Godzilla (ゴジラ?) is a GojiraJapanese film series of Kaiju/Tokusatsu films featuring the character Godzilla owned, created, and produced 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 (with several hiatuses). A reboot by Toho is planned for a 2016 release while American studio Legendary Pictures are proceeding with a planned trilogy of their own with the second film targeted for a June 8, 2018 release.
The first film, Godzilla, is an early and influential classic in the giant monster subgenre of science fiction films and was first released by Toho in 1954 and directed by Ishiro Honda. In 1956, the film became Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, edited and with added principal scenes featuring Raymond Burr, the film was released internationally becoming a commercial success.
The original Godzilla was greatly inspired by the commercial success of the 1952 re-release of King Kong, and the 1953 success of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. Godzilla would go on to inspire Gorgo, Gamera, Cloverfield, and many other monster films worldwide. The original film has also inspired an additional 27 installments from Toho and two Hollywood reboots: one produced by TriStar Pictures released in 1998 as Godzilla[Note 1] and a second produced by Legendary Pictures released in 2014 also as Godzilla, with the latter studio proceeding with a planned trilogy. The popularity of the films has introduced 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 an important facet of Japanese films, and was the first example of the popular kaiju and tokusatsu subgenres in Japanese entertainment. The films are renowned for their political themes, occasionally dark tone, complex internal mythology, and acclaimed music.
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.
- 1 Series history
- 2 Series development
- 3 Filmography
- 4 Other media
- 5 Cultural impact
- 6 References
The Godzilla series is generally broken into three eras reflecting a characteristic style and corresponding to the same eras used to classify all 'daikaiju 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 prior era.
Shōwa series (1954–1975)
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 saw the addition of many monsters into the Godzilla continuity, two of which (Mothra and Rodan) originated in their own solo movies.
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. 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 series (1984–1995)
Toho rebooted the Godzilla film 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 prequel to Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989) which came out in the first year of the new emperor's reign.
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 series (1999–2004)
Toho rebooted the Godzilla film 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 but ignores the events of the Shōwa and Heisei era.
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 10 years. Toho also demolished the water stage on its lot used in numerous Godzilla, kaiju and tokusatsu films. 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 lead to the development of Legendary's Godzilla.
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 FX-directors such as Kenji Suzuki (Godzilla 2000, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus), Makoto Kamiya (Godzilla, Mothra, & King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack), Yuichi Kikuchi (Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla), and Eiichi Asada (Godzilla: Tokyo SOS, Godzilla: Final Wars).
Toho reboot (2016)
In December 2014, Toho announced plans for a new Godzilla film targeted for a 2016 release, stating, "This is very good timing after the success of the American version this year: if not now, then when? The licensing contract we have with Legendary places no restrictions on us making domestic versions." The new film will have no ties to Legendary's Godzilla trilogy and instead will serve as a reboot to the Toho series. Minami Ichikawa will serve as the film's production manager and Taiji Ueda as the film's project leader. Ueda confirmed that the screenplay is in development and filming has been planned for a summer 2015 shoot. Toho will additionally put together a project team, known as "Godzilla Conference" or "Godzi-con", to formulate future projects.
In March 2015, Toho announced that the film will be written and co-directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi, (both who collaborated on the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion) with Higuchi also directing the film's special effects. In addition, Toho announced that the film will begin filming in the fall of 2015 set for a summer 2016 release. Promotional artwork of the new Godzilla's footprint was also released, with Toho confirming that their new Godzilla will surpass Legendary Pictures' Godzilla as the tallest incarnation to date. Toho had approached Anno in early 2013 to direct the reboot but initially declined to continue working on the Rebuild of Evangelion films, however, Higuchi eventually convinced him to accept the offer.
In 1956, Jewell Enterprises Inc., licensed Godzilla and produced an "Americanized" 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.
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, which featured Godzilla destroying San Francisco in an attempt to find its only offspring. Various studios and producers showed interest in the project but passed it over due to high budget concerns. The project never came to fruition and the rights to Godzilla reverted to Toho in the mid-80s.
TriStar Pictures (1998)
In October 1992, TriStar Pictures acquired the rights from Toho with plans to produce a trilogy of Godzilla films. 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.
Godzilla was released in May 1998, with Roland Emmerich directing and co-writing and Dean Devlin producing and co-writing as well. The film was met with a negative reception from critics and fans of the franchise, with critics criticizing the poorly written script, directing, and acting performances, while fans criticized it for its disloyalty and drastic departure from the source material. Planned sequels were aborted and a weekly animated series was produced instead. Poor merchandise sales for the film led to a cancellation of a toyline based on the animated series, and resulted in significant financial losses for toy manufacturer Trendmasters, which went out of business soon after.
TriStar held on to the Godzilla license until it expired and reverted to Toho in 2003. The following year, Toho officially retconned the character and renamed it "Zilla", for future appearances. This decision was made by producer Shōgo Tomiyama and Godzilla: Final Wars director Ryuhei Kitamura because they felt that Emmerich's film had taken the "God" out of "Godzilla" by portraying the monster as a mere animal. The name "Zilla" was chosen for the character by Tomiyama as a satirical take on counterfeit Godzilla products that use "Zilla" as a suffix. However, Zilla is still explicitly referred to as 'Godzilla' when referring to the 1998 incarnation - This is due to the fact that TriStar still hold the licensing for the film, and changing the creature's name for that film alone would require an expensive renaming program across all the brands which featured that incarnation.
The character has since appeared in other medias as Zilla, including Toho's 2004 film Godzilla: Final Wars, IDW's comic series Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, and the Japanese mobile game Godzilla: Kaiju Collection.
Legendary Pictures (2014–)
In March 2010, Legendary Pictures formally announced its Godzilla project after it had acquired rights to make a Godzilla film from Toho. The film is directed by Gareth Edwards and is a co-production with Warner Bros. Filming was done in 2013 in Canada and the United States and it premiered in May 2014, nearly a decade after Toho's Godzilla: Final Wars.
Godzilla was released on May 16, 2014 and was met with positive reviews from critics and fans alike who had praised director Edwards for honoring the spirit and legacy of the Godzilla character and franchise. Godzilla was a box office success, earning over $524 million worldwide at the end of its theatrical run. The film was released in Japan on July 25, 2014 where it was a commercial success. The film's box office success has prompted both Legendary and Toho to proceed with further installments, with Toho planning a reboot of their own for a 2016 release and Legendary proceeding with their own sequels with Gareth Edwards attached to direct a planned trilogy. The second film is targeted to be released on June 8, 2018 and is set to feature other Toho properties such as Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah.
Godzilla was originally an allegory for the effects of the hydrogen bomb, and the consequences that such weapons might have on earth. 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. Some[who?] have pointed out the parallels, conscious or unconscious, between Godzilla's relationship to Japan and that of the United States; first a terrible enemy who causes enormous destruction to the cities of Japan such as Tokyo (Godzilla, The Return of Godzilla), Osaka (Godzilla Raids Again, Godzilla vs. Biollante, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus), Nagoya (Mothra vs Godzilla) and Yokohama (Ghidorah the Three Headed Monster, Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack) in different films, but then becoming a good friend and defender in times of peril.
Films have been made over the last six decades, each reflecting the social and political climate in Japan.
From 1954 through 2004, there have been 28 Godzilla films produced by Toho Studios 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 American-produced productions: the 1998 Godzilla by TriStar Pictures and the 2014 Godzilla by Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures.
|#||Official Toho title
(alternate English titles)
|Year||Director||Effects director||Monster co-star(s)||Godzilla
|Current US licences/media|
(Gojira, Godzilla, King of the Monsters!)
|1954||Ishirō Honda||Eiji Tsuburaya||None||Haruo Nakajima, Katsumi Tezuka||Classic Media
Criterion Collection - DVD/Blu-ray
|2||Godzilla Raids Again
(Gigantis, The Fire Monster)
|1955||Motoyoshi Oda||Eiji Tsuburaya||Anguirus||Haruo Nakajima||Classic Media - DVD|
|3||King Kong vs. Godzilla||1962||Ishirō Honda||Eiji Tsuburaya||King Kong, Giant Octopus||Haruo Nakajima, Katsumi Tezuka||Universal - DVD / Blu-ray|
|4||Mothra vs. Godzilla
(Godzilla vs. the Thing; Godzilla vs. Mothra)
|1964||Ishirō Honda||Eiji Tsuburaya||Mothra (larva and adult)||Haruo Nakajima, Katsumi Tezuka||Classic Media - DVD|
|5||Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster
(Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster)
|1964||Ishirō Honda||Eiji Tsuburaya||King Ghidorah, Rodan, Mothra (larva)||Haruo Nakajima, Katsumi Tezuka||Classic Media - DVD|
|6||Invasion of Astro-Monster
(Monster Zero; Godzilla vs. Monster Zero)
|1965||Ishirō Honda||Eiji Tsuburaya||Rodan, King Ghidorah||Haruo Nakajima||Classic Media - DVD|
|7||Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster
(Ebirah, Horror of the Deep)
|1966||Jun Fukuda||Sadamasa Arikawa, under the supervision of Eiji Tsuburaya||Ebirah, Mothra (adult), Giant Condor||Haruo Nakajima||Kraken Releasing (Section23 Films) - 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|
|10||All Monsters Attack
|1969||Ishirō Honda||Ishirō Honda||Minilla, Gabara, Kamacuras||Haruo Nakajima||Classic Media - DVD|
|11||Godzilla vs. Hedorah
(Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster)
|1971||Yoshimitsu Banno||Teruyoshi Nakano||Hedorah||Haruo Nakajima||Kraken Releasing (Section23 Films) - DVD / Blu-ray|
|12||Godzilla vs. Gigan
(Godzilla on Monster Island)
|1972||Jun Fukuda||Teruyoshi Nakano||Gigan, King Ghidorah, Anguirus||Haruo Nakajima||Kraken Releasing (Section23 Films) - DVD / Blu-ray|
|13||Godzilla vs. Megalon||1973||Jun Fukuda||Teruyoshi Nakano||Megalon, Gigan, Jet Jaguar, Anguirus||Shinji Takagi||Media Blasters - DVD / Blu-ray|
|14||Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
(Godzilla vs. the Bionic Monster; Godzilla vs. the Cosmic Monster)
|1974||Jun Fukuda||Teruyoshi Nakano||Mechagodzilla, Anguirus, King Caesar Fake Godzilla||Isao Zushi||Sony - DVD|
|15||Terror of Mechagodzilla
(The Terror of Godzilla)
|1975||Ishirō Honda||Teruyoshi Nakano||Mechagodzilla, Titanosaurus||Toru Kawai||Classic Media - DVD|
|16||The Return of Godzilla
|1984||Koji Hashimoto||Teruyoshi Nakano||Shockirus||Kenpachiro Satsuma||Lakeshore Entertainment - VHS|
|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/Dorat Godzillasaurus||Kenpachiro Satsuma||Sony - DVD / Blu-ray|
|19||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 - DVD / Blu-ray|
|20||Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II||1993||Takao Okawara||Koichi Kawakita||Mechagodzilla/Super Mechagodzilla, Baby Godzilla, Rodan/Fire Rodan||Kenpachiro Satsuma||Sony - DVD / Blu-ray|
|21||Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla||1994||Kensho Yamashita||Koichi Kawakita||SpaceGodzilla, Moguera, Little Godzilla, Fairy Mothra||Kenpachiro Satsuma||Sony - DVD / Blu-ray|
|22||Godzilla vs. Destoroyah
(Godzilla vs. Destroyer)
|1995||Takao Okawara||Koichi Kawakita||Destoroyah, Godzilla Junior||Kenpachiro Satsuma||Sony - DVD / Blu-ray|
|23||Godzilla 2000: Millennium
|1999||Takao Okawara||Kenji Suzuki||Orga||Tsutomu Kitagawa||Sony - DVD / Blu-ray|
|24||Godzilla vs. Megaguirus
(Godzilla X Megaguirus)
|2000||Masaaki Tezuka||Kenji Suzuki||Meganulon/Meganula, Megaguirus||Tsutomu Kitagawa||Sony - DVD / Blu-ray|
|25||Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack||2001||Shusuke Kaneko||Makoto Kamiya||Baragon, Mothra (larva and adult), King Ghidorah||Mizuho Yoshida||Sony - DVD / Blu-ray|
|26||Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla
(Godzilla X Mechagodzilla)
|2002||Masaaki Tezuka||Yûichi Kikuchi||Kiryu||Tsutomu Kitagawa||Sony - DVD / Blu-ray|
|27||Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.
(Godzilla X Mothra X Mechagodzilla: Tokyo SOS)
|2003||Masaaki Tezuka||Eiichi Asada||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|
|29||Untitled Godzilla reboot||2016||Hideaki Anno
|#||Title||Year||Director||Effects director||Monster co-star(s)||Current US licences/media|
|1||Godzilla, King of the Monsters! †||1956||Terry O. Morse
|Eiji Tsuburaya||None||Classic Media
Criterion Collection - DVD / Blu-ray
|2||King Kong vs. Godzilla †||1963||Ishirō Honda
|Eiji Tsuburaya||King Kong, Giant Octopus||Universal - DVD / Blu-ray|
|3||Monster Zero X||1970||Ishirō Honda||Eiji Tsuburaya||Rodan, King Ghidorah||Classic Media - DVD|
|4||Godzilla 1985 †||1985||R. J. Kiser
|Teruyoshi Nakano||Shockirus||New World - VHS
Starmaker - VHS
Anchor Bay - VHS
|5||Godzilla||1998||Roland Emmerich||Patrick Tatopoulos||Baby Godzilla||Sony - DVD / Blu-ray|
|6||Godzilla||2014||Gareth Edwards||Jim Rygiel||MUTOs||Warner Bros. - DVD / Blu-ray|
|7||Godzilla 2||2018||Gareth Edwards||Unknown||Mothra, Rodan, King Ghidorah||TBA|
† Japanese films that featured additional American footage shot exclusively for their North American releases.
X Co-production between Japanese studio Toho and American studio UPA.
Italian Godzilla, aka Cozzilla
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 to add a sort of strange colorization. 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.
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 1954 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. 
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
Blue Öyster Cult released the song "Godzilla" in 1977.
The French death metal band Gojira named the band after Godzilla's name in Japanese.
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.
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.
There is also a song by metal band Sepultura that was written with Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) called 'Biotech is Godzilla'.
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 rap 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 from 1997-1998.
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.
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 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.
Much of Godzilla's popularity in the United States can be credited with TV broadcasts of the Toho Studios monster movies during the 1960s and 1970s. The American company UPA contracted with Toho to distribute its monster movies of the time, and UPA continues to hold the license today for the Godzilla films of the 1960s and 1970s. Sony currently holds some of those rights, as well as the rights to every Godzilla film produced from 1991 onward. The Blue Öyster Cult song "Godzilla" also contributed to the popularity of the movies. The creature also made an appearance in a Nike commercial, in which Godzilla (creature created at ILM) went one-on-one with NBA star Charles Barkley.
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.
- 1954 Japan Movie Association Awards – Special Effects (Godzilla (1954))
- 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
- 2007 Saturn Awards – Best DVD Classic Film Release (Godzilla (1954))
- 2014 Japan Cool Content Contribution Award (Godzilla (2014))
(*) 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.
- The title character of the 1998 film was originally created as a reimagining of Godzilla but was later retconned as a separate stand-alone character, apart from Godzilla, and was officially renamed as "Zilla" by Toho for future appearances, however, "Godzilla" continues to be used as a title on products that pre-date the name change, such as any re-releases of the 1998 film and its animated sequel, Godzilla: The Series.
- Allsop, S. (2002), "Godzilla", in Bowyer, Justin, 24 Frames: The Cinema of Japan and Korea, London: Wallflower Press, ISBN 1904764118
- "Godzilla taking a break -- for now". Japanese film producer putting star on hiatus. CNN. 4 March 2004.
- Hollings, Ken (June 22, 1995). Kroke, Arthur; Kroke, Marilouise, eds. "Tokyo Must Be Destroyed". Ctheory: Theory, technology and culture 18 (1-2).
- Lees, J.D.; Cerasini, Marc (1998). The Official Godzilla Compendium. Random House. ISBN 0-679-88822-5.
- Ryfle, Steve (1998). Japan’s Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of the Big G. ECW Press. ISBN 1550223488.
- Tsutsui, William (2004). Godzilla on my mind: fifty years of the king of monsters. New York, New York: Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN 1-4039-6474-2.
- "TRANSLATION: Guinness World Records® certification". Godzilla.jp. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
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- Further reading
- 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.