Battle in Outer Space (1959)

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Image gallery for Battle in Outer Space
Credits for Battle in Outer Space
Battle in Outer Space soundtrack

Battle in Outer Space
The Japanese poster for Battle in Outer Space
Alternate titles
Flagicon Japan.png The Great Space War (1959)
See alternate titles
Directed by Ishiro Honda
Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka
Written by Shinichi Sekizawa (screenwriter),
Jojiro Okami (story)
Music by Akira Ifukube, Yosaku Suma
effects by
Eiji Tsuburaya
Distributor TohoJP, Columbia PicturesUS
Rating Not Rated
Box office ¥123,000,000[1]
Running time 90 minutes
(1 hour, 30 minutes)
Aspect ratio 2.35:1
Rate this film!
(12 votes)

Will the Earth be reduced to space dust? A giant battle unfolds on the other side of the Moon! (地球は宇宙の塵と化すか?月の裏側に展開する一大決戦!)

— Japanese tagline

Space wages war on Earth!

— American tagline

Battle in Outer Space (宇宙大戦争,   Uchū Daisensō, lit. "The Great Space War") is a 1959 tokusatsu science fiction film directed by Ishiro Honda and written by Shinichi Sekizawa from a story by Jojiro Okami, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. Produced by Toho, it is a loose sequel to the studio's 1957 film The Mysterians. It stars Ryo Ikebe, Kyoko Anzai, Minoru Takada, Koreya Senda, Len Stanford, Harold Conway, George Whyman, Elise Richter, Hisaya Ito, and Yoshio Tsuchiya. The film was released to Japanese theaters by Toho on December 26, 1959 and to American theaters by Columbia Pictures on July 8, 1960.

By the year 1965, the nations of the world have come together under the banner of the United Nations to usher in a new age of international cooperation and space exploration. However, a hostile alien race called the Natarls destroys the UN's Space Station JSS-3 and causes natural disasters all around the globe. Determining that the Natarls are operating from a base on the Moon, the UN sends a crew of scientists and soldiers aboard two advanced rockets called SPIPs to find and disable the invaders' base. What follows is a battle between humanity and the invaders on the moon and in the Earth's atmosphere, pitting the most advanced technology of both civilizations against each other.


In the year 1965, the space station JSS-3 is attacked and destroyed by a trio of flying saucers. Around the world, an unknown force begins lifting objects into the sky, causing accidents. All the survivors of the events suffer from extreme frostbite. At a UN meeting, it is theorized that the attacks are of alien origin, and the frostbite is a result of them freezing the objects to reduce their gravitational pull. Meanwhile, a delegate exits the building and into a courtyard, and is abducted by a red light.

The delegate reappears, and attempts to sabotage the heat ray experiment at the meeting. He is caught before he can finish, and takes a hostage. He explains that Earth will become a colony of the planet Natarl before attempting to escape. A Natarl saucer soon appears and disintegrates him, leaving behind a radio transmitter which allows the UN to determine the aliens' location: the Moon.

Two rockets, called SPIPs, take off for the Moon. They are attacked by remote controlled meteors, but they escape. A pilot of one of the SPIPs is caught trying to sabotage the ship's engines, but he is stopped. A warning is given to the SPIPs to not land on the Moon, but it is ignored. The two ships land and find the Natarl base.

The mind-controlled pilot breaks free of his ropes and blows up one of the SPIPs. Meanwhile, the Natarl base is discovered. One of the crew members is captured, but she is later freed. The group begins attacking the base, and blow it up. The mind-controlled pilot is freed, and stays behind on the Moon for the others to escape. On Earth, the UN prepares for a final battle. They send up Scout Ships and Atomic Heat Cannons to attack. The Earth forces defend as long as they can, but some meteors break through and hit some cities. The Natarl mothership flies down and destroys Tokyo. The Atomic Heat Cannons manage to destroy it, ending the Natarl invasion.


Main article: Battle in Outer Space/Credits#Japanese.

Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.


Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.

  • Ryo Ikebe   as   Major Ichiro Katsumiya
  • Kyoko Anzai   as   Etsuko Shiraishi
  • Minoru Takada   as   defense commander
  • Koreya Senda   as   Dr. Adachi
  • Len Stanford   as   Dr. Roger Richardson, U.S. representative
  • Harold Conway   as   Dr. Immelman
  • George Whyman   as   Dr. Ahmed
  • Elise Richter   as   Sylvia
  • Hisaya Ito   as   Kogure, engineer
  • Yoshio Tsuchiya   as   Koichi Iwamura
  • Nadao Kirino   as   Crewman Okada
  • Kozo Nomura   as   rocket captain
  • Fuyuki Murakami   as   Inspector Ariake
  • Ikio Sawamura   as   Tokaido railway track inspector
  • Jiro Kumagai, Mitsuo Tsuda   as   defense officials
  • Mitsuo Tsuda   as   defense official / Natarl
  • Katsumi Tezuka   as   naval officer / Natarl
  • Tadashi Okabe   as   vice officer
  • Osman Yusuf, Heinz Bodmer, Koichi Sato, Rinsaku Ogata, Yutaka Oka   as   SPIP-2 crewmen
  • Malcolm Pearce   as   Lt. Pearce, captain of SPIP-1
  • Leonard Walsh   as   Thomas Sheldon
  • Yasuo Araki   as   SPIP-1 crewman
  • Dona Carlson   as   Mrs. Richardson
  • Yasuhisa Tsutsumi, Shigeo Kato   as   Tokaido train engineers
  • Kisao Hatamochi   as   Space Station JSS-3 radio operator
  • Yukihiko Gondo   as   official
  • Saburo Kadowaki   as   astronomer
  • Takuzo Kumagai, Kisao Hatamochi, Yasuo Araki, Keisuke Yamada, Koji Kamimura, Shinjiro Hirota   as   Natarls


Weapons, vehicles, and races


Main article: Battle in Outer Space/Gallery.


Main article: Battle in Outer Space/Soundtrack.

Alternate titles

  • The Great Space War (literal Japanese title)
  • The Interplanetary Battle (La Bataille Interplanétaire; French Belgium)
  • The Battle Between Planets (De Strijd Tussen van Planeten; Dutch Belgium)
  • Worlds at War (Mundos em Guerra; Portugal; Brazil)
  • Battle in Space (Batalla en el Espacio; Spain; Bataille dans l’espace; France)
  • Hell in the Stratosphere (Inferno nella stratosfera; Italy)
  • Alarm 1965! (Hälytys 1965!; Finland)
  • Invasion from Space (Invasjon fra verdensrommet; Norway)
  • Planet Wars (Planeternas krig; Sweden)
  • War of Satellites (Guerra de Satélites; Mexico)
  • War in Outer Space (Krieg im Weltenraum; West Germany)

Theatrical releases

  • Japan - December 26, 1959
  • United States - July 8, 1960
  • West Germany - November 30, 1960
  • Finland - December 16, 1960
  • Mexico - January 5, 1961
  • Italy - January 12, 1961
  • Portugal - July 13, 1961
  • United Kingdom - April 15, 1962

U.S. release

U.S. Battle in Outer Space poster

Battle in Outer Space was acquired by Columbia Pictures, dubbed into English by Bellucci Productions, and released in U.S. theaters on July 8, 1960. It was the first Toho science-fiction film to be released in the U.S. without any added or deleted footage, although Akira Ifukube's score was replaced with library music in several scenes.[2]

Unlike The H-Man and Mothra, the other two Toho titles distributed by Columbia, Battle in Outer Space never received a VHS release in the United States. It was finally released on the three-disc Icons of Sci-fi: Toho Collection DVD set by Sony in 2009, alongside The H-Man and Mothra, with Japanese and English language options.

Video releases

Toho DVD (2004)[3][4]

  • Region: 2
  • Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono, 3.0 Perspecta Stereo, 5.1 Surround)
  • Special features: Theatrical trailer, storyboards, pamphlets and concept art, still photos, audio commentary by Koji Kajita
  • Notes: Re-released on February 7, 2014 and on July 15, 2015 as part of the Toho DVD Masterpiece Selection.

Sony DVD (2009) [Icons of Sci-fi: Toho Collection]

  • Region: 1
  • Discs: 3
  • Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono), English (2.0 Mono)
  • Special features: Audio commentary by Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski (Mothra and Battle in Outer Space), trailers
  • Notes: Subtitles in the initial pressing of the disc correspond only to the script of the English dub. A later pressing, dated August 20, 2009, includes separate subtitles that correspond to the Japanese dialogue.
  • Note: Packaged with Mothra and The H-Man.

Sony Blu-ray (2018)

  • Region: N/A
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese, English (2.0 Mono)
  • Special features: Audio commentary by Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski (same as the 2009 Sony DVD)
  • Notes: Subtitles correspond to the script of the English dub. The Japanese audio track has been edited to fit the American version.

Mill Creek Blu-ray (2020)[5]

  • Region: N/A
  • Discs: 2
  • Audio: Japanese, English (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Special features: Audio commentary by Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski (same as the 2009 Sony DVD)
  • Notes: Subtitles correspond to the script of the English dub. Packaged with The H-Man.

Eureka! Blu-ray (2020)[6]

  • Region: N/A
  • Discs: 2
  • Audio: Japanese, English (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English (two sets for each version of the film)
  • Special features: Audio commentary by Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski (same as 2009 Sony DVD), audio commentary by David Kalat, image gallery, booklet with essays by Christopher Stewardson and Jasper Sharp
  • Notes: Packaged with The H-Man. Subtitles correspond to each version of the film; Japanese version uses corrected script.


Battle in Outer Space Japanese trailer
Battle in Outer Space
U.S. teaser trailer
Battle in Outer Space U.S. trailer
Battle in Outer Space U.S. TV spot
Battle in Outer Space West German trailer
Ken Films Super 8 digest version of
Battle in Outer Space


  • Battle in Outer Space was theatrically released in Japan on a double bill with Sazae-san's Wayward Wife.[7]
  • The 1977 Toho film The War in Space was planned as a sequel to this film, simply titled Battle in Outer Space 2. This idea was scrapped during production.[8]
  • This film's Japanese title was used for a 2005 Japanese flight combat simulator game released in Europe under the English title Space War Attack. Said game was a spin-off of the shooter game The Earth Defense Force, itself using the Japanese title of this film's predecessor, The Mysterians.
  • According to the book Tokusatsu DNA (Hard Cover Luxury Edition), the scenes on the lunar surface were shot in the lava fields on Mount Mihara just five to six years after a volcanic eruption.
  • An alternate 93-minute version of the movie known as the "long version" began broadcasting on the Nihon Eiga Senmon Channel starting on October 24, 2014.[9] This version of the film contains many alternate and unfinished composite effects as well as alternate takes.


This is a list of references for Battle in Outer Space. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

  1. Godzilla 40th Anniversary Complete Works. Kodansha. 1 September 1994. pp. 58–59. ISBN 406178417X.
  2. Kaiju-Fan Online - Toho in America: Battle in Outer Space
  3. "宇宙大戦争 (1959) 東宝".
  4. Battle in Outer Space (1959) Toho
  5. Mill Creek June 2020 New Releases - The H Man and Battle in Outer Space
  6. "Ishirō Honda Double Feature: THE H-MAN & BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE (Blu-ray)". Eureka!. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  7. Toho Special Effects Movie Complete Works. 28 September 2012. p. 42. ISBN 4864910138.
  9. Ragone, August (1 October 2014). "SCOOP! TOHO DISCOVERS LONG-LOST FOOTAGE! Japanese Satellite Cable Premieres In November". The Good, the Bad, and Godzilla.


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