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The Karate Kid (1984)
A classic ’80s underdog film, The Karate Kid follows Daniel Larusso (Ralph Macchio) as he tries to assimilate into a new town. Learning karate from a sage “elder” who takes him under his wing, Daniel fights to the finish, learning not just the art of karate, but also about growing up.
Directed by John Avildsen. Rated PG, 126 min.
Considered by many to be the quintessential underdog movie. This three-time Oscar winner chronicles the journey of an unknown boxer to world heavyweight champion. With such key pop culture moments as the run up the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Rocky’s call out to Adrian, Rocky is a must to include on any underdog list.
Directed by John Avildsen. Rated AA, 119 min.
Rudy has wanted to play football for Notre Dame since he was a child. Through perseverance and steely determination he strives to reach his goal. Against all odds and without support – Rudy fights to achieve his dream. A classic underdog tale.
Directed by David Anspaugh. Rated PG, 114 min.
Billy Elliot follows the journey of a young boy who is compelled to learn ballet despite a lack of support from his family. Set during the 1984-85 UK miners’ strike, the film juxtaposes Billy’s journey, and that of his father’s conflicted roles of father and worker. The film illustrates what is truly important – and how beauty can rise up from any circumstances, no matter how dismal they may initially seem.
Directed by Stephen Daldry. AA, 110 min.