is Steve McQueen's son. Morita starred in the delightfully low-key TALK TO TAKA (2000), a short film put together by AtomFilms for $100,000.
"...THE KARATE KID exhibits warmth and friendly, predictable humor, its greatest assets..." - 06/22/1984 New York Times, p.C16
"...[Morita] is simply terrific, bringing the appropriate authority and wisdom to the part. His timing and understated humor are also impeccable..." - 05/23/1984 Variety
"THE KARATE KID is surprisingly sure-footed and deft in its new setting....Smith is a charming and natural young actor." - 06/11/2010 USA Today
3 stars out of 5 -- "[KARATE KID] has a powerful nostalgic kick that the remake struggles to top." - 08/01/2010 Empire