Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Filming Locations: The Karate Kid (1984), The Karate Kid 2 (1986), The Karate Kid 3 (1989)


The American pop culture phenomenon, Karate Kid (1984), starring Ralph Macchio as Daniel (son) LaRusso and Noriyuki "Pat" Morita as Mr. Miyagi is heavily filmed in the San Fernando Valley with some scenes in the greater Los Angeles area. The storyline is based on Daniel-son moving to Reseda from New Jersey and accepting his new surroundings. 

He meets an attractive girl, Ali Mills, played by Elisabeth Shue which he likes and pursues. However, Ali Mills is from Encino and Daniel-son is from Reseda which results in class divide and conflict. Additionally, Ali Mills ex-boyfriend, Johnny Lawrence, played by William Zabka (who attended El Camino Real High School) bullies Daniel-son resulting in more conflict and frustration as he is just trying to live his life especially dealing with all the challenges of being a teen. 

So, Mr. Miyagi comes to the rescue and teaches Daniel-son karate where he is able to defend himself, gain confidence, win over the girl,  and eventually defeat Johnny Lawrence in a karate tournament. And everyone lives happily ever after. 

In regards to the filming location, John G. Avildsen (director), Jerry Weintraub (producer), and R.J. Louis (executive producer) all wanted a real life look and feel to the movie. R. J. Louis carefully selected the actual locations of the San Fernando Valley mentioned in the storyline to keep the film authentic and gritty. John G. Avildsen said, "Its better to photograph the reality than try to re-create it on a sound stage" (according to Fast-Rewind.com). Part of what makes this film such a popular culture phenomenon is that it was filmed in the actual locations and mirrors everyday life. More than 25 years later, there still is a class divide between Reseda and Encino. 

Here are the actual filming locations for The Karate Kid in the San Fernando Valley. A majority are for the first Karate Kid but I also listed locations that were also used in the second and third films. 
  1. Daniel-son apartment complex including chase scene in open field. 19223 Saticoy Street, Reseda (see pic belowalso used in Karate Kid 3)
  2. High School and Dance. Hughes Adult Learning Center (formerly Charles Evans Junior High ) 5607 Capistrano Avenue, Woodland Hills 
  3. Cobra Kai Dojo Interior and Exterior. 5223 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood  (first exterior shot was actually from a storefront on Wilshire) (also used in Karate Kid 3
  4. Mr. Miyagi's House. Warner Brothers Studio, Burbank  (was originally located in Simi Valley but site was demolished and is unknown. So for the second and third films, this site was recreated at Warner Brothers Studio) (also used in Karate Kid 2 & 3
  5. Ali Mills House. 4072 Alonzo Avenue, Encino (see pic below)
  6. Encino Oaks Country Club (this site has been renovated since the movie so it looks different today). Calabasas Country Club 4514 N Park Entrada, Calabasas
  7. All Valley Karate Tournament. Matadome Gym 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge  (see pic below, also used in Karate Kid 2 and 3)
  8. Century 21 Office. 1303 W. Magnolia Blvd Burbank (Karate Kid 3 only)
  9. Mr. Miyagi's home. 20924 Gault Street Canoga Park CA 91303. Demolished sometime in 1987 - 1988 and recreated on the Warner Brothers backlot for Karate Kid 3. You can read more about it here
I highly recommend visiting the following sites which contributed to the creation of this post and contains more info, detail, and pics including screenshots from the movies.




Exterior view of Daniel-son apartment at 19223 Saticoy Street, Reseda.
 View of pool and units of Daniel-son apartment at 19223 Saticoy Street, Reseda. 
Open field next to apartments where Daniel-son gets bullied. Still open land after all these years!
Mr. Miyagi's garage was specifically constructed for the movie located left to the side entrance of the apartment. The garage was removed which is where the black SUV is parked in the picture. 

Across the street view of Daniel-son apartment at 19223 Saticoy Street, Reseda.
Mr. Miyagi's home formerly located at 20924 Gault Street Canoga Park CA 91303
Ali Mill's house at  4072 Alonzo Avenue, Encino.
Ali Mill's house at 4072 Alonzo Avenue, Encino.
The view of Ali Mill's house from front door which was shown in the  movie.
Matadome Gym (lobby) at CSUN 18111 Nordhoff Street Northridge where Daniel -son compete in All Valley Karate Tourney.


You can view more filming locations of the San Fernando Valley here

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