American Ninja is a 1985 martial arts action film produced by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus's Cannon Films. Like most other films produced by that studio, American Ninja was a low-budget action film. Directed by Sam Firstenberg, who specialized in this genre in the 80s, the film stars Michael Dudikoff in the title role, with Steve James as his side-kick. Domestic box office grosses for the picture totalled $10,499,694, and the studio responded with a competently-made but less successful sequel, American Ninja 2: The Confrontation in 1987. Three more commercially and critically unsuccessful sequels would follow with another lead actor, David Bradley. Dudikoff returned for a short cameo role in the fourth film in this franchise. The fifth and final film in the American Ninja franchise disregarded the series continuity and was a direct-to-video release.

The film was originally called American Warrior, but was changed to American Ninja prior to its release. The trailer (included on the DVD) contains the original title.
Was the first of three films pairing Michael Dudikoff and Steve James, the other two being American Ninja 2: The Confrontation and Avenging Force.