Mr. Miyagi, while being lethal in his martial art abilities, did not cut an imposing figure. Standing at five feet and three inches, Pat Morita was notably shorter than the antagonists he had to stare down in the film.
The height differences were a challenge for the camera so the crew had Morita stand on a box in some of the face-to-face scenes to get the best shots.
Six Degrees of Bruce Lee Separation
It’s fitting that the Little Dragon, Bruce Lee, has some presence in 'The Karate Kid'. Ok, while not directly involved as Lee passed a full eleven years before the filming of The Karate Kid, there are two actors in the film that had a relation to him.
Chad McQueen, who plays Dutch, is the son of Steve McQueen who was a close friend of Lee. Pat E. Johnson, the film’s fight choreographer and stuntman, had a bit part in 'Enter the Dragon'.
A Bully Is a Friend You Haven’t Beaten Up Yet
Bullying is central to the entire motivation of the plot in 'The Karate Kid' so it may come as a surprise to realize that at no point in the film is the word “bully” used nor is the concept of “being bullied” discussed. After saving Daniel LaRusso from the Cobra Kai gang on Halloween, Mr. Miyagi oddly acknowledges the assailants as LaRusso’s friends.
Film buffs believe by not giving them the title of bully is part of the training to remove any power that they psychologically have over LaRusso.
Chad McQueen Lives Up to Being a Chad
Johnny Lawrence’s right-hand man, Dutch, was undoubtedly the most ruthless of Lawrence’s Cobra Kai entourage. The aggressive attitude of Chad McQueen, who played Dutch, was a case of life imitating art apparently as it has been reported that the crew found it difficult to work with McQueen on set.
A fight scene that found itself on the cutting room floor purportedly ends with McQueen being held in a headlock after having an outburst.
The original cut of 'The Karate Kid' had two confrontations between Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence that were eventually snipped from the final movie. In the first missing fight sequence, Lawrence sneaks a slice of pie onto LaRusso’s seat in the school cafeteria. A highly indignant LaRusso, with pants covered in blueberry pie, attacks Lawrence.
In the second fight scene that was removed, LaRusso is seen drinking from a water fountain and is harassed by Lawrence. A reference to the first fight is made in the wildly popular follow-up series 'Cobra Kai'.