Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954–1975

Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954–1975

2 Seasons

In 1954, an enormous beast clawed its way out of the sea, destroying everything in its path—and changing movies forever. The arresting original GODZILLA soon gave rise to an entire monster-movie genre (kaiju eiga), but the King of the Monsters continued to reign supreme: in fourteen fiercely entertaining sequels over the next two decades, Godzilla defended its throne against a host of other formidable creatures, transforming from a terrifying symbol of nuclear annihilation into a benevolent (if still belligerent) Earth protector.

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Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954–1975
  • Godzilla

    Episode 1

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1954 • Japan
    Starring Akira Takarada, Momoko Kōchi, Akihiko Hirata

    GODZILLA (a.k.a. GOJIRA) is the roaring granddaddy of all monster movies. It’s also a remarkably humane and melancholy drama, made in Japan at a time when the country was reeling from nuclear attack and...

  • Godzilla Raids Again

    Episode 2

    Directed by Motoyoshi Oda • 1955 • Japan

    Toho Studios followed the enormous success of the original Godzilla with this sequel, efficiently directed by Motoyoshi Oda as a straight-ahead monsters-on-the-loose drama. An underrated standout among the Showa Godzilla films, Godzilla Raids Again introd...

  • Godzilla, King of the Monsters

    Episode 3

    Directed by Ishiro Honda and Terry O. Morse • 1956 • United States
    Starring Raymond Burr, Frank Iwanaga, Akira Takarada

    This 1956 feature film, codirected and edited by Terry Morse, is the famous American reworking of the original GODZILLA. It combines footage from the original 1954 production w...

  • Mothra vs. Godzilla

    Episode 4

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1964 • Japan

    Godzilla faces off against the benevolent insect monster-god Mothra in this clash of the titans, a crossover battle between two of Toho Studios’ most popular monsters—the last in which Godzilla would figure as a malevolent villain rather than a fearsome he...

  • Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

    Episode 5

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1964 • Japan

    After laying waste to an alien civilization on Venus, the three-headed, lightning-emitting space monster Ghidorah brings its insatiable thirst for destruction to Earth, where fierce foes Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra must join forces in order to deal with th...

  • Invasion of Astro-Monster

    Episode 6

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1965 • Japan

    Aliens from Planet X make an irresistible offer to the people of Earth: let them borrow Godzilla and Rodan to help defeat King Ghidorah, and in return they will provide a cure for all known human disease. But the aliens’ duplicity is soon revealed, as they...

  • Ebirah, Horror of the Deep

    Episode 7

    Directed by Jun Fukuda • 1966 • Japan
    Starring Akira Takarada, Kumi Mizuno, Chotaro Togin

    The first Godzilla film directed by Jun Fukuda, who would go on to direct four more, is fast-paced and light in tone, and builds to a riveting race-against-time finale. On a secluded island in the South Sea...

  • Son of Godzilla

    Episode 8

    Directed by Jun Fukuda • 1967 • Japan

    In director Jun Fukuda’s second Godzilla outing, secret weather-control experiments create a radioactive storm and Godzilla must rescue monster hatchling Minilla from the giant mutant insects that result. Featuring a buoyant score by Masaru Sato and impressi...

  • Destroy All Monsters

    Episode 9

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1968 • Japan

    The original Godzilla team of director Ishiro Honda, special-effects supervisor Eiji Tsuburaya, and composer Akira Ifukube reunited for this kaiju extravaganza, which features no fewer than eleven monsters. Set in the remote future of 1999, when the people...

  • All Monsters Attack

    Episode 10

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1969 • Japan

    Director Ishiro Honda returned again for the first Godzilla movie expressly for children. Economizing by reusing effects shots from other films in the series, All Monster Attack tells the story of Ichiro, a lonely latchkey kid who finds solace in his dream...

  • Godzilla vs. Hedorah

    Episode 11

    Directed by Yoshimitsu Banno • 1971 • Japan
    Starring Akira Yamauchi, Toshie Kimura, Hiroyuki Kawase

    Intended to address the crisis levels of pollution in postwar Japan, GODZILLA VS. HEDORAH finds the King of the Monsters fighting an alien life form that arrives on Earth and steadily grows by fee...

  • Godzilla vs. Gigan

    Episode 12

    Directed by Jun Fukuda • 1972 • Japan
    Starring Hiroshi Ishikawa, Yuriko Hishimi, Minoru Takashima

    An alien invasion prompts a tag-team battle between Godzilla and Anguirus, the planet protectors, and King Ghidorah and the new monster Gigan, a cyborg with scythe-like claws, an abdominal buzz saw,...

  • Godzilla vs. Megalon

    Episode 13

    Directed by Jun Fukuda • 1973 • Japan

    Nuclear testing unleashes mayhem on the undersea kingdom of Seatopia, causing a series of environmental disasters that nearly wipes out Rokuro, the schoolboy protagonist at the center of this film. To exact revenge, Seatopia unleashes Megalon, a gigantic bee...

  • Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

    Episode 14

    Directed by Jun Fukuda • 1974 • Japan

    Godzilla’s evil twin Mechagodzilla first reared its head in this Jun Fukuda–directed film. A robot designed by aliens to conquer Earth, the enduringly popular villain has since been resurrected by Toho Studios several times. With the help of earnest directio...

  • Terror of Mechagodzilla

    Episode 15

    Directed by Ishiro Honda • 1975 • Japan

    In Godzilla’s last gasp of the Showa era, aliens retrieve Mechagodzilla’s remains and rebuild it with the aid of an unhinged biologist (a scenery-chewing Akihiko Hirata), in hopes of defeating Godzilla for possession of planet Earth. This film marked the r...