- "Godzilla 1954" redirects here. For the Godzilla incarnation, see Godzilla (First Generation). For the Godzilla design, see ShodaiGoji.
— Japanese tagline
The Spectacle That Created World Sensation - The monster of the century awakened to life by the H-Bomb
— International tagline
Incredible, unstoppable titan of terror!
An enraged monster wipes out an entire city!
CIVILIZATION CRUMBLES as its death rays blast a city of 6 million from the face of the earth!
Raging through the world on a rampage of destruction!
— American taglines
Godzilla (ゴジラ is a Gojira)1954 tokusatsu kaiju film directed by Ishiro Honda and written by Takeo Murata with Honda from a story by Shigeru Kayama, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. Produced by Toho, it is the first installment in the Godzilla series as well as the Showa series. It stars Akira Takarada, Momoko Kochi, Akihiko Hirata, Takashi Shimura, and Fuyuki Murakami. The film was released to Japanese theaters by Toho on November 3, 1954. Jewell Enterprises produced a heavily-edited English-language version of the film directed by Terry Morse titled Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, starring Raymond Burr as a new character named Steve Martin. Trans World Releasing brought this version of the film to American theaters on April 27, 1956.
Responsible for launching the long-running Godzilla series as well as the genres of both kaiju eiga and tokusatsu in general, Godzilla was an incredibly successful and influential film both in Japan and internationally. The film tells the story of Godzilla, a huge prehistoric beast roused from his ancient slumber by H-bomb testing in the South Pacific, who proceeds to lay waste to Tokyo. Only the young scientist Daisuke Serizawa holds the key to possibly defeating the invincible monster, a deadly chemical weapon called the Oxygen Destroyer. However, even as the destruction mounts, Serizawa resists revealing his invention to the world out of fear it will become a far worse threat to humanity than even nuclear weapons. Godzilla was followed by a direct sequel, Godzilla Raids Again, in 1955.
Plot[edit | edit source]
The Japanese freighter Eiko Maru is suddenly consumed by a flash of light from the water near Odo Island and sinks. Southern Seas Shipping sends a rescue boat, the Bingo Maru, to investigate the accident, but it meets the same fate. A fishing boat from Odo Island discovers survivors in the area, but it too is shipwrecked before it can return to the island.
Meanwhile, on Odo Island, the citizens of the local fishing community are unable to catch anything. Masaji Yamada, a local fisherman and the only survivor from the most recent shipwreck, washes ashore on a raft and tells the islanders that something sank his boat. An elder says that Godzilla must be the cause, though many of the younger islanders are hesitant to believe the superstition. According to local folklore, Godzilla is a kaiju who lives in the sea that comes from the ocean to feed on mankind. Whenever fishing was poor, the islanders once sent young women adrift on rafts as a sacrifice to prevent Godzilla from coming ashore.
A helicopter carrying investigative reporters arrives on Odo Island. The residents increasingly begin to believe that the recent disasters in the ocean were caused by a living creature, but the reporters remain skeptical. That night the islanders perform an exorcism ceremony in the hope of warding off Godzilla. A violent storm hits the island, and much of the village is destroyed, as though it was crushed from above. Masaji's younger brother Shinkichi ventures outside during the storm and watches in horror as his family home is crushed by a gigantic creature with his brother and mother still inside.
The next day, the witnesses are brought to the National Diet Building in Tokyo. Paleontologist Dr. Kyohei Yamane requests that an investigative party be sent to Odo Island. Accompanying the expedition are Yamane's daughter Emiko and her boyfriend Hideto Ogata, a salvage worker for Southern Seas Shipping. As the expedition's ship prepares to depart, reclusive scientist and Emiko's childhood friend Dr. Daisuke Serizawa sees them off. The expedition arrives safely on the island, where Yamane discovers a huge footprint contaminated with radioactivity, along with a trilobite. Suddenly, the village alarm is set off and the villagers run towards the hills. A huge monster raises its head over a hill, terrifying the villagers who flee after witnessing its sheer size.
Afterwards, Yamane presents his findings at an emergency meeting at the Diet Building. He presents a photograph of the creature, proposing to call it "Godzilla" after the monster from Odo Island's folklore. He states that Godzilla must stand at least 50 meters tall and posits that he is actually a prehistoric, semi-aquatic reptile, intermediary between land and marine reptiles. Yamane says that the sediment from Godzilla's footprint contained a massive amount of Strontium-90, which could have only have come from a hydrogen bomb. Thus, Yamane proposes that repeated recent hydrogen bomb testing in the South Pacific completely destroyed Godzilla's underwater habitat, irradiating him and driving him from his sanctuary. After Yamane's presentation, a man from the crowd, Oyama, suggests that the information should not be publicly known. Since Godzilla is the product of nuclear weapons, Oyama says, the truth may strain Japan's already fragile international relations. However, a woman in the crowd angrily objects to Oyama's suggestion and demands that the truth be revealed. After she insults Oyama, chaos breaks loose in the Diet Building.
Godzilla's existence and origins are officially revealed to the public, and a JMSDF fleet is immediately sent out to use depth charges in an attempt to kill the monster. In his home, Yamane sits alone forlorn in his study with the lights out. Being a zoologist, Yamane does not want Godzilla to be killed, but rather studied.
That night, Godzilla suddenly rises in Tokyo Bay in front of a pleasure boat, unharmed by the depth charge assault. Within a minute, the monster descends back into the ocean, but his brief appearance causes nationwide panic. The next morning, government officials ask Yamane if there is a way to kill Godzilla. A frustrated Yamane explains that Godzilla has already survived a massive amount of radiation, and believes that he should be studied to see what keeps him alive.
Emiko is expected to marry Serizawa, who is also a colleague of her father. Emiko, however, is in love with Ogata and plans to marry him, having always seen Serizawa as a brother. A reporter named Hagiwara asks Emiko to introduce him to Serizawa so that he can interview him about a supposed invention that may prove to be a breakthrough against Godzilla. Emiko agrees, intending to use the opportinity to finally tell Serizawa she plans to marry Ogata. Serizawa insists that he has no idea what invention Hagiwara is talking about, and the reporter leaves. Serizawa agrees to show Emiko his current experiment, on the condition that she not tell another soul about its existence. He brings Emiko into his laboratory, where he demonstrates his invention by dropping a pellet into a fish tank, which causes the water to bubble before asphyxiating and then disintegrating all of the fish inside. Serizawa explains that while researching the element oxygen, he stumbled upon an incredibly powerful chemical reaction that horrified him. He calls his invention the Oxygen Destroyer, and says that until he finds a beneficial use for it, he will never reveal its existence to the world as it is a far more powerful weapon than any nuclear bomb. Emiko is shocked by the demonstration, but agrees to keep Serizawa's secret. However, she is unable to tell him about her engagement to Ogata.
That night, Godzilla appears again out of Tokyo Bay and attacks Tokyo's Shinagawa Ward. While the monster's attack is relatively short, it causes much destruction and death. The next morning, the JSDF hastily construct a line of 40-meter electric towers along the coast of Tokyo that will send 50,000 volts of electricity through Godzilla, should he arrive again. Civilians are then evacuated from the city and put into bomb shelters. The JSDF then prepares a blockade along the fence line.
When night falls, Godzilla surfaces from Tokyo Bay again. The monster easily breaks through the giant electric fence, with no pain inflicted. The bombardment of artillery shells from the JSDF also has no effect. As Godzilla breaks through the high-tension wires, he spits a stream of superheated radioactive vapor from his mouth to melt the electric fence. Godzilla continues to move inland, reaching the heart of Tokyo and setting it ablaze with his atomic breath. The JSDF's tanks and artillery are also useless against Godzilla, who continues his raid well into the night. By the end, the entire city is destroyed and thousands of innocent civilians are dead, dying, or wounded. As Godzilla wades back into Tokyo Bay, a squadron of jets fire rockets at the monster, which while they do not phase Godzilla though do manage to lead him out to sea, where he disappears beneath the waves.
The next morning, the city is in absolute ruins. Hospitals are overrun with victims, many exposed to heavy doses of radiation. As Emiko sees the many victims of Godzilla's attack while volunteering at an emergency shelter, she takes Ogata aside and tells him Serizawa's dark secret, in the hope that together, they can convince Serizawa do something against Godzilla.
Ogata and Emiko visit Serizawa to ask for permission use the Oxygen Destroyer against Godzilla. Serizawa refuses and storms down to his basement to destroy the weapon. Ogata and Emiko follow him down in order to prevent him from doing so. However, this only results in a short scuffle between Ogata and Serizawa, with Ogata receiving a minor head wound. As Emiko treats the wound, Serizawa apologizes. Ogata tries to convince Serizawa that he is the only one who can save the world. Serizawa responds that if he found a use for the Oxygen Destroyer that could benefit mankind, he would be the first to reveal it to the world. In his current form, he says, it is only a chemical weapon of mass destruction. Ogata insists that it may be the only way to stop Godzilla's reign of terror, but Serizawa fears that revealing it now would be like opening Pandora's box. The politicians of the world will not stand idly by after seeing the weapon in action, Serizawa warns, and will want to use it as a weapon. So long as he lives, Serizawa fears that he could be coerced into revealing his secret so that the Oxygen Destroyer would fall into the wrong hands. As a scientist and human being, Serizawa says he cannot in good conscience introduce a weapon even more dangerous than nuclear weapons.
Just as Ogata begins to accept Serizawa's refusal, a grim television program appears on the air, showing the devastation and deaths caused by Godzilla, along with prayers for hope and peace. Shaken by what he is witnessing, Serizawa ultimately decides to use his last Oxygen Destroyer, but only one time. Serizawa then proceeds to destroy his research, knowing that this weapon was almost as dangerous and destructive as Godzilla himself, and that destroying this weapon and all evidence of its existence will be for the betterment of society.
The next day, the ship Shikine takes Ogata and Serizawa to detonate the Oxygen Destroyer in Tokyo Bay, accompanied by a host of scientists and reporters. Serizawa requests that he be put in a diving suit to make sure the device is used correctly. Ogata at first refuses to allow Serizawa to dive with no prior experience, but soon gives in on the condition he accompany him. Once a Geiger counter locates Godzilla resting on the sea floor, Ogata and Serizawa then descend into the water, with the latter wielding the Oxygen Destroyer. Seemingly unaware of the divers, the monster slowly walks around the ocean floor. Ogata then is pulled back to the surface while Serizawa activates the Oxygen Destroyer. As Serizawa witnesses Godzilla dying from the effects of the destructive weapon, he wishes Emiko and Ogata happiness together before cutting his line and oxygen cord to ensure that he will die with Godzilla, sacrificing himself so that his knowledge of the horrible weapon dies with him. A dying Godzilla surfaces before the onlookers on the ship, lets out a final defiant roar, and sinks lifelessly to the bottom of the bay, disintegrating first into a skeleton and then into nothingness.
Although Godzilla is destroyed and many of those onboard celebrate, Emiko, Ogata, and Yamane sit solemnly and grieve for Serizawa. Yamane suggests that it is unlikely Godzilla was the last of his species. He says that if nuclear testing continues, another Godzilla will probably appear somewhere in the world again. Everyone aboard then collectively salutes Serizawa's sacrifice.
Staff[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Godzilla (1954 film)/Credits.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Ishiro Honda
- Based on a story by Shigeru Kayama
- Screenplay by Takeo Murata, Ishiro Honda
- Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
- Music by Akira Ifukube
- Insert song "Prayer for Peace"
- Performed by Toho High School of Music
- Written by Shigeru Kayama
- Composed and conducted by Akira Ifukube
- Cinematography by Masao Tamai
- Edited by Yasunobu Taira
- Production design by Satoshi Chuko, Takeo Kita
- 1st assistant director Koji Kajita
- Director of special effects Eiji Tsuburaya
- Suits modeled by Teizo Toshimitsu, Eizo Kaimai, Kanju Yagi, Yasuei Yagi, Yoshio Suzuki
Cast[edit | edit source]
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
Godzilla, King of the Monsters![edit | edit source]
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
German Godzilla dub[edit | edit source]
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
Italian Godzilla, King of the Monsters! dub[edit | edit source]
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
Monsters[edit | edit source]
Weapons, vehicles, and races[edit | edit source]
Gallery[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Godzilla (1954 film)/Gallery.
Soundtrack[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Godzilla (1954 film)/Soundtrack.
Production[edit | edit source]
With war films becoming frowned upon in Japan's film industry after World War II, Toho Studios looked for a new genre of special effects films to make. Tomoyuki Tanaka, coming back to Japan after troubled progress on an overseas production, In the Shadow of Glory, had thought of "what if a giant monster awoke from nuclear radiation and attacked Japan, taking residence in Tokyo Bay?" While nuclear-radiated monsters started becoming popular at the time, the use in this film is due to the accident of the Lucky Dragon No. 5 fishing boat, which was unknowingly catching fish too close to Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands when a hydrogen bomb test was conducted there on March 1, 1954. Godzilla was released later that same year as a sort of cautionary tale.
Chosen to direct was war veteran and pacifist Ishiro Honda, who would later on direct a good half of the Godzilla series during the Showa era, along with several other science fiction films. To handle the special effects were Eiji Tsuburaya and Yasuyuki Inoue. At the time, Tsuburaya was considered one of the greatest masters of miniature effects on film; one of his earlier World War II works (a recreation of the attack on Pearl Harbor) being mistaken for actual war footage. Tsuburaya had previous experience in the science fiction genre with films such as rival studio Daiei's The Invisible Man Appears. He had only returned to Toho a year earlier for his work on Farewell Rabaul, a war film directed by Honda. Eiji Tsuburaya originally wanted to film Godzilla in stop-motion animation like the then-recent U.S. 1953 sci-fi blockbuster, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, and the earlier classic and a personal favorite of Tsuburaya's, King Kong. However, Haruo Nakajima quoted Tsuburaya in saying that "...it would take seven years to make...", so it was decided to portray the titular monster through an actor in a suit, a style of special effects that would be popularized by this film and later known as "suitmation." The Godzilla suit was originally brown and weighed over 200 pounds. When suit actor Haruo Nakajima tried to move in it, it took several minutes. A lighter suit was made along with a pair of suspended legs. The filming took approximately three months.
Alternate titles[edit | edit source]
- G Production: Godzilla (Ｇ作品 ゴヂラ Jī Sakuhin Gojira, early story treatment title)
- G Production (Ｇ作品 Jī Sakuhin, working title)
- Atomic Dinosaur (原子恐龍 Yuánzǐ kǒnglóng, Taiwan)
- Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (United States; United Kingdom)
- Monster King Godzilla (怪獣王ゴジラJapanese title for the U.S. version) Kaijū ō Gojira,
- Godzilla: Monster of the Sea (Godzilla: Monstret Från Havet; Sweden)
- Japan: Under the Terror of the Monster (Japón: Bajo el Terror del Monstruo; Spain)
- The Monster of the Pacific Ocean (O Monstro do Oceano Pacífico; Portugal)
- Godzilla, the Monster of the Century (Godzilla, το τέρας του αιώνος, Godzilla, to téras tou aió̱nos; Greece)
- Birth of Godzilla (哥吉拉的誕生 Gējílā de dànshēng, Taiwanese DVD title)
- Godzila, The Sea Monster (Godzila, O Monstro do Mar; Brazil)
- Awakened Destruction (Probuzená zkáza; Czechoslovakia)
- Godzilla - King of Monsters (Godzilla - Konungur óvættanna; Iceland)
- Godzilla, King of the Monsters (Godzilla, rey de los monstruos, Uruguay)
- Godzilla, the Sea Monster of Odo (Godzilla, het zeemonster van Odo; Netherlands)
- Godzilla, Sea Monster (Godzila, morsko čudovište; Yugoslavia)
Theatrical releases[edit | edit source]
View all posters for the film here.
- Japan - November 3, 1954 [view poster]; May 1957 (Godzilla, King of the Monsters!) [view poster]
- Taiwan - December 7, 1955 [view poster]
- United States - April 27, 1956 [view poster]; May 7, 2004; April 18, 2014
- West Germany - August 10, 1956 [view poster]
- Netherlands - September 6, 1956
- Spain - November 5, 1956 [view poster]
- Denmark - November 26, 1956 [view poster]
- United Kingdom - December 1956 [view poster]
- Australia - 1956 [view poster]
- Czechoslovakia - 1956 [view poster]
- Mexico - 1956 [view poster]
- Argentina - 1956 [view poster]
- Cuba - 1956 [view poster]
- Sweden - January 28, 1957
- France - March 14, 1957 [view poster]
- Italy - July 1957 [view poster]; 1977 (Cozzilla) [view poster]
- Portugal - July 24, 1957 [view poster]
- Belgium - 1957 [view poster]
- Poland - 1957 [view poster]
- United Kingdom - 1957
- Brazil - January 1958 [view poster]
- Turkey - March 5, 1958
- Iceland - August 30, 1958
- South Korea - May 7, 2004
- Thailand - 1960
- Yugoslavia [view poster]
Foreign releases[edit | edit source]
U.S. release[edit | edit source]
In 1956, TransWorld Releasing Corporation and Embassy Pictures Corporation distributed Godzilla in the U.S. as Godzilla, King of the Monsters!. Extensively re-edited, it now featured 21 minutes of new footage, starring Raymond Burr as American journalist Steve Martin. Unlike all future Godzilla films, most of the Japanese dialogue was not dubbed, with other characters often translating conversations for Steve. Although key elements were removed from the original cut of the film, Raymond Burr added legitimacy through an American perspective to an otherwise foreign film. Godzilla, King of the Monsters! was later released in Japan under the title Monster King Godzilla (怪獣王ゴジラ. This re-release was a considerable success and became popular among Japanese audiences.[ Kaijū ō Gojira)citation needed] This style of "Americanization" through the inserting of a Western actor became commonplace in the localization of subsequent kaiju films, most notably Half Human, Varan (as Varan the Unbelievable), King Kong vs. Godzilla, and Daiei's film Gamera (as Gammera the Invincible). In 1985, when New World Pictures released The Return of Godzilla in the U.S. as Godzilla 1985, they chose to emulate Godzilla, King of the Monsters! and include new footage featuring American actors, including Burr, who reprised his role as Steve Martin. After years as a TV staple, Vestron Video released Godzilla, King of the Monsters! on VHS in 1983, with several other companies following suit over the next 15 years. It was first released on DVD by Simitar Entertainment in 1998.
For years, it was difficult to view the original Japanese version of the film in the U.S. It played in Japanese-American theaters in 1955 and at New York City's Public Theater in 1982 as part of a series on Japanese film. In 2004, Rialto Pictures released the unedited Japanese version to theaters across the country, where it earned rave reviews. Classic Media released the Japanese version as Gojira on DVD in 2006, with Godzilla, King of the Monsters! included on a second disc. In 2012, Godzilla joined the prestigious Criterion Collection on DVD and Blu-ray, with both versions thoroughly restored. In 2014, Rialto brought it back to theaters. North American distribution rights to Godzilla are currently held by Janus Films, along with several other Showa Toho kaiju films.
Differences between Godzilla, King of the Monsters! and the original Japanese version of the film include:
- The film's opening credits sequence is omitted, and replaced with a shot of the ocean's surface boiling taken from later in the film followed by Godzilla's roar and the title card. Rather than beginning with the sinking of the Eiko Maru, the American version opens with Steve Martin narrating over the ruins of Tokyo as he lies in rubble after Godzilla's vicious rampage the previous night. Steve is taken to a hospital and speaks with Emiko Yamane, who is played by a body double alternated with close-up shots of Momoko Kochi in the role from the Japanese version. He then recalls the events which led him to this point, with the entirety of the film up until the aftermath of Godzilla's rampage presented as a flashback narrated by Steve.
- A scene where Steve is on the plane to Japan is added before the sinking of the Eiko Maru, in which he explains through narration that he was heading for Japan to visit a college friend of his, Dr. Serizawa, who is portrayed as a famous scientist rather then a reclusive one.
- Godzilla's roar is added when the flash of light underneath the water blinds the men on the Eiko Maru.
- The scene where Hideto Ogata cancels his date with Emiko is cut and replaced with Steve arriving in Japan to talk to Serizawa's assistant (a character exclusive to the American version) and a security officer played by Frank Iwanaga who questions Steve about whether he saw the destruction of the ship. Being a reporter, Steve wants to know what is going on, and the security officer takes him to the office of the shipping company. Clips of the officer translating the Japanese speech for Steve are added to the scene where the shipping company tries to figure out what happened.
- Kyohei Yamane is said to have been called in by the shipping company to discuss the cause of the shipping accidents. The scene of this discussion utilizes footage taken from later in the film where government officials ask Dr. Yamane about possible measures to eliminate Godzilla, and is not dubbed, with the security officer simply translating the conversation for Steve. His translation is not actually accurate to the conversation taking place, which is most conspicuous when Dr. Yamane says "Gojira", despite Godzilla's existence supposedly not being known at this point.
- A scene of Steve calling his editor to tell him about the ship attacks is added after the sinking of the Bingo-Maru. During the phone call, Steve says that eight ships have been destroyed, while only two had been sunk at that point in the Japanese version.
- In the scene where Masaji Yamada washes ashore on Odo Island, Steve's narration explains that he died, while in the Japanese version he simply passed out. This becomes a continuity error later during the sequence where Godzilla comes ashore on Odo Island during a typhoon, as footage of Masaji looking up in terror as Godzilla approaches his house is retained.
- Steve is part of the party of reporters that is dispatched to Odo Island to investigate, accomplished through shots of him inside a helicopter which is meant to be the same one carrying Hagiwara and the other members of the press. Steve and the security officer watch the exorcism ceremony on the island that night, and listen to the conversation between Hagiwara and the island elder. This conversation is not dubbed, and the officer translates it for Steve. The island elder's voice is dubbed over to add in a single word, "Gozilla." The security officer repeats the name for Steve, who mispronounces it as "Godzilla" when he asks if that is supposed to be the name of the creature the islanders believe responsible for the shipping disasters.
- Some shots of Steve and the security officer staying in a tent and exiting it to witness the devastation are spliced into the sequence where Godzilla comes ashore on Odo Island during a typhoon.
- The testimonies at the National Diet Building by the Odo Island residents who survived Godzilla's attack are summed up through narration by Steve. During Yamane's following speech, shots of Steve watching are added. This is followed by a scene where Steve briefly interviews Yamane, played by a body double, to ask him if he can be a part of the expedition to Odo Island, to which Yamane replies "Of course."
- Shots of Steve on the boat are added to the scene of the Odo Island expedition team's departure. Serizawa's presence in the scene, however, is cut, as he is said to be doing important field tests at this point.
- The audience is introduced to Ogata and the love triangle between him, Emiko, and Serizawa through Steve narrating Ogata and Emiko's conversation on the way to Odo Island, with shots of Steve watching them spliced in.
- Shots of Steve and the security officer are added during the Odo Island expedition and Godzilla's first appearance.
- When Dr. Yamane discusses Godzilla in front of the assembly at the Diet, he estimates that Godzilla stands 400 feet tall, compared to 50 meters (about 164 feet) in the Japanese version.
- The huge argument that breaks out in the assembly at the Diet is not dubbed or subtitled, leaving what exactly is being argued about unclear.
- A scene of commuters on a train discussing having to go back to the bomb shelters in the wake of news about Godzilla is cut.
- A scene is added where Steve first calls his editor to update him on what Godzilla is and the JSDF's depth charge attack. Afterwards, he shares a brief phone conversation with Serizawa, who, like Emiko and Dr. Yamane, is played by a body double.
- The specifics of the love triangle between Serizawa, Emiko, and Ogata are altered. Whereas in the Japanese version Serizawa is said to simply be in love with Emiko, who herself is in love with Ogata and only sees Serizawa like a brother, in the American version Steve explains that Emiko was betrothed to Serizawa when they were both children. Thus, in the American version, Emiko's visit to Serizawa is to break off her engagement with him rather than just to tell him that she plans to marry Ogata.
- The scene where Emiko visits Serizawa with the reporter Hagiwara is removed. It is only revisited partially through flashback later in the film when Emiko reveals the existence of the Oxygen Destroyer, something that occurs in the original Japanese version as well. It is stated instead by Steve through narration and Serizawa on the phone call that Emiko asked to see Serizawa herself to break off her engagement with him.
- When Emiko tries to tell Serizawa about her relationship with Ogata, instead of starting a conversation by asking him what he is working on, she tells him that she is glad that he is back, as Serizawa was said to be doing important field tests earlier in the American cut.
- Godzilla's roars are added when he rises from the water near a pleasure boat.
- A montage of the JSDF's preparations is added between Godzilla's first and second attacks, narrated by Steve.
- The scene where Emiko talks to her father as he sits alone in his study and Godzilla rising from the water near a pleasure boat happen in the Japanese version before Emiko visits Serizawa. The American cut fades from Emiko walking away from Ogata after telling him that nothing happened at Serizawa's house to the depth charge attack against Godzilla, while Dr. Yamane arriving home is moved to after the JSDF preparation montage.
- When Emiko tells Ogata that she did not get the chance to tell Serizawa about their relationship, Ogata says, "I understand, Emiko" instead of just giving her a reassuring nod.
- Shots of Steve are spliced into Godzilla's first attack on Tokyo.
- The scene where the military comes up with the plan to defend Tokyo with electric towers is narrated over by Steve. Afterwards, a scene where the security officer explains the plan to Steve, who had to leave the meeting early, is added.
- While the electric towers surrounding Tokyo are explained to have been built between Godzilla's first and second attacks in the Japanese version, in the American version they already existed and are just charged with extra voltage. In the Japanese dialogue, the voltage is stated as 50,000 volts, while in the English dialogue it is changed to 300,000 volts.
- The scene where Ogata attempts to ask Dr. Yamane's consent to marry Emiko, but ends up getting thrown out of the house after he argues that Godzilla should be killed instead of studied, is cut.
- Shots of Steve recording his live report are added throughout Godzilla's arrival and second rampage through Tokyo.
- Godzilla's pause before attacking the electric towers is extended slightly.
- Godzilla's second rampage through Tokyo is rearranged, due to the scene where Godzilla destroys the building Steve is recording from.
- Instead of Emiko telling Ogata what Serizawa showed her like in the Japanese version, she, Ogata, and Steve share a scene together as Steve is laying in his hospital bed where Emiko tells the two of them. Emiko's conversation with Serizawa in the flashback is not dubbed but instead narrated over by her.
- Ogata and Serizawa's conversation about using the Oxygen Destroyer is shortened. Ogata's line, "Then you have a responsibility no man has ever faced. You have your fear, which may become reality. And you have Godzilla, which is reality" is new to the American version.
- Serizawa's line reassuring Emiko that burning his notes is the right thing to do as she weeps is cut.
- The naval ship finding Godzilla and Serizawa asking Ogata to help him place the Oxygen Destroyer is summed up by Steve through narration.
- Shots of Steve on the naval boat are added.
- Godzilla's death roar is changed. A variant created by Toho for the dubbing music and effects track is played over the roar heard in the Japanese track, creating a flange effect.
- Dr. Yamane's closing speech warning that a second Godzilla may appear if nuclear testing continues is replaced by Steve narrating: "The menace was gone. So was a great man. But the whole world could wake up and live again."
- In lieu of the removed opening credits, English-language credits are added after the film's ending, accompanied by Akira Ifukube's score.
The initial 16mm prints struck for television syndication removed the end credits, cutting from the film's last shot to the end title. An opening credit consisting of Burr's, Honda's and Terry Morse's names was inserted after the film's main title to compensate for this. Official versions since approximately 1983 have removed the 16mm version credit and the original end credits were reinstated with the 2006 Classic Media DVD release, although placed after the end title.
In 2018, Godzilla, King of the Monsters! was broadcast on the Comet TV station with the title Godzilla. This alternate title had been the one on the fine grain print scanned for the 2012 Criterion release. In that video release, however, Criterion edited in the more familiar title from a scan of a 16mm print. It is unknown how widely the Godzilla version of the film was seen in the U.S., if at all. It was this title that was anamorphically reformatted and seen on Toho's Monster King Godzilla theatrical release.
Filipino release[edit | edit source]
People's Pictures released Godzilla in the Philippines in 1957, under the title Tokyo 1960. It appears to have been edited to a similar extent as Godzilla, King of the Monsters, with posters advertising actors Tessie Quintana, Eddie del Mar, and Zaldy Zshornack, director Teodorico C. Santos, composer Ariston Avelino, and executive producer Cirio H. Santiago. Footage of this version has yet to surface, however.
French and Belgian release[edit | edit source]
In France and Belgium, a 92-minute French-language combination assembly of footage exclusive to the original Toho version and Godzilla, King of the Monsters! was released by Les Films du Verseau on March 14, 1957. Adapted by Bruno Guillaume and Michel Gast, the French dubbing was recorded at Studios "S.I.M.". It contains many adaptational liberties in both dialogue and editing. Differences from the Japanese and American versions inherent to the French version include:
- While still told as an account from Steve Martin's perspective, the events of the story play in chronological order, as in the Japanese version.
- Steve Martin works for the "New York Herald" out of New York instead of United World News in Chicago.
- Odo Island is renamed Oko Island.
- Ogata is a student of Dr. Yamane. In his introductory scene with Emiko, he is asked over the phone by Yamane to assist with his conference with the government officials.
- Dr. Yamane is a radiologist in addition to a paleontologist. In the earlier placed scene where he meets with the officials (as in the American version), he reasons an atomic phenomenon may be the cause of the ship disasters.
- The injury to Dr. Serizawa's eye is a recent one caused by his experiments, rather than being an injury he sustained in the Second World War. His inland "field experiments" and absence are merely a ruse to draw away suspicion from the experiments conducted in secret in his own Tokyo laboratory. The allegations of a German colleague by Hagiwara and Serizawa's dismissal of such one are omitted in the dialogue.
- Confined to his hospital bed, Martin does not attend the operation to kill Godzilla with the Oxygen Destroyer himself, but watches the events unfold via television.
West German and Austrian release[edit | edit source]
In West Germany and Austria, a shorter German language cut of the Toho version was released by Lehmacher Film on August 10, 1956. A version distributed by Atrium Film containing a different opening credits sequence also exists. In total, 13 minutes were removed from the film.
Italian release[edit | edit source]
The first theatrical release of Godzilla, King of the Monsters! in Italy was distributed by Paramount Pictures in 1957. The film was simply titled Godzilla, and dubbed into Italian.
In 1977, a colorized version of Godzilla, King of the Monsters! directed by Luigi Cozzi was released theatrically in Italy, in advertising as Godzilla, il re dei mostri. The Italian reissue runs longer than the original King of the Monsters, inserting several minutes of stock footage from World War II newsreels and other 1950s monster movies. " Cozzilla ", as it is often called, combining the last name of the movie's director and Godzilla, was colorized using a process called "Spectorama 70" which consisted of applying various multi-colored gels to black-and-white footage. Fabio Frizzi composed a cover of "Prayer for Peace" for this version's soundtrack, which would later be the basis for the main titles of Lucio Fulci's horror films Zombi 2 and City of the Living Dead.
United Kingdom release[edit | edit source]
Eros Films brought Godzilla, King of the Monsters! to UK theaters in February 1957, as part of a double feature with House of Dracula. It become the first of several kaiju films to receive an X rating from the British Board of Film Censors, preventing children under 16 from seeing it. In 2005, the British Film Institute became the first company to release an English-subtitled version of Godzilla on home video, with their DVD following a limited theatrical run. Sony released The Criterion Collection's Blu-ray edition of the film in 2019 as part of its Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954–1975 box set.
Box office[edit | edit source]
Godzilla had a budget of ¥60 million, with the cost of marketing and prints adding another ¥40 million. The film sold 9.61 million tickets and grossed ¥183 million, becoming the eighth-highest grossing Japanese film of 1954. It ranked third among Toho films that year, after Seven Samurai and Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto.
Godzilla, King of the Monsters! was given a $25,000 lease by Toho, which made its budget just about $25,000 more than the original Japanese film's. The film grossed $2,000,000, making it a box office hit. Both films grossed a combined total of roughly $4,250,000.
Reception[edit | edit source]
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Please help out by finding a reliable source to add to this article. Otherwise, take what is said here with a grain of salt.
Godzilla opened in Japan in 1954 and sold approximately 9.6 million tickets, gaining a lot of money for the time. While successful, it was small in relation to other works of the same year such as Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai which, along with Godzilla, have become Japan's most famous films. A sequel was rushed into production. In the U.S., the film was re-edited with added footage of Canadian/American actor Raymond Burr playing reporter Steve Martin and retitled Godzilla, King of the Monsters!. In the U.S., it was also more successful than anticipated. The re-edited version of the film would be shown in many European and Latin American territories and gained Godzilla an unprecedented audience which has since made the monster an icon as recognizable as Superman. Its box office earnings were 152 million yen ($2.25 million).
For the West German theatrical version 13 minutes of the film were cut, cutting out Dr. Kyohei Yamane's return to Japan, shortening his speech and presentation of what Godzilla is and shortening the final scene. This version was used for all home video releases of the film. The unedited director's cut was not released until 2004, when it appeared in a special 50th anniversary box set by Splendid Film, along with the West German version and for the first time ever the U.S. version, plus a two-disc edition of Godzilla Final Wars. Godzilla was then made available as an individual release. In the U.S. and Canada, Classic Media released Godzilla in 2006 as part of its Master Collection; this release was a two-disc set, with one disc being the Japanese original version and the other being the U.S. version with Raymond Burr
In 1977, the film was re-released in Italy in a crudely colorized version with clips of Rodan, Godzilla Raids Again and World War II footage added. This version and its edits were not well-received and it was only shown on television a few times. The colorized version, nicknamed "Cozzilla" , has since become very rare.
Video releases[edit | edit source]
Simitar DVD (1998)
- Region: 1
- Discs: 1
- Audio: English (1.0 Mono, 5.1 Surround)
- Subtitles: None
- Special features: Optional 1.85:1 presentation (cropped), Simitar-produced trailers for the company's kaiju releases, art gallery, trivia game, Sci-Fi Monsters documentary
- Notes: Out of print.
- Region: 2
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono)
- Subtitles: Japanese
- Special features: Audio commentary by Akira Takarada, isolated music and sound effects track, isolated score, Akira Ifukube interview, cast profiles, trailer
- Region: 1
- Discs: 1
- Audio: English (2.0 Mono, 5.1 Surround)
- Subtitles: None
- Special features: Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee trailer
- Notes: Out of print.
- Region: 4
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (Dolby Digital 5.1), English
- Subtitles: English
- Special features: Japanese trailer, Godzilla: Save the Earth trailer, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla trailer and The Hidden Fortress trailer
- Notes: Also included in Godzilla - Showa Classics Vol 1, with Mothra vs. Godzilla, Invasion of Astro-Monster, Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, Son of Godzilla, and Destroy All Monsters.
Classic Media DVD (2006) 
- Region: 1
- Discs: 2
- Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono), English (2.0 Mono)
- Subtitles: English
- Special features: Two audio commentaries by Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski (one for each version of the film), 12-page booklet, Japanese and U.S. trailers, two 13-minute featurettes (Godzilla Story Development and Making of the Godzilla Suit)
- Notes: Also included in a box set called The Godzilla Collection. Reissued in 2014 without the booklet. Both releases are out of print.
BFI DVD (2006)
- Region: 2
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono)
- Subtitles: English
- Special features: Audio commentary by Steve Ryfle, Ed Godziszewski, and Keith Aiken, Japanese and U.S. trailers, three featurettes (The Japanese Fishermen, Designing Godzilla, and Story Evolution), galleries of posters, storyboards, and stills/sketches, booklet
- Region: A/1
- Discs: 1
- Language: Japanese (2.0 Mono)
- Subtitles: Japanese
- Special features: Audio commentary by Akira Takarada, isolated music and sound effects track, Akira Ifukube interview, cast profiles, trailers, score performed by a live orchestra, large stills gallery
- Notes: English subtitles are not included.
Classic Media Blu-ray (2009)
- Region: A/1
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono)
- Subtitles: English
- Special features: Audio commentary by Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski, 12-page booklet, trailers, two 13-minute featurettes (Godzilla Story Development and Making of the Godzilla Suit)
- Notes: Presents the film in the unusual aspect ratio of 1.47:1. Out of print.
- Region: 1 (DVD) or A/1 (Blu-ray)
- Discs: 2 (DVD) or 1 (Blu-ray)
- Audio: Japanese (1.0 Mono), English (1.0 Mono)
- Subtitles: English
- Special features: Two audio commentaries by David Kalat (one for each version of the film), interviews with Akira Ifukube, Akira Takarada, Haruo Nakajima, Yoshio Irie and Eizo Kaimai, and Tadao Sato, two 9-minute featurettes (The Unluckiest Dragon and Godzilla Photography)
- Notes: The Blu-ray is also included in Criterion's 2019 box set Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954–1975. Sony distributed a Region B/2 version of the set in the United Kingdom.
Videos[edit | edit source]
Trailers[edit | edit source]
Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Godzilla was theatrically released in Japan on a double feature with Katakiuchi Kenjutsu (仇討珍剣法).
- Godzilla's attack on the Eiko Maru takes place on August 13. Two calendars in Ogata and Emiko's first scene show the month ending on a Tuesday, as it did in 1954.
- A synopsis from Toho's 1955 English sales pamphlet places the events of the film in the summer of 1955, however.
- The "Cozzilla " version of the film states that Godzilla's rampage through Tokyo takes place on August 6, 1954, referencing the date the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
- While the Godzilla series has been rebooted several times, many films in the series include references to the original film and the year 1954, whether they actually share continuity with it or not.
- Godzilla Raids Again features many references to the original film, along with a stock footage sequence of Godzilla's raid on Tokyo.
- The Return of Godzilla features some mentions of the first Godzilla's attack on Tokyo, while Dr. Hayashida at one point shows Hiroshi Okumura a photograph of Godzilla destroying the Diet Building from this film.
- In Godzilla vs. Biollante, the Oxygen Destroyer makes a cameo during the scene set in Goro Gondo's office, resting against the wall.
- In Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, it is revealed that the Oxygen Destroyer used to kill Godzilla in this film mutated a colony of Precambrian crustaceans under Tokyo Bay into the monster Destoroyah.
- In Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, Godzilla simply returned to the ocean after destroying Tokyo in 1954 and did not appear again until 1966. The film never mentions the Oxygen Destroyer, suggesting that Dr. Daisuke Serizawa possibly never invented it or could not be convinced to use it against Godzilla. However, the Godzilla Defense Force Codex states that "the Oxygen Destroyer failed to kill Godzilla, instead sending the kaiju into decades of hibernation."
- In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, Godzilla was killed by the Oxygen Destroyer in 1954, but its use was kept secret by the government, who gave the JSDF credit for killing the monster.
- In the Kiryu Saga, Godzilla was killed by the Oxygen Destroyer in 1954, but his skeleton survived and was used as the framework for the bio-robot Kiryu, which was used by the Japanese government to battle the second Godzilla.
- In Godzilla Final Wars, it is stated that Godzilla first appeared in 1954, and the Earth Defense Force was subsequently formed to fight him. Aside from this reference, the two films do not share continuity.
- In Legendary Pictures' Godzilla, it is stated that Godzilla was awakened by an American nuclear submarine in 1954 and menaced U.S. and Soviet forces in the South Pacific until the Castle Bravo nuclear test was conducted in an attempt to kill him later that same year. As with Godzilla Final Wars, this film only shares a reference to the year 1954 with the original film and is not part of the same continuity.
- Close-up shots of Godzilla in this film were accomplished using puppets of Godzilla's upper body rather than the full-body suit. In addition, a partial Godzilla suit consisting only of the monster's lower body was employed for some shots of Godzilla's legs.
- The sound effects team originally tried to create Godzilla's roar by using animal roars that had been edited. They sampled all kinds of birds and mammals, but nothing seemed to be the right match for the reptile-like noises a monster like Godzilla would make. Akira Ifukube, who was the film's composer, proposed stepping away from using animal samples. He took a string off of his contrabass and rubbed it with gloves soaked in pine tar. The sound that came from it was used as Godzilla's roar.
- Although this was Godzilla's first film, the character's real debut was The Monster Godzilla (怪獣ゴジラ), a radio drama which aired on Nippon Broadcasting, based on Takeo Murata's first-draft script. Its 11 half-hour episodes played from July 17 to September 25. To date, the audio of the drama has only been released in the form of a CD (Godzilla Sound Memorial, alongside a 1984 interview with Tomoyuki Tanaka) packaged in the G-Shock - Godzilla Premium Collections 2001- set (Gの衝撃 ゴジラ・プレミアム・コレクションズ２００１) by Toho in 2001.
- Originally, the effects in this film were to be accomplished by stop-motion animation (filming small immobile puppets while moving them between each frame so the playback will create an illusion of movement), which was very popular at the time. However, due to the film's budget, Eiji Tsuburaya made up a newer and cheaper method for this film dubbed "suitmation"- foam-fabricating costumes that are coated with layers of latex and portrayed by actors.
- In Akira Kurosawa's posthumously published book A Dream is a Genius, Godzilla is listed at number 34 on the list of the director's top 100 favorite films.
- Godzilla is one of the few films in the series to show nudity, as several women in the background of a shot during the first scene on Odo Island are topless. Unlike instances of nudity in later Showa Godzilla films, these occurring in Godzilla vs. Megalon and Terror of Mechagodzilla, respectively, this shot was retained in the U.S. version. However, it was shortened by several seconds.
- Some stock footage of Godzilla's rampage from this film would later be used for the monster Varan's attack on Tokyo in the film Varan (1958).
- In an unusual continuity error, the television that airs the memorial program following Godzilla's attack turns on by itself. None of the three characters present turn it on, nor do they take notice of the seemingly impossible occurrence.
[edit | edit source]
- List of scenes deleted or rearranged in the American version
- Godzilla, King of the Monsters! pressbook
- Rialto Pictures' pressbook for their 2004 release of the film
- Toho Kingdom interview with Criterion producer Curtis Tsui
- List of firearms used in the movie
References[edit | edit source]
This is a list of references for Godzilla (1954 film). 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: 
Bibliography[edit | edit source]
- Ryfle, Steve; Godziszewski, Ed (3 October 2017). Ishiro Honda: A Life in Film, from Godzilla to Kurosawa. Wesleyan University Press. ISBN 9780819577412.CS1 maint: ref duplicates default (link)
- Davis, Blair (5 April 2012). The Battle for the Bs: 1950s Hollywood and the Rebirth of Low-Budget Cinema. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0813552532.CS1 maint: ref duplicates default (link)
- Ryfle, Steve (1 April 1998). Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of "The Big G". ECW Press. ISBN 1550223488.CS1 maint: ref duplicates default (link)
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