John G. Avildsen is back in the Rocky ring with The Karate Kid. More precisely, it is a Rocky for kids.
Daniel (Ralph Macchio) and his mother (Randee Heller) move from their home in New Jersey to Southern California. Daniel encounters the attacks of his schoolmates and he is well established as an underdog.
Enter Mr Miyagi (Noriyuki ‘Pat’ Morita), the mysterious maintenance man who takes Daniel under-wing. Daniel wants Miyagi to teach him how to defend himself, but the old man resists until Daniel learns that karate is a discipline of the heart and mind, of the spirit, not of vengeance and revenge.
Morita is simply terrific, bringing the appropriate authority and wisdom to the part.
1984: Nomination: Best Supp. Actor (Noriyuki ‘Pat’ Morita)