The Karate Kid is a 1984 American martial arts romantic drama film directed by John G. Avildsen and written by Robert Mark Kamen, starring Ralph Macchio (who was 22 years old during principal photography), Noriyuki "Pat" Morita and Elisabeth Shue. It is an underdog story in the mold of a previous success, Avildsen's 1976 film Rocky. Daniel LaRusso, a high school senior, moves with his mother Lucille from Newark, New Jersey to Reseda, a neighborhood in the Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley area. Their apartment's handyman is an eccentric but kind and humble Okinawan immigrant named Kesuke Miyagi. Daniel befriends Ali Mills, an attractive high school cheerleader, which draws the attentions of her arrogant ex-boyfriend, Johnny Lawrence, a skilled practitioner of "Cobra Kai", an unethical and vicious form of karate. Johnny and his Cobra Kai gang continually torment Daniel, savagely beating him until Mr. Miyagi intervenes and single-handedly defeats the five attackers with ease. Amazed, Daniel asks Mr. Miyagi to teach him to fight.