The Karate Kid


2h 6m 1984

Brief Synopsis

A boy learns karate from a retired master to deal with school bullies.

Film Details

Also Known As
Karate Kid, Karate Kid - sanningens ögonblick, moment de vérité
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Action
Sports
Martial Arts
Release Date
1984
Location
Northern California, USA; Hawaii, USA; Los Angeles, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 6m

Synopsis

Daniel moves to Los Angeles from the east coast and is bullied by the Cobras, a menacing gang of karate students, when he strikes up a relationship with Ali, the Cobra leader's ex-girlfriend. Eager to fight back and impress his new girlfriend but afraid to confront the dangerous gang, Daniel asks his handyman Miyagi, whom he learns is a master of the martial arts, to teach him karate. Miyagi teaches Daniel that karate is a mastery over the self, mind, and body and that fighting is always the last answer to a problem. Under Miyagi's guidance, Daniel develops not only physical skills but also the faith and self-confidence to compete despite tremendous odds as he encounters the fight of his life.

Crew

R Adams

Song

Richard Alderete

Associate Editor

John Anderson

Set Decorator

Brooks Arthur

Music Supervisor

John G. Avildsen

Editor

Craig Bassett

Associate Editor

Peter Beckett

Song

Richard Bruno

Costumes

Tom Case

Makeup

William J Cassidy

Production Designer

C Challen

Song

Clifford C Coleman

Assistant Director

Bill Conti

Music

Bill Conti

Song

James A. Crabe

Director Of Photography

James A. Crabe

Dp/Cinematographer

S Dallin

Song

Paul Davis

Song Performer

Richard Davis

Location Manager

Pennie Dupont

Casting

Joe Esposito

Song Performer

S Fahey

Song

Richard Fenton

Song

Jerry Fisher

Consultant

A Flashman

Song

Seth Flaum

Associate Editor

Andy Gill

Song

Hope Goodwin

Assistant Director

Sam Gordon

Props

Alvin Greenman

Script Supervisor

Dean Hodges

Sound

Stephen A Hope

Music Editor

A Hutt

Song

Jeannie Jeha

Production Coordinator

Pat E Johnson

Choreographer

Steve Jolley

Song

Caro Jones

Casting

Robert Kamen

Screenplay

Jon King

Song

Dennis Lambert

Song

Richard Lasley

Production

John London

Key Grip

R J Louis

Executive Producer

Mike Love

Song

John Mark

Song

Bill Matthews

Set Designer

David Merenda

Song

Walt Mulconery

Editor

Ralph Nelson

Photography

Alan Oliney

Stunt Coordinator

J Peters

Song

Howard Pine

Unit Production Manager

Baxter Robinson

Song

Baxter Robinson

Song Performer

Pat Romano

Technical Advisor

Geoffrey Rose

Song

Sam Rose

Song

Cheri Ruff

Hair

Kimberly Sizemore

Production Associate

Bud Smith

Associate Producer

Bud Smith

Editor

Scott Smith

Associate Editor

M St James

Song

Stephen St John

Steadicam Operator

G St Regis

Song

G St Regis

Song Performer

Toni Stern

Song

Tony Swain

Song

Aida Swenson

Costumes

Bonnie Timmermann

Casting

Frank Toro

Special Effects

Dan Wallin

Sound

Robbie Walnum

Production Associate

Jerry Weintraub

Producer

Jonathan West

Camera Operator

Allee Willis

Song

K Woodward

Song

David Yorkin

Production Associate

Film Details

Also Known As
Karate Kid, Karate Kid - sanningens ögonblick, moment de vérité
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Action
Sports
Martial Arts
Release Date
1984
Location
Northern California, USA; Hawaii, USA; Los Angeles, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 6m

Award Nominations

Best Supporting Actor

1984

Articles

The Karate Kid


American films provided a bounty of teen angst offerings for audiences in the 80s. Movies like Sixteen Candles (1984), Say Anything (1989), Heathers (1989), Better Off Dead (1985), and The Breakfast Club (1985) most successfully brought the plight of the misunderstood adolescent to the big screen. In these films, problems were solved via finding true love, saving the school from being blown up, skiing the K-12, and just getting to know each other during a Saturday detention session. But only one used martial arts! Starring Ralph Macchio in his career role, The Karate Kid (1984) exploded onto screens in 1984. The story of a bullied boy, Daniel, who learns the ways of karate from his wise sensei/apartment complex janitor, played by Noriyuki "Pat" Morita, The Karate Kid won the hearts of critics, cleaned up at the box office, and landed more than one kid in martial arts classes.

Director John Avildsen knew a thing or two about underdogs: he collected the Best Director Oscar® for Rocky in 1976, a low-budget film that ended up with ten Academy Award nominations. In fact, he referred to his new project as "The KaRocky Kid." Teamed with uberproducer Jerry Weintraub, Avildsen was drawn to the emotional content of the storyline, remarking it was, "...the relationship of the boy with his surrogate father and the sweetness of his romance with the girl that were especially attractive to me." Screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen agreed: "The Karate Kid is basically a story of relationships. Of growing and maturing. It's the story of a kid learning alternatives." Kamen was himself a student of karate for twenty years, taken initially as a result of childhood bullying - circumstances that undoubtedly contributed to the emotional honesty and sincerity of the script. With his knowledge of karate, he helped to design some of the fight scenes with Pat Johnson, the film's martial arts choreographer. Johnson is a 9th degree black belt, the highest living level attainable, and was trained by none other than Chuck Norris.

Ralph Macchio began his career in television commercials, working his way up to a featured role on the series Eight Is Enough. Francis Ford Coppola gave his profile a boost by casting him in The Outsiders (1983), alongside Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, and Patrick Swayze. Despite the fact that he was 22 when production began, Macchio's boyish visage ensured that he would have no trouble portraying a 16-year old teen. When casting for Mr. Miyagi, the producers had a serious actor in mind; in fact, a casting policy of "no comedians" was instituted regarding the role. "Pat" Morita (using his Japanese name of Noriyuki in the billing) was exactly what they weren't looking for: a well-known circuit stand-up comedian who parlayed his talents into popular characters on Sanford and Son, MASH, and Happy Days. After a few effective readings, however, the film had its Mr. Miyagi. Morita had no significant martial arts experience, but his real contribution to the film was making Mr. Miyagi a flesh and blood character. Kamen's script did not provide much by way of a back story for Miyagi, so Morita worked with Avildsen to create one by integrating some of his childhood experiences in a WWII U.S. internment camp to flesh out the character's emotional composition and using the creation of family tragedy and military experience to provide motivation. Morita's impressive performance in the film earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Both Macchio and Morita underwent extensive physical preparation for their roles, with several hours everyday of grueling training for months at a time -particularly remarkable for Morita, who suffered from spinal tuberculosis as a child and was told he would never walk!

Among The Karate Kid's supporting cast is Macchio's love interest, played by Elisabeth Shue. Her career also began in television commercials, and being cast as teen ingenue Ali was her big screen debut. She would go on to star in the cult hit Adventures in Babysitting (1987) and Cocktail (1988), but she was considered a lightweight actress until her lauded Oscar®-nominated performance opposite Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas (1995). Martin Kove played chief villain Kreese, a role originally cast with Chuck Norris. Norris declined the part due to some concerns about playing a sinister martial arts instructor, but stayed on the production to help source martial artists as consultants and stand-ins. Kove, who had a six-year role on television's Cagney and Lacey as Detective Isbecki, remarked about the notoriety of his Karate character, "Over the years, kids have come up to me in places like supermarkets, and hit me and said things like, 'You hurt Ralph [Macchio]!' It makes me feel like the Darth Vader of the contemporary cinematic world. As 'Sensei Jon Kreese,' I'm truly hated and I love it. I had no idea how much anxiety people would be releasing by hating this character."

Even the box office of The Karate Kid was an underdog triumph: the film was made for a pittance and grossed over 90 million. Many original members of the cast and crew, including Macchio, Morita, Avildsen, and Kamen, returned for The Karate Kid, Part II (1986) and The Karate Kid, Part III (1989). Morita even starred alongside future Oscar® winner Hilary Swank in The Next Karate Kid (1994). The original, however, remains the perennial favorite of 80s film fans, with many internet sites and blogs dedicated to the film or its actors. One in particular, fastrewind.com, is a veritable treasure trove of Karate Kid information and was an indispensable resource for this article. One of its greatest gems is the lowdown on the infamous "crane kick" move Miyagi teaches Daniel. One of Morita's stunt doubles, Darryl Vidal, invented the move during the shoot. In an interview on the site, he explains, "Pat Johnson told me what he wanted, and I basically said, ‘You mean something like this?' It is widely recognized, and I still hesitate when I tell my karate students that I made it up. But as you may have guessed, there is very little practical application to the technique."

Producer: R.J. Louis, Bud S. Smith, Jerry Weintraub
Director: John G. Avildsen
Screenplay: Robert Mark Kamen
Cinematography: James Crabe
Film Editing: John G. Avildsen, Walt Mulconery, Bud Smith
Art Direction: William J. Cassidy
Music: Bill Conti, Gang of Four
Cast: Ralph Macchio (Daniel LaRusso), Pat Morita (Mr. Miyagi), Elisabeth Shue (Ali Mills), Martin Kove (Kreese), Randee Heller (Lucille Larusso), William Zabka (Johnny).
C-126m. Letterboxed.

by Eleanor Quin
The Karate Kid

The Karate Kid

American films provided a bounty of teen angst offerings for audiences in the 80s. Movies like Sixteen Candles (1984), Say Anything (1989), Heathers (1989), Better Off Dead (1985), and The Breakfast Club (1985) most successfully brought the plight of the misunderstood adolescent to the big screen. In these films, problems were solved via finding true love, saving the school from being blown up, skiing the K-12, and just getting to know each other during a Saturday detention session. But only one used martial arts! Starring Ralph Macchio in his career role, The Karate Kid (1984) exploded onto screens in 1984. The story of a bullied boy, Daniel, who learns the ways of karate from his wise sensei/apartment complex janitor, played by Noriyuki "Pat" Morita, The Karate Kid won the hearts of critics, cleaned up at the box office, and landed more than one kid in martial arts classes. Director John Avildsen knew a thing or two about underdogs: he collected the Best Director Oscar® for Rocky in 1976, a low-budget film that ended up with ten Academy Award nominations. In fact, he referred to his new project as "The KaRocky Kid." Teamed with uberproducer Jerry Weintraub, Avildsen was drawn to the emotional content of the storyline, remarking it was, "...the relationship of the boy with his surrogate father and the sweetness of his romance with the girl that were especially attractive to me." Screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen agreed: "The Karate Kid is basically a story of relationships. Of growing and maturing. It's the story of a kid learning alternatives." Kamen was himself a student of karate for twenty years, taken initially as a result of childhood bullying - circumstances that undoubtedly contributed to the emotional honesty and sincerity of the script. With his knowledge of karate, he helped to design some of the fight scenes with Pat Johnson, the film's martial arts choreographer. Johnson is a 9th degree black belt, the highest living level attainable, and was trained by none other than Chuck Norris. Ralph Macchio began his career in television commercials, working his way up to a featured role on the series Eight Is Enough. Francis Ford Coppola gave his profile a boost by casting him in The Outsiders (1983), alongside Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, and Patrick Swayze. Despite the fact that he was 22 when production began, Macchio's boyish visage ensured that he would have no trouble portraying a 16-year old teen. When casting for Mr. Miyagi, the producers had a serious actor in mind; in fact, a casting policy of "no comedians" was instituted regarding the role. "Pat" Morita (using his Japanese name of Noriyuki in the billing) was exactly what they weren't looking for: a well-known circuit stand-up comedian who parlayed his talents into popular characters on Sanford and Son, MASH, and Happy Days. After a few effective readings, however, the film had its Mr. Miyagi. Morita had no significant martial arts experience, but his real contribution to the film was making Mr. Miyagi a flesh and blood character. Kamen's script did not provide much by way of a back story for Miyagi, so Morita worked with Avildsen to create one by integrating some of his childhood experiences in a WWII U.S. internment camp to flesh out the character's emotional composition and using the creation of family tragedy and military experience to provide motivation. Morita's impressive performance in the film earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Both Macchio and Morita underwent extensive physical preparation for their roles, with several hours everyday of grueling training for months at a time -particularly remarkable for Morita, who suffered from spinal tuberculosis as a child and was told he would never walk! Among The Karate Kid's supporting cast is Macchio's love interest, played by Elisabeth Shue. Her career also began in television commercials, and being cast as teen ingenue Ali was her big screen debut. She would go on to star in the cult hit Adventures in Babysitting (1987) and Cocktail (1988), but she was considered a lightweight actress until her lauded Oscar®-nominated performance opposite Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas (1995). Martin Kove played chief villain Kreese, a role originally cast with Chuck Norris. Norris declined the part due to some concerns about playing a sinister martial arts instructor, but stayed on the production to help source martial artists as consultants and stand-ins. Kove, who had a six-year role on television's Cagney and Lacey as Detective Isbecki, remarked about the notoriety of his Karate character, "Over the years, kids have come up to me in places like supermarkets, and hit me and said things like, 'You hurt Ralph [Macchio]!' It makes me feel like the Darth Vader of the contemporary cinematic world. As 'Sensei Jon Kreese,' I'm truly hated and I love it. I had no idea how much anxiety people would be releasing by hating this character." Even the box office of The Karate Kid was an underdog triumph: the film was made for a pittance and grossed over 90 million. Many original members of the cast and crew, including Macchio, Morita, Avildsen, and Kamen, returned for The Karate Kid, Part II (1986) and The Karate Kid, Part III (1989). Morita even starred alongside future Oscar® winner Hilary Swank in The Next Karate Kid (1994). The original, however, remains the perennial favorite of 80s film fans, with many internet sites and blogs dedicated to the film or its actors. One in particular, fastrewind.com, is a veritable treasure trove of Karate Kid information and was an indispensable resource for this article. One of its greatest gems is the lowdown on the infamous "crane kick" move Miyagi teaches Daniel. One of Morita's stunt doubles, Darryl Vidal, invented the move during the shoot. In an interview on the site, he explains, "Pat Johnson told me what he wanted, and I basically said, ‘You mean something like this?' It is widely recognized, and I still hesitate when I tell my karate students that I made it up. But as you may have guessed, there is very little practical application to the technique." Producer: R.J. Louis, Bud S. Smith, Jerry Weintraub Director: John G. Avildsen Screenplay: Robert Mark Kamen Cinematography: James Crabe Film Editing: John G. Avildsen, Walt Mulconery, Bud Smith Art Direction: William J. Cassidy Music: Bill Conti, Gang of Four Cast: Ralph Macchio (Daniel LaRusso), Pat Morita (Mr. Miyagi), Elisabeth Shue (Ali Mills), Martin Kove (Kreese), Randee Heller (Lucille Larusso), William Zabka (Johnny). C-126m. Letterboxed. by Eleanor Quin

Pat Morita (1932-2005)


Pat Morita, the diminutive Asian-American actor who found lasting fame, and an Oscar® nomination, as Kesuke Miyagi, the janitor that teaches Ralph Macchio the fine art of karate in the hit film, The Karate Kid (1984), died on November 24 of natural causes in his Las Vegas home. He was 73.

He was born Noriyuki Morita on June 28, 1932 in Isleton, California. The son of migrant fruit pickers, he contracted spinal tuberculosis when he was two and spent the next nine years in a sanitarium run by Catholic priests near Sacramento. He was renamed Pat, and after several spinal surgical procedures and learning how to walk, the 11-year-old Morita was sent to an internment camp at Gila River, Arizona, joining his family and thousands of other Japanese-Americans who were shamefully imprisoned by the U.S. government after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.

His family was released after the war, and Morita graduated from high school in Fairfield, California in 1950. He worked in his family's Chinese restaurant in Sacramento until his father was killed in a hit-and-run accident. He eventually found work as a data processor for the Department of Motor Vehicles and then Aerojet General Corporation before he decided to try his hand at stand-up comedy.

He relocated to San Francisco in 1962, where at first, there was some hesitation from clubs to book a Japanese-American comic, but Morita's enthusiasm soon warmed them over, and he was becoming something of a regional hit in all the Bay Area. His breakthrough came in 1964 when he was booked on ABC's The Hollywood Palace. The image of a small, unassuming Asian with the broad mannerisms and delivery of a modern American was something new in its day. He was a hit, and soon found more bookings on the show. And after he earned the nickname "the hip nip," he quickly began headlining clubs in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Morita's stage and television success eventually led him to films. He made his movie debut as "Oriental #2," the henchman to Beatrice Lilly in the Julie Andrew's musical Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967). Although his role, complete with thick coke-bottle glasses and gaping overbite, was a little hard to watch, it was the best he could do at the time. Subsequent parts, as in Don Knott's dreadful The Shakiest Gun in the West (1968); and Bob Hope's lamentable final film Cancel My Reservations (1972); were simply variations of the same stereotype.

However, television was far kinder to Morita. After some popular guest appearances in the early '70s on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Morita landed some semi-regular work. First, as the wisecracking, cigar chomping Captain Sam Pack on M.A.S.H. and as Ah Chew, the deadpan neighbor of Fred and Lamont Sanford in Sanford & Son. His success in these roles led to his first regular gig, as Arnold Takahashi in Happy Days. His stint as the owner of the soda shop where Ritchie Cunningham and the Fonz hung out for endless hours may have been short lived (just two seasons 1974-76), but it was Morita's first successful stab at pop immortality.

He left Happy Days to star in his own show, the critically savaged culture clash sitcom Mr. T and Tina that was canceled after just five episodes. Despite that setback, Morita rebounded that same year with his first dramatic performance, and a fine one at that, when he portrayed a Japanese-American internment camp survivor in the moving made for television drama Farewell to Manzanar (1976). After a few more guest appearances on hit shows (Magnum P.I., The Love Boat etc.), Morita found the goldmine and added new life to his career when he took the role of Miyagi in The Karate Kid (1984). Playing opposite Ralph Macchio, the young man who becomes his martial arts pupil, Morita was both touching and wise, and the warm bond he created with Macchio during the course of the film really proved that he had some serious acting chops. The flick was the surprise box-office hit of 1984, and Morita's career, if briefly, opened up to new possibilities.

He scored two parts in television specials that were notable in that his race was never referenced: first as the horse in Alice in Wonderland (1985); and as the toymaster in Babes in Toyland (1986). He also landed a detective show (with of course, comic undertones) that ran for two seasons Ohara (1987-89); nailed some funny lines in Honeymoon in Vegas (1992); was the sole saving grace of Gus Van Zandt's Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993); and starred in all of the sequels to The Karate Kid: The Karate Kid, Part II (1986), The Karate Kid, Part III (1989), and The Next Karate Kid (1994). Granted, it is arguable that Morita's career never truly blossomed out of the "wise old Asian man" caricature. But give the man his due, when it came to infusing such parts with sly wit and sheer charm, nobody did it better. Morita is survived by his wife, Evelyn; daughters, Erin, Aly and Tia; his brother, Harry, and two grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole

Pat Morita (1932-2005)

Pat Morita, the diminutive Asian-American actor who found lasting fame, and an Oscar® nomination, as Kesuke Miyagi, the janitor that teaches Ralph Macchio the fine art of karate in the hit film, The Karate Kid (1984), died on November 24 of natural causes in his Las Vegas home. He was 73. He was born Noriyuki Morita on June 28, 1932 in Isleton, California. The son of migrant fruit pickers, he contracted spinal tuberculosis when he was two and spent the next nine years in a sanitarium run by Catholic priests near Sacramento. He was renamed Pat, and after several spinal surgical procedures and learning how to walk, the 11-year-old Morita was sent to an internment camp at Gila River, Arizona, joining his family and thousands of other Japanese-Americans who were shamefully imprisoned by the U.S. government after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. His family was released after the war, and Morita graduated from high school in Fairfield, California in 1950. He worked in his family's Chinese restaurant in Sacramento until his father was killed in a hit-and-run accident. He eventually found work as a data processor for the Department of Motor Vehicles and then Aerojet General Corporation before he decided to try his hand at stand-up comedy. He relocated to San Francisco in 1962, where at first, there was some hesitation from clubs to book a Japanese-American comic, but Morita's enthusiasm soon warmed them over, and he was becoming something of a regional hit in all the Bay Area. His breakthrough came in 1964 when he was booked on ABC's The Hollywood Palace. The image of a small, unassuming Asian with the broad mannerisms and delivery of a modern American was something new in its day. He was a hit, and soon found more bookings on the show. And after he earned the nickname "the hip nip," he quickly began headlining clubs in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Morita's stage and television success eventually led him to films. He made his movie debut as "Oriental #2," the henchman to Beatrice Lilly in the Julie Andrew's musical Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967). Although his role, complete with thick coke-bottle glasses and gaping overbite, was a little hard to watch, it was the best he could do at the time. Subsequent parts, as in Don Knott's dreadful The Shakiest Gun in the West (1968); and Bob Hope's lamentable final film Cancel My Reservations (1972); were simply variations of the same stereotype. However, television was far kinder to Morita. After some popular guest appearances in the early '70s on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Morita landed some semi-regular work. First, as the wisecracking, cigar chomping Captain Sam Pack on M.A.S.H. and as Ah Chew, the deadpan neighbor of Fred and Lamont Sanford in Sanford & Son. His success in these roles led to his first regular gig, as Arnold Takahashi in Happy Days. His stint as the owner of the soda shop where Ritchie Cunningham and the Fonz hung out for endless hours may have been short lived (just two seasons 1974-76), but it was Morita's first successful stab at pop immortality. He left Happy Days to star in his own show, the critically savaged culture clash sitcom Mr. T and Tina that was canceled after just five episodes. Despite that setback, Morita rebounded that same year with his first dramatic performance, and a fine one at that, when he portrayed a Japanese-American internment camp survivor in the moving made for television drama Farewell to Manzanar (1976). After a few more guest appearances on hit shows (Magnum P.I., The Love Boat etc.), Morita found the goldmine and added new life to his career when he took the role of Miyagi in The Karate Kid (1984). Playing opposite Ralph Macchio, the young man who becomes his martial arts pupil, Morita was both touching and wise, and the warm bond he created with Macchio during the course of the film really proved that he had some serious acting chops. The flick was the surprise box-office hit of 1984, and Morita's career, if briefly, opened up to new possibilities. He scored two parts in television specials that were notable in that his race was never referenced: first as the horse in Alice in Wonderland (1985); and as the toymaster in Babes in Toyland (1986). He also landed a detective show (with of course, comic undertones) that ran for two seasons Ohara (1987-89); nailed some funny lines in Honeymoon in Vegas (1992); was the sole saving grace of Gus Van Zandt's Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993); and starred in all of the sequels to The Karate Kid: The Karate Kid, Part II (1986), The Karate Kid, Part III (1989), and The Next Karate Kid (1994). Granted, it is arguable that Morita's career never truly blossomed out of the "wise old Asian man" caricature. But give the man his due, when it came to infusing such parts with sly wit and sheer charm, nobody did it better. Morita is survived by his wife, Evelyn; daughters, Erin, Aly and Tia; his brother, Harry, and two grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States June 1984

Released in United States Summer June 1, 1984

Began shooting December 19, 1988.

Released in United States June 1984

Released in United States Summer June 1, 1984

Began shooting September 23, 1985.

Film is dedicated to the memory of Jimmy Crabe.

Completed shooting April 1984.