Ralph Macchio started out in various TV commercials in the late 1970s before appearing in the 1980 comedy Up the Academy. He had a regular role in 1980 on the television series Eight Is Enough (1977) and portrayed Johhny Cade in 1983’s The Outsiders.
In 1984, Macchio scored the lead role in The Karate Kid (1984) directed by Rocky director John G. Avildsen. The film was a phenomenal success, spawning two equally popular sequels The Karate Kid Part II (1986) and The Karate Kid Part III (1989).
Macchio also starred in the blues road movie Crossroads (1986), featured alongside Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny (1992).
On August 4, 2017, it was announced that Macchio would reprise his role as Daniel LaRusso in a 10 episode Karate Kid revival series for YouTube Premium titled Cobra Kai that debuted in 2018. He also co-executive produces the series with co-star William Zabka.