Godzilla (franchise)

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Godzilla franchise
Gojira 1954 Japanese poster.jpg
Theatrical poster for Godzilla (1954)
Studios Toho
TriStar Pictures
Legendary Pictures
No. of films 31
Years active 1954–present
Main character Godzilla
First film Godzilla (1954)
Last film Shin Godzilla (2016)
Genre(s) Kaiju
Monster movies
Science fiction
Country Japan
United States

The Godzilla (ゴジラ Gojira?) franchise is a series of multi-media featuring the monster Godzilla, owned by Toho. It is recognized by Guinness World Records to be the longest continuously running movie franchise, having been in on-going production from 1954 to the present day (with several hiatuses).[1][2] The film franchise consists of 29 films produced by Toho (three of which had American adaptations and two Hollywood reboot films).[a] A reboot by Toho was released in July 2016[8] while Legendary Pictures is proceeding with a shared cinematic franchise of their own with Godzilla: King of the Monsters[9] to be released on March 22, 2019, and Godzilla vs. Kong to be released on May 29, 2020.[10]

The first film, Godzilla, directed by Ishirō Honda, is an early and influential classic in the monster film genre and was initially released by Toho in 1954. Utilizing an atomic bomb incident to unleash the monster, the film tapped into political undertones and feelings common to Japan at the time. The original introduced an acclaimed music score by Akira Ifukube, which was reused in many of the later films. The original also introduced the work of Toho special effects master Eiji Tsuburaya who used miniatures and "suit-mation" to convey the large scale of the monster and its destruction. For its North American release, the film was reworked as an adaptation and released in 1956 as Godzilla, King of the Monsters!. The film featured new footage with Raymond Burr edited together with the original Japanese footage.[citation needed]

Toho was inspired to make the original Godzilla after the commercial success of the 1952 re-release of King Kong, and the 1953 success of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. The success of the Godzilla series itself would go on to inspire Gorgo, Gamera, Yonggary, and many other monster films worldwide. The popularity of the films has led to the introduction of the character in other media, such as television, music, literature, and video games. Its character has been one of the most recognizable symbols in Japanese popular culture worldwide and remains a well-known facet of Japanese films, and was one of the first examples of the popular kaiju and tokusatsu subgenres in Japanese entertainment.

The tone and themes of the individual films vary widely. Several of the films have political themes, others have dark tones, complex internal mythology, or are simple action movies featuring aliens or other monsters, while others have simpler themes accessible to children.[11] Godzilla's role varies from purely a destructive force to an ally of humans, or a protector of Japanese values, or a hero to children. The name Godzilla is a romanization of the original Japanese name Gojira—which is a combination of two Japanese words: gorira (ゴリラ), "gorilla", and kujira (クジラ), "whale". The word alludes to the size, power and aquatic origin of Godzilla. As developed by Toho, the monster is an offshoot of the combination of radioactivity and ancient dinosaur-like creatures, indestructible and possessing special powers (see Godzilla characteristics).


The Godzilla film series is broken into several (different) eras reflecting a characteristic style and corresponding to the same eras used to classify all kaiju eiga (monster movies) in Japan. The first two eras refer to the Japanese emperor during production: the Shōwa era and the Heisei era. The third is called the Millennium era as the emperor (Heisei) is the same but these films are considered to have a different style and storyline than the Heisei era.

Over the series history, the films have reflected the social and political climate in Japan.[12] In the original film, Godzilla was an allegory for the effects of the hydrogen bomb, and the consequences that such weapons might have on earth.[13][14][15][16] The radioactive contamination of the Japanese fishing boat Daigo Fukuryū Maru through the United States' Castle Bravo thermonuclear device test on Bikini Atoll on March 1, 1954, led to much press coverage in Japan preceding the release of the first movie in 1954. The Heisei and Millennium series have largely continued this concept.

Shōwa period (1954–1975)[edit]

Godzilla (and offspring) featured in Toho's Shōwa, Heisei and Millennium films

The initial series of movies is named for the Shōwa period in Japan (as all of these films were produced before Emperor Hirohito's death in 1989). This Shōwa timeline spanned from 1954, with Godzilla, to 1975, with Terror of Mechagodzilla. With the exceptions of Godzilla, Godzilla Raids Again, Mothra vs. Godzilla and Terror of Mechagodzilla, much of the Shōwa series is relatively light-hearted. Starting with Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Godzilla began evolving into a friendlier, more playful antihero (this transition was complete by Son of Godzilla, where it is shown as a good character), and as years went by, it evolved into an anthropomorphic superhero. Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster was also significant for introducing Godzilla's archenemy and the main antagonist of the series, King Ghidorah. The films Son of Godzilla and All Monsters Attack were aimed at youthful audiences, featuring the appearance of Godzilla's son, Minilla. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla was notable for introducing Godzilla's robotic arch foe and secondary villain of the movie series Mechagodzilla. The Shōwa period tied loosely in to a number of Toho- produced films in which Godzilla himself did not appear and consequently saw the addition of many monsters into the Godzilla continuity, three of which (Mothra, Rodan, and Varan) originated in their own solo movies and another three (Baragon, Manda, and Gorosaurus) appeared in their first films as antagonistic or secondary characters.

Haruo Nakajima mainly portrayed Godzilla since 1954 until his retirement in 1972. However, other stunt actors portrayed the character in his absence, such as Katsumi Tezuka, Yū Sekida, Ryosaku Takasugi, Seiji Onaka, Shinji Takagi, Isao Zushi, and Toru Kawai.[17][18] Eiji Tsuburaya directed the special effects for the first six films of the series. His protege Sadamasa Arikawa took over the effects work for the next three films (with Tsuburaya supervising), while Teruyoshi Nakano directed the special effects for the last six films of the series.

Heisei period (1984–1995)[edit]

Toho rebooted the series in 1984 with The Return of Godzilla, starting the second era of Godzilla films, known as the Heisei series. The Return of Godzilla serves as a direct sequel to the original 1954 film and ignores the afterward events of the Showa era. The Return of Godzilla was released in 1984, five years before the new emperor, but is considered part of this era, as it is a direct predecessor to Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989), which came out in the first year of the new emperor's reign.[19]

The Heisei films are set in a single timeline, with each film providing continuity to another film, and brings Godzilla back as a destructive force of nature that is feared by humans. The biological nature and science behind Godzilla became a much more discussed issue in the films, showing the increased focus on the moral aspects of genetics. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah gave the first concrete birth story for Godzilla, featuring a "Godzillasaurus" dinosaur-like creature that was mutated by radiation into Godzilla. Godzilla was portrayed by Kenpachiro Satsuma for the Heisei films while the special effects were directed by Koichi Kawakita, with the exception of The Return of Godzilla, for which the effects were directed by Teruyoshi Nakano.

Millennium period (1999–2004)[edit]

Toho rebooted the franchise for a second time, with the 1999 film Godzilla 2000, starting the third era of Godzilla films, known as the Millennium series. The Millennium series is treated similarly to an anthology series where each film, with the exception of Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla and Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., is set in its own timeline and follows-up the events of the original 1954 Godzilla film, but ignores the events of the Shōwa and Heisei eras.

After the release of 2004's Godzilla: Final Wars, marking the 50th anniversary of the Godzilla film franchise, Toho declared that it would not produce another Godzilla film for another ten years. Toho also demolished the water stage on its lot used in numerous Godzilla, kaiju and tokusatsu films.[20] Yoshimitsu Banno, who had directed 1971's Godzilla vs. Hedorah, secured the rights from Toho to make an IMAX 3D short film production, based on a story similar to his Hedorah film. This project eventually led to the development of Legendary's 2014 film.

Tsutomu Kitagawa portrayed Godzilla for the majority of the Millennium films, with the exception of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, whom Godzilla was portrayed by Mizuho Yoshida. Unlike the Showa and later Heisei films, the special effects for the Millennium films were directed by multiple effects directors such as Kenji Suzuki (Godzilla 2000, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus), Makoto Kamiya (Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack), Yuichi Kikuchi (Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla), and Eiichi Asada (Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., Godzilla: Final Wars).

Toho reboot (2016–present)[edit]

Godzilla featured in Shin Godzilla (2016)

In December 2014, Toho announced plans for a new Godzilla film of their own for a 2016 release.[21] The film is intended to be Toho's own reboot of the Godzilla franchise and is co-directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi (both who collaborated on the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion), with the screenplay written by Anno and the special effects directed by Higuchi.[22][23][24] Principal photography began on September and ended in October with the special effects work following in November that year.[25][26] Shin Godzilla was released in Japan on July 29, 2016, in IMAX, 4DX, and MX4D to positive reviews and was a box office success.[27]

In August 2016, Toho announced plans for an anime Godzilla film, simply titled Godzilla, set for a 2017 release date, with Polygon Pictures animating the film, Gen Urobuchi writing the screenplay and the film to be co-directed by Kobun Shizuno and Hiroyuki Seshita.[28]

American films[edit]

In 1956, Jewell Enterprises Inc., licensed Godzilla and produced an "Americanized"[b] version of the film Godzilla, King of the Monsters!. The film utilized a majority of the footage from the Japanese original but a majority of the political themes and social commentaries were removed, resulting in 30 minutes of footage from the Japanese original replaced with new scenes shot exclusively for the film featuring Raymond Burr interacting with Japanese actors and look-alikes to make it seem like Burr was a part of the original Japanese production. In addition, sound-effects and soundtracks were tweaked and some dialogue was dubbed into English. Similar "Americanizations" occurred for the North American releases of King Kong vs. Godzilla and Godzilla 1985, the latter which included Burr reprising the role of American journalist Steve Martin.[citation needed]

In 1957, producer Harry Rybnick attempted to produce a Hollywood remake of Godzilla Raids Again, entitled The Volcano Monsters, however, funding from AB-PT Pictures collapsed after the company closed down and Godzilla Raids Again was instead dubbed in English and released in 1958 as Gigantis, the Fire Monster.[34]

Storyboard panel by William Stout for Steve Miner's proposed Godzilla 3D film

In 1965, Toho co-produced Invasion of Astro-Monster with American studio UPA, marking the first time a Godzilla film was co-produced with an American studio.

In the 1980s, filmmaker Steve Miner pitched his idea for an American 3D production of Godzilla to Toho, with story boards by William Stout and a script written by Fred Dekker, titled Godzilla, King of the Monsters in 3D which featured Godzilla destroying San Francisco in an attempt to find its only offspring.[35] Various studios and producers showed interest in the project but passed it over due to high budget concerns.[36] The film would have featured a full scale animatronic Godzilla head built by Rick Baker, stop motion animation executed by David W. Allen, additional storyboards by Doug Wildey, an articulated stop motion Godzilla figure created by Stephen Czerkas, and the production design overseen by William Stout.[37][38]

TriStar Pictures (1998–2000)[edit]

Godzilla featured in Godzilla (1998)

In October 1992, TriStar Pictures acquired the rights from Toho with plans to produce a trilogy of Godzilla films.[39] Director Jan de Bont and writers Terry Rossio and Ted Eliott developed an early version that would have involved Godzilla battling a shape-shifting extraterrestrial. However, De Bont eventually left the project after budget disagreements with the studio.[40] Roland Emmerich (to direct and co-write) and Dean Devlin (to produce and co-write) were eventually hired for the film.

Godzilla was released in May 1998 to negative reviews from critics and fans[41][42] and was a moderate box office success, grossing $136 million domestically and $379 million worldwide.[43] Planned sequels were aborted and a weekly animated series was produced instead.[44] TriStar held on to the Godzilla license until it expired and reverted to Toho in 2003. After 2004, Toho began trademarking future incarnations of TriStar's Godzilla as "Zilla" for future appearances, with only the incarnations from the 1998 film and Godzilla: The Series retaining the Godzilla copyright and trademark.[42][45]

Legendary Pictures (2014–present)[edit]

Godzilla featured in Godzilla (2014)

In 2004, director Yoshimitsu Banno acquired permission from Toho to produce a short IMAX Godzilla film. In development for several years, the project was eventually turned over to Legendary Pictures, which decided to make a feature film reboot.[46][47][48] Announced in 2010, the film was co-produced with Warner Bros. Pictures and was directed by Gareth Edwards.[49][50] Filming was completed in 2013 in Canada and the United States for release in 2014.[51]

Godzilla was released in May 2014 to positive reviews from critics and fans[52][53] and was a box office success, grossing $200 million domestically and $529 million worldwide.[54] The film's success prompted Toho to produce a reboot of their own and Legendary to proceed with sequels and a shared cinematic franchise,[55] with Godzilla: King of the Monsters[9] set to be released on March 22, 2019, and Godzilla vs. Kong[55] set to be released on May 29, 2020.[56]


From 1954 through 2016, there have been 29 Godzilla films produced by Toho in Japan. There have been several American productions: adaptations including Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, King Kong vs. Godzilla and Godzilla 1985, and two complete Hollywood productions: the 1998 Godzilla by TriStar Pictures and the 2014 Godzilla by Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures.

Toho productions[edit]

  • Official Toho title
  • (alternate English titles)
Year Director Effects director Monster co-star(s) Godzilla
Current US licences/media


1954 Ishirō Honda Eiji Tsuburaya None Haruo Nakajima, Katsumi Tezuka Universal[57] – DVD/Blu-ray
Criterion Collection – DVD/Blu-ray

Godzilla Raids Again

  • (Gigantis, The Fire Monster)
1955 Motoyoshi Oda Eiji Tsuburaya Anguirus Haruo Nakajima Universal[57] – DVD
3 King Kong vs. Godzilla 1962 Ishirō Honda Eiji Tsuburaya King Kong, Giant Octopus[58] Haruo Nakajima, Katsumi Tezuka Universal[57] – DVD/Blu-ray

Mothra vs. Godzilla

  • (Godzilla vs. the Thing; Godzilla vs. Mothra)
1964 Ishirō Honda Eiji Tsuburaya Mothra (larva and adult) Skeleturtle Haruo Nakajima, Katsumi Tezuka Universal[57] – DVD

Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

  • (Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster)
1964 Ishirō Honda Eiji Tsuburaya King Ghidorah, Rodan, Mothra (larva) Haruo Nakajima, Katsumi Tezuka Universal[57] – DVD

Invasion of Astro-Monster

  • (Monster Zero; Godzilla vs. Monster Zero)
1965 Ishirō Honda Eiji Tsuburaya Rodan, King Ghidorah Haruo Nakajima Universal[57] – DVD

Ebirah, Horror of the Deep

  • (Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster)
1966 Jun Fukuda Sadamasa Arikawa, under the supervision of Eiji Tsuburaya Ebirah, Mothra (adult), Giant Condor Haruo Nakajima Kraken Releasing – DVD/Blu-ray
8 Son of Godzilla 1967 Jun Fukuda Sadamasa Arikawa, under the supervision of Eiji Tsuburaya Minilla, Kamacuras, Kumonga Yu Sekida, Haruo Nakajima, Seiji Onaka Sony – DVD
9 Destroy All Monsters 1968 Ishirō Honda Sadamasa Arikawa, under the supervision of Eiji Tsuburaya Minilla, Anguirus, Rodan, Mothra (larva), Kumonga, Gorosaurus, Varan, Baragon, Manda, King Ghidorah Haruo Nakajima Media Blasters – DVD/Blu-ray

All Monsters Attack

  • (Godzilla's Revenge)
1969 Ishirō Honda Ishirō Honda Minilla, Gabara, Maneater Haruo Nakajima Universal[57] – DVD

Godzilla vs. Hedorah

  • (Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster)
1971 Yoshimitsu Banno Teruyoshi Nakano Hedorah Haruo Nakajima Kraken Releasing – DVD/Blu-ray

Godzilla vs. Gigan

  • (Godzilla on Monster Island; War of the Monsters)
1972 Jun Fukuda Teruyoshi Nakano Gigan, King Ghidorah, Anguirus Haruo Nakajima Kraken Releasing – DVD/Blu-ray
13 Godzilla vs. Megalon 1973 Jun Fukuda Teruyoshi Nakano Megalon, Gigan, Jet Jaguar, Anguirus Shinji Takagi Media Blasters – DVD/Blu-ray

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

  • (Godzilla vs. the Bionic Monster; Godzilla vs. the Cosmic Monster)
1974 Jun Fukuda Teruyoshi Nakano Mechagodzilla, Anguirus, King Caesar Isao Zushi Sony – DVD

Terror of Mechagodzilla

  • (The Terror of Godzilla; Monsters from an Unknown Planet)
1975 Ishirō Honda Teruyoshi Nakano Mechagodzilla, Titanosaurus Toru Kawai Universal[57] – DVD

The Return of Godzilla

1984 Koji Hashimoto Teruyoshi Nakano Shockirus Kenpachiro Satsuma Kraken Releasing – DVD/Blu-ray[59]
17 Godzilla vs. Biollante 1989 Kazuki Omori Koichi Kawakita Biollante Kenpachiro Satsuma Echo Bridge Entertainment – DVD/Blu-ray
18 Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah 1991 Kazuki Omori Koichi Kawakita King Ghidorah, Mecha-King Ghidorah, Dorats, Godzillasaurus Kenpachiro Satsuma Sony – VHS/DVD/Blu-ray

Godzilla vs. Mothra

  • (Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth)
1992 Takao Okawara Koichi Kawakita Mothra (larva and adult), Battra (larva and adult) Kenpachiro Satsuma Sony – VHS/DVD/Blu-ray

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II

  • (Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla)
1993 Takao Okawara Koichi Kawakita Mechagodzilla, Super Mechagodzilla, Godzilla Junior, Rodan, Fire Rodan Kenpachiro Satsuma Sony – VHS/DVD/Blu-ray
21 Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla 1994 Kensho Yamashita Koichi Kawakita SpaceGodzilla, Moguera, Godzilla Junior, Fairy Mothra Kenpachiro Satsuma Sony – VHS/DVD/Blu-ray

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah

  • (Godzilla vs. Destoroyer)[60]
1995 Takao Okawara Koichi Kawakita Destoroyah, Godzilla Junior Kenpachiro Satsuma Sony – VHS/DVD/Blu-ray

Godzilla 2000: Millennium

  • (Godzilla 2000)
1999 Takao Okawara Kenji Suzuki Orga, Millennian Tsutomu Kitagawa Sony – VHS/DVD/Blu-ray

Godzilla vs. Megaguirus

  • (Godzilla X Megaguirus: The G Extermination Strategy)[61]
2000 Masaaki Tezuka Kenji Suzuki Meganulon, Meganula, Megaguirus Tsutomu Kitagawa Sony – DVD/Blu-ray

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack

2001 Shusuke Kaneko Makoto Kamiya and Shinji Higuchi Baragon, Mothra (larva and adult), King Ghidorah Mizuho Yoshida Sony – DVD/Blu-ray

Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla

  • (Godzilla X Mechagodzilla)[61]
2002 Masaaki Tezuka Yûichi Kikuchi Mechagodzilla (as Kiryu) Tsutomu Kitagawa Sony – DVD/Blu-ray

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.

  • (Godzilla X Mothra X Mechagodzilla: Tokyo SOS)[61]
2003 Masaaki Tezuka Eiichi Asada Mechagodzilla (as Kiryu), Mothra (larva and adult), Kamoebas Tsutomu Kitagawa Sony – DVD/Blu-ray
28 Godzilla: Final Wars 2004 Ryuhei Kitamura Eiichi Asada Gigan, Monster X, Keizer Ghidorah, Minilla, King Caesar, Rodan, Anguirus, Mothra (adult), Manda, Kamacuras, Hedorah, Ebirah, Kumonga, Zilla Tsutomu Kitagawa Sony – DVD/Blu-ray

Shin Godzilla

  • (Godzilla Resurgence)[63]
2016 Hideaki Anno
Shinji Higuchi
Shinji Higuchi None Mansai Nomura[64] Funimation[65] – DVD/Blu-ray


2017 Kobun Shizuno
Hiroyuki Seshita

American productions[edit]

# Title Year Director(s) Effects director Monster co-star(s) Current US licences/media
1 Godzilla, King of the Monsters! 1956 Ishirō Honda
Terry O. Morse
Eiji Tsuburaya None Universal – DVD / Blu-ray
2 King Kong vs. Godzilla 1963 Ishirō Honda
Thomas Montgomery
Eiji Tsuburaya King Kong, Giant Octopus[58] Universal – DVD / Blu-ray
3 Monster Zero X 1970 Ishirō Honda Eiji Tsuburaya Rodan, King Ghidorah Universal – DVD
Simitar – DVD / VHS
4 Godzilla 1985 1985 Koji Hashimoto
R.J. Kizer
Teruyoshi Nakano Shockirus New World Pictures – VHS
Starmaker – VHS
Anchor Bay – VHS
5 Godzilla * 1998 Roland Emmerich Volker Engel Baby Godzilla Sony – DVD / Blu-ray
6 Godzilla * 2014 Gareth Edwards Jim Rygiel MUTO (male and female) Warner Bros. – DVD / Blu-ray
7 Godzilla: King of the Monsters * 2019 Michael Dougherty Unknown TBA Warner Bros. – DVD / Blu-ray
8 Godzilla vs. Kong * 2020 TBA Unknown King Kong Warner Bros. – DVD / Blu-ray

† Japanese films that featured additional footage shot by small American studios exclusively for their North American releases.
X Co-production between Japanese studio Toho and American studio UPA.
* Hollywood productions

Box office performance[edit]

Below is a chart listing the number of tickets sold for each Godzilla film in Japan including the imported Hollywood films. The films are listed from the most attended to the least attended. Almost all of the 1960s films were reissued, so the lifetime number of tickets sold is listed in small print underneath the initial release ticket numbers.



Year Tickets sold

King Kong vs. Godzilla

1962 11.2 million
  • Film has lifetime gross of 12.55 million


1954 9.61 million

Godzilla Raids Again

1955 8.34 million

Shin Godzilla

2016 5.69 million

Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

1964 4.32 million
  • Film has lifetime gross of 5.41 million

Godzilla vs. Mothra

1992 4.2 million

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah

1995 4 million


1998 3.9 million

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II

1993 3.8 million

Invasion of Astro-Monster

1965 3.78 million
  • Film has lifetime gross of 5.13 million

Mothra vs. Godzilla

1964 3.51 million
  • Film has lifetime gross of 7.2 million

Ebirah, Horror of the Deep

1966 3.45 million
  • Film has lifetime gross of 4.21 million

Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla

1994 3.4 million

The Return of Godzilla

1984 3.2 million

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah

1991 2.7 million

Destroy All Monsters

1968 2.58 million

Son of Godzilla

1967 2.48 million
  • Film has lifetime gross of 3.09 million

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack

2001 2.4 million


2014 2.18 million

Godzilla vs. Biollante

1989 2.01 million

Godzilla 2000: Millennium

1999 2 million

Godzilla vs. Gigan

1972 1.78 million

Godzilla vs. Hedorah

1971 1.74 million

Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla

2002 1.7 million

All Monsters Attack

1969 1.48 million

Godzilla vs. Megaguirus

2000 1.35 million

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

1974 1.33 million

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.

2003 1.1 million

Godzilla: Final Wars

2004 1 million

Godzilla vs. Megalon

1973 0.98 million

Terror of Mechagodzilla

1975 0.97 million
  • 1 American films

Italian Godzilla, aka Cozzilla[edit]

In 1976, Italian director Luigi Cozzi intended to re-release Godzilla in Italy. Facing resistance from exhibitors to showing a black and white film, Cozzi instead licensed a negative of Godzilla, King of the Monsters from Toho and created a new movie in color, adding lots of stock footage of graphic death and destruction and short scenes from newsreel footage from World War II, which he released as Godzilla in 1977. The film was colorized using a process called Spectrorama 70, where color gels are put on the original black and white film, becoming one of the first black and white movies to be colorized. Dialogue was dubbed into Italian and new music was added. After the initial Italian run, the negative became Toho property and prints have only been exhibited in Italy. Italian firm Yamato Video at one time intended to release the colorized version on a double DVD along with the original Godzilla.[66][67]

Guest appearances[edit]

In 2007, a CGI Godzilla appeared in the Toho slice of life movie Always Zoku Sanchōme no Yūhi (Always Sunset on Third Street 2). In an imaginary sequence, Godzilla destroys part of 1959 Tokyo, with one of the main protagonists getting angry that Godzilla damaged his car showroom. The making of the sequence was kept a secret. Godzilla has been referenced and has briefly appeared in several other films.[68][69] Godzilla guest starred in the show Crayon Shin-chan as an antagonist.[70] Godzilla also appears in The Lego Batman Movie.[71]

Other media[edit]

Video games[edit]

A game called Gojira-kun (which was previously to be titled "Gojiraland"[72]) was released for the MSX in 1985. The art style is similar to the style used in the Godzilland OVA's.

In 1990, Gojira-kun: Kaijū Daikōshin was released for the Game Boy. It featured sprites that were similar to the ones used in Gojira-kun. The game included cut scenes that depicted a different style to the rest of the game.

Legendary's Godzilla was featured as a playable character in Bandai Namco's 2014 video game Godzilla as "Hollywood Godzilla".[73]

The widely popular video game Pokémon has made multiple references to Godzilla. The Dark/Rock type Pokémon Tyranitar is a direct reference to Godzilla. The Pokémon's appearance is a large green lizard monster type creature who is characterised as an unstoppable force.


Main article: Godzilla (comics)

A Godzilla series of books was published by Random House during the late 1990s. The company created different series for different age groups, the Scott Ciencin series being aimed at children. Several manga have been derived from specific Godzilla films, and both Marvel and Dark Horse have published Godzilla comic book series (1977–1979 and 1987–1999, respectively). In 2011, IDW Publishing started a new series Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters rebooting the Godzilla story.

To tie-in with the 2014 film, three books were published. Titan Books published a novelization of the movie in May 2014, written by Greg Cox. The Godzilla: Awakening graphic novel by Max Borenstein, Greg Borenstein and Eric Battle served as a prequel, and Godzilla: The Art of Destruction by Mark Cotta about the making of the movie.

Godzilla has been referenced in The Simpsons comics on three separate occasions. The character is featured in "Bart Simpson's Guide to Life" where it and other kaiju characters such as Minya and Ghidrah can be seen; it is featured in the comic "An Anime Among us!" and "K-Bart". Godzilla is also featured in the comic "Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror 7" where it and other kaijus can be seen referenced on the front cover.


Blue Öyster Cult released the song "Godzilla" in 1977. Artists such as Fu Manchu, Racer X and Double Experience have included cover versions of this song on their albums.

American musician Michale Graves wrote a song titled "Godzilla" for his 2005 album, "Punk Rock Is Dead." The lyrics mention Godzilla and several on-screen adversaries such as Mothra, Hedorah, Destroyah, and Gigan.[74]

The Brazilian heavy metal band Sepultura has a song titled "Biotech is Godzilla" on its 1993 release "Chaos A.D."[75]

The French death metal band Gojira named the band after Godzilla's name in Japanese.

The song "Simon Says" by Pharoahe Monch is a hip-hop remix of the Godzilla March theme song. The instrumental version of this song was notably used in the 2000 film Charlie's Angels.

The British band Lostprophets released a song called "We Are Godzilla, You Are Japan" on its second studio album Start Something.

The American punk band Groovie Ghoulies released a song called "Hats off to You (Godzilla)" as a tribute to Godzilla. It is featured on the EP 'Freaks on Parade' released in 2002.

The American artist Doctor Steel released a song called 'Atomic Superstar' about Godzilla on his album "People of Earth" in 2002.

In 2003, the British singer Siouxsie Sioux released the album Hai! with her band The Creatures; the album had a Japanese theme with a song dedicated to the monster, simply titled "Godzilla!"

The record label Shifty issued compilation Destroysall with 15 songs from 15 bands, ranging from hardcore punk to doom-laden death metal. Not all songs are dedicated to Godzilla, but all do appear connected to monsters from Toho studios. Fittingly, the disc was released on August 1, 2003, the 35th anniversary of the Japanese release of Destroy All Monsters.

King Geedorah (aka MF DOOM) released Take Me to Your Leader, a hip-hop album featuring guests from the group Monsta Island Czars, another Godzilla-themed hip hop group. These albums include multiple Godzilla samples throughout the series.


In Japan, Godzilla appeared in several episodes of Toho's live-action Zone Fighter television program in 1973. Also in Japan, Godzilla (along with a plethora of other kaiju) appeared in an animated toy show called Godzilla Island that ran in 1997–1998.

Between 1994 and 1996, four 30 minute episode OVA's were created featuring Godzilla and various other kaiju monsters from the Showa series of movies. The characters were depicted in a cute and friendly 'chibi'-esque anime style. The series of OVA's was titled "GodzillLand" (ゴジランド Gojirando) and was aimed at primary school aged children. This series featured Godzilla (the main protagonist), Gojirin (a pink female version of Godzilla), Minilla (Godzilla Junior), Mothra (and two larvae versions of Mothra), King Ghidorah, Gigan, Hedorah (who is depicted as female in this adaption), Moguera, Baragon, MechaGodzilla, Anguirus and Ebirah. The Godzilland series was conceived initially to sell merchandise for the Godzilla franchise. The depictions of Godzilla and the various other kaiju were featured on stickers, toys, cards and board games.

The Educational media company Gakken released 2 additional direct to video shorts of Godzilland which were both named under "Recommend! Godzilland" (すすめ!ゴジランド Susume! Gojirando) in 1994. The main purpose of these two video shorts were for teaching kids how to write in Hiragana (すすめ!ゴジランド~ひらがな - Susume! Gojirando ~ hi-ra ga na) and the other was intended to teach Japanese children how to count. ( すすめ!ゴジランド~かず1・2・3 – Susume! Gojirando ~ kazu 1 2 3). Both specials featured all the characters who were in the Godzilland TV anime series. Two other TV specials were released two years later by the same company, but had different educational topics. These two specials were centered around Math. The first of these two specials was called "すすめ!ゴジランド-ゴジラとあそぼう たしざん - Susume! Gojirando – Gojira to asobouta shizan and the second was titled "すすめ!ゴジランド ゴジラとあそぼう ひきざん - Susume! Gojirando Gojira to asobou hiki zan. These two specials centered around Addition and Subtraction.

Godzilland also included live action segments, which featured a human girl and an actor in a Godzilla suit. The segments would consist of Godzilla telling the human character about his childhood stories.

The success of the Godzilla franchise has spawned two American Saturday morning cartoons: the first one produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions, Godzilla, and the second one produced by Sony Pictures Television, Godzilla: The Series, a cartoon sequel to the 1998 film. Both series feature an investigative scientific team who call upon Godzilla as an ally, as making several homages to the Shōwa films and several antagonist monsters have been inspired by extant Toho creations.

In 1991, two Godzilla films, Godzilla vs. Megalon and Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, were shown on the movie-mocking TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000.

A creature resembling Godzilla in parody, alongside another parody character resembling what appears to be a cross between Ultraman and Kamen Rider, appears in the television special Olive, The Other Reindeer during the song Merry Christmas After All, during part of which Olive, Santa, and the other reindeer are shown passing through Tokyo delivering gifts. The two characters are shown to be friendly and taking part in the song and dance routine shown to include numerous figures, both real and fictional, in the show in various locations visited by the team as they make Santa's annual trip around the world.

Godzilla made an appearance in a Nike commercial, in which Godzilla (creature created at ILM) went one-on-one with NBA star Charles Barkley.

Godzilla has been referenced multiple times in the american animated TV sitcom The Simpsons. Godzilla first appeared in the episode "Lisa on Ice" when Lisa imagines herself on Monster Island and is chased by various kaijus, including Godzilla. It has also been referenced in "Treehouse of Horror VI", "Mayored to the Mob" (where Godzilla can be seen signing autographs at Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con), "Thirty Minutes over Tokyo" (in which the plane carrying the Simpson family is being attacked by Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan and Gamera), "Simpsons Tall Tales", "Treehouse of Horror XVI", "Homerazzi", "Wedding for Disaster", "The Real Housewives of Fat Tony", "Treehouse of Horror XXIV" and "Treehouse of Horror XXVI".

# Title Year Monster Co-star(s) Licences/Media
1 Zone Fighter 1973 Red Spark, Jikiro, Destro-King, Dorora, Wargilgar, Spyler, King Ghidorah, Dragon King, Gilmaras, Gelderah, Spideros, Garoga Gorilla, Shadorah, Shipdoror, Gigan, Barakidon, Garaborg, Detragon, Zandora, Mogranda, Balgaras, Gundarguirus, Goram, Jellar, Kastom Jellar, Super Jikiro, Bakugon, Needlar, Kabutogirah, Grotogauros Unknown
2 Godzilla 1978 Godzooky, Fire Bird, Earth Eater, Stone Creatures, Megavolt Monsters, Seaweed Monster, Energy Beast, Colossus, Horror, Chimera, Minotaur, Magnetic Monster, Breeder Beast, Great Watchuka, Diplodocus, Time Dragon, Giant Squid, Giant Fly, Axor, Power Dragon, Giant Octopus, Cyborg Whale, Giant Bee, Giant Dragonfly, Giant Ant, Giant Beetle, Giant Black Widow, Moon Lode, Magma Lizard, Macro-Crab, Macro-Electric Eel, Macro-Manta, Macro-Sea Horse, Golden Guardians Universal – DVD
3 Godzilla Island 1997 Godzilla Junior, Mothra, Battra, Rodan, King Ghidorah, Mecha-King Ghidorah, Mechagodzilla, Anguirus, Gigan, Hedorah, SpaceGodzilla, Destoroyah, Baragon, King Caesar, Moguera, Megalon, Gorosaurus, Kamacuras, Jet Jaguar, Dogora Unknown
4 Godzilla: The Series 1998 Crustaceous Rex, Giant Squids, Nanotech Creature, El Gusano, Cyber-Flies, Huge Rat, Cryptocleidus, Reptilians, Crackler, Queen Bee, Quetzalcoatl, Ice Borers, Loch Ness Monster, Giant Albino Yeti/Robo-Yeti, King Cobra, Termite Queen, Giant Bat, Cyber-Godzilla, Chameleon, Bacillus, Giant Mutant Widow Spider, Techno-Sentient, Silver Hydra, D.N.A. Mimic, Lizard Slayers, Swamp Beast, Fire Monster, Norzzug, Giant Mutant Hummingbirds, Medusa, Giant Gila Monster, Megapede/Giant Cicada, Giant Centipede, Ts-eh-Go, Armillaria, Shrewster, Skeetera, D.R.A.G.M.A.s, Mutant Jellyfish, Komodithrax, Giant Turtle, Thorny Devil, Giant Armadillo, Desert Lizard, Desert Rat, Deep-Dweller, Rhinosaurus, Giant Water Beetle Mill Creek Entertainment – DVD

Cultural impact[edit]

Godzilla is one of the most recognizable symbols of Japanese popular culture worldwide and is an important facet of Japanese films, embodying the kaiju subset of the tokusatsu genre. It has been considered a filmographic metaphor for the United States (with the "-zilla" part of the name being used in vernacular language as a suffix to indicate something of exaggerate proportions), as well as an allegory of nuclear weapons in general. The earlier Godzilla films, especially the original Godzilla, portrayed Godzilla as a frightening, nuclear monster. Godzilla represented the fears that many Japanese held about the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the possibility of recurrence.[76]

At least two prehistoric creatures from the fossil record have been named after Godzilla. Gojirasaurus quayi is a theropod dinosaur that lived in the Triassic Period; a partial skeleton was unearthed in Quay County, New Mexico. Dakosaurus andiniensis, a crocodile from the Jurassic Period, was nicknamed "Godzilla" before being scientifically classified.

In 2010 the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society named their most recently acquired scout vessel MV Gojira. Toho, the people in charge of the Godzilla franchise, served them with a notice to remove the name and in response the boat's name was changed in May 2011 to MV Brigitte Bardot.[77]


  • 1954 Japan Movie Association Awards – Special Effects (Godzilla 1954)[78]
  • 1965 Japan Academy Award – Best Score (Mothra vs. Godzilla)
  • 1966 Japan Academy Award – Special Effects (Invasion of Astro Monster)
  • 1986 Japan Academy Award – Special Effects and Newcomer of the Year (The Return of Godzilla)
  • 1986 Razzie Awards – Worst Supporting Actor and Worst New Star (The Return of Godzilla)
  • 1992 Japan Academy Award – Special Effects (Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah)
  • 1993 Tokyo Sports Movie Awards – Best Leading Actor (Godzilla vs. Mothra)
  • 1993 Best Grossing Films Award – Golden Award and Money-Making Star Award (Godzilla vs. Mothra)
  • 1993 Japan Academy Award – Best Score (Godzilla vs. Mothra)
  • 1994 Japan Academy Award – Best Score (Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II)
  • 1995 Best Grossing Films Award – Silver Award (Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla)
  • 1996 Best Grossing Films Award – Golden Award (Godzilla vs. Destoroyah)
  • 1996 Japan Academy Award – Special Effects (Godzilla vs. Destoroyah)
  • 1996 MTV Movie Awards – Lifetime Achievement*
  • 1998 Golden Raspberry Awards – Worst Supporting Actress and Worst Remake or Sequel (Godzilla 1998)
  • 1999 Saturn Awards – Best Special Effects (Godzilla 1998)
  • 2001 Saturn Awards – Best Home Video Release (Godzilla 2000)
  • 2002 Best Grossing Films Award – Silver Award (Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack)
  • 2004 Hollywood Walk of Fame[79]
  • 2007 Saturn Awards – Best DVD Classic Film Release (Godzilla 1954)
  • 2014 22nd Annual Japan Cool Content Contribution Award (Godzilla 2014)[80]

(*) In 1996 Godzilla received an award for Lifetime Achievement at the MTV Movie Awards. Creator and producer Shōgo Tomiyama accepted on his behalf via satellite and was joined by "Godzilla" himself.

See also[edit]


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  • Ryfle, Steve (1998). Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of the Big G. ECW Press. ISBN 1-55022-348-8. 
  • Tsutsui, William (2004). Godzilla on my mind: fifty years of the king of monsters. New York City: Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN 1-4039-6474-2. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Galbraith, Stuart. Japanese Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films: A Critical Analysis of 103 Features Released in the United States, 1950–1992. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. 1994.

External links[edit]