The Karate Kid from 1984 has one of the most memorable final scenes in all sports films. It is a classic tale of the underdog fighting for both his and his girlfriend’s honor.
Daniel LaRusso, played by Ralph Macchio, has spent the movie studying the art of karate from his mysterious teacher Mr. Miyagi (Noriyuki Morita) so he can defend himself against some of his bully classmates. The climactic scene takes place at the Under-18 All-Valley Karate Tournament, with LaRusso taking on Johnny Lawrence (Billy Zabka) in the finals.
Despite Lawrence badly injuring his leg, LaRusso manages to knock him out and win the tournament with a swift crane kick to the face, one of the techniques Miyagi taught him. The scene puts the film over the top as a great underdog story.
Ultimately it is a film about relationships; Daniel and Ali, Daniel and his mother, and Daniel with Miyagi. Mr Miyagi teaches Daniel that balance and honor within his spirit are more important than being destructive karate chopping everything in his way.
The Karate Kid stands out as a movie for the ages. Directed by Academy Award-winning John G. Avildsen (Best Director for Rocky), a man who knows a thing or two about how to weave a tale of a triumphant underdog.