King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)

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Image gallery for King Kong vs. Godzilla
Credits for King Kong vs. Godzilla
King Kong vs. Godzilla soundtrack

Godzilla Films
Godzilla Raids Again
King Kong vs. Godzilla
Mothra vs. Godzilla
King Kong Films
Son of Kong
King Kong vs. Godzilla
King Kong Escapes
King Kong vs. Godzilla
See alternate titles
The Japanese poster for King Kong vs. Godzilla
Directed by Ishiro Honda
Producer(s) Tomoyuki Tanaka, John Beck (American version)
Written by Shinichi Sekizawa, Willis O'Brien,
George Worthing Yates
Music by Akira Ifukube
Distributor TohoJP
Universal InternationalUS
Rating Not Rated
Budget $12,000US[1]
Box office ¥352-430 million[2][3]
Running time 97 minutesJP
(1 hour, 37 minutes)
91 minutesUS
(1 hour, 31 minutes)
Aspect ratio 2.35:1
Rate this film!
(71 votes)

Will you win, Godzilla? Will you win, Kong? The battle of the century! (ゴジラ勝つか?コング勝つか?世紀の大決斗!)

— Japanese tagline

Who will win? 2 giant monsters rampage throughout Japan! (どちらが勝つか?日本中を暴れまわる2大怪獣!)

— 1970 Japanese tagline

Monster against monster! Battle of the century!

— International tagline

The two mightiest monsters of all time! ...In the most colossal conflict the screen has ever known!
Mighty King Kong! Mighty Godzilla! Now an all-mighty all-new motion picture brings them together for the first time in the colossal clash of all time!

— American taglines

King Kong vs. Godzilla (キングコング対ゴジラ,   Kingu Kongu tai Gojira) is a 1962 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho, and the third installment in the Godzilla series as well as the Showa series. The film was released to Japanese theaters on August 11, 1962,[4] and to American theaters on June 26th, 1963. It was released as a part of Toho's 30th anniversary celebration.

The first to feature either of its titular contenders in color, King Kong vs. Godzilla pits the most famous monster from the West against his counterpart from the East. Awakened from his icy slumber seven years after he was trapped within ice at the conclusion of Godzilla Raids Again, Godzilla resumes his campaign of destruction against Japan. Meanwhile, the company Pacific Pharmaceuticals discovers the legendary Giant Demon God King Kong on the remote Faro Island and brings him to Japan for advertising purposes. When Kong escapes and runs loose in Japan, it is only a matter of time before the two behemoths meet in a fight to the finish.

Plot[edit | edit source]

The Bering Sea's currents are mysteriously rising in temperature, causing the area's sea ice to melt and break up. The United Nations sends a scientific team to investigate the cause of the phenomenon. The investigation is covered by the Wonderful World Series, a Japanese documentary program, sponsored by Pacific Pharmaceuticals.

Mr. Tako, the advertising department director of Pacific Pharmaceuticals, is frustrated with the television program his company is sponsoring and wants something to boost his ratings. When company botanist Dr. Makioka tells Tako about a giant monster spoken of by the natives of the small Faro Island, Tako believes that it would be a brilliant idea "...with a punch" to use the monster to gain publicity. Tako immediately sends two television employees, Osamu Sakurai and Kinsaburo Furue, to find and bring back the monster from Faro.

Meanwhile, the United Nations submarine Seahawk gets caught in the same iceberg that Godzilla was trapped in by the JSDF seven years earlier in 1955. As an American rescue helicopter circles the iceberg, Godzilla breaks out and heads towards a nearby country's military base. The base's forces are unavailing against Godzilla, who continues southward towards Japan, supposedly returning instinctively. Godzilla's reappearance saturates the media, and Tako grows angry as his company's competition profits off of the news. As Tako is complaining about Godzilla's media hype to his employees, one of them exclaims, "And... there's a movie too!"

Meanwhile on Faro Island, a Giant Octopus attacks the local village. The island's giant god, King Kong, finally makes his appearance and defeats the monster. Kong then drinks some red berry juice and falls asleep in the midst of a celebratory dance by the natives. Sakurai and Furue place Kong on a large raft and begin to transport him back to Japan. Back at Pacific Pharmaceuticals, Tako is excited because Kong is now all over the press instead of Godzilla. As Tako is out of the room, one of the employees ask which is stronger between King Kong and Godzilla. Another employee responds, "Stupid, it's not a wrestling match!" Tako walks back into the room and exclaims, "Fantastic! There's an idea!"

Mr. Tako arrives on the Taian Maru, the ship transporting Kong, but the JMSDF also arrive and order the ship to return its cargo to Faro, declaring Kong a threat to public safety. Godzilla reaches the Japanese mainland and wrecks havoc along an expressway near Sendai, continuing further inland towards Tokyo. Back at sea, Kong soon begins to awaken, and during a small scuffle over a detonator wired to Kong's transport, Tako accidentally presses the lever down himself, which fails to blow up the raft. Sakurai and Furue fire their rifles at the dynamite on the raft, successfully blowing it up. However, Kong survives the explosion and rises from the sea, then travels to Japan on his own. As Kong meets up with Godzilla in the Nasu Highlands, Tako, Sakurai, and Furue have difficulty avoiding the JSDF to watch the fight; eventually they find a spot. Kong hurls boulders at his opponent, but Godzilla retaliates with his atomic breath and King Kong retreats.

Opposed to the U.N.'s request to use nuclear weapons, the JSDF enact countermeasures of their own against Godzilla. Exploiting his aversion to fire by igniting adjacent riverbeds, Godzilla is driven into a giant pit where explosive chemical weapons are detonated, but the monster emerges from the trap unsuffocated. In their second plan, some high-tension wires are set up around Tokyo carrying one million volts of electricity (compared to the 50,000 volts used against the original Godzilla in 1954). The current is too much for Godzilla and drives him away, but King Kong grows stronger from it, storing it like a battery. Kong enters Tokyo and kidnaps Sakurai's sister Fumiko, then climbs to the top of the National Diet Building with her in his hand. The JSDF explode capsules full of the berry juice from Faro Island and successfully render Kong unconscious, saving Fumiko. Tako approved of this plan because he could not afford to lose Kong. The JSDF then decide to transport Kong via balloons to Mount Fuji, where Godzilla currently is, in hope that they will fight each other to their deaths.

The next morning, Kong is dropped onto Mount Fuji near Godzilla and a great battle ensues. Godzilla eventually knocks Kong unconscious, but then a thunderstorm arrives and revives King Kong, giving him the power of an electric grip. The two clash once again, with Kong gaining the upper hand, so far as forcing a tree into Godzilla's mouth before Godzilla dislodges it with his atomic breath. The monsters continue their fight towards the coast, tearing down Atami Castle in the process, and eventually plunge into Sagami Bay, causing a small earthquake. After an underwater battle, only King Kong resurfaces and begins the long journey back to Faro. Tako relents and gives up pursuing Kong. As Kong swims home, the onlookers are not sure if Godzilla survived the underwater fight, but speculate that it was possible.

Staff[edit | edit source]

Main article: King Kong vs. Godzilla/Credits.

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

U.S. version[edit | edit source]

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

  • Directed by   Thomas Montgomery
  • Written by   Paul Mason, Bruce Howard
  • Produced by   John Beck
  • Music by   Hans Salter, Heinz Roemheld, Paul Sawtell, Bert Shefter, Herschel Burke Gilbert, Henry Mancini, Herman Stein (all stock; uncredited)
  • Edited by   Peter Zinner

Cast[edit | edit source]

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

  • Tadao Takashima   as   Osamu Sakurai, Pacific Pharmaceuticals television employee
  • Kenji Sahara   as   Kazuo Fujita, inventor
  • Yu Fujiki   as   Kinzaburo Furue, Pacific Pharmaceuticals television employee
  • Ichiro Arishima   as   Tako, head of Pacific Pharmaceuticals advertising department
  • Jun Tazaki   as   Commanding General of the JSDF Eastern Army
  • Akihiko Hirata   as   Dr. Shosuke Shigesawa, biologist
  • Mie Hama   as   Fumiko Sakurai, Sakurai's sister
  • Akiko Wakabayashi   as   Tamie
  • Akemi Negishi   as   Chikiro's mother
  • Yoshio Kosugi   as   Chief of Faro Island
  • Yoshibumi Tajima   as   Yukichi Yamamoto, captain of the Shinsei-Maru No. 2
  • Ikio Sawamura   as   Praying Faro Islander
  • Somesho Matsumoto   as   Dr. Onuki
  • Ko Mishima   as   JMSDF officer
  • Sachio Sakai   as   Obayashi, Pacific Pharmaceuticals advertising department employee
  • Tatsuo Matsumura   as   Dr. Makioka
  • Senkichi Omura   as   Konno, interpreter
  • Ren Yamamoto   as   Chief of SDF
  • Haruya Kato   as   Pacific Pharmaceuticals advertising department employee
  • Shin Otomo   as   Captain of the Taian-Maru
  • Nadao Kirino   as   Eastern Army Second Chief of Staff
  • Yasuhisa Tsutsumi   as   Eastern Army First Chief of Staff
  • Yutaka Nakayama   as   Shinsei-Maru No. 2 correspondent
  • Toshihiko Furuta   as   Policeman
  • Naoya Kusakawa   as   Newspaper reporter
  • Mitsuo Tsuda   as   JGSDF officer
  • Haruko Togo   as   Evacuating resident of apartment complex
  • Kenzo Tabu   as   Wonderful World Series announcer
  • Takuzo Kumagai   as   Police executive
  • Shiro Tsuchiya   as   Evacuating man
  • Yasuzo Ogawa, Kazuo Suzuki   as   Onlookers
  • Hideo Shibuya, Masaaki Tachibana   as   Newspaper reporters
  • Haruya Sakamoto   as   Eastern Army facilities manager
  • Hiromi Mineoka   as   Passenger on Tsugaru Express
  • Haruo Hirano   as   Chikiro, boy of Faro Island
  • Terumi Oka   as   Pacific Pharmaceuticals clerk
  • Ichiro Chiba   as   Pacific Pharmaceuticals advertising department employee
  • Mieko Kurenai   as   Pacific Pharmaceuticals clerk
  • Douglas Fehn   as   Captain of the Seahawk
  • Harold Conway, Osman Yusuf   as   United Nations correspondents on Seahawk
  • Shoichi Hirose   as   King Kong
  • Haruo Nakajima   as   Godzilla / Faro Islander on watchtower
  • Katsumi Tezuka   as   Godzilla (iceberg scene)

U.S. version[edit | edit source]

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

  • Harry Holcombe   as   Dr. Arnold Johnson, curator of the New York Museum of Natural History
  • Michael Keith   as   Eric Carter, U.N. reporter, New York
  • James Yagi   as   Yutaka Omura, U.N. reporter, Tokyo
  • Victor Millan   as   Rodrigo Infanta, U.N. reporter, Santiago
  • Les Tremayne   as   Yoshio Tako / Commander Roberts / General Masami Shinzo / Narrator (voice)
  • Bruce Mason   as   Misc. characters (voice)[5]
  • Paul Howard   as   Misc. characters (voice)[5]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Monsters[edit | edit source]

Weapons, vehicles, and races[edit | edit source]

Production[edit | edit source]

The unusual history of King Kong vs. Godzilla began in 1958[6] with a screenplay treatment written by stop-motion animator Willis O'Brien, featuring King Kong battling a large humanoid monster created by Dr. Frankenstein's grandson in San Francisco. Originally titled King Kong vs. Frankenstein, it would have been a direct sequel to the original King Kong, O'Brien's masterpiece. He showed his screenplay treatment and concept art to Daniel O'Shea of RKO Pictures, who in turn introduced O'Brien to producer John Beck. After a handshake deal with O'Brien, Beck commissioned screenwriter George Yates to flesh out the screenplay treatment into a full script that could be shown to investors.[7] Yates changed the title to King Kong vs. Prometheus, after the full title of Mary Shelley’s original novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. Unable to find an interested studio in the U.S., John Beck went to Toho with the script. Toho instead purchased the rights to use the King Kong character from RKO and produced King Kong vs. Godzilla, which Beck retained the distribution rights for in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Israel.[8][2]

There are a couple of brief scenes where special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya makes use of stop-motion photography, a rarity in his films due to its time-consuming nature. The first use of it is in the scene where the Giant Octopus grabs one of the natives and swings him around. Another is the scene during Kong's fight with Godzilla, where it is used when Godzilla hits Kong with a jump-kick.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Main article: King Kong vs. Godzilla/Gallery.

Soundtrack[edit | edit source]

Main article: King Kong vs. Godzilla (Soundtrack).

Alternate titles[edit | edit source]

  • King Kong Against Godzilla (King Kong Contra Godzilla; Brazil; Spain; Netherlands; King Kong Contre Godzilla; France; French Belgium; King Kong Tegen Godzilla; Dutch Belgium)
  • The Return of King Kong (Die Rückkehr des King Kong; Germany)
  • (Godzilla-) Battle-Party of the Giants ((Godzilla-) Schlachtfest der Giganten; German video title)
  • The Triumph of King Kong (Il trionfo di King Kong; Italy)
  • King Kong X Godzilla (Brazilian DVD title)
  • Godzilla Against King Kong (Godzilla contra King Kong; Chile)

Theatrical releases[edit | edit source]

View all posters for the film here.

  • Japan - August 11, 1962[4]   [view poster]Japanese 1962 (original release) poster; July 25, 1964   [view poster]Japanese 1964 poster; March 21, 1970 (Toho Champion Festival)   [view poster]Japanese 1970 poster; March 19, 1977 (Toho Champion Festival)   [view poster]Japanese 1977 poster; July 14, 2016 (4K digital restoration)[9]   [view poster]4K Restoration poster
  • United States - June 26th, 1963   [view poster]American poster
  • United Kingdom - November 1963   [view poster]British poster
  • Australia - 1963
  • Thailand - 1963
  • Mexico - December 25, 1969   [view poster]Mexican poster
  • Germany - 1974   [view poster]German poster
  • Egypt - 1975   [view poster]Egyptian poster
  • France - July 14, 1976   [view poster]French poster
  • Netherlands - July 21, 1976
  • Belgium - 1976   [view poster]Belgian poster
  • Italy - 1973; 1976   [view poster]Italian poster
  • Spain - December 26, 1978   [view poster]Spanish poster

Foreign releases[edit | edit source]

U.S. release[edit | edit source]

American King Kong vs. Godzilla poster

In November 1962, King Kong vs. Godzilla played at the Nippon Theater in Honolulu, Hawaii, in Japanese with English subtitles.

An English version of King Kong vs. Godzilla was prepared by producer John Beck, who felt that Toho's version of the film would not play well to American audiences. He hired writers Bruce Howard and Paul Mason to "Americanize" the film. Peter Zinner was brought in as an editor for Beck's version. Among the alterations made for the North American theatrical release are:

  • Dialogue was dubbed at Ryder Sound Services, Inc. in Hollywood.[10] The new dialogue often strayed heavily from the Japanese script. Howard and Mason's script is still comedic at times but eliminates most of the humor in Shinichi Sekizawa's original screenplay. The English dubbing session was completed in a week.[5]
  • Akira Ifukube's musical score was largely replaced by music from the Universal and Mutel libraries. The composers of the added music included Hans J. Salter (The Golden Horde, Thunder on the Hill, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Wichita Town, Against All Flags, Man-Made Monster), Heinz Roemheld (The Monster That Challenged the World), Paul Sawtell, Bert Shefter (The Deerslayer), and Herschel Burke Gilbert (While the City Sleeps).[11] Ifukube's Faro Island native chant and an exotic jungle cue are the only tracks carried over from the original soundtrack.
  • Deleted: Many of the comic scenes integral in the original storyline. Mr. Tako's initial introduction and other interactions with his staff in the advertising wing of Pacific Pharmaceuticals throughout the course of the film were removed. Tako's motivation for searching for Kong is altered somewhat from simply wanting him to generate publicity for the company to specifically wanting his own monster to compete with Godzilla.
  • Deleted: A scene where Osamu Sakurai plays drums while recording a commercial. Later, Furue tells him he is to go to Faro Island.
  • Shortened: The dinner at Fujita's apartment. Sakurai is not shown coming home from work to find nary a meal or Fumiko present, who has left to have her "fill" at her boyfriend's instead. Sakurai catching the two off guard in a moment of amorousness is not shown, nor is a longer conversation between the trio about Sakurai's trip to Faro Island.
  • Altered: The scenes involving the Seahawk's investigation of the Bering Sea and subsequent destruction by Godzilla have been edited into a continuous sequence.
  • Deleted: A farewell party for Sakurai and Furue.
  • Altered: The subplot of Fujita aboard the ship Shinsei Maru No. 2 to conduct tests on the strength of his high tensile wire. The scene of Fujita talking to the ship's captain, played by Yoshibumi Tajima, about Fumiko is deleted. After he makes an early departure at Nemuro in Hokkaido, Godzilla is blamed for the sinking of the vessel. In the U.S. version's storyline, a fatal plane crash is substituted as the motivation for Fumiko to search for Fujita in Hokkaido, and Fujita tells Tamiye upon returning to Tokyo he missed the flight instead.
  • Deleted: Newspaper inserts headlining Godzilla's attacks.
  • Altered: Godzilla originally attacks the Tsugaru express train near Sendai in the Tohoku region, whereas the U.S. version purports the sequence to take place in Hokkaido.
  • Altered: King Kong and Godzilla's first meeting is shifted to before the scene showing the preparation for Operation: Burial.
  • Altered: The JSDF's preparations and executions of Operation: Burial and Operation: One Million Volts against Godzilla have been condensed into one continuous sequence.
  • Added: Stock aerial views of the Ginza ward in Tokyo were inserted. One in daylight as an establishing shot for the scenes set at the Sakurais' and Fujita's apartment complex, and one at nighttime during Kong's liftoff.
  • Added: Approximately two minutes of stock footage from the film The Mysterians was inserted at various points throughout the film. This includes shots of a forest fire (Godzilla's immolation of the Arctic base), American, British and Soviet officials arriving in Tokyo (the military council's meeting with the scientific advisors), a landslide (Godzilla falling into the giant pit during Operation: Burial), evacuating civilians (Kong's incursion into Tokyo), an establishing shot of Mount Fuji (Kong's transport to Fuji), and a massive column of water (Godzilla and Kong falling into the sea). Most notably, the climatic earthquake is much more powerful in the U.S version, utilizing shots of the ground splitting open and massive tidal waves which flood nearby valleys, in order to make the earthquake much more violent than the tame tremor seen in the Japanese version.
  • The most notable alteration in this version is the addition of new scenes featuring United Nations reporter Eric Carter, played by Michael Keith, paleontologist Dr. Arnold Johnson, played by Harry Holcombe, and Japanese correspondent Yataka Omura, played by James Yagi, in a series of pseudo-news broadcasts. These scenes make changes to the monsters' origins and characteristics, such as suggesting that Kong grew to his gigantic size by eating the berries native to Faro Island (referred to as "soma" in this version) and that Godzilla has been imprisoned inside the iceberg since the Mesozoic era, ignoring the events of Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again. Stock footage of the Mysterian Space Station from The Mysterians is added into these scenes to substitute as a United Nations satellite. These segments were directed by Thomas Montgomery over a three-day period.[5] Despite the new footage, the American version runs 91 minutes, six minutes shorter than the Japanese version.

In a 1963 issue of the American fanzine Spaceman, an article on King Kong vs. Godzilla concluded with an erroneous claim that would endure for decades: "2 endings have been filmed & if you see KING KONG VS. GODZILLA in Japan, Hong Kong or some Oriental sector of the world, Godzilla wins! On the other hand, in the USA & England, for instance, Kong wins!"[12] Spaceman's source for this information is unknown, as even Toho's 1963 international sales brochure makes it clear that Kong is the victor in the original version of the film.[13] Since then, Toho has generally preferred the explanation that the outcome of the fight was a draw, but whatever the case Kong is the only monster who surfaces in either version of the film. The actual differences in the endings are minimal. While in the Japanese version the characters propose it is possible that Godzilla survived the battle, in the U.S. version they merely state they hope they have seen the last of him. Godzilla's roar is also not heard over the end title card, while it is present in the Japanese version before Kong's.

After completing production of the U.S. version, Beck sold his rights to the film to Universal International, which distributed the film in the United States and later in most of the rest of the world starting in June of 1963. To this day, Universal owns exclusive rights to the film in North America. Though the company issued King Kong vs. Godzilla on DVD and Blu-ray previously, it was the last Toho Godzilla film to be released in the U.S. with its original Japanese language track. This was because Universal felt that the cost of acquiring the necessary materials from Toho was too high for such a release to be profitable.[14] Ultimately, The Criterion Collection licensed the film from Universal and acquired the materials for the Japanese version, and released both cuts in the United States as part of its Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954-1975 Blu-ray box set in October 2019.

United Kingdom release[edit | edit source]

The Rank Organisation brought the American version of King Kong vs. Godzilla to UK theaters in November 1963, as part of a double feature with The Raiders.[15] It received an X rating from the British Board of Film Censors, preventing children under 16 from seeing it. In 1981, The European Video Company Ltd. briefly released it on VHS, possibly without having the rights; CIC Video released a second legitimate tape in 1987.[16] Universal issued it on DVD and Blu-ray in 2006 and 2017, respectively. Sony released both the Japanese and American versions of King Kong vs. Godzilla on Blu-ray in 2019 as part of the The Criterion Collection's Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954–1975 box set.

Box office[edit | edit source]

King Kong vs. Godzilla was released on theaters four different times in different years in Japan. The first theatrical release had an attendance of 11,200,000, the third release had an attendance of 870,000, and the fourth release had an attendance of 480,000, adding up to a rough 12,550,000 attendance. It is the most-attended Godzilla film of all time in Japan, with or without the inclusion of the ticket sales from the re-releases. It was Toho's second-highest earner in 1962, and fourth among Japanese films overall.[17]

The U.S. version of King Kong vs. Godzilla had a $12,000 budget.

Reception[edit | edit source]

King Kong vs. Godzilla is very popular among kaiju fans and hailed as a classic. Its plot, acting, special effects, and musical aspects are often regarded as some of the finest in the Showa series of Godzilla films. IMDb gives the film a 5.9 out of 10, with over 8,300 reviews. Metacritic gives the film a harsher 40/100. It should be noted they both reviewed the American version. Both websites cite the classic charm and charming special effects as major points, with IMDb being more positive towards them and Metacritic more negative. Rotten Tomatoes (who also reviewed the American cut of the film) gives the film a 50% with 16 ratings, with a slightly higher 52% audience score, reviews ranging from "It's a preposterously silly entry, but it's also one of the all-time greats" from Bob Chipman of The Escapist to "The one mild surprise of this cheap reprise of earlier Hollywood and Japanese horror films is the ineptitude of its fakery" from Bosley Crowther of the New York Times.

Video releases[edit | edit source]

Toho VHS / Betamax (1985)

  • Region: NTSC
  • Tapes: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (Mono)
  • Notes: 1985 home video restoration incorporating 16mm footage for the 24 minutes missing from the Toho Champion Festival edit. Out of print.

Toho LaserDisc (1986)

  • Region: NTSC
  • Discs: 1 (CLV, 2 sides)
  • Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono)
  • Notes: 1985 home video restoration incorporating 16mm footage for the 24 minutes missing from the Toho Champion Festival edit, with further modifications. Early pressings mistakenly contained an earlier work-in-progress assembly of the restoration. Out of print.

Toho LaserDisc (1991)

  • Region: NTSC
  • Discs: 1 (CLV, 2 sides)
  • Audio: Japanese (2.0 Stereo)
  • Special features: Isolated score, 5 trailers, publicity photos insert
  • Notes: First home video release to use rediscovered trims from the original negative to assemble the complete theatrical cut of the movie. Out of print.

Toho VHS (1991)

  • Region: NTSC
  • Tapes: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (2.0 Stereo)
  • Notes: Same restoration as 1991 LaserDisc. Out of print.

Toho LaserDisc (1992) [Godzilla: The Death Battle Chronicle]

  • Region: NTSC
  • Discs: 8 (CLV/CAV, 16 sides)
  • Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono)
  • Special features: Trailer, isolated score
  • Notes: First home video release of the 74 minute Toho Champion Festival edit. Out of print.

Goodtimes DVD (1998)[18]

  • Region: 1
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Special features: Production notes
  • Notes: Cropped 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Out of print.

Toho DVD (2001)[19]

  • Region: 2
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (4.0 Surround and 5.1 Surround)
  • Subtitles: Japanese
  • Special features: Audio commentary by Koji Kajita and Yu Fujiki, isolated score (2.0 Mono and 4.0 Surround), 5 trailers, cast profiles, image gallery, footage from a 40th anniversary Godzilla event (4 minutes), audio advertisements

Universal DVD (2005)[20]

  • Region: 1 or 2
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Special features: None
  • Notes: Also sold in a set with King Kong Escapes and King Kong (2005).

Universal Blu-ray (2014)

  • Region: N/A
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Special features: None
  • Notes: Also released in an FYE-exclusive SteelBook.

Toho Blu-ray (2014)

  • Region: A
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround, 4.0 Surround, LPCM 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Japanese
  • Special features: Audio commentary by Koji Kajita and Yu Fujiki, isolated score (4.0 Surround), Toho Champion Festival edit of the film, 4 trailers, interview with Keizo Murase (20 minutes), footage from a 40th anniversary Godzilla event (4 minutes), Then & Now look at the miniatures and their real-life equivalents (16 minutes), radio spot (3 minutes), publicity material slideshow (3 minutes), publicity brochure (12 images)

The Criterion Collection Blu-ray (2019) [Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954–1975]

  • Region: A or B
  • Discs: 8
  • Audio: Japanese (4.0 Surround), English (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English (hard-coded, non-removable)
  • Special features: All bonus features on Criterion's Godzilla Blu-ray, 1990 Ishiro Honda interview by Yoshimitsu Banno, interview with director Alex Cox, interviews with actors Bin Furuya and Tsugutoshi Komada, 2011 interview with critic Tadao Sato, unused effects sequences from Toho releases including Destroy All Monsters, trailers, illustrated hardcover book with an essay by Steve Ryfle and liner notes on each film by Ed Godziszewski[21]
  • Notes: Sony distributed a Region B/2 version of the set in the United Kingdom.

Toho 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray / Blu-ray (2021)[22]

  • Region: None
  • Discs: 2 (4K Ultra HD set) or 1 (Blu-ray)
  • Audio: Japanese (4.0 Surround, 2.0 Stereo, and 2.0 Monaural)
  • Subtitles: Japanese
  • Special features: Theatrical trailer and teaser, Toho Champion Festival edit of the film, and still gallery. The 4K Ultra HD set includes a 28-page Storybook of Shigeru Komatsuzaki's storyboards and a 116-page Unpublished Photo Book full of color photos by special effects art director Akira Watanabe.
  • Notes: Uses a 4K scan of the film previously unavailable on home video. 2.0 stereo track is a downfold of the 4.0 track, mistakenly folded down further to mono for the last reel of the film. The subtitles for the English-speaking portions are mistakenly omitted from the Toho Champion Festival edit.

Unmade sequel and remakes[edit | edit source]

In the aftermath of the success of King Kong vs. Godzilla, Toho immediately began production on a sequel, simply known by the working title Continuation: King Kong vs. Godzilla. Shinichi Sekizawa even completed a screenplay for the film, but it was ultimately scrapped. Toho would revisit the idea of a giant version of Frankenstein's monster that was featured in Willis O'Brien's original treatment, this time planning to pit the creature against Godzilla in a film called Frankenstein vs. Godzilla, which itself was replaced by the films Mothra vs. Godzilla and Frankenstein vs. Baragon. Toho would later reacquire the rights to King Kong from Rankin/Bass Productions, which resulted in the 1967 film King Kong Escapes, though it was not a direct sequel to King Kong vs. Godzilla.

In the early Heisei era, Toho attempted to produce a remake of King Kong vs. Godzilla, under the title Godzilla vs. King Kong, but encountered difficulties when Turner Entertainment, by then the owners of the original King Kong film, prevented Toho from using the character. Toho would attempt to circumvent this by considering several projects pitting Godzilla against Kong's mechanical doppelganger Mechani-Kong, but none of them materialized. The two monsters finally met again in Legendary Pictures' Godzilla vs. Kong, released in 2021.

Videos[edit | edit source]

Trailers[edit | edit source]

King Kong vs. Godzilla Japanese trailer
King Kong vs. Godzilla Japanese newsflash/special announcement
King Kong vs. Godzilla
American teaser trailer
King Kong vs. Godzilla American trailer
King Kong vs. Godzilla American TV spot
John Landis' commentary on the
American King Kong vs. Godzilla trailer

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

Champion Festival opening
Giant Octopus test footage
Unused footage from the train sequence
Wikizilla: YouTube The Story of King Kong vs. Godzilla

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • King Kong vs. Godzilla was theatrically released in Japan for a two week period on a double bill with Myself and I (私と私). Its release was then extended by another week, during which it was screened alongside the animated film Touring the World (おとぎの世界旅行).[23]
  • Not only was this the first Godzilla or King Kong film shot in the anamorphic "Scope" ratio (2.35:1), but it was also both monsters' first appearance in color and stereophonic sound.
  • Before the movie's Japanese premiere, Toho released side-by-side "interviews" with King Kong and Godzilla, as if they were sumo wrestlers preparing for a bout.[24]
  • There were four live octopuses used in the scene where it fights the natives. They were forced to move by blowing hot air on them. After the filming of that scene was finished, three of the four were released. The fourth became special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya's dinner.[25]
  • The dream project of Eiji Tsuburaya involved a giant octopus, and early designs for Godzilla himself in 1954 depicted him as a giant octopus. Although Tsuburaya's octopus design was rejected, it is likely that the Giant Octopus scene in this film was the fulfillment of his dream. Tsuburaya would later shoot bring back the monster two other films: Frankenstein vs. Baragon (although this film's scene was cut) and The War of the Gargantuas.
    • In 1966, Eiji Tsuburaya produced an episode of Ultra Q, the first entry in his Ultra Series, which revolved around a giant octopus named Sudar, using the props originally created for this film.
  • This film marks the debut of Godzilla's famous theme by Akira Ifukube, although it was completely removed in the American version.
  • The tracks "King Kong vs. Godzilla I" and "King Kong vs. Godzilla II" would later be rearranged and reused for Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.
  • King Kong vs. Godzilla was re-released at the Spring Toho Champion Film Festival on March 21, 1970 alongside the animated films Star of the Giants: Major League Ball, Attack No. 1 and The Kindly Lion. The film was rather infamously edited down to 74 minutes using the original camera negative.
  • When animators working on Davy Jones' tentacles in the 2006 film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest were having trouble finding footage of octopuses on land, animation supervisor Hal Hickel hit upon the idea of using the Giant Octopus scene in King Kong vs. Godzilla as a reference.[26]
  • Newspapers in the film announce Godzilla's return on June 23, 1962, and profile King Kong on August 23.
  • In the third episode of Godzilla Singular Point, "Tigerish", a billboard in Nigashio City advertises Pacific Pharmaceuticals.

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

This is a list of references for King Kong vs. Godzilla. 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. Steve Ryfle (1998). Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of "The Big G". ECW Press. p. 89. ISBN 1550223488.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Steve Ryfle and Ed Godzizewski (2017). Ishiro Honda: A Life in Film. Wesleyan University Press. p. 186, 191. ISBN 9780819577412.
  3. List of Godzilla Movies. Nenda Ryuukou. Retrieved on 1 June 2021.
  4. 4.0 4.1 キングコング対ゴジラ|ゴジラ 東宝公式サイト (official page)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Interview: KING KONG VS GODZILLA Screenwriter Paul Mason
  6. LeMay, John (12 December 2019). Kong Unmade: The Lost Films of Skull Island. Bicep Books. pp. 177–178. ISBN 978-1734154627.
  7. Morton, Ray (2005). King Kong: The History of a Movie Icon from Fay Wray to Peter Jackson. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. pp. 120–121. ISBN 1557836698.
  8. Ryfle, Steve (1998). Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of "The Big G". ECW Press. p. 80-81.
  9. King Kong vs. Godzilla 4K Restoration Poster.jpg
  10. Steve Ryfle (1998). Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of "The Big G". ECW Press. p. 151. ISBN 1550223488.
  11. Uploader comment for KING KONG VS. GODZILLA OST - "First Confrontation"
  12. Spaceman #7
  13. Tohofilms8hires.jpg
  14. Monster Zero Forums - KING KONG VS. GODZILLA and KING KONG ESCAPES on BD April
  15. Monsters From An Unknown Culture: Godzilla (and friends) in Britain 1957-1980 by Sim Branaghan – Part 1
  16. Monsters From An Unknown Culture: Godzilla (and friends) in Britain 1957-1980 by Sim Branaghan – Part 4
  17. Stuart Galbraith IV (2008). The Toho Studios Story: A History and Complete Filmography. Scarecrow Press.
  18. King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963) Goodtimes
  19. [1]
  20. King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963) Universal
  21. Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954-1975 | The Criterion Collection
  22. Ragone, August (1 April 2021). NOT APRIL FOOL'S! "KING KONG VS GODZILLA" UHD BLU-RAY!. Kaiju Productions.
  23. Toho Special Effects Movie Complete Works. 28 September 2012. p. 66. ISBN 4864910138.
  24. JD. Lees and Marc Cerasini (24 March 1998). The Official Godzilla Compendium. Random House. p. 25. ISBN 0679888225.
  25. 『ゴジラvsコング』の原点『キングコング対ゴジラ』撮影秘話……敵の大ダコはその日のスタッフの夕食になっていた
  26. DVD Talk - Behind The Scenes of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest


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