King Kong Escapes (1967)

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Image gallery for King Kong Escapes
Credits for King Kong Escapes
King Kong Escapes soundtrack

King Kong Films
King Kong vs. Godzilla
King Kong Escapes
King Kong (1976)
King Kong Escapes
The Japanese poster for King Kong Escapes
Alternate titles
Flagicon Japan.png King Kong's Counterattack (1967)
See alternate titles
Directed by Ishiro Honda
Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
Written by Kaoru Mabuchi
Music by Akira Ifukube
Distributor TohoJP
Universal PicturesUS
Rating GUS
Running time 104 minutesJP
(1 hour, 44 minutes)
96 minutesUS
(1 hour, 36 minutes)
Rate this film!
(41 votes)

The electronic monster Mechani-Kong boldly challenges the ruler of the South Seas, King Kong!! (電子怪獣メカニ・コングに敢然と挑戦する南海の王者キングコング!!)

— Tagline

The Arctic, South Seas and Japan―three enraged giant monsters of the century! Amazing! A breathtaking duel! (北極・南海そして日本―怒り狂う世紀の三大怪獣!すごいッ!息づまる驚異の大決闘!)

— Tagline

The mightiest of all creatures pitted against his exact duplicate in a colossal struggle of monster vs. robot

— International tagline[1]

King Kong Escapes (キングコングの逆襲,   Kingu Kongu no Gyakushū, lit. King Kong's Counterattack) is a 1967 tokusatsu kaiju film co-produced by Toho and Rankin/Bass Productions. It is a loose adaptation of episodes of Rankin/Bass and Toei Animation's cartoon series The King Kong Show. The film was released to Japanese theaters on July 22, 1967 and to American theaters on June 19, 1968.


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Main article: King Kong Escapes/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.

  • Rhodes Reason   as   Commander Carl Nelson (Japanese voice actor: Kei Taguchi)
  • Akira Takarada   as   Lt. Commander Jiro Nomura 
  • Linda Miller   as   Lt. Susan Watson (Japanese voice actor: Akiko Santo)
  • Hideyo Amamoto   as   Dr. Who
  • Mie Hama   as   Madame Piranha
  • Ikio Sawamura   as   Old Man of Mondo Island
  • Yoshibumi Tajima   as   Chief
  • Nadao Kirino   as   Dr. Who's assistant
  • Sachio Sakai   as   Dr. Who's assistant
  • Naoya Kusakawa   as   Dr. Who's assistant
  • Susumu Kurobe   as   Dr. Who's subordinate
  • Toru Ibuki   as   Dr. Who's subordinate
  • Kazuo Suzuki   as   Dr. Who's subordinate
  • Shigemi Sagawa   as   Dr. Who's subordinate
  • Yoshio Katsube   as   Dr. Who's subordinate
  • Haruo Suzuki   as   Dr. Who's subordinate
  • Jun Kuroki   as   Jet helicopter crewman
  • Takuya Yuki   as   Jet helicopter crewman
  • Masaki Shinohara   as   Carrier sailor
  • Andrew Hughes   as   United Nations journalist
  • Al Kramer   as   United Nations journalist
  • Ryuji Kita   as   Police inspector
  • Shoichi Hirose   as   Submarine Explorer crewman
  • Rinsaku Ogata   as   Submarine Explorer crewman
  • Osman Yusuf   as   Submarine Explorer crewman
  • Yutaka Oka   as   Submarine Explorer crewman
  • Kazuo Hinata   as   Headquarters guard
  • Akio Kusama   as   Headquarters guard
  • Masaaki Tachibana   as   Self-Defense Force soldier
  • Tadashi Okabe   as   Self-Defense Force soldier
  • Hideo Shibuya   as   Self-Defense Force soldier
  • Haruya Sakamoto   as   Self-Defense Force soldier
  • Keiichiro Katsumoto   as   Curious spectator
  • Haruo Nakajima   as   King Kong / Curious spectator
  • Hiroshi Sekita   as   Gorosaurus / Mechani-Kong / Headquarters guard



Weapons, Vehicles, and Races


Following the success of their animated series, The King Kong Show, co-produced with Toei Animation, Rankin/Bass approached another Japanese studio, Toho, to produce a live-action film adaptation of the series. Toho, who had previously produced the hit film King Kong vs. Godzilla in 1962, began production on a film entitled Operation Robinson Crusoe: King Kong vs. Ebirah, pitting King Kong against the giant lobster Ebirah on a tropical island inhabited by a terrorist organization called the Red Bamboo. The film would have also featured Toho's popular monster Mothra. Rankin/Bass, however, felt the proposed film did not follow the animated series closely enough, and rejected the screenplay. Rather than completely discard the project, Toho repackaged it as a Godzilla film, replacing Kong with Godzilla, and produced Ebirah, Horror of the Deep in 1966. Toho went back to the drawing board and attempted to produce a film closer to The King Kong Show. Toho borrowed several concepts from the show, including the location of Mondo Island and the recurring villains Dr. Who and Mechani-Kong, and produced King Kong Escapes in 1967.


Main article: King Kong Escapes/Gallery.


Main article: King Kong Escapes (Soundtrack).

Alternate Titles

  • King Kong's Counterattack (Literal Japanese Title)
  • King Kong: Frankenstein's Son (King-Kong: Frankensteins Sohn; Germany)
  • The Revenge of King Kong (La Revanche de King Kong; Belgium)
  • King Kong: The Giant of the Forest (King Kong: Il Gigante della Foresta; Italy)
  • Wrath of the Monsters (Canavarlarin Gazabi; Turkey)
  • The Return of King Kong (El Regreso de King Kong; Mexico)
  • King Kong on the Island of Terror (King Kong Kauhun Saarella; Finland)
  • King Kong on Terror Island (King Kong på Skräckens ö; Sweden)

Theatrical Releases

U.S. Release

American King Kong Escapes poster

King Kong Escapes opened in the United States in June 1968 on a double-bill with the Don Knotts comedy, The Shakiest Gun in the West. Contemporary American reviews were mixed. New York Times film critic, Vincent Canby gave it a particularly insulting review, calling Toho's Kong an "Uncle Tom," and commenting, "The Japanese... are all thumbs when it comes to making monster movies like 'King Kong Escapes.' The Toho moviemakers are quite good in building miniature sets, but much of the process photography—matching the miniatures with the full-scale shots—is just bad... the plotting is hopelessly primitive..."

The July 15, 1968 Film Bulletin, however, gave it a more positive review, saying "Grown-ups who like their entertainments on a comic-strip level will find this good fun and the Universal release (made in Japan) has plenty of ballyhoo angles to draw the school-free youngsters in large numbers..."

DVD & Blu-ray Releases

Toho DVD (2001)

  • Region: 2
  • Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono)

Universal DVD/Blu-Ray (2005/2014)[3]

  • Region: 1 (DVD) or A/1 (Blu-Ray)
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (2.0 Mono)
  • Special Features: None
  • Notes: French and Spanish subtitles are included. The DVD is sometimes packaged with King Kong (2005) and King Kong vs. Godzilla.

Though King Kong Escapes is not available on Blu-ray in Japan, an HD version of the film can be rented or purchased on the Japanese versions of Amazon Video and iTunes.


Japanese King Kong Escapes trailer
Textless Japanese King Kong Escapes trailer
American King Kong Escapes trailer
American King Kong Escapes TV trailer
American King Kong Escapes TV spots
German King Kong Escapes trailer


  • King Kong Escapes was released as part of Toho's 35th anniversary celebration.
  • Akira Ifukube would later reuse and rewrite Mechani-Kong's theme for his score to Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II.
  • In this film, the dinosaur monster Gorosaurus' name is never spoken. He is only referred to by name in the 1968 film, Destroy All Monsters.
  • Mechani-Kong was Toho's first robot duplicate monster, and inspired Mechagodzilla in the 1970's.
  • After plans for a remake of King Kong vs. Godzilla in the 1990's fell through, Toho planned to produce a film pitting Mechani-Kong against Godzilla. However, Toho found they would be unable to utilize even King Kong's likeness for the film, and it was scrapped.
  • King Kong's battle with Gorosaurus is a restaging of the famous battle in the original King Kong between Kong and the Tyrannosaurus rex. The two battles have many similarities, in particular the conclusion where Kong defeats his opponent by breaking its jaw. The battle with the Giant Sea Serpent is also reminiscent of Kong's bout with the Elasmosaurus in the original film.
    • The battle with Gorosaurus also has echoes of Kong's battle with Godzilla in King Kong vs. Godzilla, most noteworthy is that Gorosaurus utilizes a drop-kick, a reference to Godzilla's famous stop-motion drop kick. This "kangaroo-kick" would later become a trademark of Gorosaurus' character, as he utilized one at a critical moment in the battle against King Ghidorah in Destroy All Monsters.
  • The King Kong suit from this film would later be reused for the monster Gorilla in the Go! Greenman episode, Greenman vs. Gorilla.
  • King Kong Escapes was re-released at the Winter Toho Champion Film Festival on December 20, 1973 alongside a theatrical version of episode 25 of Ultraman Taro titled Burn On! The Six Ultra Brothers, and various cartoons.


This is a list of references for King Kong Escapes. 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. King-kong-escapes-aka-kingukongu-no-everett.jpg


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3 months ago
Score 0
Dankey Kang Escapes!!


6 months ago
Score 1
I'm 90% sure Gorosaurus was only created to be a stand-in for the Tyrannosaurus from the original movie for this movie but since Toho happened to still have the suit lying around they just put it into Destroy All Monsters (DAM seemed like Toho going "Alright, let's just put whatever monster suit we have left in this movie").

Toa Hydros

22 months ago
Score 0

My Thoughts: King Kong Escapes

Though hardly the classic that is the original, "King Kong Escapes" is still a pretty fun movie.

I never watched the show this movie is based on, so I have no clue how faithful it is to its source material, but the plot is pretty inventive, with elements of classic spy dramas intermingled with kaiju tropes. The characters are all likable, with the protagonists fulfilling there roles well enough. For me, though, Dr. Who is the real human star; his posture, his ruthlessness, his overall demeanor... this is probably the best human villain in a Showa Toho film.

Of course the real star of the movie is King Kong: The Kong suit is a definite upgrade from the one used in "King Kong vs Godzilla", though still looks like a beat up mess compared to other portrayals. Despite the less than spectacular design, the filmmakers still managed to make Kong a likable character in his own right, as opposed to just being an excuse to the have a giant ape wreck stuff; though they still do just that, so don't worry. ;)

Kong's rampages and his battles with Gorosaurus and Mechani-Kong are obviously the highlights of the film, and are highly entertaining in in typical Toho fashion. I especially love Kong's final bout with Mechani-Kong atop Tokyo Tower, which probably one of Toho's more ambitious sequences.

Overall, this is just a fun monster romp. Much like "Son of Kong", it knows it's not going to match the original film with such an outlandish plot and special effects, so it's just gonna have fun with them.

Green Blob Thing

27 months ago
Score 0
The German title for this movie is amazing.

The King of the Monsters

29 months ago
Score 0

What's not to love about King Kong Escapes? It's essentially what you'd expect from a live-action adaptation of a cartoon produced by Toho in the 1960's, meaning it's entertaining in pretty much every way. Dr. Who is a great over-the-top villain, Rhodes Reason and Akira Takarada turn in solid performances, and the monster scenes are exciting as always. I particularly enjoy the scene where Kong is in captivity and sees Mechani-Kong, then sort of waves to him and is confused when he doesn't respond. Upon repeated viewings I've really come to appreciate the film's climactic battle. Having Kong fight his enemy while climbing a skyscraper was a brilliant throwback to the original film as well as a way to take the character in a new direction, plus the scene is in my opinion staged very well. And I can't forget to mention Akira Ifukube's musical score, which despite being typically derivative of his past scores contains some excellent pieces, like "Element X," "Beauty and the Beast," and Mechani-Kong's theme.

Is King Kong Escapes somewhat cheesy and juvenile? Sure, but that's part of the reason why I love it so much.


33 months ago
Score 0
To me, this particular King Kong film is lesser known compare to the others. Not alot of people speak of this one.

Green Blob Thing

33 months ago
Score 0
That's kind of obvious... Every other King Kong movie was made in America (so more people would be familiar with them) and the only other Japanese King Kong movie was King Kong vs. Godzilla, which is only well known due to the fact it is a crossover movie.
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