The Karate Kid is a 1984 American martial arts drama film written by Robert Mark Kamen and directed by John G. Avildsen. It is the first installment in the Karate Kid franchise, and stars Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue and William Zabka.
The Karate Kid follows Daniel LaRusso, a teenager taught karate by Mr. Miyagi to help defend himself and compete in a tournament against his bullies, one of which is the ex-boyfriend of his love interest Ali Mills.
The Karate Kid was theatrically released in the United States on June 22, 1984. The film received mostly positive reviews from critics, many of whom praised the action sequences, writing, storyline, acting performances, and music. The film was also a commercial success, grossing over $130 million worldwide, making it one of the highest-grossing films of 1984 and Hollywood’s biggest hit of the year.
The film is also notable for kickstarting the career of Macchio, as well as revitalizing the acting career of Morita, who was previously known mostly for comedic roles. The Karate Kid subsequently launched a media franchise, and is credited for popularizing karate in the United States.