Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Find entertainment that fits your kid's interests and your parenting style.

Go to For Your Family

Parent reviews for The Karate Kid

Common Sense says

'80s classic is still fun for families with older tweens.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 41 reviews
Adult Written byRarityfan January 28, 2019

The best!

Classic martial art movie with a now meme ridden soundtrack and quotes. Good for a nostalgic 1980's party. In consumerism there are rows and rows of cheap 1980's martial arts VHS tapes at the markets.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism
Adult Written bydvdgirl January 20, 2019

Fine

For an eighties movie it’s good.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Adult Written byAdultIntheRoom December 11, 2018

Just know the pitfalls

The other reviews speak accurately to the pitfalls of the movie - namely the language. When Daniel and his mother arrive at their new apartments, Daniel kicks open a gate and inadvertently hits a guy standing on the other side. It might be worth noting that the guy is wearing a shirt with two pigs in the mating position and on the shirt beneath them it says "Making bacon". I've seen the movie countless times but just recently caught that. The language was unnecessary and detracts from an otherwise good movie. It ends on a good note - SPOILER ALERT - after Daniel wins the contest at the end, his nemesis throughout the movie says "You're alright, Laruso". So to me, that's a pretty good message to end on. The violence is de minimis, especially in light of what is commonplace today. Some fights, bullying, etc.

This title contains:

Language
Parent Written byMoviecriticdude101 January 23, 2018

awe inspiring

PG-13 A-

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 10 and 12 year old Written byHendo H. U January 6, 2018

This title contains:

Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Language
Adult Written byclarence August 5, 2015
Parent Written bychipsmw September 21, 2013

Fine for 7 year olds

My son just started taking karate and he is 7. I thought this movie would send a postive message and I wasn't sure he would understand the move and it was fine. To respond to some of the other reviews. Johnny smokes a joint in the bathroom but my son didn't even notice that - only that Daniel was spraying the water on Johnny. I warned my son about the language before hand but it was limited to 'goddamit' and not as bad as I expected. (It had been 30 years since I saw it!). I sat with my son for the whole movie and paused it to talk him through some of the bits which were confusing. Overall it was fine for a 7 year old.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 13 year old Written bycolten97 October 10, 2012

The Old One

My love of "The Karate Kid" is limited to the fact that this movie, if it had been in the hands of a more fluorescent director, could have turned out a lot differently from the movie we all know and love from 1984. Directed by John G. Avildsen and written by Robert Mark Kamen, "The Karate Kid" is by far the best incorporation of martial arts into a mainstream American film. This movie came out the year before I was born, and only through word-of-mouth over the time I was growing up, did I know that "The Karate Kid" even existed. I got to view the film my freshman year in high school as part of a class, but the instructor watered down the experience so much that the movie lost its potency. Now a few years later, I finally watch the movie without any intrusion from the outside world and I find a truly marvelous picture that's far better than its many stylized contemporaries, i.e. "The Matrix" trilogy, which is the best example of that trend. Ralph Macchio stars as Daniel LaRusso, a new kid to a picturesque southern California community that looks a lot like something you'd see in a magazine advertisement. Daniel makes the mistake of hitting on Ali, who unknown to him, is the ex-girlfriend of Johnny Lawrence, and Daniel takes a pretty brutal beating from the martial arts-trained Johnny, that leaves him scarred but with his pride and dignity still in tact. The number of violent clashes with Johnny and his brutal Cobra Kai martial arts friends continue, until Daniel is saved by Mr. Miyagi, the karate-trained handyman of his apartment building. Daniel insists on Mr. Miyagi teaching him karate, so that he can compete in an upcoming martial arts tournament; this requires Daniel to undergo some pretty unconventional training - "wax on, wax off; paint fence - side to side" etc. And in return, Daniel learns that there's a lot more to karate than just fighting and the "Old One" shows him that way. "The Karate Kid" is a true gem of a film that's shamefully underrated. Macchio is convincing as Daniel, bringing a number of wide-ranging emotions to his role that at first may seem quite perfunctory as opposed to being dramatic. The real star of the show, is Morita as Mr. Miyagi. He brings grace to a role that could have been quite stereotypical, but is still very moving and dramatic. Of course, what's a movie about karate without the fights? I should note that the action in this movie is very convincing, but is not stylized in any fashion, shape or form. It is very down-to-earth and realistic, and that may of course be a bit of a turn-off to some hardcore fanboys that may watch this movie thinking it'll be something like "The Matrix" or "Enter the Dragon". The fighting here is in its own style and mode of action. A number of the fights are quite brutal, especially in the ones where John Kreese's Cobra Kai students are featured, as he frequently trains them the brutal way of "no mercy," which Mr. Miyagi is quick to realize is not the way of karate.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Parent of a 11, 12, and 14 year old Written byLiamBerlin January 4, 2011
Parent Written bySinfoniarc August 5, 2010

Wax On...If You're Not Too Young

The original Karate Kid is still a classic after all these years. I can't honestly tell you how many times my friends and I did the whole "wax on/wax off" thing or even the move Daniel (Ralph Macchio) does at the end of the movie. Having said that, movies made in the 1980s were held to a different standard than that of today. First and foremost, the PG-13 rating did not exist when this movie came out and even if it had, I'm not sure that this movie would have received it based on the criteria of the day. First the bad--Daniel wants to learn karate to get revenge and to hurt the guys who beat him up and stole his pride. The Cobra Karate Dojo makes viewers aware that "strike first, strike hard, no mercy sir!" and "fear does not exist" are rules to live by. The instructor is a hard-core ex-Vietnam vet, who clearly never left the jungles of the war (it doesn't exactly paint Vietnam vets in a positive light). The Cobras are bullies who are cruel, smoke dope, and rule the school. The language of both them and the rest of the teens in the movie save Alli (Elisabeth Shue) is terrible. I'd honestly forgotten how much bad language is in the movie. Some parents will not want their young children to experience the violence of karate as well. There's a scene in which Mr. Miagi is drunk and singing in Japanese in remembrance of his late wife, who died in Okinawa during World War 2. Parents might want to explain to their children that drunkenness does not solve problems, but rather mostly makes them worse. The movie, however, is also full of positive images as it's a true underdog story. Some kids will be able to relate being the new kid in town from far away, having a mom that's single, and being bullied at school. The movie teaches about ultimately being accepted by others, dealing with being an only child of a single mother, fighting is not the answer, and people from different levels of the caste system can still love each other despite one being poor and one being rich. Mr. Miagi (Pat Morita) teaches Daniel that fighting is not the answer but that karate is rather used for self-defense. In the end, kids learn that hard work pays off, underdogs can win, and that bullying/hurting people is never a good thing.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Positive Messages
Parent of a 2 and 4 year old Written bylolly1976 July 19, 2010

I liked it even for a 3 year old

Teaches good value, work ethic, and respect. My 3 year old fell in love with her daddy's old favorite movie. Her sensei approved as well!

This title contains:

Language
Positive role models
Parent of a 10 year old Written byMarieNicole June 13, 2010
There is a lot of fighting. Might be too much for younger kids. My 10-year-old was fine and enjoyed the movie. However, the mother of an 11-year-old was freaking out that this violence was not good for her baby.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Positive role models
Parent of a 10 year old Written bydisneygirl1 May 12, 2010

Bothersome Language

While this movie does have some positive messages, it seriously bothers me when people use the GD word. It's not even mentioned in the language section of the rating that this word is in the movie (twice). I watched it with my 10 year old and, while we like the movie in general, the language is unnecessary.

This title contains:

Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Parent Written byjeb522 April 9, 2008