The Karate Kid turns 40 this weekend—here's how to watch it on TV tonight

Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita in The Karate Kid
(Image credit: Columbia Pictures/Maximum Film/Alamy Stock Photo)

It seems impossible but those "Wax on, wax off" words of wisdom from Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) are officially 40 years old—yes, the 1984 martial-arts classic The Karate Kid is celebrating its big quadrennial anniversary on Saturday, June 22, which means it's high time to revisit the memorable coming-of-age flick. And you can have yourself a The Karate Kid movie marathon this weekend, with showings of both the original as well as the 1986 sequel The Karate Kid Part II airing today on TV. 

Written by Robert Mark Kamen and directed by John G. Avildsen, The Karate Kid tells the story of Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), an Italian-American teenager from New Jersey who moves with his widowed mother (Randee Heller) to Southern California. There, he soon becomes the target of a group of bullies who study karate at the Cobra Kai dojo, led by black belt Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), the ex-boyfriend of the girl Daniel likes. Daniel soon learns to defend himself, however, thanks to the help of his apartment handyman Mr. Miyagi, who just happens to be a martial arts master. Through training, Daniel learns how to defend himself and compete against his brutal Cobra Kai bullies. 

One of the highest-grossing films of 1984 (it made more than $130 million at the global box office), The Karate Kid was both a commercial and critical success. It earned Morita an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor and kicked off a media franchise that spawned video games, action figures, numerous movie sequels, a 2010 remake starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith, and the popular Netflix spinoff series Cobra Kai, which re-examines the "Miyagi-Verse" narrative from Johnny's point of view three decades later. (Cobra Kai will debut its sixth season on Thursday, July 18.)

To celebrate The Karate Kid turning 4-0 today, Starz Encore is showing both the 1984 original as well as the 1986 sequel. You can tune into the former at 2:53pm or 7pm Eastern Time on the premium television channel; airings of The Karate Kid Part II will directly follow at 5:03pm or 9:10pm ET. Cable-cutters can also tune in online with a live TV streaming service that carries Starz channels, such as FuboHulu with Live TVSling TV and Philo TV

THE KARATE KID [1984] - Official Trailer (HD) - YouTube THE KARATE KID [1984] - Official Trailer (HD) - YouTube
Watch On

Check out the official trailer for The Karate Kid before revisiting the martial-arts favorite tonight on Starz Encore. 

Christina Izzo

Christina Izzo is the Deputy Editor of My Imperfect Life. More generally, she is a writer-editor covering food and drink, travel, lifestyle and culture in New York City. She was previously the Features Editor at Rachael Ray In Season and Reveal, as well as the Food & Drink Editor and chief restaurant critic at Time Out New York. 

When she’s not doing all that, she can probably be found eating cheese somewhere.