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Plot:

When seventeen vessels blow-up and sink nearby Odo Island, Professor Kyohei Yamane, his daughter Emiko Yamane and the marine Hideto Ogata head to the island to investigate. Soon they witness a giant monster called Gojira by the locals destroying the spot. Meanwhile Emiko meets her boyfriend, the secluded scientist Serizawa, and he makes she promise to keep a secret about his research with oxygen. She agrees and he discloses the lethal weapon Oxygen Destroyer that he had developed. When Gojira threatens Tokyo and other Japanese cities and the army and the navy are incapable to stop the monster, Emiko discloses Serizawa’s secret to her lover Ogata. Now they want to convince Serizawa to use the Oxygen Destroyer to stop Gojira.

Also Known As: Japón bajo el terror del monstruo, Godzilla, uhyrernes konge, Kaihatsu keikaku G, Godzilla - Der sensationellste Film der Gegenwart West, Godzilla, to teras tou aionos, Γκοτζίλα: Το Τέρας του Αιώνος, Kaitei ni-man mairu kara kita daikaijû, Godzilla - monstret från havet, O Monstro do Oceano Pacífico, Gojira, Godzilla, rey de los monstruos, Godzilla, Godzila, Godzilla - Das Original, Годзiлла, Годзила, Yuanzi konglong, Годзилла Soviet, Godzilla Czech

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  • martin-manole
    martin manole

    I thought that I was a Godzilla (Gojira) fan until I saw this film in the original Japanese. The U.S. re-edit, which was good, left out a whole section of the story and an entire anti-nuclear testing subtext. In the American version, Raymond Burr is obviously the main character, with a Japanese policeman as a kind of side kick which actually detracts much from the original story line without adding much except a (then) somewhat familiar American face to the cast.The original storyline is much richer, with better interaction amongst the main characters, namely Professor Yamane, his daughter, Emiko, and her arranged fiancé Dr. Serizawa, as well as her true love interest, Salvage Officer Ogata. the above named characters have a much more fully developed relationship than in the heavily edited American version. One reason for the loss of story and subtext was the running time, 74 minutes in the U.S. and about 97 in the original Japanese.Another element missing from the American version was the whole radiation angle, it was barely mentioned, almost as an afterthought, while in the original Japanese, it was a central and recurring theme. Even two films later in the Japanese version of KING KONG vs. GODZILLA, it is pointed out that Gojira is a true monster born of radiation.This film is a very rewarding find if you watch it in the original Japanese, with subtitles of course. It is also the best of a long line of kaiju films that I’ve seen. All in all a very good film. If you must see it and cannot find the Japanese version, the American one does keep much of the epic scope of the original and is quite good in its own right, but the original, in my opinion, is far superior.

  • jelka-cerne
    jelka cerne

    The original Japanese version. Without a doubt, the best movie ever made. Filmed in glorious black and white, this first Godzilla film has a somber feel which heightens a very real sense of suspense and terror. The terror is palpable throughout, as one attack follows another and the death toll begins to rise almost exponentially. The anguish of the survivors is realistically portrayed and very believable, and the entire film stands as a credible allegory for the horror of nuclear war.The movie itself is not about godzilla but about the oxygen destroyer. The oxygen destroyer is the key to this movie. The oxygen destroyer is the only way to kill godzilla but the fact that mankind will use it as a weapon of mass destruction as a scientists stuck between whats right and wrong and it leads us to the emotional climax between man vs monster.The best thing about this movie is the music by Akira Ifukube. Its the best musical score i have ever heard. It gives you an eerie sense of whats going on. If i had to choose between gojira and the original king kong i have to go with gojira. Gojira gives a message that no other film has ever done before or after is that godzilla is the metaphor of the aftermath of using nuclear weapons.And thats my gut feelingGreg Gutfeld

  • ashley-howard
    ashley howard

    If you don’t know anything about Godzilla then you must have been living in cave in the middle of Australia, because it is a massive cultural figure to come from Japan. However, if you haven’t seen the film, then I doubt that you what the film is about. Godzilla is a monster film set in Japan. It starts with a number of ships sinking near Odo island and fish stocks had collapsed. After a storm that kills a lot of people and livestock the Japanese government send a team of scientists to investigate. However, the locals believe the reason behind it was a monster of folklore, the Godzilla. Adding to mystery was the the rain from the storm seems radioactive and contaminates some of the island’s wells. Once it was proved that the 150 foot monster exists then the Japanese government prepares itself, because he is heading for mainland Japan. The unstoppable beasts causes massive amount of damage and its up to the scientists and military of Japan to find a solution.The film has a number of meanings behind it. The most obvious one is about the nuclear testing in the middle of Pacific ocean that was going on at the time, and saying it awoke a sleeping giant. When one of the scientists makes a weapon to stop Godzilla it raises the debate about whether it was right to use it or would it open a can of worms and be put to evil uses. It has a strong anti-nuclear mission. Another meaning that some critics have seen is that the film is a metaphor for the destruction Japan suffered during the Second World War. Within the scientific community some also wondered if it is right to kill Godzilla or to study him. In the Japanese Parliament there was also a debate about censorship, whether its right to let the public know about the monster. There is a lot in this film. Another feature in this film is the love triangle between Eriko, the daughter of leading Japanese scientist, to a Navy frogman and another scientist who she had known since childhood. It adds a personal dimension to the film.There was some decent model work, but the monster himself is really just a man in a suit, but it was made in 1954, so you have to accept that there weren’t many special effects tools at the time. It’s still fun seeing Godzilla attacking Tokyo. The acting isn’t great, but it’s good enough. I personally watched it in Japanese, and I really dislike dubbing foreign films because it looses its impact. The stand out performance was the woman who played Eriko. The film had a typical 1950s melodrama about it.Godzilla has been a very important film. It has a number of sequels, a mediocre American remake, and has influence films such as the Host and Cloverfield.

  • elle-diamantopoulou
    elle diamantopoulou

    First we had King Kong (1933), one of the most important and first large monster films, than we had giant insects… the point in which you thought that all large monster films are gonna die… but, no worries, Japanese are always there to save the day. Godzilla (1954), is bigger, badder, better, meaner, faster, and more artistic than any other monster films. It’s the movie that sets some new standards.The film was based upon the story of Shigeru Kayama “Gojira” from the words “gorilla” and “kujira” (whale). It’s without any doubt one of the most significant SF films in Japanese cinema, and we have a proved fact that this movie has a large number of sequels, a US remake, an animated series and we are expecting something new. This movie of Inoshiro Honda is based upon foundation of already tried stories: A large monster suddenly comes alive, and it’s growing in catastrophe for human civilization. You can easily say that the story motives are the same just like in the Frankenstein (1932), for example… But Japanese view of these thing is different. Godzilla is not appearing for some purpose, he is there only for the plot, he is an unstoppable, blind force ready for destruction, and there’s also a human’s error of his interfere in nature, so by the looks of things, the large monster is some kind of “payback” from mother nature.The movie has good acting crew, excellent direction, an inspiring and brilliant music score by Akira Ifukube, who also made Godzilla roars, the special effects were also great, done by Eiiji Tsuburaya. And from this moment, this movie is a great inspiration to many more monster films… we are expecting more today.

  • larisa-kalents
    larisa kalents

    I truly enjoy this film. I grew up watching every Kaiju film I could, and have always enjoyed this film particularly. The American release starring Raymond Burr, under the title “Godzilla, King of Monsters”, was all I had seen for many years. The original Japanese version is far superior. The original is nearly twenty minutes longer, and has a much more complex storyline. The love triangle is explored more fully, and more is explained about Gojira’s appearance. This is a stand alone film, all the others in the original series are sequels to the second film “Godzilla Raids Again”, aka “Gigantis, The Fire Monster”. The second series starting with “Godzilla 1985” (“Gojira Returns” in Japanese), until “Godzilla vs. Destroyah” in 1996, are sequels to the first film.

  • karen-maddox
    karen maddox

    Now I’ll talk about Gojira, the Japanese uncut version of Godzilla: King of Monsters which is still pretty good after all these years. It’s mostly an allegory against nuclear war and Godzilla is a symbol of what might happen out of nuclear fallout. It takes place in 1954 less than a decade after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A boat goes missing and when the search leads up to Godzilla and it’s amazing to see and hear Godzilla’s roar for the first time.All the Japanese treat this disaster like a real event as well and all the people dying the hospital when he attacks the city are disturbing. Godzilla also looks scary in black and white and it really makes the mood sad. Also when you get the part about the oxygen destroyer, you’ll be shocked. This movie also made it in the criterion collection as well and has gotten the Blu-ray treatment too. Give this start of the giant monster movies, or kaiju movies, a watch when you can.

  • ingetraut-roht
    ingetraut roht

    Having accepted the 1956 ‘Raymond Burr’ Godzilla as the definitive version for many decades, I’m glad I finally came across the 1954 original. At first I didn’t like having so much backstory, as well as the love triangle subplot. Now I feel the original is better than the 1956 version.There is a lot of time spent on the remote island that’s Godzilla’s lair, but it’s well-paced and includes the ship-sinkngs as well as Godzilla’s appearance on the island. It seems that he appears in Tokyo Bay in no time. Intervening scenes of public meetings and consultations with scientists make sense, and add tension.Despite the incredible premise of a prehistoric creature emerging from its underwater habitat due to nuclear testing, we can suspend disbelief because of the plot’s inner consistency (with an exception I’ll get into later) and the palpable human scale of the drama. The various meetings show people genuinely stressed and panicked–clearly there’s no blueprint for dealing with this crisis.The love triangle fits into the main plot because Serizawa, Emiko, and Ogata are all central characters. Serizawa gives us another subplot as a mad scientist type obsessed with “a new form of energy.” He’s not evil, however, as he really wants to use the “oxygen destroyer” for humanitarian purposes. But he has a dilemma: if it’s used to kill Godzilla; he’s risking its subsequent use as a weapon. As Ogata convincingly says, in effect, if we can’t kill Godzilla we won’t be around anyway.Emiko stands for the moral center, literally between the two men, and as the embodiment of beauty and goodness. These attributes are given form bya short scene of girls singing in church. As we switch back to Surizawa, he agrees with Emiko and Ogato to help. He realizes that the collective good is more important than individual recognition; it’s actually sad when he sacrifices himself.As a result of the carefully-written subplots, we’re more involved with the main characters. We’re not just watching a bunch of people yelling at each other while the monster snuffs them out. The destruction scenes are definitely good; especially watching the train engineers as they face doom, and the fireman caught up in the overturning fire engine.Of course the trucks, cars, trains, ships, and buildings are obviously toys/models when viewed from the outside, but the transition from inner to outer views is smoothly done. The modelling is done to a fairly high level.My quibble aren’t with the special-effects. There’s a bit of a logic problem with the islanders. If they have developed a mythology for Godzilla, then presumably he’s been around for a while; but certainly not for more than a few years, as the H-Bomb didn’t exist until 1949. Maybe an archetypal memory of Godzilla from prehistoric times…?There’s pretty much every sci-fi motif here: a remote island, disappearing ships, radioactive and nuclear testing, an emerging monster, experts unsure of how to respond, a mad scientist, an invasion/destruction of a city, and a secret weapon (courtesy of our mad scientist).To cap it all off is Godzilla himself. As many others have noted, this is the scariest of all Godzillas. He isn’t as ‘tricked-out’ as he is in some later versions, but is somehow more animal-like, and less animated. Great viewing experience, and a more complete story than in most movies of this genre. 8/10.

  • paige-villarreal
    paige villarreal

    Godzilla or otherwise known a Gojira was the debut of the legendary titular character and arguably one of the most high profile pieces of Japanese cinema to date.It tells the story of this gigantic creature coming out of the ocean and going on the warpath after being woken by nuclear explosions. The humans argue as to what to do with the situation, kill or study. But how do you kill something that big and that has already withstood massive radioactive blasts?Godzilla is very ahead of its time and though the sfx are badly dated they look great for something made in the 1950’s. For the most part it looks and is acted really quite well, though our leading lady was seven shades of awful.One of the movies biggest flaws is its pacing. The movie doesn’t have a traditional beginning, middle and end in fact the finale really creeps on you and isn’t all that great itself.Regardless of its flaws Godzilla has to be considered a classic that launched a franchise that is still ongoing over 6 decades later.The Good:Visually ahead of its timeThe Bad:Godzilla logistics make no senseOdd moments of literally no audioSome ropey editingWeak finaleThings I Learnt From This Movie:If nukes don’t work on something, try bullets, if that doesn’t get a pitchfork?Japan makes strong bridges!Japanese women are renound for overacting to fish sufferingPrayer accomplishes nothing, oh wait I already knew that

  • livia-cristea
    livia cristea

    Well, this is the one that started it all. This is by far the most serious(and one of the best) of the Godzilla movies. Spoiler Alert: There will be spoilers ahead. A fishing ship mysteriously disappears, and then another one. Eventually, after several sightings, a giant, radioactive monster rises from Tokyo Bay and levels Tokyo. The monster is eventually killed by the Oxygen Destroyer, a weapon created by Dr. Serizawa. This movie succeeds in being entertaining and delivering a very serious message.The scenes where Godzilla is destroying Tokyo are very entertaining ( i couldn’t take my eyes off of the screen) and very sad(at one point, there is a family in the wreckage of Tokyo, and the mother says something like”Hold on, children. We’ll be with father soon.”). Plus, we’ve also got the whole ‘love triangle’ thing going on, but it ends very sadly, with Dr. Serizawa ( he loved Emiko, but she loved Ogata) killing himself when he kills Godzilla with the ‘oxygen destroyer’. Overall, Uber thumbs-up. Sure, some of the dialog is cheesy, and some of the special effects are… interesting, but it was made in 1954. A true classic.

  • anton-udovenko
    anton udovenko

    Director of special effects for this movie Eiji Tsuburaya, (he was the first of his kind in Japan) once commented in an interview that ever since he saw King Kong, he wanted to make a movie just like it. He got his chance in this movie made 20 years later. Tsuburaya commented on the hardship he encountered when he tried to make the first Godzilla suit when right kinds of foam and rubber materials were not yet abundantly available in Japan at the time. He mentioned that he even used concrete to make part of the suit. Eiji Tsuburaya is also the inventor of the blue screen technique which later evolved into today’s green screen technique. Modern movie owes Tsuburaya a lot for his pioneering works. Many people mistakenly credit Inoshiro Honda for the fantastic action scenes in this movie but it was Tsuburaya who did the work. Tsuburaya later went on to invent other characters such as “Rodan” and the original “Ultraman” series which is still popular today.I was raised on the American version of this movie starring Raymond Burr and didn’t even know that another “original” version of this movie existed until recently (thanks to IMDb). I ordered the video from Japan and got to see it for the first time as it was created. After seeing this movie, I can now tell the discontinuity in the American version of Godzilla where Dr. Yamane mentions about Godzilla (in Japanese) before it shows up.This was the first Godzilla movie and it still holds up after 50 years, and what’s even more remarkable is the fact that it’s still the most realistic rendition of the monster. The production value have never been matched in this genre until the release of “Gamera 1999, Revenge of Iris” in my opinion.I give it a “9” because acting of Momoko Kochi and other actors are bit spotty, but Kochi made good later by studying hard to become a good stage actress in Shakespearian play, and became one of the best actress in Japan. Kochi also appears in her final role before her death in 1995’s “Godzilla vs Destroiya” reprising her role as Emiko Yamane.

  • dr-joanna-humphreys
    dr joanna humphreys

    For those who are mildly interested in this movie, you must understand the seriousness of this movie. More than a movie about a guy in a rubber suit breaking toy buildings, Gojira is a very serious consideration about the horrors of nuclear war.A few items to watch for include:The first scenes of Tokyo after having been leveled by Gojira (Godzilla) almost mirror the photographs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings.The images of the injured people in the hospitals again, mirror the photographs of “survivors” of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.Look for references to the American nuclear tests on the Bikini atolls (they are abundant).Finally, keep in mind that Gojira is a symbol of nuclear war. The reason that tanks, planes and heavy artillery don’t stop it is because once a nuclear bomb is dropped, nothing can stop the devastation. The only way to avoid it is to not be there in the first place.Gojira (Godzilla, King of the Monsters) is a definite must-see for anyone interested in film-making at its best.

  • bay-gungordu-zihni-ergul
    bay gungordu zihni ergul

    America had to wait fifty years to see the original version of Gojira in all its terrifying glory. This is not a user-friendly, action romp giant-monster film. This is the story of an unstoppable, destructive force unleashed on a city, its aftermath, and the impossibly hard choices people must make in response. Of course, nearly every U.S. giant-monster fan has seen the recut-for-Americans version of this classic, with Raymond Burr sharing scenes with the backs of various anonymous heads standing in for members of the Japanese cast. And while we all feel affection for that version, the truth is, compared to the original, “our” version loses much of its impact, and stands revealed as an act of vandalism which sadly underestimates the tolerance of the American audience.Truly a cut above every other kaiju ever made, this is the one to see. Trust me, you won’t miss Raymond Burr a bit.

  • marijana-bosilj
    marijana bosilj

    Ever since I was a child, the Godzilla character was one of my favorites. I have seen many Godzilla films but today I have been privileged to have seen where it all began. Godzilla did not begin as a character in a kid’s movie. This movie, I must say is NOT for young children. It is very much a mature film, an allegory for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As a movie, it is a very dark and tragic one, with numerous references to Japan’s suffering during the Second World War. The acting was top-notch as were the special effects (for the time). The music seemed to underscore the ominous nature of the film. I can only imagine what the reaction of the Japanese people was when they first saw this movie 64 years ago. The rest of the world should watch this to see what nuclear power can really do and to see what Japan went through during World War II.9/10. The first and the best (and should have been the only) Godzilla movie that has ever been released.

  • rado-hrovat
    rado hrovat

    When one thinks of all the schlock that has come out of Japan when it comes to monster movies, many which use the Godzilla figure, one forgets that this was a pretty darn good movie. I remember as a child, watching it on late night television, in 1960. It was New Year’s Eve and the adults were out doing whatever it is they did. The presence of Raymond Burr gave me a sense of comfort (Perry Mason was a staple at our house). I realize he was added for American audiences. It didn’t matter to me. Unlike so many of its successors, this was nicely paced, didn’t bank on Godzilla being a matinée idol (some of the films are so stupid where the thing becomes a friend to Tokyo, a form of defense). This film has the terror of “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.” The sets were much better. The battle scenes truer than the cheaper things that came later. The monster was a force. I have always enjoyed that scene where one goes over a hill or a rise just before a beach, and on the other side is the monster. The scenes of him wading into the harbor. This is a striking presentation for the early days of monster movies. Of course, it’s all based on radiation and the nuclear threat. This stuff enlarges things and makes them rampage. I hope to purchase the Japanese remastered version from 2004. I’d like to see it the way it was intended to be seen.

  • sarah-watson
    sarah watson

    Pure classic sci-fi horror monster! I don’t know how they made some of it seem so real, it’s a wild gritty epic gargantua. The destruction was done so well and the emotions were admirable!

  • antero-nurmi
    antero nurmi

    It’s been fifty years since Ishiro Honda and the gang at Toho made the first Godzilla movie, and looking back on it, it’s plain to see why this film has become more than just a cult sensation. It’s mix of raw human emotion, fantastical story, and menacing precautionary messages help to deliver one of the silver screens greatest films. Akira Ifkube’s foreboding score adds just the right amount of dark edge to Honda’s masterpiece,as does Akihiko Hirata’s performance as jaded scientist, Dr. Daisuke Serizawa. The suitmation and set designs used in this classic are superb as well, giving a certain level of realism missing from many later monster films. And, of course, veteran actor Takashi Shimura exceeds all expectations as Dr. Yamane.Looking back on this film, taken in it’s entirety and without the added American scenes, Godzilla (Gojira) truly is a film that will last the ages.

  • dr-justin-townsend
    dr justin townsend

    Along with the 1933-version of “King Kong”, this original Japanese release of “Gojira” is THE most essential giant monster movie ever and one the very few horror movies that every film lover in general has to see at least once. Why? Because, it’s so much more than just silly drive-in cinema with a cheap looking monster! This is dark and apocalyptic Sci-Fi with a nearly allegorical rant about nuclear warfare and the honest fear for new types of weaponry. But I really don’t feel like going into the deeper meaning behind “Gojira”, as it primarily is an adrenalin rushing and overpowering action classic that doesn’t need intellectual defense at all. One of the many reasons why I love this film so much (and same goes for “King Kong”) is that we don’t have to wait a dreadfully long time and/or endure a large amount of tedious speeches before we see the monster we want to see! Godzilla makes his highly memorable first appearance after approximately 20 minutes (by stretching his neck over a cliff!) and, from then on, this is deliciously hectic and paranoid monster-madness! The little bugger is presumably the result of too much H-bomb radiation and lives in the depths of the ocean, near the island of Odo. But now he’s heading for Tokyo with his unnameable strength, fiery breath and – oh yeah – insatiable appetite for destruction! Particularly this extended sequence in which Godzilla blasts his way through the Japanese capital, crushing buildings and setting monuments on fire, is very impressive and legendary. The actor-in-monster-costume works a lot better than any form of computer engineered effects and the carefully imitated Tokyo sets are truly enchanting. The absolute best aspect about this production is its powerful score, which makes Godzilla even more threatening. Great stuff! This milestone simultaneously meant the go-ahead for an innumerable amount of quickly shot sequels (“Son of Gozilla”, “Godzilla vs. Mothra”), spin-offs (“Godzilla VS. King Kong”), remakes (“Godzilla 1984”, the hi-tech American version) and of course an overload of pathetic imitations (“Reptilicus”, “Monster from a Prehistoric Planet”). I still have to see all the direct sequels but don’t really know what to expect from them. I guess that even if they’re only half as good as this original, I’ll be very satisfied.

  • brasidas-mpillas
    brasidas mpillas

    Gojira (not Godzilla, King of the Monsters, with Raymond Burr), stands as one of the best monster movies…and one of Japan’s finest and most allegory pieces of cinema. The original version of the movie has a lot of anti-nuclear sentiment that the US editors dropped from the Raymond Burr version. A woman on a subway noting that is seemed like she survived Nagaski only to die from Godzilla is an offhand but telling comment on Japan’s unique view of the use of nuclear weapons.The story itself is makes a bit more sense than the patchwork used with Raymond Burr (though that version is also quite good for the genre that it helps perpetuate). The effects are (I think) still great…the grainy, documentary feel of the movie makes it seem a lot more real.

  • ludvig-holmstrom
    ludvig holmstrom

    When seventeen vessels blow-up and sink nearby Odo Island, Professor Kyohei Yamane (Takashi Shimura), his daughter Emiko Yamane (Momoko Kôchi), and the marine officer Hideto Ogata (Akira Takarada) head to the island to investigate. Soon they witness a giant monster called Gojira by the locals destroying the spot. Meanwhile Emiko meets her boyfriend, the secluded scientist Serizawa (Akihiko Hirata), and he makes she promise to keep a secret about his research with oxygen. She agrees and he discloses the lethal weapon Oxygen Destroyer that he had developed. When Gojira threatens Tokyo and other Japanese cities and the army and the navy are incapable to stop the monster, Emiko discloses Serizawa´s secret to her lover Ogata. Now they want to convince Serizawa to use the Oxygen Destroyer to stop Gojira.”Gojira” (1954) is a surprisingly good Godzilla film, with well-developed story, screenplay and characters. Despite the dated effects and the behavior of Emiko, the plot is engaging and holds the attention of the viewer to the last scene. My vote is eight.Title (Brazil): “Godzilla”

  • victoria-garcia
    victoria garcia

    Essentially a Japanese remake of Hollywood’s 1953 classic ‘The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms’, ‘Gojira’ took the same formula and became so much more than simple giant-monster entertainment.Both films told stories about a pre-historic creature released/mutated by atomic testing. ‘The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms’ followed the appearance of a dinosaur released by an atomic blast. This dinosaur proceeded to destroy some stuff, turned up in New York, and destroyed New York too. Fun, but that was it, and not much more (I’m not saying its a bad film).On the other hand, ‘Gojira’ used the same idea, and had a great impact in Japan. Gojira represented a real threat, a danger that Japanese of the time knew all too well. The message behind ‘Gojira’ was warning of the dangers of nuclear testing and nuclear weapons. Conversely, the message of ‘The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms’ is one for aspiring comic-book writers: exposure to radiation is a cheap but easy way to explain your character’s freaky superpowers.’Gojira’ starts off with several boats going missing. One old man claims that Godzilla has returned, and in surprisingly un-Godzilla movie like fashion, no one believes him. I can understand this, Japan wasn’t accustomed to giant-monster attacks yet. Anyway, Japan asks an imminent paleontologist, Dr. Yamane, to investigate the disappearances around Ohto Island. He discovers a two-million year old shellfish and lots of radiation. Oh, and a dinosaur the locals have dubbed Gojira. Back in Japan, Dr. Yamane is convinced that Gojira has been released by atomic testing, and that it should be isolated and studied. Obviously, no one else shares his view, and they all look for a way to destroy Gojira.The key to Gojira’s destruction lies in the hands of Dr. Serizawa. You can tell he is mad scientist because of his eye-patch. He is arranged to be married to Emiko Yamane, but she is in love with Hideto Ogata, a naval officer. Meanwhile, Gojira is turning Tokyo into a fiery crater.Story-wise, its pretty similar to any irradiated monster movie of the 1950s. However, what all the other movies lack is the gripping images of destruction. Gojira is depicted as an evil force of nature – instead of wanting to see cities get crushed, we see Tokyo in Gojira’s wake: it resembles a nuclear wasteland, and then we are treated to hospital scenes where medical staff try their best to deal with the scores of Gojira’s victims. I can only imagine how terrifying scenes like those would have been so soon after World War Two. These are scenes we don’t to see, in contrast to the sheer joy of watching two giant monsters have at each other in a big metropolis with no apparent consequences (see: nearly every other Godzilla movie ever made, for starters) Interestingly enough, Godzilla was only 50 metres tall in this, and he left radioactive fallout wherever he went. Somewhere along the along the line in the following movies, he got significantly taller, and lost the radioactive fallout. I guess it was a good career move seeing as he wanted to become a super-hero later on.Great film, worthy of a 10/10

  • savelev-avtonom-arkhipovich
    savelev avtonom arkhipovich

    So this is where it all started!Of course, as Godzilla is my all-time favorite character, I admit to being raised on the heavily edited US version starring Raymond Burr. But when viewing this film in its original form, it not only looks more like a Golden Age Toho fantasy as we all know it, but it’s a very powerful masterpiece, as it stands in the history of world cinema. Here in 2004, 50 years ago today after its release, American audiences finally get to see the film in its entirety, thanks to its long-awaited subtitled theatrical release by Rialto Pictures.Technically, Japanese monster movies began with the now-lost 1934 period fantasy, KING KONG HAS ARRIVED IN EDO (EDO NI ARAWARETA KINGU KONGU), which was obviously produced upon the success of the 1933 American classic, KING KONG. But it was GODZILLA (or GOJIRA as the Japanese call him) that truly made it over. Clearly inspired by the success of the 1953 hit, THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS (released to Japan by Daiei early the same year), with a bit of KONG thrown in, Toho set out to make their own monster movie, not knowing that they would create a phenomenon that would last to this day!What more can I say? This movie pretty much set the standard for Japanese monster movies as we all know! Watching the Japanese version is an amazing experience, and a hauntingly epic one!The special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya, as low-tech as they were, had minor flaws (notably visible wires and missiles shooting against a background), but even for a first try in the monster genre, they still looked spectacular, as is the photography! Even though the effects work improved in future films, this is still the landmark of things to come.The music by Akira Ifukube is memorable. From his stirring main title music, to Godzilla’s destructive, ponderous theme music, to the poignant ending. Again, Ifukube’s work for this film sets the standard for his work in the fantasy film genre.The main cast is top-notch, as you’d expect. Akira Takarada (20 at the time) stars as salvage officer Hideto Ogata, the main character. Veteran actor Takashi Shimura plays Dr. Kyouhei Yamane, the eccentric paleontologist, who serves as the Godzilla-expert. Momoko Kouchi plays Yamane’s daughter Emiko, who’s in love with Ogata. But the best character by far (and my all-time favorite human character in a Godzilla film) is the tormented, eyepatch-clad scientist Dr. Daisuke Serizawa, played by Akihiko Hirata. When watching the Japanese version, other supporting characters share the spotlight, especially the newspaper reporter Hagiwara (Sachio Sakai), radiologist Tanabe (Fuyuki Murakami), the Ooto Island fisherman Masaji (Ren Yamamoto) and his younger brother Shinkichi (Toyoaki Suzuki). They just come off as mere background characters in the US version, but if you watch the Japanese original, you’ll be totally surprised. Their performances were really dazzling, just like you’d expect from actors in a Toho fantasy film. Some of these actors would appear in future Godzilla films, as well as other SPFX fantasies from Toho.Compared to other incarnations, this film (as well as GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN) had the creepiest Godzilla ever, and that was just the way he was supposed to be! Almost like a black silhouette with bright, white staring eyes. Godzilla was not just a mere animal, he was basically a modern god! A raging, destructive demon with the power of the hydrogen bomb that affected him. Although Godzilla is inspired by the Rhedosaurus from BEAST, he was a completely different entity. He was virtually indestructible, and had an awesome power – a white-hot atomic breath! Godzilla became the archetype for many Japanese giant monsters to follow.But exactly what is Godzilla? As explained in this film (it’s explained better in the Japanese version), he’s a huge amphibious bipedal dinosaur that lives in caverns under the sea, feeding off of smaller sea animals. He was feared as a “god” on Ooto Island, and many young virgin women were sacrificed to him to appease his hunger. Hydrogen bomb tests affected his habitat, giving him unbelievable radioactive power & strength (and a towering size of 50 meters, 164 feet). And a sleeping giant was awakened . . .Makes you think more about those nuclear tests, doesn’t it?Lastly, while the Japanese original played out more smoothly, the American version starring Raymond Burr (of PERRY MASON fame) as the visiting American reporter Steve Martin (not to be confused with the famous comedian!) is still very effective. The epic scale of the original still manages to shine through what the US producers could allow, and Burr (who was hired for a whole day for filming the added scenes) still did a serviceable job. American fans of the original version can at least be thankful for this US version, without which America could not accept Godzilla.As for the movie’s story, I’d rather not go into it in detail. If you haven’t seen it, please do so! Be it the original Japanese version (which I recommend the most, especially subtitled), or the edited US version!Here’s to 50 years of a classic movie, and a classic character I will love forever!

  • kathi-schmidt
    kathi schmidt

    This one started it all: the first and original Godzilla (Gojira) movie, and also serves as the beginning to a long line of sci-fi and monster (kaiju in Japan) movies from Toho Studios. We have a story where Japan is thrown into a panic after several ships explode and sink. An expedition of law enforcement officials and lead scientist Dr. Yamane (Takeshi Shimura) head to nearby Odo Island to investigate. There, a legendary mythical creature called Gojira, alleged to be responsible for the ship disasters, make his first appearance and begins a rampage on hapless Tokyo, threatening all of mankind. This dramatic film with its thrills and horror has all the monster movie elements: a fire-breathing creature, toppling buildings, wall of flames, fleeing and screaming citizens, storms and seas, tanks and the army and frantic scientists and government officials – trying to figure out how to defeat the horror they see before them. The love triangle between the character leads blends in very well with the monster plot. Godzilla, making his first attack on Tokyo, created haunting scenes of death and destruction and poignant moments of dismalness in the aftermath of his wake. Director Ishiro Honda did his finest and composer Akira Ifukube scored one of his best film music masterpieces. A compelling story by Shigeru Kayama, marvelous screenplay by Takeo Murata and superb special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. Actors Takeshi Shimura, Akira Takarada, Momoko Kochi and Akihiko Hirata gave outstanding performances. And, Haruo Nakajima, Katsumi Tezuka and Ryosaku Takasugi did a terrific and realistic job on portraying Godzilla.It is clever that the grave consequences of atomic bomb testings are depicted in this film, which sends a vital message to the real world. This is a creative way to explain Godzilla’s origins. Every element in this movie are throughly connected, leaving no room for loose ends and plot holes. While the plot’s pace is steady, all the on-scream drama and action will grab the audience’s attention. Above all, this film is not just a “monster-on-the-loose” movie. It’s a true classic, one that stands out above many sci-fi movies in cinema history. A great movie to begin a long and successful (in most cases) line of Godzilla and other monster/sci-fi films from Toho Studios. Grade A

  • wilson-abreu
    wilson abreu

    Finally, I had the pleasure of finally seeing the original Japanese version of this classic and I have to say that it is much better than the “Raymond Burr” version. This film pretty much makes one think about what we are doing to mother Earth with all the pollution and war going on. Perhaps the thing that made this film great was that not only did it have great effects, but it also had a great story that made a great social commentary on what could have happened if the arms race continued to go unchecked. Besides the story about Gojira, you also had a pretty decent love story. Akihiko Hirata, does a good job of playing Serizawa, who is really the tragic figure in this film who must decide whether or not to use his weapon, which potentially was more dangerous than the monster itself. This film is definitely one of the all time classics and fortunately the original version will be released on DVD in September 2006.

  • kimberley-clarke
    kimberley clarke

    The original, Japanese version of “Gojira” is the best giant monster film I’ve ever seen. Some fans get carried away and call it one of the best movies ever made; I wouldn’t go quite that far, but it’s damn good.This film is quite different from the 20+ sequels that followed. Here, Godzilla is not so much a creature as he is a walking incarnation of the atomic bomb. His death ray, which became a rather amusing cartoon laser blast in later films, is here depicted as a sort of radioactive mist that sets its victims on fire. These “radioactive horror” images still resonate today – and imagine the impact they must’ve had on Japanese audiences fifty years ago.From a production standpoint, the film holds up well. Godzilla’s costume is much more convincing than the silly monkey suits that featured in the 60s and 70s Toho films, and due to the grayscale photography, the model cityscapes look convincing in most shots – or at least respectable. Ifkube’s music score is stirring (you know it has to be good, as they kept recycling it in later movies), and director Honda makes great use of camera angles and imaginative special effects to give Godzilla a genuine aura of menace. For once, the human characters don’t let the side down. There’s a compelling love triangle, and a dramatic sacrifice made at the end of the film that adds enormously to its emotional impact. The American version (“Godzilla: King of the Monsters”) cut out much of the character development, and is thus clearly inferior; but never fear, Rialto is apparently releasing “Gojira,” in all its original glory, sometime this year (2004).In the later Godzilla films, the destruction he causes is almost incidental. Here, it’s the whole point – he’s a force of nature. Impressive.