The Little Dragons
|The Little Dragons|
1984 VHS box cover
|Directed by||Curtis Hanson|
|Produced by||Tony Bill
Robert S. Bremson
|Written by||Harvey Applebaum
Louis G. Atlee
John Davis Chandler
|Music by||Ken Lauber|
|Cinematography||Stephen M. Katz|
|Edited by||Ronald Sinclair|
|Distributed by||Aurora Film Corporation|
|July 18, 1980|
The Little Dragons (also known as Karate Kids U.S.A. or simply Karate Kids) is a 1980 American film about two young brothers who use their karate skills to rescue a friend after she is held captive for ransom. Produced and directed by Curtis Hanson. Starring Charles Lane, Ann Sothern, Chris Petersen and Pat Petersen
Brothers, Zack and Woody (portrayed by real-life brothers Chris and Pat Petersen) are young karate students who embark on a weekend camping trip with their grandfather J.J. (Charles Lane). Along the way they meet a new friend, Carol Forbinger (Sally Boyden) and her parents (Rick Lenz and Sharon Clark). When the Forbinger family encounters a tough-talking backwoods mother (Ann Sothern) and her two bumbling sons (Joe Spinell and John Davis Chandler) who decide to hold Carol captive believing they can collect a sizeable ransom, the "karate kids" must find a way to use their martial arts skills to rescue the Forbinger girl with a little help from their grandfather and some new friends they meet along the way.
- Charles Lane as J.J.
- Ann Sothern as Angel
- Chris Petersen as Zack
- Pat Petersen as Woody
- Sally Boyden as Carol Forbinger
- Rick Lenz as Dick Forbinger
- Sharon Clark as Ruth Forbinger
- Joe Spinell as Yancey
- John Davis Chandler as Carl
- Clifford A. Pellow as Sheriff
- Stephen Young as Lunsford
- Pat E. Johnson as Karate Instructor
- Bong Soo Han as Karate Master
- Donnie Williams as Motorcycle Leader
- Tony Bill as Niles
- Brad Gorman as Deputy
- Tom Kibbe as FBI Van Operator
- Spencer Quinn as Hootenanny M.C.
- Topo Swope as Stoned Girl
- Scott Spencer as Stoned Guy
- Rosemary Welden as Biker Girl
- Jim Sherwood as Roadblock Cop
- Robert Espinoza as Little Dragon
- Eric Johnson as Little Dragon
- Rachel Lawson as Little Dragon
- Jason Sachs as Little Dragon
- Elan Salberg as Little Dragon
- Oryan Salberg as Little Dragon
- Tim Speer as Little Dragon
- Elliott Mason as Little Dragon
- Sam Spira as Little Dragon
- "Jigs" as Rufus
Although most online sources list the film as being released in July 1980, the Petersen brothers, Chris (born in 1963), and Pat (born in 1966) appear to be notably younger than in their various other roles during that same year. Indicated by their youthful appearance and hairstyles, the film appears to have been most likely filmed sometime between 1977 and 1978.
Originally released in 1980 as "The Little Dragons", the film was later released on VHS by Active Home Video in 1984 under the same title, but with the new tag line: "The karate kids to the rescue!" in order to take advantage of the popularity of the hit film The Karate Kid released that same year. The film was later re-released on VHS by Magnum Video in 1991, this time retitled as "Karate Kids U.S.A.". Subsequent DVD releases in the U.K. and the U.S. used shortened versions of both titles, retitled simply as "Dragons" and "Karate Kids" using the tag line: "Before the Karate Kid, there was The Karate Kids!"; however, the most recent 2009 Music Video Distributors DVD has been released under the film's original title, "The Little Dragons" this time with the tag line: "Meet the REAL Karate Kids...".
Although intended to be a "family film", by the time of the first VHS release in 1984, some of the language used by the children in the film was deemed inappropriate for a young audience, and was "cleaned up" for the 1984 Active Home Video VHS release. The Petersen brothers having grown too old to re-dub their childhood voices, the decision was made to simply remove the "offending" dialogue altogether, resulting in the actors' mouths moving, but without the audio.
- "The Little Dragons - IMDb". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2011-03-22.
- "The Little Dragons - AllMovie". AllMovie.com. Retrieved 2011-03-22.
- "The Little Dragons - Yahoo! Movies". Movies.Yahoo.com. Retrieved 2011-03-22.
- "Christopher P. Petersen - California Births". Family Tree Legends. Retrieved 2011-03-22.
- "Patrick J. Petersen - California Births". Family Tree Legends. Retrieved 2011-03-22.
- "'The Little Dragons' - Rotten Tomatoes". RottenTomatoes.com. Retrieved 2011-03-22.
- "'The Little Dragons' (VHS) 1984 Active Home Video". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-03-22.
- "'Karate Kids U.S.A.' (VHS) 1991 Magnum Video". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-03-22.
- "'Dragons' (DVD) U.K. PAL release". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-03-22.
- "'Karate Kids' (DVD) U.S. NTSC release". iCollectMedia.com. Retrieved 2011-03-22.
- "'The Little Dragons' (DVD) 2009 Music Video Dist.". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-03-22.
- "'The Little Dragons'". Active Home Video VHS. Released 1984. Check date values in:
- The Little Dragons at the Internet Movie Database
- The Little Dragons on YouTube
- The Little Dragons at AllMovie
- The Little Dragons is available for free download at the Internet Archive