The Karate Kid (1984)
Release year: 1984
Director: John G. Avildsen
Screenwriter: Robert Mark Kamen
Starring: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue, Martin Kove, Randee Heller, William Zabka, Ron Thomas, Rob Garrison
Ratings: 1 Oscar nomination: Best Supporting Actor (Pat Morita). 1 Golden Globe nomination: Best Supporting Actor (Pat Morita).
After moving from New Jersey to California young Daniel (Ralph Macchio) finds himself bullied by a group of karate fighting kids. When handyman Miyagi (Pat Morita) sees one of the attacks he comes to Daniel’s rescue and Daniel talks him into teaching him the karate he used to stop the kids. Soon the two are busy getting Daniel ready to stand up against his bullies at an up-coming tournament.
After directing the major hit Rocky (1976) Avildsen made this ,which also is a movie about an underdog and a fighting sport only for a younger audience, and had another major hit. Like the John Hughes movies of the decade, The Breakfast Club (1985) is a good example of, The Karate Kid perfectly captures the mood of a teenager, both as lovestruck and as one in trouble, and his bonding with Mr. Miyagi is one of the most engaging friendships of its kind with the excellent Morita (Bloodsport 2, 1996), delivering a convincing performance as the wise martial-arts expert with a twinkle in his eye. Despite a tender story of young love between Macchio (My Cousin Vinny, 1992) and new comer Elisabeth Shue (Back to the Future II, 1989), it is the relationship between mentor and mentee that is the heart of the story and what keeps your interest even through the excitement of the tournament. Even today the movie feels fresh and up-to-date enough to capture a new generation making it a classic in the true sense of the word.
Ralph Macchio was 22 years old when filming The Karate Kid.
Picture copyright: Sony Pictures