The Top 10 Best Movie Lines from The Karate Kid

Daniel and Miyagi

YouTube Mr. Miyagi makes Daniel do chores in 'The Karate Kid.'

Since its premiere in 1984, The Karate Kid has amassed a massive fanbase. The film inspired numerous sequels, a remake, and the acclaimed series, Cobra Kai. One of the reasons that the martial arts movie is so popular is due to its incredible dialogue. Here are the ten best lines from The Karate Kid.


‘Canvas. You like? JCPenney. Three Ninety-Eight.’


Mr. Miyagi – On belts in KarateDaniel: Miyagi. Hey, what kind of belt do you have? Mr. Miyagi: Canvas. J.C. Penney. $3.98. You like? [laughs] Daniel: No, I meant… Mr. Miyagi: In Okinawa, belt mean no need rope to hold up pants. [laughs; then, seriously] Daniel-san, karate here. [taps his head] Karate here. [taps his heart] Karate never here. [points to…2014-11-03T15:52:52Z

After Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) becomes aware that Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) is a martial arts master, he asks him about his karate belt ranking.

“Hey what kind of belt do you have?” says the West Valley High School Student.

“Canvas. You like? JCPenney. Three ninety-eight,” replies Miyagi with a laugh.

He then explains that those who practice Okinawan karate do not use the belt system.

In a recent interview uploaded on the Cobra Kai Theories YouTube channel, the film’s writer, Robert Mark Kamen, spoke about this specific scene.

“You read a line. Like Mr. Miyagi — ‘what belt do you have?’ ‘Canvas. JCPenney. Three ninety-eight.’ And it’s funny and then he gives a little bit of wisdom. ‘In Okanio a belt means you don’t need to have rope to hold up your pants.’ Well if you look at the original pictures of Okinawans training, they are not training with belts. If they have belts they were just sashes. There was no such thing as a belt system,” explained the screenwriter.


‘Ali With an I’

Ali Mills sits on the beach in 'The Karate Kid'

YouTubeAli Mills sits on the beach in ‘The Karate Kid.’

Soon after Daniel moves to the San Fernando Valley, he is invited to the beach by his neighbor. While he’s there, he has a flirtatious interaction with Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue) until her ex-boyfriend Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) arrives. When Daniel defends Ali, Johnny beats him up.

The next time the New Jersey native sees Ali at school, he asks for her name.

“Ali with an i,” says the teenager before asking the same question to Daniel.

“Daniel with an l,” replies Daniel with a smile.


‘Get Him a Body Bag’

Tommy The Karate Kid

YouTubeRob Garrison plays Tommy in ‘The Karate Kid.’

Cobra Kai student Tommy (Rob Garrison) says one of the most iconic lines in the film. While Daniel faces off Johnny during the 1984 All Valley Tournament, Tommy gives his teammate encouragement by shouting, “get him a body bag! Yeah!” 

In a 2018 interview with Sports Illustrated, alongside his fellow castmates, the late Rob Garrison revealed he had come up with a line. 

“My famous line, I never said that while filming. I looped that in two months later. I was in the recording booth with John [Avildsen the director of The Karate Kid] and he said he needed two seconds of something. I said, ‘Get him a body bag!’ on the first try. John said, ‘That’s going to be a classic. You’ll never be forgotten because of that line,'” recalled Garrison. 


‘Sweep the Leg’


Karate Kid – Sweep The LegAll Valley Karate Championship – Daniel Larusso of Miyagi-Do Karate VS Johnny Lawrence from the Cobra Kai2015-04-18T18:00:58Z

During the tournament, ruthless sensei John Kreese (Martin Kove) instructs his student Johnny to “sweep the leg” on an already injured Daniel.

During a 2014 interview with Vulture, William Zabka stated he is fine with fans saying the line to him.

“It doesn’t bother me. It’s an honor to be a part of something that has a legacy like that,” said the actor.


‘Wax on, Wax off’ 


Wax On, Wax Off – The Karate Kid (2/8) Movie CLIP (1984) HDThe Karate Kid movie clips: j.mp/1utFlXT BUY THE MOVIE: amzn.to/sW29Eo Don't miss the HOTTEST NEW TRAILERS: bit.ly/1u2y6pr CLIP DESCRIPTION: Daniel (Ralph Macchio) is skeptical when Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) tells him to wax a series of cars during their first karate lesson. FILM DESCRIPTION: Newly arrived in California from New Jersey, teenager Daniel (Ralph Macchio)…2012-10-25T21:01:07Z

Mr. Miyagi starts training Daniel in karate by having him do various chores. He instructs him to wash his vintage cars. The sensei tells his student to apply the car wax using his right hand and to remove it with his left. 

“Wax on, wax off,” says Miyagi, moving his hands in a circular motion. 

In a recent interview on the  Life is Short podcast, Macchio joked that this moment in film history has caused him to neglect the cleanliness of his car.

“I have a very dirty car. I choose to never wash it. It’s like, ‘why does your car look like s***?’ Well because if I pick up the sponge I have to deal with that,” quipped the actor.  


‘Mercy Is for the Weak’

What is the secret that Mr. Miyagi did not share with Daniel

YoutubeMr. Miyagi and Daniel visit the Cobra Kai dojo.

After the Halloween dance, Miyagi and Daniel visit the Cobra Kai dojo to talk to Kreese about his students’ behavior. While they are there, they listen to the sensei remind his students that “we do not train to be merciful here. Mercy is for the weak.”


‘You’re the Best Friend I’ve Ever Had’


The Karate Kid | PART I | Mr. Miyagi give Daniel Advise "Lesson for Whole Life."I do not own any rights to this movie. I own nothing. #BestSpeech #Miyagi #MrMiyagi2018-05-28T07:31:20Z

On Daniel’s 18th birthday, Miyagi gives him a cake, a gi, and a 1947 Ford Super Deluxe Convertible. While he is sitting in the vintage car, the teenager turns to his sensei and says, “You’re the best friend I’ve ever had.” 

“You pretty okay too,” responds Miyagi. 

During Macchio’s interview on the Life is Short podcast, he briefly discussed this scene between Daniel and Miyagi. He noted his performance as Johnny Cade in the 1983 film The Outsiders and this emotional scene are two of the moments of his career that he “takes the most pride in.” 


‘Beginner Luck’


The Karate Kid (4/8) Movie CLIP – Catching a Fly With Chopsticks (1984) HDThe Karate Kid movie clips: j.mp/1utFlXT BUY THE MOVIE: amzn.to/sW29Eo Don't miss the HOTTEST NEW TRAILERS: bit.ly/1u2y6pr CLIP DESCRIPTION: Daniel (Ralph Macchio) surprises his teacher Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) when he is able to catch a fly with chopsticks on his first try. FILM DESCRIPTION: Newly arrived in California from New Jersey, teenager Daniel (Ralph…2012-10-25T20:52:02Z

In one scene, Daniel comes over to Miyagi’s home and watches him attempt to kill a fly using chopsticks. When the West Valley High School students asks why he is using such a difficult method, Miyagi explains “man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything.” 

Daniel gives it a go and manages to kill the fly with relative ease. 

“You beginner luck,” huffs an annoyed Miyagi before leaving the room. 

While speaking to The Guardian in August 2020, Macchio spoke about how that scene has impacted his life. 

“[I]f I’m in a Japanese restaurant and a fly is in the building, I have about nine seconds to get out,” said the actor. 


‘You’re Alright, LaRusso’


The Crane Kick – The Karate Kid (8/8) Movie CLIP (1984) HDThe Karate Kid movie clips: j.mp/1utFlXT BUY THE MOVIE: amzn.to/sW29Eo Don't miss the HOTTEST NEW TRAILERS: bit.ly/1u2y6pr CLIP DESCRIPTION: Despite illegal moves from the Cobra Kai that bring him to the ground, Daniel (Ralph Macchio) delivers one final kick and wins the championship. FILM DESCRIPTION: Newly arrived in California from New Jersey, teenager Daniel (Ralph…2012-10-25T21:03:59Z

After Daniel wins the All Valley Tournament, Johnny graciously gives him the trophy, saying “you’re alright, LaRusso.”  

During an interview on The Bill Simmons Podcast, William Zabka noted that this moment proves Johnny was not the villain in The Karate Kid

“I saw the goodness in him. I tried to find his vulnerabilities. I tried to find — okay at the end of the movie he hands him a trophy and so he’s not all bad. He’s a little redeemed,” said the actor. 


‘Anniversary’ 


The Karate Kid | PART I | Drunk Miyagi "BONZAI"I do not own any rights to this movie. I own nothing.2018-05-28T07:26:32Z

After training with Miyagi for quite some time, Daniel gets a better understanding of his sensei when he finds him drunk, wearing his military uniform. The teenager asks Miyagi “what are we celebrating here,” to which his mentor responds “anniversary” while gesturing to a picture of his late wife. It is then revealed that Miyagi’s wife and baby died in a Japanese-American internment camp. 

While speaking to The Los Angeles Times in January, Tamlyn Tomita, who played Kumiko in The Karate Kid Part II and Cobra Kai, explained she had a preference for the first installment of the franchise for this scene alone. She told the publication: 

I really do think the original Karate Kid is the better one. And I think it’s because of the story we didn’t find out about until later, that the studio didn’t want the scene of drunk Mr. Miyagi with his Medal of Honor. Come on! That’s the scene that steals it for everybody.

READ NEXT: Will Chozen Get His Own Cobra Kai Spin-Off Series?


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