Karate Kid (1984) is a martial arts drama that kicked off the Karate Kid franchise. It follows Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), a teenager training to participate In a tournament against his bullies. The film was directed by John G. Avildsen, while Robert Mark Kamen wrote the screenplay.
Seventeen-year-old Daniel and his mother (Randee Heller) move from New Jersey to Los Angeles. His blossoming friendship with Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue) raises the ire of her ex-boyfriend, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka). Johnny and his friends, all students of a vicious form of karate at the Cobra Kai dojo, mount a bullying campaign against Daniel.
The bullying escalates to the point that Daniel’s apartment handyman, Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita), rescues him while he’s receiving a severe beating from Johnny and his gang. Mr. Miyagi tries taking the matter up with Johnny’s sensei, John Kreese (Martin Kove). It is agreed the only way to solve the conflict is allowing Daniel to face-off against Johnny and his fellow Cobra Kai students at the All-Valley Karate Championships.
Daniel and Miyagi develop a bond during the teenager’s training for the championships. Mr. Miyagi manages to teach him karate, in addition to important life lessons.
Johnny cruises to the finals at the All-Valley Karate tournament. Meanwhile, Daniel sustains a critical knee injury from an illegal move by Bobby Brown (Ron Thomas) during the semi-finals. Bobby is disqualified, while Daniel goes through to the final.
Daniel chooses to face off against Johnny, despite his injury. The latter purposefully does further damage to Daniel’s leg on instructions from his sensei. Despite this, Daniel manages to score the winning point after he executes a front kick to Johnny’s face.
Karate Kid (1984) was produced at various film locations in San Fernando, California. Viewers may remember notable places such as Mr. Miyagi’s house, the tournament arena and Daniel’s school.
Filming At Mr. Miyagi’s House
Mr. Miyagi’s house was originally an unimpressive shack in an equally unimpressive yard. When it was chosen as a Karate Kid filming location, the area was transformed into the Japanese-style home we see on screen. The house was subsequently taken down and a duplex now stands in its place.
The sensei nurses Daniel back to health at his house. Daniel moves in with Mr. Miyagi in one of the sequel films.
This 20924 Gault Street, Canoga Park, residence served as Miyagi’s house one more time in 1986’s Karate Kid Part 2. The house was demolished between that time and 1989, forcing film producers to create a replica in Burbank for Karate Kid Part 3.
Filming At South Seas Apartments
South Seas is an apartment complex in Reseda, Los Angeles. The residence is valued in the lower millions. South Seas Apartment 20 was used as the filming location for Daniel’s home.
A lot of significant moments between Daniel and Mr. Miyagi were filmed here. The complex’s unimpressive pool is one of Daniel’s first disillusionments with California.
The apartments make appearances in both Karate Kid sequels.
Canyon Portal Motel – A Brief Film Location
Fans may remember 280 N Highway 89a, Sedona, Arizona, as the location Daniel and his mom push-start their car en route to California. The Canyon Portal Motel sadly no longer exists in the form we see in the Karate Kid film. It has now been refurbished as the Los Abrigados Lodge.
Film Location Of Stars – Leo Carrillo State Park
Leo Carrillo State Park is located along the Malibu coast. It is named for actor and conservationist Leo Carrillo.
Notable scenes filmed at this location include one of Daniel’s beatings and Miyagi’s iconic lessons in balance. This involves a student standing in a large body of water when the tide is high. The pupil is expected to kick and not fall despite the strong current.
Elvis Presley, Nancy Sinatra and Dick Clark have all appeared in films shot at this state beach. Other popular productions filmed at this location include Grease, 50 First Dates, Furious 7, and California’s Golden Parks.
Charles Evans Hughes Junior High School
Charles Evans Hughes Junior High School was built in the 1960s and closed twenty years later. The premises became the film location for Daniel’s school. It was subsequently shut down due to a decline in enrollment figures. Today, the school is known as the Hughes Adult Learning Center.
All the school scenes, including many iconic moments between Daniel and his rivals, were filmed at this location. The Halloween dance is probably one of the more memorable scenes filmed at the school. Daniel annoys Johnny and his friends, who chase him all the way home. Before Daniel can take refuge in the complex, the bullies grab and give him a thrashing. He is saved by Mr. Miyagi. This becomes a turning point in Daniel’s life.
Calabasas Country Club – Filming Location Of 20th Century Classics
Warner Brothers bought lands around the Calabasas Creek area near Mulholland Drive and Valmar Road in 1935. The estate became known as Warner Brothers Ranch. It was the filming location for many movies produced in the 20th century. 4515 Park Entrada Calabasas, California, now serves as a golf course and events venue.
One of the most tense scenes in the Karate Kid was filmed at Calabasas Country Club. Ali’s parents force her to dance with Johnny, whom they prefer, because he is of better social standing compared to Daniel. Fans are unlikely to forget the slap Ali gives Johnny when he forces a kiss on her, or Daniel pouring food all over himself while trying to run away.
Other classics filmed at Warner Brothers Ranch include The Adventures of Robin Hood, Casablanca, National Velvet, The Santa Fe Trail and Rocky Mountain.
California State University Northridge (CSUN) took on its current name in 1972. The university, which offers academic programs in at least seventy fields, is regarded as one of the best film schools in the United States.
The climatic tournament in Karate Kid was filmed at CSUN. During the karate championships, Daniel exceeds all expectations by making it to the semi-final round where he is critically injured by Bobby. Despite this setback, Daniel defeats him.
At least another dozen productions have been filmed at the university. They include Silicon Valley, Star Trek, The Office, and CSI: Las Vegas.
Karate Kid (1984) was the pilot to a popular movie franchise. Calabasas Country Club, CSUN, and Leo Carillo State Park are some of the notable locations where Karate Kid was filmed.