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You couldn’t leave well enough alone, could you, little twerp? No, you had to push it. Well, now you’re gonna pay!
~ Lawrence to Daniel

Johnny Lawrence is the secondary antagonist of the 1984 original film The Karate Kid.

He was portrayed by actor William Zabka.

In the Film

Being Student to Kreese and Bullying Daniel and Defeat

He was the best student of John Kreese’s Cobra Kai Dojo, and the ex-boyfriend of Ali. Throughout the film, Johnny torments and bullies the protagonist, Daniel LaRusso. But when Kreese told Johnny to “sweep the leg” in order to beat Daniel at the All-Valley Karate Tournament, Johnny gives Kreese a frightened glance (while also possibly realizing that Kreese had gone too far). After he lost to Daniel, Johnny shows respect to Daniel and gives him the first-place trophy. With that, he and Daniel patch things up and become friends.

The Second Film

In the second film, while Johnny was perfectly fine with winning the second-place trophy, Kreese was not (and even broke the trophy in two after Johnny called him a loser). After an argument between Kreese and Johnny (which Daniel and Miyagi overheard), Kreese violently berates Johnny, but Miyagi stops him. After that, Johnny and the rest of the Cobra Kai students left Kreese in the parking lot, now having seen the kind of man Kreese really was.

Trivia

  • Johnny is played by actor William Zabka who is notable for playing villains in various 1980s movies (with another one of his roles being Greg Tolan from the 1985 coming of age high-school comedy drama, Just One of The Guys). However, he played a good guy in a 1980s sitcom, To Protect & Surf, as well as being featured in The Equalizer. Out of homage to his 1980s villianous roles, Zabka was cast as Rick Steelman in the 2010 film Hot Tub Time Machine.