Newly arrived in California from New Jersey, teenager Daniel (Ralph Macchio) 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 Karate Kid was the name of a character in DC Comic's "Legion Of Superheroes" who was a member of the Legion. DC Comics, which owned the name, gave special permission for the title to be used. There's a thank you to DC Comics for allowing the use of the name at the end of the credits.
Elisabeth Shue interrupted her studies at Harvard to be in this movie.
Kyle Eastwood auditioned for the role of Daniel LaRusso.
The long, continuous shot from the moment Daniel exits the locker room at the tournament until the panoramic view of the entire gymnasium took over 35 takes to get right, according to Ralph Macchio.
The yellow classic automobile that Daniel polishes in the famous "wax-on/wax-off" training scene, then later offered by Mr. Miyagi as Daniel's birthday gift, was actually given to Ralph Macchio by the producer, and he still owns it.
When Mr. Miyagi and Daniel are attempting to catch a fly in their chopsticks, you can see that the fly is attached to a thin wire when it "flies" in between their two heads.
When Daniel is being chased through a field by Johnny and the other boys (from the costume party), puffs of smoke being generated, from behind a tree on the right, to look like evening fog can clearly be seen.
During the tournament, in a close shot of Johnny as he faces his first opponent, a scene marker is visible being held between the actors before the fight starts.
The scene when Miyagi and Daniel leave to go to the Cobra Kai dojo, Miyagi walks out of his house towards the truck. As the camera follows him the boom mike is visible just behind the truck.
"The Karate Kid" was one of the nice surprises of 1984 -- an exciting, sweet-tempered, heart-warming story with one of the most interesting friendships in a long time. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times.
Put 'Rocky' in 'Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore,' set it in the Valley and you've got The Karate Kid.'... [the film] will have an uphill battle all the way if it is to be a contender in this summer's heavyweight box office division. Reviewed by: The Hollywood Reporter.
Parents need to know that this classic '80s martial arts movie is still a fine pick for families with older tweens. The Karate Kid was re-made in 2010 with a younger perspective starring Jaden Smith. The PG rating of the original seems a little mild considering the number of swear words (including "s--t"), insults, and fights -- not to mention one scene of marijuana use. This is a standard new-kid-in-town flick, but it's also got soul thanks to the teacher-student relationship between wise Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) and lonely teen Daniel (Ralph Macchio). Issues of class, race, (teen) romance, and even war are explored in this coming-of-age tale, where karate is a metaphor for life. Reviewed by: Common Sense Media.