Invasion of Astro-Monster

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Invasion of Astro-Monster
Invasion of Astro-Monster poster.jpg
Directed by Ishirō Honda
Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
Written by Shinichi Sekizawa
Starring Nick Adams
Akira Takarada
Kumi Mizuno
Jun Tazaki
Akira Kubo
Yoshio Tsuchiya
Haruo Nakajima
Music by Akira Ifukube
Cinematography Hajime Koizumi
Edited by Ryohei Fujii
Distributed by Toho
Release dates
December 19, 1965
July 29, 1970
Running time
94 minutes
92 minutes
Country Japan
United States
Language Japanese

Invasion of Astro-Monster, known in Japan as Kaijū Daisensō (怪獣大戦争?, lit. "Great Monster War"), is a 1965 Japanese/American science fiction kaiju TohoScope film directed by Ishirō Honda and featuring special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. It is the sixth film in the Godzilla film series. The film was co-produced between the Japanese company Toho, and Henry G. Saperstein's American company UPA, marking the first time a Godzilla film was co-produced with an American studio. The cast included American actor Nick Adams and Japanese actors Akira Takarada, Kumi Mizuno and Akira Kubo. The film is the first in the franchise to feature alien invaders, combining the series with outer space themes such as civilizations on other planets and interplanetary space travel.

The film was released theatrically in the United States in the summer of 1970 by Maron Films as Monster Zero, where it played nationwide on a double bill with War of the Gargantuas.


In the 1960s, two astronauts, Fuji and Glenn, are sent to investigate the surface of the mysterious "Planet X". There they encounter advanced and seemingly benevolent human-like beings called the Xiliens and their leader The Controller. The aliens usher the astronauts into their underground base, and moments later the surface is attacked by a creature the Xiliens call "Monster Zero", but which the astronauts recognize as King Ghidorah, a planet-destroying monster that had attacked Earth once before. The monster eventually leaves, but the Controller states that Ghidorah has been attacking repeatedly, forcing them to live underground in constant fear. He requests to borrow the Earth monsters Godzilla and Rodan to act as sentries against Ghidorah's attacks, in return for the cure for cancer (the English dub says the formula can cure any disease). The astronauts return to Earth and deliver the message.

Meanwhile, an inventor named Tetsuo has designed a personal alarm that emits an ear-splitting electric siren. He sells it to a businesswoman named Namikawa, but she disappears before paying him. Tetsuo is romantically involved with Fuji's sister, Haruno, but Fuji disapproves and berates him for getting scammed. Tetsuo sees Namikawa with Glenn and later follows her, but he is captured and imprisoned by Xilien spies.

Glenn and Fuji begin to worry that the Xiliens may have ulterior motives. Their suspicions appear confirmed when three Xilien spacecraft appear in Japan. The Controller apologizes for coming to Earth without permission. The Xiliens locate Godzilla and Rodan, both sleeping, and use their technology to transport them to Planet X. They also bring Glenn, Fuji, and the scientist Sakurai with them. After a brief confrontation, the Earth monsters succeed in driving Ghidorah away. Glenn and Fuji sneak away during the battle and encounter two Xilien women, both of whom look identical to Namikawa. Xilien guards confront the astronauts and bring them back to the Controller, who reprimands but does not punish them. The astronauts are given a tape with instructions for the miracle cure and sent home, leaving Godzilla and Rodan behind. The tape is played for the world's leaders, but instead it contains an ultimatum demanding that they surrender Earth to the Xiliens or be destroyed by Godzilla, Rodan, and Ghidorah, who are under the aliens' control.

Glenn storms into Namikawa's office and finds her in Xilien garb. She admits that she is one of their spies, but confesses that she has fallen in love with him. Her commander arrives to arrest Glenn and executes Namikawa for letting emotion cloud her judgment, but not before she slips a note into Glenn's pocket. Glenn is taken to the same cell as Tetsuo. They read Namikawa's note, which explains that the sound from Tetsuo's invention disrupts the Xiliens' electronics. Testsuo has a prototype with him, which he activates, weakening their captors and allowing them to escape.

Sakurai and Fuji build a device to disrupt the Xilien's control over the monsters. Glenn and Tetsuo arrive to share the Xilien's weakness. As the monsters attack, Sakurai's device is activated and the sound from Tetsuo's alarm is broadcast over the radio. The invasion is thwarted and the Xiliens, unable to fight back or retreat, destroy themselves en masse. The monsters awaken from their trance and a fight ensues. All three topple off a cliff; Ghidorah flies away, while those watching speculate that Godzilla and Rodan are probably still alive. Fuji acknowledges Tetsuo's important role in the victory and no longer thinks poorly of him. Sakurai states that he wants to send Glenn and Fuji back to Planet X to study the planet thoroughly (the English dub says they are to be ambassadors). The astronauts are reluctant, but make the best of the moment, happy that the Earth is safe.


Effects director Eiji Tsuburaya on the set of the film.


During Godzilla and Rodan's city rampage, footage from Rodan (1956) is used, specifically the scenes where Rodan blows over a train and a pair of soldiers with the hurricane-force winds generated by the monster's wings.

English version[edit]

Maron Films theatrical poster for the 1970 U.S double bill release of Monster Zero and War of the Gargantuas

The film was released in North America by UPA in 1970 under the title Monster Zero. It played on a double bill with War of the Gargantuas.

There were several alterations made:

  • The opening theme was changed, and some of Akira Ifukube's score was re-arranged. Several sound effects were also added.
  • Deleted: Several shots of Godzilla's foot stepping on houses and huts. Some short shots of flying saucers. Shots of Japanese language newspapers and documents. Rodan blowing away tanks from the top of a hill. Several scenes with the Xiliens speaking in the language of Planet X. A shot of Godzilla and Rodan in hibernation. A few seconds of soldiers running.
  • The scene where Godzilla does his dance has added stomping noises in the English version.
  • The shot of Nick Adams reading the letter has been replaced with a new shot where the text is written in English, rather than Japanese.

The English version runs 93 minutes, seventy-one seconds shorter than the Japanese version. In his book Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: An Unauthorized History of 'The Big G‍ '​, Steve Ryfle says "The respectful to the original Japanese version."

Also, in the original Japanese version of the film, the drug the Xiliens promised was a cure for all forms of cancer. However, in the English version of the film, the cure was for all forms of disease (perhaps due to a translation mistake).

During production, Nick Adams spoke his lines in English, while the Japanese actors spoke their lines in Japanese, in order to retain his voice for the English-language version. For the Japanese language release, Adams' was dubbed by the noted voice actor, Goro Naya. The English-language version was prepared by UPA at Glen Glenn Sound in Hollywood. Marvin Miller provided the English voice for Akira Takarada as Astronaut Fuji, and Jack Grimes provided the voice of Akira Kubo as Tetsuo Tori.[1] The remaining voice talent is unknown.

This dubbed dialogue was also used by Toho for its official international version, Invasion of the Astro-Monsters, which was released in the United Kingdom. Unlike later Toho international versions, Invasion of the Astro-Monsters is slightly edited from the Japanese version and the dubbing was not commissioned by Toho or produced in Tokyo or Hong Kong.


  • The Great Monster War (translated from Japanese)
  • Invasion of the Astro-Monsters (original English-language production title; released on UK Home Video)
  • Invasion of the Astros (US Armed Forces theatrical circuit title, late 1960s)
  • Monster Zero (US theatrical release title, 1970)
  • The Great Monster War: King Ghidorah vs. Godzilla (Japan, 1971 Toho Champion Festival reissue title)
  • Godzilla vs. Monster Zero (US home video title, 1982)
  • Invasion of Astro-Monster (Toho's official English title and current US home video title)

Box office[edit]

In Japan, the film sold approximately 3,780,000 tickets.[citation needed]

DVD release[edit]

Classic Media

  • Release date: June 5, 2007
  • Special features: Audio Commentary by Stuart Galbrath IV, Tomoyuki Tanaka biography, and 1971 reissue trailer.[2]
  • Note: Contains both original Japanese and English versions of the film.
  • Note: Part of the Toho Collection


  • Release date: May 6, 1998
  • Note: Non anamorphic widescreen



External links[edit]