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The Karate Kid – Wikipedia

1984 American martial arts romantic drama movie

The Karate Child is a 1984 American martial arts drama movie written by Robert Mark Kamen and directed by John G. Avildsen. It’s the first installment within the Karate Child franchise, and stars Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, and Elisabeth Shue.[3][4]The Karate Child follows Daniel LaRusso (Macchio), a youngster taught Gōjū-ryū[citation needed][dubious ]karate by Mr. Miyagi (Morita) to assist defend himself and compete in a event in opposition to his bullies, certainly one of which is the ex-boyfriend of his love curiosity Ali Mills (Shue).

Kamen was approached by Columbia Photos to compose a movie much like Avildsen’s earlier success Rocky (1976), after signing the director. Kamen drew inspiration from his personal life when writing the movie.[5] Consequently, he maintained sturdy opinions concerning solid, and petitioned closely for Morita’s inclusion.[6] Preparations for the movie started instantly after the ultimate edit of the script was full, and casting came about between April and June 1983. Principal images started on October 31, 1983, in Los Angeles, and filming was full by December 16, 1983.

The Karate Child was theatrically launched in the US on June 22, 1984. The movie obtained common acclaim from critics, lots of whom praised the motion sequences, writing, storyline, appearing performances, and music. The movie was additionally a business success, grossing $100 million in the US and Canada, making it one of many highest-grossing movies of 1984 and Hollywood’s greatest sleeper hit of the yr.

The movie can be notable for kickstarting the profession of Macchio, in addition to revitalizing the appearing profession of Morita, who was beforehand recognized largely for comedic roles, and earned Morita a nomination for the Academy Award for Finest Supporting Actor.[7]The Karate Child subsequently launched a media franchise, and is credited for popularizing karate in the US.[8][9]

In 1984, 17-year-old Daniel LaRusso and his mom Lucille transfer from Newark, New Jersey, to Reseda, Los Angeles, California. Their condominium’s handyman is an eccentric, however variety and humble Okinawan immigrant named Mr. Miyagi.

Daniel befriends Ali Mills, a highschool cheerleader, which attracts the eye of her conceited ex-boyfriend Johnny Lawrence, a black belt and the highest pupil from the “Cobra Kai” dojo, the place he research a vicious type of karate. Johnny and his Cobra Kai gang frequently bully Daniel. On Halloween, after Daniel sprays water on Johnny with a hose, he and his gang pursue Daniel down the road and savagely beat him, till Mr. Miyagi intervenes and single-handedly defeats them with ease. Amazed, Daniel asks Mr. Miyagi to show him karate. Miyagi declines however agrees to carry Daniel to the Cobra Kai dojo to resolve the battle. They meet with the sensei, John Kreese, an ex-Particular Forces Vietnam veteran who callously dismisses the peace providing. Miyagi then proposes that Daniel enter the All-Valley Karate Championships, the place he can compete with Johnny and the opposite Cobra Kai college students on equal phrases, and requests that the bullying stop whereas Daniel trains. Kreese agrees to the phrases however warns that if Daniel doesn’t present up for the event, the harassment will proceed for each Daniel and Miyagi.

Daniel’s coaching begins with days of menial chores that he believes solely serve to make him Miyagi’s unpaid worker. When he turns into annoyed, Miyagi demonstrates that repetition of those chores have helped him to be taught defensive blocks by means of muscle reminiscence. Their bond develops, and Miyagi opens as much as Daniel about his life that features the twin lack of his spouse and son in childbirth on the Manzanar internment camp whereas he was serving with the 442nd Infantry Regiment throughout World Conflict II in Europe, the place he obtained the Medal of Honor. By way of Mr. Miyagi’s educating, Daniel learns not solely karate, but additionally vital life classes such because the significance of private steadiness, mirrored within the precept that martial arts coaching is as a lot about coaching the spirit because the physique. Daniel applies the life classes that Miyagi has taught him to strengthen his relationship with Ali. On Daniel’s 18th birthday, Miyagi presents him with a Karate gi for the event and certainly one of his personal automobiles as birthday items.

On the event, Daniel surprises everybody by reaching the semi-finals. Johnny advances to the finals, scoring three unanswered factors in opposition to Darryl Vidal. Kreese instructs his second-best pupil, Bobby Brown, who’s certainly one of his extra compassionate college students and the least vicious of Daniel’s tormentors, to disable Daniel with an unlawful assault to the knee. Bobby reluctantly does so, severely injuring Daniel and getting himself disqualified within the course of. Daniel is taken to the locker room, the place the doctor determines that he can’t proceed. Nevertheless, Daniel believes that if he quits, his tormentors can have gotten the perfect of him. He convinces Miyagi to make use of a ache suppression method to permit him to proceed. As Johnny is about to be declared the winner by default, Daniel returns to struggle. The match is a seesaw battle, with neither in a position to break by means of the opposite’s protection.

The match is halted when Daniel makes use of a scissor-leg method to journey Johnny, delivering a blow to the again of his head and giving Johnny a nosebleed. Kreese directs Johnny to brush Daniel’s injured leg – an unethical transfer. Johnny appears to be like horrified on the order however reluctantly agrees. Because the match resumes and the rating is tied 2-2, Johnny seizes Daniel’s leg and offers a vicious elbow, doing additional injury. Daniel, standing with issue, assumes the “Crane” stance, a method he noticed Mr. Miyagi acting on a seashore. Johnny lunges towards Daniel, who jumps and executes a entrance kick to Johnny’s face, scoring the tournament-winning level. Johnny, having gained newfound respect for his nemesis, presents the trophy to Daniel himself, as Daniel is carried off by an enthusiastic crowd.



The Karate Child is a semi-autobiographical story based mostly on the lifetime of its screenwriter, Robert Mark Kamen. At age 17, after the 1964 New York World’s Honest, Kamen was crushed up by a gang of bullies. He thus started to review martial arts with a view to defend himself.[5] Kamen was sad along with his first instructor who taught martial arts as a software for violence and revenge. So he moved on to review Okinawan Gōjū-ryū karate below a Japanese instructor who didn’t communicate English, however was himself a pupil of Chōjun Miyagi.[5]

As a Hollywood screenwriter, Kamen was mentored by Frank Value who advised him that producer Jerry Weintraub had optioned a information article concerning the younger little one of a single mom who had earned a black belt to defend himself in opposition to the neighborhood bullies. Kamen then mixed his personal life story with the information article and used each to create the screenplay for The Karate Child.[5] Moreover, given John G. Avildsen’s involvement with each movies, Sylvester Stallone usually joked with Kamen that the author had “ripped off” the Rocky movies with The Karate Child.[5]

DC Comics had a personality known as Karate Child. The filmmakers obtained particular permission from DC Comics in 1984 to make use of the title for the primary movie (and subsequent sequels).[10]


Numerous actors had been thought-about for the a part of Daniel, together with Sean Penn,[10]Robert Downey Jr., Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Nicolas Cage, Anthony Edwards, C. Thomas Howell, Tom Cruise and Eric Stoltz.[5]Ralph Macchio was finally solid on the energy of his efficiency as Johnny Cade in The Outsiders (1983).[5] Macchio has acknowledged that his efficiency as Johnny influenced the event of Daniel LaRusso in his subsequent movie, The Karate Child.[11][12]

Macchio later commented that, “the character was initially named Danny Weber. As quickly as I walked within the room, it modified to LaRusso.”[5]

The studio initially needed the function of Mr. Miyagi to be performed by Toshiro Mifune, who had appeared within the movies Rashomon (1950), Seven Samurai (1954), and The Hidden Fortress (1958), however the actor did not communicate English.[5]Pat Morita later auditioned for the function, however was rejected for the half resulting from his shut affiliation with stand-up comedy, and for the character Arnold on Pleased Days.[5] After just a few failed makes an attempt, Morita grew a beard and patterned his accent after his uncle, which led to him being solid within the function.[13]

Crispin Glover was thought-about for the function of Johnny, however the studio later opted for William Zabka. After his audition, Zabka noticed Macchio, who famous “[Zabka] scared the shit out of me” throughout his audition to the studio.[5] When he was solid, Zabka was a wrestler with no earlier coaching in karate.[10][14]

Demi Moore was additionally thought-about for the function of Ali, however Elisabeth Shue was solid based mostly partly on a Burger King business that grew to become extensively fashionable within the early 1980s. The movie marks the debut roles of each Zabka and Shue.[5] Late in manufacturing, Valerie Harper was thought-about for the function of Lucille, however the studio later instated Randee Heller for the function.[5]


Filming started on October 31, 1983,[15] and wrapped on December 16, 1983.[16]

The movie’s struggle choreographer for the fight scenes was Pat E. Johnson, a Tang Soo Do karate black belt who had beforehand been featured in Bruce Lee’s American–Hong Kong martial arts movie Enter the Dragon (1973) and labored with Chuck Norris at American Tang Soo Do martial arts faculties. Johnson additionally makes an look because the referee in The Karate Child. Pat Morita’s stunt double for Mr. Miyagi, Fumio Demura, can be a karate black belt who had beforehand labored with Bruce Lee, who learnt some nunchaku methods from Demura.[17]


The musical rating for The Karate Child was composed by Invoice Conti, a frequent collaborator of director John G. Avildsen since their preliminary pairing on Rocky (1976). The instrumental rating was orchestrated by Jack Eskew and featured pan flute solos by Gheorge Zamfir. On March 12, 2007, Varèse Sarabande launched all 4 Karate Child scores in a 4-CD field set restricted to 2,500 copies worldwide.[18]

A soundtrack album was launched in 1984 by Casablanca Data containing lots of the modern songs featured within the movie. Of specific notice is Joe Esposito’s “You are the Finest”, featured in the course of the event montage close to the tip of the primary movie. Initially written for Rocky III (1982), “You are the Finest” was rejected by Sylvester Stallone in favor of Survivor’s hit tune “Eye of the Tiger”.[10] Coincidentally, Survivor additionally carried out the primary theme (“The Second of Reality” Music & Lyrics: Invoice Conti, Dennis Lambert, Peter Beckett) for The Karate Child.

Bananarama’s 1984 hit tune “Merciless Summer time” additionally made its U.S. debut in The Karate Child however was excluded from the movie’s soundtrack album. Different songs featured within the movie however left off the album embrace “Please Reply Me” carried out by Damaged Edge and “The Trip” carried out by The Matches.

Observe itemizing for 1984 soundtrack

  1. “The Second of Reality” (Survivor)
  2. “(Bop Bop) On the Seaside” (The Flirts, Jan and Dean)
  3. “No Shelter” (Damaged Edge)
  4. “Younger Hearts” (Commuter)
  5. “(It Takes) Two to Tango” (Paul Davis)
  6. “Robust Love” (Shandi)
  7. “Rhythm Man” (St. Regis)
  8. “Really feel the Night time” (Baxter Robertson)
  9. “Want” (Gang of 4)
  10. “You are the Finest” (Joe Esposito)


Field workplace[edit]

The movie was a business success. It grossed $100 million in the US and Canada, making it one of many highest-grossing movies of 1984 and Hollywood’s greatest sleeper hit of the yr.[19] In the UK, the movie topped the field workplace for 2 weeks and grossed £2,960,939[20] ($3,947,919),[21] including as much as $103,947,919 grossed in the US, Canada and United Kingdom.

In the US and Canada, the movie offered an estimated 27,072,000 tickets.[22] The movie additionally offered 1.9 million tickets in Spain,[23] 1,888,845 tickets in France and Germany,[24] and 137,217 tickets within the South Korean capital of Seoul,[25] including as much as 30,998,062 tickets offered in the US, Canada, Spain, France, Germany and Seoul.

Vital response[edit]

On the evaluation aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the movie holds an approval score of 88% based mostly on 43 opinions, with a median score of 6.83/10. The web site’s critics consensus reads, “Completely predictable and wholly of its time, however heat, honest, and troublesome to withstand, due largely to Morita and Macchio’s relaxed chemistry.”[26] On Metacritic, the movie has a weighted common rating of 60 out of 100, based mostly on 15 critics, indicating “combined or common opinions”.[27]

On its launch, Roger Ebert known as the movie one of many yr’s greatest, gave it 4 stars out of 4, and described it as an “thrilling, sweet-tempered, heart-warming story with some of the attention-grabbing friendships in a very long time.”[28]Janet Maslin of The New York Instances additionally gave a constructive evaluation.[29]The Karate Child ranked #31 on Leisure Weeklys checklist of the 50 Finest Excessive College Films.[30]

Upon launch of the 2010 remake, Dana Stevens wrote: “The 1984 unique … might have appeared like a standard-issue inspirational sports activities image on the time, however (as with one other box-office hit of the identical yr, The Terminator), a technology of take away reveals what a well-crafted film it really was. Rewatched at the moment, the unique Child, directed by Rockys John G. Avildsen, feels good and recent, with a wealth of small character particulars and a leisurely center part that explores the boy’s creating respect for his instructor.”[31]



The movie spawned a franchise of associated objects and memorabilia equivalent to motion figures, head bands, posters, T-shirts, and a online game. A novelization was made by B.B. Hiller and printed in 1984. The novel had a scene that was within the rehearsal when Daniel encounters Johnny throughout faculty at lunch. Additionally on the finish, there was a battle between Miyagi and Kreese within the parking zone after the event which was the unique ending for the movie and used as the start of The Karate Child Half II.

In 2015, toy firm Funko revived The Karate Child motion figures. Two variations of character Daniel Larusso, a model of character Johnny Lawrence and a model of Mr. Miyagi had been a part of the road. The toys had been noticed at retailers Goal and Amazon.com.[35]

Cultural affect[edit]

The collection has been credited for popularizing karate in the US.[36][37]

The 2007 music video for the tune “Sweep the Leg” by No Extra Kings stars William Zabka (who additionally directed the video) as a caricature of himself and options references to The Karate Child, together with cameo appearances by Zabka’s former Karate Child co-stars.[38][39]

Macchio and Zabka made a visitor look as themselves within the How I Met Your Mom episode “The Bro Mitzvah”. Within the episode, Macchio is invited to Barney Stinson’s bachelor get together, resulting in Barney shouting that he hates Macchio and that Johnny was the actual hero of The Karate Child. In the direction of the tip of the episode, a clown within the get together wipes off his make-up and divulges himself as Zabka.[40]

Sequels and variations[edit]

Broadway adaptation[edit]

On January 22, 2020 it was introduced that The Karate Child could be tailored right into a Broadway musical. The present shall be produced by Kinoshita Group and directed by Amon Miyamoto.[41]

Movie sequels[edit]

The unique 1984 movie had three sequels, and it launched the profession of Macchio, who would flip right into a teen idol featured on the covers of magazines equivalent to Tiger Beat. It revitalized the appearing profession of Morita, beforehand recognized largely for his comedic function as Arnold on Pleased Days, who was nominated for the Academy Award for Finest Supporting Actor for his efficiency as Miyagi. Morita reprised his function in three subsequent sequels, whereas Macchio returned for 2.[7]

Movie remake[edit]


  • The Karate Child (1989)
    A brief-lived animated collection spin-off additionally known as The Karate Child aired on NBC.
  • Cobra Kai (2018–current)
    A comedy-drama internet tv collection which follows Daniel and Johnny rekindling their outdated rivalry after Johnny reopens the Cobra Kai dojo. The collection attracts upon the entire sequels, in addition to the unique movie.


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