The Karate Kid (1984)

PG | 126 mins | Drama | 22 June 1984

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HISTORY

A 19 Oct 1983 Var article announced that The Karate Kid marked a new, non-exclusive “extended arrangement” between producer Jerry Weintraub and Columbia Pictures, although an official contract was still pending. According to studio production notes in AMPAS library files, Weintraub was inspired to make the film after watching a television news report about a boy who learned karate to overcome bullies. The producer was particularly interested in the young man’s claim that he no longer needed to fight after he mastered karate, and realized the Eastern philosophical tenants of martial arts such as balance, focus, and discipline evoked narrative metaphors with mass appeal. Writer Robert Mark Kamen, who had two prior feature film screenwriting credits at that time for Taps (1981, see entry) and Split Image (1982, see entry), was recruited to the project because he was an avid student of karate, as noted in a 20--26 Jun 2014 LA Weekly article, and he completed a first draft of the script in Sep 1982. The story included elements of Kamen’s personal experience, as he trained with a karate master from Okinawa, Japan. Weintraub’s first choice for the character “Mr. Miyagi” was Toshiro Mifune, but the actor did not speak English.
       Principal photography on the forty-five day shoot began 24 Oct 1983 in Los Angeles, CA, with most locations centered in the San Fernando Valley. “Daniel’s” apartment building was shot at the corner of Saticoy Street and Tampa Avenue in Reseda, and high school scenes were filmed at Charles Evans Hughes Junior High School in Woodland Hills. Filming also took ... More Less

A 19 Oct 1983 Var article announced that The Karate Kid marked a new, non-exclusive “extended arrangement” between producer Jerry Weintraub and Columbia Pictures, although an official contract was still pending. According to studio production notes in AMPAS library files, Weintraub was inspired to make the film after watching a television news report about a boy who learned karate to overcome bullies. The producer was particularly interested in the young man’s claim that he no longer needed to fight after he mastered karate, and realized the Eastern philosophical tenants of martial arts such as balance, focus, and discipline evoked narrative metaphors with mass appeal. Writer Robert Mark Kamen, who had two prior feature film screenwriting credits at that time for Taps (1981, see entry) and Split Image (1982, see entry), was recruited to the project because he was an avid student of karate, as noted in a 20--26 Jun 2014 LA Weekly article, and he completed a first draft of the script in Sep 1982. The story included elements of Kamen’s personal experience, as he trained with a karate master from Okinawa, Japan. Weintraub’s first choice for the character “Mr. Miyagi” was Toshiro Mifune, but the actor did not speak English.
       Principal photography on the forty-five day shoot began 24 Oct 1983 in Los Angeles, CA, with most locations centered in the San Fernando Valley. “Daniel’s” apartment building was shot at the corner of Saticoy Street and Tampa Avenue in Reseda, and high school scenes were filmed at Charles Evans Hughes Junior High School in Woodland Hills. Filming also took place in North Hollywood and Encino, as well as at the Chatsworth Nature Preserve and the Matadome gymnasium at California State University, Northridge. “Golf N’ Stuff” was located in Norwalk, and the beach scenes were shot at Leo Carrillo State Park in Malibu. Mr. Miyagi’s house was located in Canoga Park.
       While the 19 Oct 1983 Var stated that the budget started at $7.5 million, a 27 Dec 1983 DV news item reported that the film was completed for $8 million. The picture grossed $91 million domestically.
       The Karate Kid’s critical and box-office success generated a franchise, and the film was followed by three sequels, The Karate Kid, Part II (1986, see entry), The Karate Kid, Part III (1989, see entry), and The Next Karate Kid (1994, see entry), as well as a 2010 remake with new characters. In addition, the film was adapted into an animated television series (NBC, 1989).
       The Karate Kid was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Actor in a Supporting Role (Pat Morita).
       Pan flutist Gheorghe Zamfir is credited as "Gheorge" Zamfir.
       End credits state: "The title 'The Karate Kid' has been used with the consent of DC Comics, Inc.” End credits also include: “Special thanks to: Tovar, the Arizona Film Commission, the New Jersey Film Commission, Lt. Armando Fontoura, Off. Hank Marinelli, the Texas Film Commission, TVC.”
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
27 Dec 1983.
---
Daily Variety
21 May 1984
p. 3, 11.
Hollywood Reporter
21 May 1984
p. 16.
LA Weekly
20--26 Jun 2014
pp. 19-20, 22.
Los Angeles Times
21 Jun 1984
p. 1.
New York Times
22 Jun 1984
p. 16.
Variety
19 Oct 1983
p. 7, 32.
Variety
23 May 1984
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Columbia Pictures presents
A Jerry Weintraub production
A John G. Avildsen film
From Columbia-Delphi Productions II
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Steadicam op
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Key grip
2d grip
Dolly grip
Gaffer
Best boy
Best boy
ART DIRECTORS
Illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Assoc film ed
Assoc film ed
Assoc film ed
Assoc film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Prop master
Propman
Set des
Const coord
Standby painter
COSTUMES
Men`s cost
Women`s cost
MUSIC
Mus scoring mixer
Mus ed
Pan flute played by
Mus consultant for Casablanca Records
Mus supv
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom man
Cable man
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Post prod dial
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles & opticals by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Unit pub
Scr supv
Prod coord
Prod auditor
Asst to auditor
Loc mgr
Asst to Jerry Weintraub
Asst to Jerry Weintraub
Asst to R. J. Louis
Asst to John G. Avildsen
Asst to John G. Avildsen
Asst to John G. Avildsen
Asst to John G. Avildsen
Prod assoc
Prod assoc
Prod assoc
Karate tournament consultant
Soccer instructor
Bicycle riding instructor
Ralph Macchio & Pat Morita's physical trainer
Extra casting
Catering
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Martial arts choreog by
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Prints by
SOURCES
SONGS
“The Moment Of Truth,” music by Bill Conti, lyrics by Dennis Lambert and Peter Beckett, produced by Ron Nevison, performed by Survivor, courtesy of CBS Records/Scotti Bros. Records
“It Takes Two To Tango,” written by Dennis Lambert and Peter Beckett, produced by Dennis Lambert and Brooks Arthur, performed by Paul Davis, courtesy of Arista Records
“(Bop Bop) On The Beach,” written by Mike Love, produced by Mike Love, Adrian Baker and Brooks Arthur, performed by The Flirts and Jan & Dean
+
SONGS
“The Moment Of Truth,” music by Bill Conti, lyrics by Dennis Lambert and Peter Beckett, produced by Ron Nevison, performed by Survivor, courtesy of CBS Records/Scotti Bros. Records
“It Takes Two To Tango,” written by Dennis Lambert and Peter Beckett, produced by Dennis Lambert and Brooks Arthur, performed by Paul Davis, courtesy of Arista Records
“(Bop Bop) On The Beach,” written by Mike Love, produced by Mike Love, Adrian Baker and Brooks Arthur, performed by The Flirts and Jan & Dean
“Tough Love,” written by Shandi and Toni Stern, produced by Shandi, performed by Shandi
“Desire,” written by Andy Gill and Jon King, produced by John King and Andy Gill, performed by Gang of Four
“No Shelter” and “Please Answer Me,” written by John Mark and Richard Fenton, produced by John Ryan, performed by Broken Edge, courtesy of Polygram Records, Inc.
“Rhythm Man,” written by M. St. Regis, G. St. Regis, J. Peters, R. Adams, A. Flashman, A. Hutt, and G. Challen, performed by St. Regis, produced by John Ryan
“Feel The Night,” music by Bill Conti, lyrics by Baxter Robertson, performed by Baxter Robertson, courtesy of RCA Records
“You’re The Best,” music by Bill Conti, lyrics Alice Willis, produced by Bill Conti, performed by Joe Esposito
“Young Hearts,” written by David Merenda, produced by David Merenda and Brooks Arthur, performed by Commuter, courtesy of Chrysalis Music Group
“The Ride,” written by Geoffrey & Sam Rose, produced by Geoffrey Rose, Sam Rose, and Richie Wise, performed by Matches
“Cruel Summer,” written by T. Swain, S. Joley, H. Woodward, S. Dallin and S. Fahey, performed by Bananarama, courtesy of Polygram Special Projects, a division of Polygram Records, Inc.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 June 1984
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 22 June 1984
Production Date:
began 24 October 1983
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
6 July 1984
Copyright Number:
PA216986
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo in selected theaters
Color
Lenses
Panaflex® camera and lenses by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
126
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27432
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Teenager Daniel LaRusso leaves his hometown of Newark, New Jersey, and drives cross-country with his mother, Lucille, who has accepted a new job in Reseda, California. There, the two move into a modest apartment building managed by Mr. Miyagi, an eccentric, middle-aged Japanese gentleman who is more interested in training his bonsai trees than fixing the LaRussos’ plumbing. Daniel spends his first day in town at a beach party, where he becomes enamored with a girl named Ali Mills. However, their mutual flirtation is interrupted by Ali’s former boyfriend, Johnny Lawrence, and his gang of dirt bikers. When Johnny challenges Daniel to fight, the boys spar with karate, but Johnny’s superior skills leave Daniel injured and ashamed. The following morning, Daniel goes to his first day of school with a black eye and is reunited with Ali, who apologizes for her violent ex-boyfriend. As Johnny’s gang continues to persecute Daniel, he goes to a local “dojo” martial arts studio to seek training from a “sensei” named Kreese. There, Daniel observes Kreese’s reverence for merciless violence and learns that his nemesis, Johnny, is one of the sensei’s most devoted disciples. Riding home on his bicycle, Daniel is beaten by Johnny’s gang yet again and vows revenge. When Lucille sees her son tossing his broken bicycle into a dumpster, she worries about Daniel’s failure to adjust to his new home, but she refuses to pay for karate lessons because she is opposed to fighting under any circumstances, even in self-defense. Sometime later, Daniel is surprised to discover that his bike has been repaired by Mr. Miyagi, and the two become fast friends. ... +


Teenager Daniel LaRusso leaves his hometown of Newark, New Jersey, and drives cross-country with his mother, Lucille, who has accepted a new job in Reseda, California. There, the two move into a modest apartment building managed by Mr. Miyagi, an eccentric, middle-aged Japanese gentleman who is more interested in training his bonsai trees than fixing the LaRussos’ plumbing. Daniel spends his first day in town at a beach party, where he becomes enamored with a girl named Ali Mills. However, their mutual flirtation is interrupted by Ali’s former boyfriend, Johnny Lawrence, and his gang of dirt bikers. When Johnny challenges Daniel to fight, the boys spar with karate, but Johnny’s superior skills leave Daniel injured and ashamed. The following morning, Daniel goes to his first day of school with a black eye and is reunited with Ali, who apologizes for her violent ex-boyfriend. As Johnny’s gang continues to persecute Daniel, he goes to a local “dojo” martial arts studio to seek training from a “sensei” named Kreese. There, Daniel observes Kreese’s reverence for merciless violence and learns that his nemesis, Johnny, is one of the sensei’s most devoted disciples. Riding home on his bicycle, Daniel is beaten by Johnny’s gang yet again and vows revenge. When Lucille sees her son tossing his broken bicycle into a dumpster, she worries about Daniel’s failure to adjust to his new home, but she refuses to pay for karate lessons because she is opposed to fighting under any circumstances, even in self-defense. Sometime later, Daniel is surprised to discover that his bike has been repaired by Mr. Miyagi, and the two become fast friends. On Halloween, Mr. Miyagi makes Daniel a costume out of a shower curtain so he can go to a party without revealing his whereabouts to Johnny. At the event, Daniel kisses Ali for the first time and she admits her desire to retaliate against Johnny. Responding to her request, Daniel rigs a hose in Johnny’s bathroom stall and douses the boy with water. A chase ensues and Daniel runs back to his apartment, where he is attacked by Johnny and his gang. However, Mr. Miyagi comes to his rescue, and the teens are surprised by the old man’s mastery of karate. As Mr. Miyagi tends to Daniel’s wounds, Daniel begs for instruction, but the sensei does not wish to encourage violence and escorts Daniel back to Kreese’s dojo to broker a truce. When Kreese declares that diplomacy is a sign of weakness and refuses to endorse a peaceful resolution, Mr. Miyagi challenges Johnny to fight Daniel at the upcoming All-Valley Championship Tournament, and Kreese grudgingly agrees to suspend attacks against Daniel in the months leading up the contest. As Mr. Miyagi drives Daniel to his traditional Japanese home, the boy worries he will not have the skills to defeat Johnny, but Mr. Miyagi assures him that winning is not the ultimate goal. The tournament will give Daniel the chance to earn respect, and gain self-confidence. When Daniel agrees to follow instruction without question, Mr. Miyagi orders him to wash his vintage car collection, using specific arm motions. Daniel grows increasingly irked by Mr. Miyagi’s demands for him to sand the porch and paint the house, and comes to believe he is being exploited. Although Daniel threatens to leave, Mr. Miyagi shows him that his manual labor has been a training exercise, and the arm motions he used to perform the tasks are karate techniques. Mr. Miyagi continues Daniel’s practice at the beach, where he impresses the boy by balancing on a wood stump, kicking, and landing on one foot. Although Daniel wants to learn the “crane technique,” Mr. Miyagi guides him to master the basics before moving on to greater challenges. Daniel arranges a date with Ali and takes her to an amusement park called Golf N’ Stuff, but he is embarrassed by his mother’s rickety car. The couple’s social class disparity is also troublesome to Ali’s parents, who encourage her to reconcile with Johnny because he comes from a wealthy family. When Daniel meets Ali at her parent’s country club for their second outing, he sees Johnny kiss her on the dance floor and trips over a waiter as he runs for the door, prompting the crowd to chuckle at his expense. Unaware that Ali pushed Johnny away, Daniel feels humiliated and seeks solace at Mr. Miyagi’s house. There, he finds his mentor intoxicated and realizes Mr. Miyagi is celebrating his wedding anniversary. Mr. Miyagi’s drunken ramblings and artifacts from a keepsake box inform Daniel that Mr. Miyagi’s wife died in childbirth at a U.S. Japanese relocation center during WWII. While Mrs. Miyagi was interned in the camp under harsh conditions, Mr. Miyagi fought with the American army in a dangerous European military operation, and won a Medal of Valor. Sometime later, Daniel celebrates his sixteenth birthday with Mr. Miyagi, who presents him with a fighting uniform his wife embroidered by hand. Outside, Mr. Miyagi astonishes the boy by giving him the choice of one of his freshly-waxed classic cars, and Daniel drives to Golf N’ Stuff in search of Ali. He learns Ali was not complicit in Johnny’s seduction and they rekindle their romance. The next day, at the All-Valley Championship Tournament, Daniel rises through the ranks as Mr. Miyagi, Ali, and Lucille cheer his victories. However, Johnny’s sensei, Kreese, is outraged by Daniel’s newfound expertise and orders one of his disciples to perform an illegal and harmful move, so Daniel will be too injured to continue. Although Daniel is disabled by the kick to his thigh, Mr. Miyagi rubs his hands together and magically remedies Daniel’s wound. During the championship match, Kreese instructs Johnny to go after Daniel’s bad leg, and Daniel is crippled by his strike. In the final round, however, Daniel musters the strength to stand on one leg, balance, and kick, performing Mr. Miyagi’s signature “crane technique.” As Johnny falls to the ground, Daniel is proclaimed the winner and the crowd cheers his unlikely victory. Johnny, who has finally learned humility, stands up to hand Daniel the trophy and Mr. Miyagi watches from afar with pride. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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