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The Karate Kid (1984) Poster

Trivia

Surprisingly, during filming in late 1983, Ralph Macchio was age 22. Some of the cast did not believe him when he was asked about his age.
The yellow classic automobile that Daniel polishes in the famous "wax-on/wax-off" training scene, then later offered by Mr. Miyagi as Daniel's birthday gift, was actually given to Ralph Macchio by the producer, and he still owns it. The car is a 1948 Ford Super De Luxe.
William Zabka still owns the red leather jacket he wears in the film.
The studio wanted to drop the "drunk Miyagi" scene, feeling it slowed the pace down. Director John G. Avildsen argued for it and has felt it was the scene that got Pat Morita nominated for an Oscar.
Elisabeth Shue interrupted her studies at Harvard to be in this movie.
The last spin kick that Daniel is hit with before he is saved by Mr. Miyagi actually hit Ralph Macchio and hurt him.
During the scene where Mr. Miyagi is drunk and celebrating an "anniversary," he reveals that he served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team of the United States Army, an Asian American unit composed of mostly Japanese Americans (many of whom had been in internment camps) who fought in Europe during the Second World War and soon became the most highly decorated unit in the history of the American military.
The song Miyagi drunkenly sings during the "celebration" of his anniversary is actually fragments of the Japanese folk song "Back Street Life" written by Takeo Abe that Pat Morita often heard as a child.
According to Pat Morita, he is credited as Noriyuki 'Pat' Morita because the producers wanted to promote his Japanese heritage.
Martin Kove, who played the John Kreese character, was rumored to have replaced Chuck Norris, who allegedly turned down the role of Kreese because he didn't want karate trainers to be shown in an unsympathetic light. Norris has since said he was never offered the role but that if he had been, he would've declined for similar reasons.
The skeleton fight scene endured numerous takes because the actors complained that Fumio Demura (Pat Morita's stunt double) was hitting them too hard, which caused the scene to lose some of the choreography and authenticity. Fumio told the director that if he could use his own students they would get the shot in one take. The director agreed and they shot the fight scene successfully in one take. One of the doubles is a descendant of the legendary "King of the Frontier," Davy Crockett.
The "Crane Technique" while basically fictional, is based on a stance called the crane stance that is used in several traditional Karate kata.
Charlie Sheen turned down the role of Daniel LaRusso.
The referee in the final match is Pat E. Johnson, a karate expert and former student of Chuck Norris. He instructed many movie stars in karate. He is credited as the "fight instructor/choreographer" for the film.
According to William Zabka, the character he portrays, Johnny, a big bully, still irks many people to this day, many people have tried starting fights and showing him he isn't so tough, to the point he has to convince them that role was specifically written for this movie.
According to Joe Esposito, "You're the Best" was originally written for Rocky III (1982) which explains the lyric "History repeats itself". The song had been rejected in favor of Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger". Ironically, Survivor also performed the theme song ("The Moment Of Truth") for The Karate Kid.
The legendary Toshirô Mifune auditioned for the role of Mister Miyagi. Although he was great in the audition (according to director John G. Avildsen in the DVD Commentary), it was felt that his version of Miyagi was "too serious" and played much like the samurai warriors he played in the Akira Kurosawa movies and he was turned down.
Pat Morita was initially turned-down for the role of Mr. Miyagi because there was a "no comedian" policy when looking for an actor. He was later given the role because he was best for it after reading.
Karate Kid was the name of a character in DC Comic's "Legion Of Superheroes" who was a member of the Legion. DC Comics, which owned the name, gave special permission for the title to be used. There's a thank you to DC Comics for allowing the use of the name at the end of the credits.
According to Martin Kove in the DVD Documentary, he had gotten a call from John G. Avildsen stating that they wanted him to audition for Kreese but was then told to wait. Kove wanted the role so much that he turned down other prospects in order to get this part. But when the "waiting" dragged out for a few weeks, Kove became annoyed as he kept turning down parts. Finally when Avildsen called Kove in to audition, Kove was so annoyed at Avildsen that he berated the director and channeled his anger into an intense audition. Ultimately, that intensity got him the role.
According to the commentary track on the home video versions of the movie, William Zabka came up with a loose backstory for the Johnny Lawrence character, in order to better "get the feel" for playing the character. He states in the commentary that he envisioned Johnny as having no father, and that Kreese is the closest thing to a father figure he had in his life.
Mr. Miyagi's medal is the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration awarded by the United States. It is easily recognizable by its blue ribbon and the inscription containing the word "valor." In real life, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team had 21 Medal of Honor awardees, including Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii. Its members also received 52 Distinguished Service Crosses, 560 Silver Stars, 4,000 Bronze Stars, and 9,486 Purple Hearts.
The long, continuous shot from the moment Daniel exits the locker room at the tournament until the panoramic view of the entire gymnasium took over 35 takes to get right, according to Ralph Macchio.
Pat Morita's portrayal of Mr. Miyagi was heavily influenced by karate master Fumio Demura. Morita spent a lot of time with Demura, who doubled him for his fight scenes, and translated not only Demura's attitude towards the martial arts to the character, but also his mannerisms and speech.
William Zabka (Johnny) had no martial arts experience prior to being cast in the film, except being an accomplished wrestler.
Former screenwriter Dennis Palumbo has said that he was offered the screen writing job for the film but reacted to the offer by saying he'd be "willing to do it if he (the title character, Daniel Larusso) lost the fight in the end." Palumbo explained his reasoning: "You can't have Mr. Miyagi tell him, 'It doesn't matter if you win or lose,' for 90 minutes and then have to have him win." Palumbo went on to say, "But that's because I was being a moron... Now, they made four sequels to that movie, so obviously I was wrong." (Palumbo's remarks appear in Tales from the Script (2009).)
In real life, Pat Morita did not talk with the heavy Japanese accent that he uses in the film as Mr. Miyagi. He can be heard talking in his "normal" voice on many of the DVD featurettes.
Mr. Miyagi is named for Chogun Miyagi, who became the forerunner of karate-jutsu in Okinawa, Japan. 'Sensei Miyagi' as he was called, created his own style of karate-jutsu, which he dubbed 'Goju Ryu', which means 'hard and soft style'.
Kyle Eastwood auditioned for the role of Daniel LaRusso. When he failed to get the part, his father Clint Eastwood retaliated by banning all Coca-Cola products from the sets of his movies (Columbia Studios who made The Karate Kid (1984) was owned by Coca-Cola at the time).
Mako was considered for the role of Mr Miyagi but was committed to making Conan the Destroyer (1984) at the time. (He would subsequently play a similar role in Sidekicks (1992).)
Fight choreographer Pat E. Johnson was so impressed by the martial arts skills of Ron Thomas that he allowed him to choreograph his own fights.
Director John G. Avildsen had to climb to the top of the water tower in the opening shot to achieve the angle of Daniel and his mother driving away.
Mr. Miyagi is depicted as a Medal of Honor recipient. Due to rampant racism among the U.S. Army's high command, no living Japanese-Americans were awarded the medal for service in World War II, and were given less prestigious medals instead. This was not corrected until an investigation in 2000, making Mr. Miyagi a Medal of Honor recipient in 1984 an anachronism.
The beach scene was the first scene filmed.
There are two actors in the film with 2 degrees of separation from Bruce Lee.

Pat E. Johnson, who plays the referee, was in Enter the Dragon (1973). Although he does not appear on screen with Lee, Johnson played a mobster who tries to rough up Roper.

Chad McQueen, who plays Dutch, is the son of 'Steve McQueen' (I) (qv, who was a close friend of Lee and also one of the pall bearers at his funeral.
The climactic karate tournament involved over 500 extras.
Despite the fact that the note telling Mr. Miyagi about his wife and son was written in November of 1944, Pat Morita himself was only 12 years old in November, 1944.
The Swedish liberal party Folkpartiet referred to this film in their campaign during the 2010 elections: they proposed a mentoring program for young and new employees. One of their posters read: No Daniel-san without Mr. Miyagi".
Daniel never finished painting the house or cleaning up.
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Elisabeth Shue actually grew up playing soccer. She played with the boys as long as she could before finally taking up gymnastics.
The football jersey that Daniel is wearing while talking to Mr. Miyagi on the bed is a #89 San Diego Chargers jersey, which in 1984 would have been wide receiver Wes Chandler.
Kyle Eastwood auditioned for the role of Daniel LaRusso.
According to black belt karate instructor William (Bill) J. DeClemente in "Black Belt" magazine dated May 1994, DeClemente believed he was the inspiration for The Karate Kid (1984) character. He was 17 years old when he started training in karate in 1963 in Queens, New York, the same neighborhood where screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen started training in karate in 1965. Kamen came to watch DeClemente teach in 1965 before enrolling at a karate school in Queens taught by Ed McGrath. Kamen has acknowledged in a sworn deposition that the tough ex-marine he depicted as John Kreese in the film was patterned after Ed McGrath, who was also a friend of DeClemente. DeClemente also said Kamen probably based Mr. Miyagi after Okinawan karate legend Chojun Miyagi. However, Kamen refused to acknowledge DeClemente as the basis of the karate kid character, in which DeClemente is the owner of the registered nationally trademark name "The Karate Kid" since the mid-1960s and was known locally in Queens, Brooklyn, and Florida and to his business associates. This led to DeClemente suing Columbia Pictures Industries, Jerry Weintraub Productions, and Jerry Weintraub on July 29, 1994 for trademark infringement, violation of his right of publicity claims, and seeking damages for three Karate Kid films. [Case: DeClemente v. Columbia Pictures, 860 F. Supp. 30 (E.D.N.Y. 1994)]. DeClement's case was dismissed, ruling in favor of the defendants. The court viewed the films did not damage the plaintiff, DeClemente, in a legal sense and that his public personality as the Karate Kid was not notorious enough that the public identified him exclusively with this persona as well as no evidence adduced that the defendants knew the plaintiff, until the year 1990. On his official website, DeClemente still maintains the claim that he is the inspiration for screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen of the films that bears his registered nationally trademarked name, "The Karate Kid".
The characters Kreese and Daniel never once speak directly to each other throughout the entire trilogy. They have a brief interaction in the third film, but Kreese is just yelling gibberish at Daniel and therefore not technically speaking to him.
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Daniel's original last name in the script was "Webber" according to the DVD commentary.
The 500th film mixed in the Dolby Stereo format.
Jerry Weintraub did not want Pat Morita to audition for Miyagi because he was a comedian and that he wouldn't be taken seriously in the role. But Morita auditioned and Weintraub was impressed and decided to give him the role and had felt that he had almost made the biggest mistake of his film, by not casting Morita as Miyagi.
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Johnny Lawrence's name was originally Donald Rice
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Martin Kove (Kreese) is depicted as a Vietnam veteran. Coincidentally, Martin also plays a Vietnam veteran (Ericson) in Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985). Both characters' demeanour are exactly the same as well, selling to the Hollywood realm of a characters timeline.
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Tournament semi finalist Darryl Vidal had a lot more involvement in the film than as just a tournament participant. It was Darryl who came up with the crane technique and he can be seen doubling Pat Morita when he is practising the move on the wooden stumps in the beech scene. He also helped our with much of the choreography, including his own fight scenes. Darryl still runs his own martial arts school to this day.
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William Zabka continued his karate training and became a second degree green belt.
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Daniel's bike is a Mongoose Two Four. It became a popular brand after the movie.
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Ralph Macchio paid tribute to the late Pat Morita by calling him "My sensei".
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The fly in the scene was attached to a fishing line and being moved around by a crew member.
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Ron Thomas (Bobby Brown) had more experience in the martial arts field than he let on. He admitted in an interview that he held back a lot at the karate tournament.
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This was the top rental video of 1985.
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William Zabka had no previous martial arts training. He was, however, a skilled wrestler.
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The role of Daniel LaRusso was allegedly initially offered to Sean Penn. Since Penn was trying for more adult roles he turned it down.

Penn later said in an interview that he thought Ralph Macchio was one of the greatest living actors.
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The script includes two confrontations between Daniel and Johnny which were eventually cut from the film.

The first takes place in the school cafeteria just after Daniel has bought lunch for Ali. Seeing them about to take a seat, Johnny hurries over just in time to sneak a piece of blueberry pie onto Daniel's chair. Standing up with his pants covered in blueberries, Daniel is equally embarrassed and livid. In a brave act of revenge, Daniel smears what is left of the pie across Johnny's shirt and mayhem ensues. A photo from this scene can be found on the back of the novelisation.

The other scene occurs later in the film and also takes place at school. Coming up from a drink at the fountain, Daniel finds himself face to face with Johnny and stands up for himself once again by questioning the practices of the Cobra Kai.
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At the Halloween dance, Daniel mentions that his shower costume was made by a friend. The assumption that he's referring to Mr. Miyagi is confirmed in the previous scene where parts of the shower costume can been seen hanging in the background as Miyagi prepares jack-o-lanterns in his workshop.
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Daniel and his mother moved to California as a result of her new job with Rocket Computers ("Flight to the future!"). The original script reveals why Freddy had "never heard of it" and also sheds some light on why it seems that Mrs. LaRusso might be an employee of the restaurant across from the Cobra Kai dojo.

As she shares with Daniel:

"They went bankrupt!...[But] listen to this. I walk out of Rocket with the beginning of Excedrin headache one through ten about to come on, and I'm going back to the car when this woman comes flying out of this restaurant, The Orient Express, and she's screaming, 'I quit! I quit!' Right behind her is this guy and he's yelling just as loud, 'You can't quit! You're fired!' It's one minute to noon, people are coming in to lunch, I'm the first but only applicant - I got the job!"

When Daniel questions her new position as a waitress, his mother clarifies that she is not a waitress. She is a hostess.
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The opening scene of The Karate Kid, Part II (1986) was meant to be the ending to this film, although it wasn't shot until after the second film's production began. In it, Kreese attacks Johnny for losing the tournament. Miyagi confronts Kreese and passively immobilizes him. Miyagi threatens to strike a deadly blow but instead comically tweaks Kreese's nose and walks away. Members of the Cobra Kai then drop their belts around Kreese. Both B.B. Hiller's novelization of the film and early copies of the script have this ending.
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This is Juli Fields' only credited role.
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Daniel's cut-offs were a popular fashion trend in the 1980s.
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Miyagi's yard was empty and full of weeds before shooting started. Production designers did the rest.
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Martin Kove claimed that fans of the movie always tell him, "I love to hate you."
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The crew shot Pat Morita trimming a tree so many times, eventually he had to start faking it.
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Martial arts choreographer Pat E. Johnson was very strict with the Cobra Kai during training. He treated the actors harshly to help them bond.
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Martin Kove doesn't really have a cobra tattoo on his bicep.
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The crew had Pat Morita stand on a 4-inch box so they could fit him into the face-to-face shot.
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While it's pretty impressive that Daniel sanded the entire deck by hand, the truth is the film crew finished it off with electric sanders.
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Mr. Miyagi is based on Chojun Miyagi, the founder of Okinawan Karate.
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Daniel wears a San Diego Chargers jersey. #89 was wide receiver Wes Chandler's number.
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Pat Morita himself designed the bonsai logo that was sewed onto Daniel's gi.
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The movie was more-or-less shot in sequence, which is very unusual.
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The long crane shot used as our heroes enter the All Valley Tournament arena took 36 takes to get just right.
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The street outside the dojo wasn't closed for filming. They were really dodging traffic.
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Ralph Macchio bought the canary yellow ford convertible after production finished and still owns it to this day.
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During production, Columbia Pictures was owned by Coca-Cola, who insisted that it's products appeared on screen. Minute Maid at the breakfast table and Sprite in Miyagi's workshop, for example.

Ralph Macchio objected to this, especially after having to actually say "Minute Maid" in the breakfast scene and so, did his best to spoil the Sprite product placement by deliberately covering the logo with his hand... So they made him redo the scene. This time, Ralph showed the Sprite logo for the smallest time he could get away with.
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This was the 500th picture to be recorded in Dolby Stereo.
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Writer Robert Mark Kamen wanted Daniel to be "a wimp with a chip on his shoulder."
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The apartment interior is on a studio soundstage.
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Although the name of the school attended by Daniel is never mentioned in the film, it is subtly referenced in a scene at his locker, just before he tells Ali about the "agreement" he has made with the Cobra Kai. A sticker inside the locker door suggests that Daniel attends West Valley High School.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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