Godzilla - on the Screen (1954 - 2014)
The success of King Kong (1933) gave birth to the monster movie genre, The successful re-release of King Kong in the early 50's prompted Warner Bros studios to put into production The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms with special effects by stop-motion legend Ray Harryhausen.
In The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms a prehistoric monster is awakened from its icy tomb by atomic bomb tests in the North Pole. Released in 1953 Beast was one of WB studios top hits that year.
Over in Japan, the only country attacked with atomic bombs, a film studio was very interested in creating it's own atomic-age monster.
Rejecting time-consuming stop motion animation the filmmakers at Toho studios favored using a man in a rubber monster suit.
Directed by Ishiro Honda and released in 1954, the first Godzilla film 'Gojira' was a big hit in Japan and many sequels would follow.
28 Godzilla films were made by Toho studios between 1954 and 2004.
Gojira (1954) Directed by Ishiro Honda. Starring Akira Takarada, Momoko Kōchi, Akihiko Hirata, Takashi Shimura and Fuyuki Murakami. Music by Akira Ifukube. 96mins.
In this first film it isn't clearly explained how Godzilla came to be, is it a mutated reptile created by radiation from atomic bomb tests or a prehistoric monster awakened by atomic testing in the Pacific? Attempts to provide an origin would appear in future films.
Gojira was re-edited, dubbed in English and released in the USA in 1956 with added scenes featuring Raymond Burr as American reporter Steve Martin, the monster was renamed 'Godzilla' and this version was titled Godzilla, King of the Monsters.
Director Ishiro Honda (1911-1993), the legendary creator of Godzilla, directed 8 Godzilla films and many other Japanese sci-fi classics. Akira Kurosawa was a lifelong friend and read the eulogy at his funeral.
Haruo Nakajima (1929-) was the guy in the Godzilla suit and would be the actor most famous for playing monsters in Toho's movies.
Special effects master Eiji Tsuburaya (1901-1970) supervised the effects for Godzilla and dozens of Japanese sci-fi films to come. He is regarded as Japan's "father of special effects".
Composer Akira Ifukube's (1914-2006) memorable theme music would be used with variations throughout the film series.
Gojira cost a million dollars to produce and was one of the biggest hits of the year in Japan, selling 9,610,000 tickets and winning an award for it's special effects.
IMDB rating 7.3
Godzilla Raids Again (1955) Directed by Motoyoshi Oda. 81mins.
Godzilla was renamed Gigantis for the re-edited American version of this film and released by WB in 1959 as Gigantis, the Fire Monster.
Also known as Godzilla's Counterattack.
George Takei (Sulu in Star Trek) was one of the voice actors in the American version.
Guest Monster - Anguirus.
Godzilla Raids Again has sold 8,340,000 tickets in Japan
IMDB rating 6.1
King Kong v Godzilla (1962) Directed by Ishiro Honda. 98mins.
The two most famous monsters battle it out and Tokyo gets battered as usual.
This was the first Godzilla film in widescreen and the first to be filmed in colour.
Size does matter. In the first film Godzilla is reported to be about 400ft tall, while King Kong is roughly 35ft tall, in this film they are about the same height, otherwise it wouldn't be much of a contest.
Mr.Tako: King Kong can't make a monkey out of us!
Rescue Copter Pilot: Aaaaaah! It's Gojira!
An enduring myth concerning this movie is that there were two endings filmed - in the Japanese version Godzilla wins the battle and in the American version Kong wins - but only one version was ever filmed. The movie ends with both monsters falling into the sea and only Kong is seen surfacing and swimming back to his island. Godzilla would return in Godzilla vs the Thing (1964).
Kong would make one more Toho appearance, in King Kong Escapes (1967) where he would battle Mecha-Kong.
Bond girls Akiko Wakabayashi and Mie Hama have roles in King Kong vs Godzilla, they played Sean Connery's leading ladies in You Only Live Twice (1967).
King Kong vs Godzilla has sold 12,550,000 tickets in Japan, more than any other in Toho's Godzilla series.
Guest Monsters - King Kong and a giant octopus.
IMDB rating 5.6
Godzilla vs The Thing (1964) Directed by Ishiro Honda. 89mins.
Also known as Mothra vs Godzilla.
A scene where Godzilla is attacked by the US Navy was filmed by Toho studios especially for the American release of the film.
Guest Monster - Mothra
Mothra made it's first film appearance in the movie Mothra (1961) which was also directed by Ishiro Honda.
Godzilla vs The Thing sold 3,510,000 tickets in Japan.
IMDB rating 6.2
Ghidrah, The Three-Headed Monster (1964) Directed by Ishiro Honda. 92mins.
Also known as Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster.
Yellow Hoodie Guy: Professor, look, it's getting big again.
Professor Miura: Yes. According to these figures, it's bigger than it was before.
Other Guy: That's impossible. How can a meteorite grow?
Professor Miura: Nevertheless, it's growing.
1964 was the only year that two Godzilla films were released by Toho, the other was Godzilla vs the Thing.
Guest Monsters - King Ghidorah, Mothra, Rodan.
Ghidorah was a giant winged space monster with three heads.
Rodan, a giant prehistoric bird, first appeared in the movie Rodan (1956) directed by Ishiro Honda.
Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster. sold 4,320,000 tickets in Japan.
IMDB rating 6.5
Monster Zero (1965) Directed by Ishiro Honda. 96mins.
Also known as Invasion of the Astro-Monsters
Nick Adams starred as an astronaut named Glenn.
Released in America years later on a double bill with War of the Gargantuas.
The first Godzilla film to feature aliens and an alien planet, Planet X.
Controller of Planet X: We need an exterminator, one that would drive away King Ghidorah. We need from you Monster Zero 1 and Monster Zero 2, Godzilla and Rodan.
Astronaut K. Fuji: Are you serious?
Controller of Planet X: Of course. Deadly serious.
Guest Monsters - King Ghidorah, Rodan.
Godzilla does his infamous victory dance after a battle with Ghidorah on Planet X.
Monster Zero sold 3,780,000 tickets in Japan.
IMDB rating 6.0
Godzilla vs The Sea Monster (1966) Directed by Jun Fukuda. 87mins.
Also known as Ebirah, Horror of the Deep.
Originally meant to star King Kong not Godzilla.
The first of 5 Godzilla films directed by Jun Fukuda (1923-2000).
Guest Monsters - Mothra, Ebirah, a giant condor
Ebirah looks like a giant lobster.
Godzilla vs the Sea Monster has sold 3,450,000 tickets in Japan.
IMDB rating 4.4
Son of Godzilla (1967) Directed by Jun Fukuda. 86mins.
Sold directly to TV in the US.
With this film the Godzilla movies were becoming more kiddie-friendly and the big G was more hero than villain.
Godzilla's son is named Minilla.
Guest Monsters - Kumonga (a giant spider), Kamacuras (a giant praying mantis)
Son of Godzilla has sold 2,480,000 tickets in Japan.
IMDB rating 4.9
Destroy All Monsters (1967) Directed by Ishiro Honda. 88mins.
Also known as Operation Monsterland.
News Reader: The major cities of the world are being destroyed, one-by-one by the monsters: Moscow by Rodan, Peking by Mothra, London by Manda, Paris by Baragon. And, here's a special news bulletin: New York City is being invaded by Godzilla!
A fan favourite which showcased a whole menagerie of monsters, either fighting each other or attacking major cities.
The last film made with the original 4 "Godzilla fathers" - producer Tomoyuki Tanaka, director Ishiro Honda, effects supervisor Eiji Tsuburaya and composer Akira Ifukube.
Intended to be the last Godzilla film, it was so popular more Godzilla films were planned.
Guest Monsters - Mothra, Rodan, Ghidorah, Anguirus, Varan, Baragon, Manda, Kumonga, Minilla and Gorosaurus.
Destroy All Monsters has sold 2,580,000 tickets in Japan.
IMDB rating 6.3
Godzilla's Revenge (1969) Directed by Ishiro Honda. 69mins.
Also known as All Monsters Attack.
An unusual entry in the series, all the monsters are a figment of a boys imagination. He dreams about Godzilla and other monsters every night.
Many scenes of Godzilla and various monsters rampaging were stock footage from other monster movies.
Guest Monsters - Manda, Gabara, Kumonga, Ebirah, Gorosaurus, Anguirus, Kamucaras and Minilla.
Godzilla's Revenge wasn't a success and sold 1,480,000 tickets in Japan, a million less than the previous film, Destroy All Monsters.
IMDB rating 4.1
Godzilla vs The Smog Monster (1971) Directed by Yoshimitsu Banno. 87mins.
Also known as Godzilla vs Hedorah.
The effects of widespread pollution was a major concern in the 1970s and the latest Godzilla film featured a monster which fed on pollution growing larger and deadlier each time.
One scene features Godzilla flying backward by firing his atomic breath towards the ground.
Dr. Yano: Do you know what a meteor is?
Ken Yano: Sure, it's a falling star that falls to earth.
Dr. Yano: Well, Hedorah attached itself to one of those stars.
The English version includes a song titled "Save the Earth".
The film was included in the book "The Fifty Worst Films of All Time" by Harry Medved.
Guest Monster - Hedorah.
Godzilla vs the Smog Monster sold 1,740,687 tickets in Japan.
IMDB rating 5.6
Godzilla vs Gigan (1972) Directed by Jun Fukuda. 89mins.
Also known as Godzilla on Monster Island and War of the Monsters.
Haruo Nakajima's last stint in the Godzilla suit he retired soon after.
The first Godzilla film to show the monster bleeding, a couple of scenes of violence were cut from the American release.
The only film to feature Godzilla TALKING with another monster, Anguirus. yes that's right there's a scene where the two monsters chat in distorted English, in the Japanese version speech bubbles were used.
Godzilla: Hey Anguirus!
Anguirus: What do you want?
Godzilla: Something funny going on, you better check!
Godzilla: Hurry up!
The entire soundtrack consists of music themes from previous monster movies.
Guest Monsters - Gigan, King Ghidorah, Anguirus.
Godzilla vs Gigan sold 1,780,000 tickets in Japan.
IMDB rating 5.2
Godzilla vs Megalon (1973) Directed by Jun Fukuda. 81mins.
The film featured the robot superhero Jet Jaguar which has the ability to grow to monster size. He was originally meant to be the main star fighting off Megalon but the studo had second thoughts and decided to turn it into a Godzilla movie.
Guest Monsters - Megalon, Gigan, Anguirus.
Godzilla vs Megalon was the first in the series to sell less than a million tickets in Japan, the total was 980,000.
IMDB rating 3.7
Godzilla vs the Cosmic Monster (1974) Directed by Jun Fukuda. 84mins.
Also known as Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla and Godzilla vs the Bionic Monster.
Professor Miyajima: What's this ? Who are you ?
Alien Supreme Leader: Commander for conquest of Earth, from the third planet of the black hole, outer space.
Professor Miyajima: So I was right. You are spacemen.
Alien Supreme Leader: I admire your deductive processes.
A fan favourite, Godzilla confronts MechaGodzilla, a robot duplicate of himself created by ape-like aliens calling themselves the Simians of Planet 3.
Guest Monsters - MechaGodzilla, Anguirus, King Caesar.
Godzilla vs the Cosmic Monster has sold 1,330,000 tickets in Japan
IMDB rating 5.9
Terror of MechaGodzilla (1975) Directed by Ishiro Honda. 83mins.
Also known as Monsters from an Unknown Planet.
The 15th Godzilla film and the last to be directed by Ishiro Honda.
It would also be the last time Godzilla was portrayed as a hero, with the next film Godzilla would return to his roots as a rampaging, city threatening monster.
Dr. Shinji Mafune: I'll teach those humans for failing to recognize me. They mocked me. Well, now they're going to eat their words! Go, Titanosaurus!
The first Godzilla film to feature a woman's breasts, which was cut from the American release.
Guest Monsters - MechaGodzilla II, Titanosaurus.
Terror of MechaGodzilla sold 970,000 tickets in Japan.
IMDB rating 5.8
Godzilla 1985 (1984) Directed by Koji Hashimoto.103mins.
Also known as The Return of Godzilla, Godzilla 1984, Godzilla 1985: The Legend Reborn
A new series of Godzilla films began with this reboot.
Costing 6 million dollars to make it was the most expensive Godzilla film at the time and featured better visual effects and an improved Godzilla, gone was the cross-eyed goofy looking Godzilla of the 1970s.
Dr. Hayashida: The other night at the reactor... Didn't you sense it? The beast has a purpose. 30 years ago, Godzilla appeared for the first time. Before that, he was only a legend. Godzilla is a warning. A warning to every one of us. When mankind falls into conflict with nature, monsters are born.
Some scenes featured a 20ft animatronic Godzilla puppet controlled by computer.
Released in North American theaters in August 1985, Godzilla 1985 was not a hit grossing only $4.1m
The American version featured additional scenes with Raymond Burr reprising his role as reporter Steve Martin.
The first Godzilla film since the 1954 original not to feature Godzilla fighting another monster.
Guest Monster - Shockirus (a giant sea louse).
Godzilla 1985 sold 3,200,000 tickets in Japan.
IMDB rating 5.6
Godzilla vs Biollante (1989) Directed by Kazuki Omori. 105mins.
The film did less well than the previous entry at the box office and this was blamed on the new monster Biollante, old favourites would be brought back to battle Godzilla in future films.
Dr. Shiragami: Godzilla and Biollante aren't monsters. It's the unscrupulous scientists who create them that are monsters.
Guest Monster - Biollante (a giant plant monster created by a mad scientist)
Godzilla vs Biollante cost $5m and has sold 2,000,000 tickets in Japan.
IMDB rating 6.3
Godzilla vs King Ghidorah (1991) Directed by Kazuki Omori. 103mins
One of the more interesting entries in the series featuring time travel and an alternate origin for Godzilla and Ghidorah.
The special effects were the best so far in the series and won a Japanese Academy Award.
Guest Monsters - King Ghidorah, Godzillasaurus
Godzilla vs King Ghidorah sold 2,700,000 tickets in Japan.
IMDB rating 6.2
Godzilla vs Mothra (1992) Directed by Takao Okawara. 102mins.
Also known as Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth.
The film was a major success in Japan, grossing $20m, the biggest hit in the Godzilla series in unadjusted dollars.
Takuya Fujita: [Battra fires lasers at Mothra misses and hits Godzilla instead] Oh no, they're getting pissed off!
Released straight to video in the UK.
Guest Monsters - Mothra, Battra
Godzilla vs Mothra sold 4,200,000 tickets in Japan.
IMDB rating 5.7
Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla (1993) Directed by Takao Okawara.108mins.
Also known as Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla II
Originally this was to have been a remake of King Kong vs Godzilla but Turner Entertainment demanded too much money for the rights to Kong.
The 20th Godzilla film and considered one of the best by fans and critics.
Guest Monsters - Mecha-Godzilla, Mecha-King Ghidorah, Rodan, Mothra.
Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla cost $9.5m and has sold 3,800,000 tickets in Japan.
IMDB rating 6.2
Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla (1994) Directed by Kensho Yamashita. 108mins.
This was released as a special 40th anniversary Godzilla film but was not well received by fans.
Guest Monsters - SpaceGodzilla, Fairy Mothra, Little Godzilla, Moguera
Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla sold 3,200,000 tickets in Japan.
IMDB rating 5.4
Godzilla vs Destoroyah (1995) Directed by Koji Hashimoti. 103mins.
Intended to be the last Godzilla film in the rebooted series which started with Godzilla 1985
Miki Saegusa: I think this is going to be Godzilla's last fight!
Godzilla is killed off at the end of this film, paving the way for director Roland Emmerich to make his big-budget Godzilla movie in America.
Toho's Godzilla would be revived and rebooted (again) in Godzilla 2000 (1999)
Composer Akira Ifukube's last Godzilla film.
Guest Monster - Destoroyah
Godzilla vs Destoroyah sold 4,000,000 tickets in Japan.
IMDB rating 6.4
Godzilla (1998) Directed by Roland Emmerich. Starring Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Maria Pitillo, Hank Azaria, Kevin Dunn, Michael Lerner and Harry Shearer. Music by David Arnold. 139mins.
Director Roland Emmerich and writer-producer Dean Devlin had a massive success with Independence Day in 1996, which grossed $817m worldwide.
For their next film they decided to remake Godzilla, buying the rights from Toho.co.Ltd. The monster was redesigned by creature designer Patrick Tatopoulos and brought to life with CGI.
Nick Tatopoulos: It was first sighted off the French Polynesian Pacific. That area has been exposed to dozens of nuclear tests over the past 30 years.
Apache Pilot #5: That's a negative impact, sir! I repeat, that's a negative impact!
Mayor Ebert: Negative impact? That's the goddamned Chrysler Building! What the hell's the matter with you people? You've caused more damage than that thing did!
The film was spectacular but Godzilla fans were disappointed, critics slated the film and it made less money than expected. One sore point was that the creature looked nothing like the old Godzilla, and having the big G give birth to hundreds of little G's was never going to win over the fans.
Godzilla cost $130m to make and has grossed $379m worldwide.
IMDB rating 5.0
Godzilla 2000 (1999) Directed by Takao Okawara. 107mins.
Also known as Godzilla Millennium and G2K.
The first film in a new 'Millenium' series of Godzilla films.
Four new Godzilla suits were built for this film and for the first time in the Toho series a CG Godzilla is featured in some scenes.
It was also the first Godzilla film since Terror of MechaGodzilla to be filmed in the 2.35 widescreen ratio.
Godzilla 2000 cost $8m and was a hit in Japan grossing $15m, it was picked up by Tri-Star Pictures and released in theaters in North America where it grossed about $10m.
Shiro Miyasaka: We scientists produced this monster, Godzilla. And ever since, we tried to destroy him.
Yuki Ichinose: But then, why... why does he keep protecting us?
Yuji Shinoda: Maybe because... Godzilla is inside each one of us!
8 minutes were cut for the American version and the sound effects and music were enhanced for Dolby Digital Surround.
Guest Monster - Orga.
Godzilla 2000 sold 2,000,000 tickets in Japan.
IMDB rating 5.8
Godzilla vs Megaguiras (2000) Directed by Masaaki Tezuka. 105mins.
Also known as GXM.
The film cost $8.3m and wasn't a big hit, grossing just $10m in Japan. It premiered on Cable TV in the US.
Guest Monster - Megaguirus, Meganulon.
Godzilla vs Megaguirus has sold 1,350,000 tickets in Japan.
IMDB rating 6.4
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) Directed by Shusuke Kaneko. 105mins.
One of the best reviewed Godzilla films.
The film featured a sly dig at Roland Emmerich's Godzilla film -
General Tachibana: Monsters resembling Godzilla have been seen in the United States...
Soldier one: Wasn't that Godzilla?
Soldier two: The Americans said it was Godzilla, but all the Japanese scientists denied it.
The film cost $9.4m and was the biggest hit film of the 'Millenium' series, grossing $20m in Japan.
Guest Monsters - Baragon, Mothra, King Ghidorah.
Giant Monsters All-Out Attack has sold 2,400,000 tickets in Japan.
IMDB rating 7.0
Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla (2002) Directed by Masaaki Tezuka. 88mins.
Also known as Godzilla X MechaGodzilla and GXMG.
This was the fourth film to feature MechaGodzilla.
The film cost $8.5m to make and has grossed $16m in Japan.
Tagline - The Battle of the Century.
Guest Monster - Kiryu (MechaGodzilla)
Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla has sold 1,700,000 tickets in Japan.
IMDB rating 6.8
Godzilla - Tokyo S.O.S. (2003) Directed by Masaaki Tezuka. 91mins.
Also known as Godzilla X Mothra X MechaGodzilla and GMMG.
Mothra appears for the 12th time in a Godzilla film and MechaGodzilla makes it's 5th appearance.
Tagline - Terror comes in threes!
Guest Monsters - Kiryu (MechaGodzilla), Mothra, Kamoebas
Godzilla Tokyo SOS sold 1,100,000 tickets in Japan and has grossed $12m.
IMDB rating 6.5
Godzilla - Final Wars (2004) Directed by Ryuhei Kitamura. 125mins
A 50th Anniversary celebratory Godzilla movie set in the future and featuring over a dozen monsters.
The only Godzilla film to receive a PG-13 rating.
Controller of Planet X: Well now, let's enjoy the main event. The last chapter in the Godzilla saga.
Douglas Gordon: This final mission will decide the fate of the human race. This is Operation: Final War.
The most expensive Japanese Godzilla film costing $19.5m to make, unfortunately the film wasn't a success grossing just $12m.
The US Godzilla designed by Patrick Tatopoulos makes a CG cameo appearance as one of the rampaging monsters near the beginning of the film. It is named 'Zilla'.
Controller of Planet X: [Godzilla defeats 'Zilla'] I knew that tuna-eating monster was useless!
The final film in the 'Millenium' series and to date the last Godzilla film produced by Toho Studios.
Guest Monsters - Keiser Ghidorah, King Caesar, Gigan, Rodan, Mothra, Minilla, Ebirah, Varan, Hedorah, Manda, Kumonga, Kamacuras, Zilla, Anguirus. Other monsters appear in stock footage from previous films.
Godzilla Final Wars has sold 1,000,000 tickets in Japan.
IMDB rating 6.5
Godzilla (2014) Directed by Gareth Edwards. 123mins
Bryan Cranston - Joe Brody
Aaron Taylor-Johnson - Ford Brody
CJ Adams - Young Ford
Ken Watanabe - Dr. Ichiro Serizawa
Elizabeth Olsen - Elle Brody
Carson Bolde - Sam Brody
Sally Hawkins - Vivienne Graham
Juliette Binoche - Sandra Brody
David Strathairn - Admiral William Stenz
Music by Alexandre Desplat
"The king of movie monsters has grown bigger than ever -- in size as well as in the budget, resources and zealous seriousness devoted to his exploits -- in this grandiose celebration of his 60th birthday. Even older than James Bond and with more films to his credit, Godzilla has never before been accorded the sort of lavish respect that the talented young English director Gareth Edwards bestows upon him here, and it's almost too much; as if he were an elderly stage star being deferentially treated, the title character barely shows up until the second act.
Superbly made but burdened by some dull human characters enacted by an interesting international cast who can't do much with them, this new Godzilla is smart, self-aware, eye-popping and arguably in need of a double shot of cheeky wit." (The Hollywood Reporter)
IMDB rating 7.3