Elisabeth Shue never thought 'The Karate Kid' would become a "culturally important" movie.

Elisabeth Shue

Elisabeth Shue

The 54-year-old actress made her film debut as Ali Mills, the main love interest to Ralph Macchio's titular alter ego Daniel LaRusso, in the hit 1984 movie helmed by John D. Avildsen.

When she and Ralph were shooting the film she never imagined that a story about a high school student who uses martial arts to beat his bullies would become a pop culture phenomenon, and Elisabeth was unsure whether Ralph had the necessary skills to successfully depict a karate champion.

Speaking to the Metro newspaper, Shue said: "Because it was my first movie and I was still pretty starry-eyed about it all. What was so extraordinary about 'The Karate Kid' is that I don't think anyone involved felt like we were making a culturally important 1980s movie. I remember thinking that the title felt pretty insubstantial and I wondered about Ralph Macchio's karate skills..."

The film follows Daniel (Macchio) who moves to Southern California with his mother, Lucille (Randee Heller) but quickly becomes the target of a group of bullies who study karate at the Cobra Kai dojo.

However, the young teenager befriends Mister Miyagi (Noriyuki "Pat" Mortia), a repairman who just happens to be a martial arts master himself.

Through his more compassionate form of karate, Daniel learns the skills to prepare him to compete against the Cobra Kai.

'The Karate Kid' is considered a cult classic and spawned three follow-up films, 'The Karate Kid Part II', 'The Karate Kid Part III' and 'The Next Karate Kid', which starred Hilary Swank as Mister Miyagi's new protege.

The original movie was also rebooted in 2010 with Jaden Smith playing student Dre Parker opposite Jackie Chan as his martial arts teacher Mr. Han.