Tormented by his high school peers, Daniel (played by Ralph Macchio) asks Mr. Miyagi (played by Pat Morita) to teach him karate. They become like family, but Daniel always wonders why Mr. Miyagi acts the way he does. As the story moves on, Miyagi explains to Daniel about life, about how, in his opinion, everything has a reason to be the way it is, and about the meaning of things in life.
They enter a Valley-wide karate tournament, where Daniel is an underdog. Miyagi has trained him well, however, and in a final scene made in true Avildsen fashion, Daniel beats his final opponent, none other than the chief school bully who had been tormenting him, with an arms-spread-like-wings kick to the chin called the Crane Technique.
The Karate Kid spawned an entire franchise of Karate Kid related items and memorabilia, such as action figures, head bands, posters, t-shirts, etc etc. It also had three sequels, and it launched the careers of Macchio, who would turn into a teen idol on the covers of many magazines such as Tiger Beat, Morita, who made several other movies including the 3 sequels, and Elizabeth Shue. It has also been credited with renewing youth interest in martial arts