The Karate Kid

Critics Consensus

Utterly predictable and wholly of its time, but warm, sincere, and difficult to resist, due in large part to Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio's relaxed chemistry.



Total Count: 43


Audience Score

User Ratings: 316,236
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Movie Info

Newly arrived in California from New Jersey, teenager Daniel (Ralph Macchio) almost immediately runs afoul of karate-trained high school bullies. He is rescued by Japanese janitor Miyagi (Noriyuki "Pat" Morita), who agrees to teach Daniel how to harness karate for good instead of brutality. The film culminates in a championship karate bout, pitting Daniel against his sworn enemy Johnny (William Zabka) -- the cruel and thuggish boyfriend of Ali (Elisabeth Shue), with whom Daniel has fallen in love (and vice versa). Real-life karate champ Chuck Norris was offered the role of Kreese, the sadistic coach who goads Johnny into fighting dirty, but Norris turned down the role, refusing to be shown utilizing his skills negatively onscreen. Vastly popular, The Karate Kid spawned three sequels of rapidly descending merit, as well as a Saturday-morning cartoon series. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


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Critic Reviews for The Karate Kid

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (38) | Rotten (5)

Audience Reviews for The Karate Kid

  • Jul 30, 2019
    The film might have aged slightly, but the timeless story has not. If you consider the bully nature of the story you'll note this is forever in the headlines. The Karate Kid is a simple story with a strong underlining message. The original is still the core to the series and the sequels could never capture the essence of this film. Great cast and storyline that helps deliver one of the better films from the 80s. 29/07/2019
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Jan 20, 2018
    Pretty good but cheesy in places, The fights were ok and it's acted well but it does have allot of scenes that were dragged out and can kill the whole tone of the film.
    Jamie C Super Reviewer
  • Nov 21, 2012
    A fun, memorable and inspirational family film, The Karate Kid is a terrific film that will please viewers of all ages. This is a wonderful, accomplished film directed by the man who brought us the original Rocky. Avildsen's directing is effective and he knows how to craft the perfect underdog story and deliver something special on-screen. The Karate Kid is a memorable film because it has a strong message and it is inspirational because of it. The performances are great as well, and there's also comic bits thrown in t9o even out the dramatic elements of the film. This is a great film that is still worth seeing after all these years. Ralph Macchio is terrific here and Noriyuki Morita is flawless as Mister Miyagi. The film is almost perfect and it is a must see for viewers looking for a fun, dramatic family film that will certainly appeal to people of all ages. This is a near flawless film that is a good time from start to finish, and it has lot to offer despite a few lacking areas. Avoid the sequels as they try to recapture the memorable moments of this one, but ultimately fail due to poor plots, recycled material and a lack of effective acting. This is the one to watch and it is a film that has stood the test of time and is a must see if you're looking for a well crafted drama film with few moments of comic relief. Definitely a film worth checking out, and along with Rocky, this is John G. Avildsen's second best work as director.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • May 22, 2012
    The Karate Kid is an '80s classic that delivers a smart and entertaining story about the bonds of friendship. The film follows Daniel Larusso, who is taken under the wing of his apartment super and taught the ancient art of Karate so that he is able to stand up against a group of bullies that are terrorizing him. The film has a solid cast that includes Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, and Elisabeth Shue, who all give solid performances and have a good chemistry together. Additionally, there's a sincerity and earnestness to both the story and the characters that really comes through and makes it the enduring family film that it is. The Karate Kid is an inspirational film that's fun and enjoyable for all.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

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