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Still shot from the movie: The Karate Kid.

The Karate Kid

New Jersey native Daniel (Ralph Macchio) has trouble fitting when he moves to California. As bullying problems escalate, the teen turns to an unlikely friend, Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita), who mentors him in martial arts for self-defense. Get the movie review and more. »


Overall: B
Violence: C+
Sexual Content: A-
Language: C
Drugs/Alcohol: C-
Run Time: 127
Theater Release: 22 Jun 1984
Video Release: 11 May 2010
MPAA Rating: PG
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How We Determine Our Grades

After watching a movie with your children or students, we encourage parents and teachers to look for education opportunities to teach with movies. Here are a few discussion topics that can help with lesson plans or teaching in the home.

Mr. Miyagi agrees to teach Daniel karate, but instead has him doing household chores. How does the elderly man respond when the boy questions his methods? What skills and character traits does Daniel learn because of his labor?

Kreese has his students recite: "Strike First. Strike Hard. No Mercy." How does this statement of philosophy differ from Mr. Miyagi’s view of karate? Still, both of these teachers gain the loyalty of their pupils. Why? What motivates the obedience in each group?

According to the movie, Daniel leaves New Jersey in September, has his major altercation with Johnny on Halloween night (October 31) and then competes in the karate tournament in December. Is this a realistic timeline for someone to develop the level of martial arts skill depicted in this film?

The bullying Daniel endures is very serious. How should such abuse really be handled? Do you think it is realistic to assume the aggression will stop if the boys take their grievances into a competition environment? Ignoring what the script suggests, what would likely happen to Daniel if he won such a tournament? What would happen if he lost?

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About the Reviewer: Donna Gustafson

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