26 Facts about The Karate Kid That You Probably Don't Know

26 Facts about The Karate Kid That You Probably Don't Know

The Karate Kid is my favorite movie of all time. It's a fish out of water story, an underdog story, a guy gets the girl story, and a family formation story.

Sure it's a bit cheesy in that the hero gets the girl and wins the tournament despite overcoming injuries and a gauntlet of athletically superior opponents. But it's a feel good story with an amazing montage set to "You're The Best Around" by Joe Espisito. If you watch that movie and don't feel good, you probably need a heart transplant.

Since we are such huge fans we tend to watch lots of youtube videos to get the inside scoop on behind-the-scenes trivia that isn't available on all the other lists out there. We found enough cool tidbits that we put our own list together, so here goes:

  1. Ralph Macchio still owns one of the original headbands used during filming.

    We know this because he showed it off when the Oprah show interviewed him!
  2. The headband, known as a tenugui in Japanese, was not part of the original screenplay.

    It was a handkerchief that Pat Morita had in his pocket and he decided to use it. Ralph didn't go into huge detail on this but we'd love to know more. Was this design something that Pat Morita had a particular fondness for?
  3. Ralph Macchio owns the trophy that Daniel received for winning the All-Valley Karate Tournament.

    It was inscribed to Ralph Macchio for the All Valley Championship 1983. The final scene after Ralph is handed the trophy and says "Hey Mr. Miyagi! We did it! We did it! Woo hoo hoo!" while Pat Morita has the best "proud father" face in the history of cinema may be the best ending of any movie all time.
  4. Ralph Macchio also still has the yellow "Wax On Wax Off" car.

  5. Ralph Macchio named his only son Daniel.

  6. Billy Zabka actually kicked Ralph Macchio in the face!

    During filming of the post-Halloween dance fight when the Cobra Kai were wearing skeleton costumes William Zabka landed a kick that caused production to stop for a day and a half while Ralph recovered.
  7. The skeleton costumes were actually black wetsuits that the costume designer modified by sewing bones onto them.

    The beauty of the movies is that the cost of a costume does not matter. It's unlikely the Cobra Kai would have been able to create their own skeleton costumes or buy them commercially for less than hundreds of dollars.
  8. The producer, Jerry Weintraub, did not want to even consider Pat Morita for the role of Mr. Miyagi.

    Morita was known for comedic roles including Happy Days and Sanford and Son and Weintraub did not want a comedian for the serious role. Morita told David Letterman that Weintraub said "I wish you could get a real Japanese guy to play this guy.".
  9. Morita suggested he use his real first name "Noriyuki" in the credits to improve authenticity to appease Weintraub.

  10. Elisabeth Shue was athletic and was actually a better soccer player than Ralph Macchio.

    She came from an athletic family and was the only girl on a boy's soccer team.
  11. Ralph Macchio did all his own stunts with the exception of the scene where he is pushed down the hill on his bike and where he jumps over the car when fleeing the Cobra Kai outside the high school dance.

    He actually filmed the scene where he fell down the hill but he didn't do a good enough job so they had the stunt person do it.
  12. Dutch's hair was bleached from his natural dark brown for the movie, and the rest of the cast teased him about it.

    Dutch is actually Steve McQueen's son and was probably the most intimidating of the Cobra Kai. I always felt a bit robbed of not seeing more of the match between Dutch and Daniel.
  13. The opening scene of part 2 that takes place in the parking lot outside the tournament was in the original screenplay for part 1 but was never filmed.

    Removing that scene was definitely the smart move, as we mentioned above the ending of the movie is just about perfect.
  14. Ralph Macchio initially thought the movie name was silly and that the love story was too sweet.

    He was of course happy with the final product, though, and his affection for the movie is obvious in any interviews he has ever done.
  15. Despite being warned by an assistant director that people would want to fight him in real life Ralph has not had that experience.

    The assistant director was basing his prediction on what happened to Sylvester Stallone after Rocky, but Ralph doesn't give off the "tough guy" vibe like Sly so it doesn't surprise us that the same thing didn't happen to him.
  16. Daniel's original last name was Webber but had to change to match his Italian heritage.

    Daniel being Italian definitely contributed to the east coast vs west coast and rich vs poor vibe so this was a great change.
  17. The montage song "You're The Best" references "history repeats itself" because it was originally meant for Rocky III.

    Stallone also considered Queen's Another One Bite's The Dust but could not get publishing rights. In the end it clearly worked out the best because Eye of the Tiger was great for Rocky III and You're The Best was perfect for The Karate Kid.
  18. People taunt Ralph Macchio by saying "why don't you go back to Reseda?".

    Man that's what I call a burn with love. You've got to be a legit fan to think of that on the spot.
  19. The movie never reveals why Daniel's mom works at a restaurant despite the fact that she moved to California to work for Rocket Computers.

    The novelization of the movie states that Rocket Computers went bankrupt. Hooray for books!
  20. In an attempt to shoot the "catch a fly with chopsticks" scene they actually tied a live fly to a fishing line but that did not work.

    A few camera angle changes and voila, Daniel catches the fly.
  21. The Ali with an "i" dialogue was an ad lib by Ralph Macchio.

    If I had a daughter, her name was going to be Ali with 'i", but alas I had 3 boys so Ralph didn't get to contribute to naming my children.
  22. The Miyagi drunk scene was not in the original script.

    Instead there was a placeholder called "the Miyagi backstory".
  23. The drunk scene was almost cut from the film due to runtime.

    This scene is one of Ralph's favorites and we agree that it ends up being hugely important to the story.
  24. Pat Morita referred to the drunk scene as his "Academy Award Nomination" scene until the day he died.

    It's impossible to know if he would have received the nomination without that scene, but we think he's "pretty ok" even without it.
  25. People yell out "nice car, Mrs. LaRusso" to Ralph Macchio.

    It's hard to believe anyone would taunt Ralph about this movie, but if you're going to do it this is a pretty good one.
  26. Billy Zabka will playfully yell "take a worm for a walk week" when he sees Ralph Macchio.

    Judging from interviews they've done together it's clear that the two actors have formed a friendship in the years since the movie was filmed.

- Posted by Kevin Stecko on


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