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Swing into the high-flying kicks and punches of Karate cinema, where the clash of styles isn’t just choreography, it’s storytelling magic.

From the iconic crane kick to the masterful mentorship, these titles weave a tapestry of grit, grace, and guts.

Eager to see where discipline meets drama? These are the must-watch Karate favorites to ignite your fighting spirit.

Best Karate Movies, Shows, and Documentaries:

  1. The Karate Kid (1984)
  2. Cobra Kai (TV series)
  3. The Karate Kid Part II (1986)
  4. The Karate Kid Part III (1989)
  5. Karate Kid (2010)
  6. Bloodsport (1988)
  7. The Next Karate Kid (1994)
  8. Ip Man (2008)
  9. Kung Fu Panda (2008) – Animated

#1 The Karate Kid (1984)

  • 🎬 Directed by: John G. Avildsen
  • 🌟 Starring: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elizabeth Shue

The Karate Kid is a classic martial arts drama featuring Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), a teenager who learns karate from Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita), a masterful and wise sensei, to stand up against bullies.

With the famous “wax on, wax off” training, it’s a story of mentorship, growing up, and overcoming adversity that has inspired audiences for generations.

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu

#2 Cobra Kai (TV series)

  • 🎬 Created by: Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, and Josh Heald

Cobra Kai is a television series continuation of The Karate Kid movies, set 34 years later, where the rivalry between Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) is reignited.

The series features new generations of martial arts students and revives the old conflict with a blend of comedy, nostalgia, and gripping fight scenes.

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video

#3 The Karate Kid Part II (1986)

  • 🎬 Directed by: John G. Avildsen
  • 🌟 Starring: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Nobu McCarthy

In The Karate Kid Part II, Daniel accompanies Mr. Miyagi to Okinawa, where he learns more about his mentor’s past.

Facing new challenges in a foreign land, Daniel’s understanding of karate is deepened as he is caught in a conflict that tests his resolve and martial arts skills.

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV

#4 The Karate Kid Part III (1989)

  • 🎬 Directed by: John G. Avildsen
  • 🌟 Starring: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Robyn Lively

The third installment of The Karate Kid saga sees Daniel LaRusso facing a vengeful figure from his past.

The emotional and physical struggles he endures serve to further crystallize the themes of strength, honor, and friendship that are central to the series.

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV

#5 Karate Kid (2010)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Harald Zwart
  • 🌟 Starring: Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan, Taraji P. Henson

This modern reimagining of The Karate Kid features Jaden Smith as Dre Parker, a young boy who moves to China and learns kung fu (not karate) from a maintenance man named Mr. Han (Jackie Chan).

Facing bullies and navigating a new culture, Dre’s journey reflects the timeless message of the original, despite the change in martial arts focus.

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV

#6 Bloodsport (1988)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Newt Arnold
  • 🌟 Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Donald Gibb, Leah Ayres

Bloodsport is a martial arts action film centered around Frank Dux (Jean-Claude Van Damme), an American martial artist who competes in the illegal, underground Kumite martial arts tournament in Hong Kong.

This cult classic showcases Van Damme’s athleticism and the excitement of combat sports.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Vudu

#7 The Next Karate Kid (1994)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Christopher Cain
  • 🌟 Starring: Hilary Swank, Pat Morita, Michael Ironside

The Next Karate Kid introduces a new protagonist, Julie Pierce (Hilary Swank), a troubled teenager who is taught karate by Mr. Miyagi.

As the fourth film in the Karate Kid series, it carries forward the franchise’s themes of empowerment, discipline, and the student-mentor relationship.

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV

#8 Ip Man (2008)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Wilson Yip
  • 🌟 Starring: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Lynn Hung

Ip Man is a semi-biographical martial arts film about the life of Ip Man, a grandmaster of the Wing Chun style of kung fu and teacher of legend Bruce Lee.

With skilled choreography, the film delves into Ip Man’s life during the Sino-Japanese War, as he rises to defend the honor of his community and the art of Wing Chun.

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, The Criterion Channel

#9 Kung Fu Panda (2008) – Animated

  • 🎬 Directed by: John Stevenson and Mark Osborne
  • 🌟 Starring: Voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman

Kung Fu Panda is an animated action-comedy featuring Po, a clumsy panda who unexpectedly becomes the chosen one and must train to become a kung fu hero.

This heartwarming movie is packed with humor and exciting martial arts sequences, making it enjoyable for both children and adults.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Apple TV

To understand the discipline and dedication required in karate, which is often depicted in these films, read our article on why karate is considered the hardest sport.

What is the best Karate movie of all time?

“The Karate Kid” (1984) is the best Karate movie of all time, as it has become a timeless classic inspiring multiple generations with its underdog story and iconic training montages.

What are some good Karate movies?

“Enter the Dragon,” “Karate Kid II,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” and “Ip Man” are good Karate movies, each celebrated for its storytelling, fight choreography, and cultural impact.

What Karate movies, shows, and documentaries are on Netflix?

The best Karate movies, shows, and documentaries on Netflix currently are “Cobra Kai,” “The Karate Kid” series, and “Fightworld,” which explore the world of martial arts through engaging narratives and in-depth looks at fighting styles.

Meet Rev, one of our dedicated team members who embodies the essence of sports passion. When he’s not immersed in the world of sports content creation, Rev is busy honing his skills in esports and exploring the great outdoors through activities like hiking and basketball.

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