The Karate Kid facts for kids

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The Karate Kid
Karate kid.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John G. Avildsen
Produced by Jerry Weintraub
Written by Robert Mark Kamen
Starring
Music by Bill Conti
Cinematography James Crabe
Editing by
  • John G. Avildsen
  • Walt Mulconery
  • Bud S. Smith
Studio Delphi II Productions
Jerry Weintraub Productions
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) June 22, 1984 (1984-06-22)
Running time 127 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $8 million
Money made $91 million

The Karate Kid is a 1984 American martial arts drama film written by Robert Mark Kamen and directed by John G. Avildsen. It is the first installment in The Karate Kid franchise, and stars Ralph Macchio, Noriyuki "Pat" Morita, and Elisabeth Shue. The Karate Kid follows Daniel LaRusso (Macchio), a teenager taught Gōjū-ryū karate by Mr. Miyagi (Morita) to help defend himself and compete in a tournament against his bullies, one of which is the ex-boyfriend of his love interest Ali Mills (Shue).

Kamen was approached by Columbia Pictures to compose a film similar to Avildsen's previous success Rocky (1976), after signing the director. Kamen drew inspiration from his own life when writing the film. As a result, he maintained strong opinions regarding cast, and petitioned heavily for Morita's inclusion. Preparations for the film began immediately after the final edit of the script was complete, and casting took place between April and June 1983. Principal photography began on October 31, 1983 in Los Angeles, and filming was complete by December 16, 1983.

The Karate Kid was theatrically released in the United States on June 22, 1984. The film received universal acclaim from critics, many of whom praised the action sequences, writing, storyline, acting performances, and music. The film was also a commercial success, grossing over $91 million worldwide, making it among the highest grossing films of 1984.

The film is also notable for kickstarting the career of Macchio, as well as revitalizing the acting career of Morita, who was previously known mostly for comedic roles, and earned Morita a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. The Karate Kid subsequently launched a media franchise, and is credited for popularizing karate in the United States.

Plot

In 1984, Daniel LaRusso moves with his mother Lucille from Newark, New Jersey to Reseda, Los Angeles, California. Their apartment's handyman is an eccentric, but kindly and humble Okinawan immigrant named Mr. Miyagi.

Daniel befriends Ali Mills, a high school cheerleader, which draws the attention of her arrogant ex-boyfriend Johnny Lawrence, a skilled practitioner and top student from the "Cobra Kai" dojo, where he studies an unethical and vicious form of karate. Johnny and his Cobra Kai gang continually bully Daniel. On Halloween, after Daniel sprays water on Johnny with a hose while he's rolling a joint, he and his gang pursue Daniel down the street and, after pulling him down from a fence he attempts to climb, savagely beat him, until Mr. Miyagi intervenes and single-handedly defeats them with ease. Amazed, Daniel asks Mr. Miyagi to teach him karate. Miyagi declines but agrees to bring Daniel to the Cobra Kai dojo to resolve the conflict. They meet with the sensei, John Kreese, an ex-Special Forces Vietnam veteran who callously dismisses the peace offering. Miyagi then convinces Daniel to enter the All-Valley Karate Championships, where he can compete with Johnny and the other Cobra Kai students on equal terms, and requests the bullying to cease while Daniel trains. Kreese agrees to the terms but warns that if Daniel does not show up for the tournament, the harassment will continue on both Daniel and Miyagi.

Daniel's training starts with menial chores that he believes only makes him Miyagi's slave. When he becomes frustrated, Miyagi demonstrates that these actions have helped him to learn defensive blocks through muscle memory. Their bond develops, and Miyagi opens up to Daniel about his life that includes the dual loss of his wife and son in childbirth at the Manzanar internment camp while he was serving with the 442nd Infantry Regiment during World War II in Europe, where he received the Medal of Honor. Through Mr. Miyagi's teaching, Daniel learns not only karate, but also important life lessons such as the importance of personal balance, reflected in the principle that martial arts training is as much about training the spirit as the body. Daniel applies the life lessons that Miyagi has taught him to strengthen his relationship with Ali. On Daniel's birthday, Miyagi presents him with a Karate gi for the tournament and his own car as birthday gifts.

At the tournament, Daniel surprises everyone by reaching the semi-finals. Johnny advances to the finals, scoring three unanswered points against Darryl Vidal. Kreese instructs his second-best student Bobby Brown, one of his more compassionate students and the least vicious of Daniel's tormentors, to disable Daniel with an illegal attack to the knee. Bobby reluctantly does so, severely injuring Daniel and getting disqualified in the process. Daniel is taken to the locker room, with the physician determining that he cannot continue, but Daniel believes that if he does not continue, his tormentors will have gotten the best of him. He convinces Miyagi to use a pain suppression technique to allow him to continue. As Johnny is about to be declared the winner by default, Daniel returns to fight. The match is a seesaw battle, as neither is able to break through the other's defense.

The match is halted when Daniel uses a scissor-leg technique to trip Johnny, delivering a blow to the back of the head and giving Johnny a nose bleed. Kreese directs Johnny to sweep Daniel's injured leg, an unethical move. Johnny looks horrified at the order but reluctantly agrees. As the match resumes, Johnny seizes Daniel's leg and delivers a vicious blow, doing further damage. Daniel, standing with difficulty, assumes the "Crane" stance, a technique he observed Mr. Miyagi performing on a beach. Johnny lunges toward Daniel, who jumps and delivers a front kick to Johnny's face, winning the tournament. Johnny, having gained newfound respect for his nemesis, presents the trophy to Daniel himself, as Daniel is carried off by an enthusiastic crowd.

Main Cast


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