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!
(15 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

SNEAK ATTACK! Earth Battles Outlaw Planet!

American taglines

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 June 9, 1960, starting at theaters in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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 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 Japanese 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 a derailment on a Japanese expressway, the destruction of a freighter in the Panama Canal and a devastating water spout in Venice, Italy. All the survivors of the events suffer from extreme frostbite. At a UN meeting held at the Japan Space Research Center, 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, Dr. Ahmed, an Iranian delegate, hypnotically exits the meeting into a courtyard, and is abducted by a red light.

Ahmed reappears, and attempts to sabotage the heat ray experiment at the meeting. He is caught before he can finish, but takes Space Research Center employee Etsuko Shiraishi hostage. He declares that Earth will become a colony of the planet Natarl. Major Katsumiya, Etsuko's lover, frees her, before Ahmed attempts 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. On the eve of Earth's counterattack, Iwamura, friend and coworker of Etsuko and Katsumiya, is abducted and subjugated by the Natarls.

Two rockets, SPIP-1 and SPIP-2, take off for the Moon. En route, they are attacked by remote controlled meteors dubbed Space Torpedoes, but they evade and destroy them. Iwamura is caught trying to sabotage the SPIP-1's heat ray power supply, but he is apprehended in time. A warning is given to the SPIPs to not land on the Moon, but is unheeded by the crews. The two crews land, deploy their Moon All Terrain Vehicles, find the Natarl base, and prepare to attack.

Iwamura breaks free of his ropes, incapacitates his guard and blows up SPIP-1. Meanwhile, Etsuko is captured, but she is soon freed by Katsumiya. The group begins attacking the base, and blow it up. Iwamura is freed from his mind control, and stays behind on the Moon to allow the others to escape, sacrificing himself. On Earth, as public outcry against the invaders mounts, mass production of reconnaissance rockets modified for combat begins, and the UN prepares for a final battle. At Japanese, Texan and Siberian bases, they send up the newly completed FFE Space Fighters to attack and sortie Atomic Heat Cannons to defend. The Earth forces defend as long as they can, but some Space Torpedoes break through and hit their targets in New York and San Francisco, destroying the Statue of Liberty and Golden Gate Bridge. The Natarl mothership enters the atmosphere and decimates much of Tokyo's Ginza ward with its freeze ray. 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)
  • War in Space (early English 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)
  • Interplanetary War (Guerra entre Planetas; Mexico)
  • War of Satellites (Guerra de Satélites; Mexico)
  • War in Outer Space (Krieg im Weltenraum; West Germany)

Theatrical releases

  • Japan - December 26, 1959
  • United States - June 9, 1960 (Honolulu, HI)
  • Canada - July 25, 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

Foreign releases

U.S. release

U.S. Battle in Outer Space poster

Battle in Outer Space was released by Columbia Pictures, dubbed into English by Bellucci Productions, and released in U.S. theaters on June 9, 1960, starting with a run in Honolulu, Hawaii. Akira Ifukube's score was replaced with unidentified 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

DVD 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.

Anolis DVD/Blu-ray (2017)[5]

  • Region: B
  • Discs: 3
  • Audio: Japanese, English, German (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: German
  • Special features: Audio commentary by Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski (same as the 2009 Sony DVD, with optional German subtitles), audio commentary by Dr. Rolf Giesen und Jörg M. Jedner, Super-8 cut of the film, West German theatrical trailer, West German advertising materials, American advertising materials, film program, photo gallery.
  • Notes: American version on Blu-ray, Japanese and American versions on DVD. Audio commentaries only available on Japanese version.

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. Picture uses the American version of the film.

Mill Creek Blu-ray (2020) [Sci-Fi Double Feature][6]

  • 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)[7]

  • 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.


Japanese trailer
U.S. teaser trailer
U.S. trailer
U.S. TV spot
West German trailer
Ken Films Super 8 digest version


Ad for Honolulu screenings of Battle in Outer Space and 12 to the Moon in The Honolulu Advertiser (June 9, 1960)
  • Battle in Outer Space was theatrically released in Japan on a double bill with Sazae-san's Wayward Wife.[8]
  • Columbia Pictures packaged Battle in Outer Space together with 12 to the Moon (1960) for their original U.S. theatrical release in 1960.
  • 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.[9]
  • 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 of unknown provenance began broadcasting on the Nihon Eiga Senmon Channel starting on October 24, 2014, simply designated as the "long version."[10] This version of the film contains many alternate and unfinished composite effects as well as alternate takes. This longer runtime corroborates with the footage count of the film itself as noted in Toho Special Effects Movie Complete Works[11] and on the Japanese Movie Database (JMDb).[12] Notably absent from this version is the Natarls' demolition of the Golden Gate Bridge.


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. XenoHead04 (18 August 2017). "OFDb - Krieg im Weltenraum (1959) - Blu-ray Disc: Anolis (Die Rache der Galerie des Grauens 8)". OFDb. Retrieved 5 January 2023. Cite has empty unknown parameter: |1= (help)
  6. Mill Creek June 2020 New Releases - The H Man and Battle in Outer Space
  7. "Ishirō Honda Double Feature: THE H-MAN & BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE (Blu-ray)". Eureka!. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  8. Toho Special Effects Movie Complete Works. 28 September 2012. p. 42. ISBN 4864910138.
  10. Ragone, August (1 October 2014). "SCOOP! TOHO DISCOVERS LONG-LOST FOOTAGE! Japanese Satellite Cable Premieres In November". The Good, the Bad, and Godzilla.
  11. Ishikawa, Eugene; Hirai, Yutaro, eds. (28 September 2012). Toho Special Effects Movie Complete Works. villagebooks. p. 42. ISBN 4-864-91013-8.
  12. "宇宙大戦争".


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