Box art for The Karate Kid

The Karate Kid

A handyman/martial arts master agrees to teach a bullied boy karate and shows him that there is more to the martial art than fighting.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 12
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
3 out of 5

'80s classic is still fun for families with older tweens.

what parents need to know

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.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about whether Daniel is the stereotypical "new boy in town." How does he feel about starting over in a completely new place? How does Daniel's relationship with Mr. Miyagi change both of their lives?
  • This is at its root, an underdog story. What other movies fit into this genre? What are some similarities between the main characters' journeys? Who helps them? Who are their rivals?
  • How do class and financial status affect Daniel's place in the high-school hierarchy? Ali's country-club parents treat Daniel shabbily. Why? Kids: How do you treat people from different backgrounds or those who are new in town?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 6
    see all The Karate Kid reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Perhaps a touch on the corny side and undeniably broad, Kid is a ridiculously rewarding drama that puts pure sincerity to marvelous use, inflating a mild underdog story into an inspiring tale of education and developing friendship.

- Brian Orndorf,, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: Predictable yet satisfying...

- David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews, Friday, June 25, 2010

Fresh: Avildsen crafted an inspired movie with the perfect mix of 80's bravado and 70's artistic integrity.

- Jordan Hiller,, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars


- bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb1, Wednesday, July 21, 2010

5 stars

There won't every truly be a movie like this, it's about as close to Rocky as teen movies will ever get. With a combination of bloodthirsty villains (Cobra Kai) that only the 80s could produce and wisdom from Mr. Miyagi, you're truly in for a ride of your life. Nice guys don't come more clean cut than Ralph Macchio, he's very much the Sly Stone of teen stars. You just feel so much compassion for his character, maybe because he's such an underdog. The story itself is so powerful and uplifting that it's impossible to not fall in love with. On top of that it's beautifully shot and executed in a way that few movies at the time were. It's a fun and serious movie at the same time.

- ythelastman89, Friday, June 11, 2010

4 stars

"Wax on... wax off. Wax on... wax off." A handyman/martial arts master agrees to teach a bullied boy karate and shows him that there is more to the martial art than fighting. REVIEW Dont know too many who hated this, the story of toothpick sized kid (Macchio) from Jersey who gets a daily beating from Valley boys after moving to California. A harmless looking handyman surprises the hell out of Macchios' tormentors one night, and one of the most memorable relationships on screen was created. Mr. Miyagi and Daniel, the older oriental and the young teenager are two of the best characters you'll ever see. Everybody will forever remember "wax on, wax off," Morita's many "Daniel-sans!," or one of the most recognizable poses ever, the Crane Technique. The climax is extremely uplifting and unless you're horribly unemotional, you'll smile everytime.

- mrpopcorn, Friday, April 2, 2010