Loading...
White

The Valley as Seen in The Karate Kid — Then and Now 

"Hey, Mr. Miyagi, we did it!" Avildsen says The Karate Kid originally was supposed to end in the parking lot after the tournament. (This is where the 1986 sequel picks up.) However, after the crowd carries Daniel off, Avildsen knew there couldn’t be a better ending. "Well, how can I top this? I don’t need the scene in the parking lot," Avildsen remembers thinking at the time. "How can the audience feel better than at that moment? And I feel that's when you always turn on the lights."
84 of 87
The Karate Kid shot for 45 days in the fall of 1983 in Los Angeles, primarily on location in the San Fernando Valley. It was the perfect setting for a suburban-based film dealing with the class divide. The 1980s Valley receives a rich and detailed portrayal in the film, and it successfully conveys a strong sense of place. Referring to the locations, William Zabka, who played villain Johnny Lawrence in the film, says, "When you get on a set, all that you did in rehearsal, and all that you do to prep, takes on a new life because that location is almost a character itself and it adds to the energy of the scene, and you feed off that."

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of The Karate Kid, we visited the original L.A. filming locations to see how they look in 2014.

Special thanks to The Karate Kid's executive producer, R.J. Louis, and location manager Richard Davis Jr., as well as Chas Demster of ItsFilmedThere.com and Nick Alaway of Fast-Rewind.com, for providing information and addresses for The Karate Kid filming locations.

All original photos by Jared Cowan.

See the full story: How a Movie Shot in the San Fernando Valley Made Us All The Karate Kid
Published on June 16, 2014

Related Slideshows

  • Are Westerns For The Weak? Not According to "Sensei" Martin Kove

    Decades ago, the western film was king, with nearly 100 produced every year at their peak in the 1940s, and their popularity extending years beyond. But today, other than rare successes like Django Unchained or True Grit, the genre is not in great shape. Films such as Cowboys and Aliens and The Lone Ranger failed to spark new interests in the western. It's a tough nut to crack, but veteran movie bad guy Martin Kove -- most well known for his role as Sensei John Kreese in The Karate Kid -- is passionate about the classic American film genre and is trying to revive it. We spent an afternoon at his home talking about westerns and how to make the genre interesting again. All photos by Jared Cowan.

Related Stories

Now Trending