Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)

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Image gallery for Mothra vs. Godzilla
Credits for Mothra vs. Godzilla
Mothra vs. Godzilla soundtrack

Godzilla films
King Kong vs. Godzilla
Mothra vs. Godzilla
Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster
Mothra films
Mothra (1961)
Mothra vs. Godzilla
Godzilla vs. Mothra
Mothra vs. Godzilla
The Japanese poster for Mothra vs. Godzilla
Alternate titles
Flagicon United States.png Godzilla vs. The Thing (1964)
See alternate titles
Directed by Ishiro Honda
Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka
Written by Shinichi Sekizawa
Music by Akira Ifukube
Distributor TohoJP
American International PicturesUS[1]
Rating TV-14
Budget ¥123 million[2]
Box office ¥310 million[3]
Running time 89 minutesJP
(1 hour, 29 minutes)
88 minutesUS
(1 hour, 28 minutes)
Aspect ratio 2.35:1
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A massive Mach 3 moth! The heavy missile tank Godzilla! The sky, sea, and land quake in the fierce battle of the century (マッハ3の巨蛾か!ミサイル重戦車のゴジラか!空・海・陸を揺がす世紀の激斗)

— Japanese tagline

Nothing like this ever on the screen!
What is it... how much terror can you stand?
SEE the armies of the world destroyed! SEE the BIRTH of the world's most terrifying monster! SEE the war of the GIANTS!

— American taglines

Mothra vs. Godzilla (モスラ対ゴジラ,   Mosura tai Gojira) is a 1964 tokusatsu kaiju film directed by Ishiro Honda and written by Shinichi Sekizawa, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. Produced by Toho, it is the fourth installment in the Godzilla series as well as the Showa series. It stars Akira Takarada, Yuriko Hoshi, Hiroshi Koizumi, Yu Fujiki, Kenji Sahara, Jun Tazaki, and Yoshibumi Tajima, with The Peanuts singing duo of Emi and Yumi Ito as the Shobijin. The film was released to Japanese theaters on April 29, 1964.[4] American International Pictures released an edited English-language version of the film, originally titled Godzilla vs. The Thing, to American theaters on November 25, 1964.

Mothra vs. Godzilla marks the first crossover between two of Toho's own monsters: their flagship character Godzilla and the giant moth deity Mothra, introduced three years prior in her own film. When Mothra's egg washes ashore in Japan following a typhoon, greedy businessmen Kumayama and Jiro Torahata claim it as their own property and plan to exploit it for revenue. To make matters worse, Godzilla reemerges and begins rampaging across Japan, making his way straight for the egg. It is up to Ichiro Sakai, Junko Nakanishi, and Shunsuke Miura to travel to Infant Island and plead with the dying Mothra to return to Japan and battle Godzilla to save both her offspring and the millions of innocent people threatened by Godzilla's rampage. Mothra vs. Godzilla was immediately followed by a direct sequel, Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, later the same year.


A news reporter named Ichiro Sakai and his photographer Junko Nakanishi take pictures of the wreckage of an industrialization project caused by a typhoon at Kurata Beach and discover a bizarre, charcoal grey object. Later on that day, a giant egg is discovered on the shore of the fishing village Shizunoura. The local villagers salvage it and scientists come to study the egg.

While Sakai and Junko try to ask Professor Miura questions about the egg, an entrepreneur of Happy Enterprises named Kumayama scurries the scientists off and explains that he bought the egg from the local villagers. Instead of letting scientists study the egg, Kumayama wants to make it into a large tourist attraction. Sakai, Junko, and Professor Miura are disgusted and believe that Kumayama has no right to keep the egg.

While the three are discussing the egg at a hotel, they discover Kumayama checking in. Sakai wonders aloud if somebody else may be working with Kumayama and investigates the matter. Kumayama walks into the room of Jiro Torahata, the head of Happy Enterprises. As the two are discussing the billion-dollar tourist attraction, two tiny twin girls, known as the Shobijin, interrupt them. The Shobijin explain that they are from Infant Island and that the egg belongs to a monster named Mothra who lives there. Torahata and Kumayama ignore the girls' pleas and try to capture them.

The Shobijin escape the room and meet with Sakai, Junko, and Professor Miura outside the hotel. The girls beg them to bring the egg back too and the three promise to try as hard as they can to bring the egg back to Infant Island. The girls explain that if the egg is not returned, a larva will hatch and will cause great destruction to its surroundings. Sakai tries to write editorials but "...public opinion is powerless against the law."

The girls soon leave and even though they could not get the egg back, they thank Sakai, Junko, and Miura for their kindness. Later, Miura calls Sakai and Junko to his laboratory to decontaminate them from residual radiation and explains the strange object the duo discovered at Kurata Beach is highly radioactive. As the trio return to the industrialization construction area to find the source of the radioactivity, Godzilla suddenly emerges from reclaimed land and attacks Nagoya and the other surrounding cities.

Sakai's editor Maruta believes that the JSDF cannot do anything against Godzilla and discusses it with Sakai and Junko. Jiro, another reporter who loves to eat eggs, walks in and suggests that Mothra might be able to defeat Godzilla. Sakai and Junko are skeptical that the island would agree because atomic testing had destroyed most of their island, and they had failed to return the egg to them.

The two go to Infant Island anyway with Professor Miura. They are captured by the local villagers and are brought to the tribe’s chief. The three ask for assistance but, as expected, are turned down because of the atomic testing that destroyed their island, and Japan's failure to return the egg.

The Shobijin are heard singing and everyone walks towards them. Sakai, Junko, and Miura ask the Shobijin for Mothra's assistance but they are also turned town. Junko then pleads to all the villagers that not everyone from Japan should be blamed for what happened to their island. She argues that Godzilla is killing both good and bad people in Japan, but that all people have a right to live. Sakai then adds that "we're all human" and that everyone is connected and must help each other. Mothra's screech is soon heard and the Shobijin ask everyone to follow them. They convince Mothra to help Japan, but the monster is weak. Although the monster will fight Godzilla, it will have no power to return to the island.

The next day, Kumayama barges into Torahata's room and demands Torahata to give him his money back that Torahata had recently swindled from Kumayama. The two get into a fistfight and Kumayama knocks Torahata down. Kumayama crawls into Torahata's money cabinet and begins to steal the money from it. Torahata wakes up and sees Godzilla approaching the hotel. He then grabs a gun and kills Kumayama. Torahata tries to escape with his money but Godzilla destroys the hotel, crushing the greedy head of Happy Enterprises to death.

Godzilla walks towards the egg, intending to destroy it, until Mothra shows up. The two fight a tough battle where Mothra seems to have the upper hand. While on the ground, Godzilla fires his atomic ray at Mothra and badly burns one of her wings. Mothra dies with her wing resting on top of the egg. Godzilla walks away. The Shobijin then explain to Sakai, Junko, and Miura that the egg can be hatched today. The tiny twins soon begin to sing.

Meanwhile, the military tries to kill Godzilla by electrocuting him with "artificial lighting", but fails. The Shobijin continue singing and the monster egg finally hatches with not one, but two Mothra larvae emerging. The Mothra larvae follow Godzilla to Iwa Island and use silk spray on Godzilla to wrap the giant monster up in a cocoon. Godzilla struggles as he becomes fully wrapped up and plunges into the ocean. The Mothra larvae celebrate and return to their island.


Main article: Mothra vs. Godzilla/Credits.

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


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

  • Akira Takarada   as   Ichiro "Ichi" Sakai, newspaper reporter
  • Yuriko Hoshi   as   Junko Nakanishi, newspaper photographer
  • Hiroshi Koizumi   as   Professor Shunsuke Miura
  • Yu Fujiki   as   Jiro Nakamura, newspaper reporter
  • Kenji Sahara   as   Jiro Torahata
  • Emi Ito and Yumi Ito   as   Shobijin
  • Jun Tazaki   as   Maruta, Sakai's editor
  • Yoshibumi Tajima   as   Kumayama, owner of Happy Enterprises
  • Kenzo Tabu   as   Prefectural assembly member
  • Yutaka Sada   as   School principal
  • Akira Tani   as   Amimoto, head villager of Shizunoura
  • Susumu Fujita   as   Head of JSDF task force
  • Ikio Sawamura   as   Shinto priest
  • Ren Yamamoto   as   Sailor at the dock
  • Kozo Nomura   as   JSDF member
  • Yasuhisa Tsutsumi   as   Police officer at the dock
  • Mitsuo Tsuda   as   JSDF officer
  • Shin Otomo   as   Police chief
  • Senkichi Omura   as   Shizunoura fisherman
  • Yoshio Kosugi   as   Infant Island chief
  • Miki Yashiro   as   Ms. Kobayashi, teacher at Iwa Island Branch School
  • Koji Iwamoto   as   Shizunoura fisherman
  • Terumi Oka   as   Hamakaze Hotel waitress
  • Wataru Omae   as   Happy Enterprises employee
  • Shiro Tsuchiya, Takuzo Kumagai, Koji Uno, Yutaka Nakayama   as   Shizunoura fishermen
  • Toshihiko Furuta, Hideo Shibuya, Koji Uruki, Ken Echigo   as   Reporters
  • Yukihiko Gondo, Koichi Sato   as   Happy Enterprises employees
  • Hiroshi Akitsu   as   Shizunoura fisherman
  • Tadashi Okabe, Haruya Sakamoto, Seishiro Kuno   as   JSDF members
  • Hiroshi Takagi   as   Happy Enterprises employee
  • Keisuke Yamada   as   Police chief
  • Shinjiro Hirota   as   Happy Enterprises employee
  • Shigemi Sunagawa   as   Fisherman
  • Ikuo Kawamura   as   Transport aircraft pilot
  • Rinsaku Ogata   as   Transport aircraft operations assistant
  • Haruo Suzuki   as   JSDF correspondent
  • Asunaro Theatrical Company   as   Students of Iwa Island Branch School
  • Katsumi Tezuka   as   Godzilla (assistant)
  • Haruo Nakajima   as   Godzilla

Godzilla vs. The Thing

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

  • Harold Conway   as   Weapons expert on Frontier Missile Cruiser
  • Ralph Jesser   as   U.S. Navy sailor
  • Osman Yusuf   as   Journalist
  • Bernard Grant   as   Ichiro Sakai (voice)
  • Paulette Rubenstein, Terry Van Tell   as   Shobijin (voices)
  • Larry Robinson   as   Jiro Nakamura (voice)
  • Bret Morrison   as   Kumayama (voice)[1]
  • Jack Curtis   as   Jiro Torahata (voice)
  • Earl Hammond   as   Head of JSDF Task Force (voice)
  • Peter Fernandez   as   Villager / JSDF correspondent (voice)[1]



Weapons, vehicles, and races


Main article: Mothra vs. Godzilla/Gallery.


Main article: Mothra vs. Godzilla/Soundtrack.

Alternate titles

  • Godzilla Against Mothra (English Japanese poster title)
  • Godzilla vs. The Thing (United States; United Kingdom)
  • Godzilla vs. Mothra (Singapore; revised U.S. title)
  • Godzilla Against Mothra (Godzilla contra Mothra; Mexico)
  • Mothra Against Godzilla (Mothra contre Godzilla; France; Mothra Contra Godzilla; Portugal)
  • Godzilla Against "The Thing" (Godzilla contre "La Chose"; French Belgium; Godzilla tegen "Het Ding"; Dutch Belgium)
  • Godzilla and the Prehistoric Caterpillars (Godzilla und die Urweltraupen; West Germany)
  • Godzilla Against the Monsters (Godzilla contra los monstruos; Spain)
  • Godzilla and the Mothra Challenge (Godzilla i el Repte de Mothra; Spain (Catalonia))
  • Watang! In the Fabulous Empire of Monsters (Watang! Nel favoloso impero dei mostri; Italy)
  • Mothra Meets Godzilla (Mothra möter Godzilla; Sweden)
  • Panic in Tokyo: Godzilla and Monster Mothra (Paniek in Tokyo Godzilla en het monster van Mothra; Netherlands)
  • Godzilla Against the Sacred Island (Godzilla Contra a Ilha Sagrada; Brazil)
  • Mothra Fights Dinosaur (魔斯拉鬥恐龍 Mósīlā dòu Kǒnglóng; Taiwan)
  • Strong Godzilla (Ofjarl Godzilla; Iceland)
  • Godzilla Unexpected Beast (Godzilla Beklenmeyen Canavar; Turkey)
  • Fuji Yama Operation (Επιχείρησις Φούτζι Γιάμα Epiheirisis Fuji Yama; Greece)

Theatrical releases

View all posters for the film here.

  • Japan - April 29, 1964[4]   [view poster]Japanese 1964 poster; December 19, 1970 (Toho Champion Festival);   [view poster]Japanese 1970 poster; March 15, 1980   [view poster]Japanese 1980 poster
  • United States - November 25, 1964   [view poster]poster
  • Portugal - October 4, 1964
  • Sweden - 1964
  • Thailand - 1964
  • Belgium - 1965
  • United Kingdom - 1965
  • Iceland - July 2, 1965   [view poster]Icelandic poster
  • Mexico - 1966
  • Spain - February 27, 1967   [view poster]Spanish poster
  • Pakistan - 1967   [view poster]Pakistani poster
  • Brazil - 1968
  • Italy - 1970   [view poster]Italian poster
  • Belgium - 1971   [view poster]Belgian poster
  • West Germany - 1974   [view poster]German poster
  • Taiwan - October 23, 1967
  • France - February 1, 1995   [view poster]French poster
  • Lebanon   [view poster]Lebanese poster

Foreign releases

U.S. release

U.S. Godzilla vs. The Thing poster

American International Pictures originally released Mothra vs. Godzilla in the United States under the title Godzilla vs. The Thing in September of 1964, and it opened in New York City on November 25, 1964. Mothra's appearance was kept out of promotional material, which hinted that Godzilla's opponent would be a hideous tentacled creature and referred to it only as "the Thing." New York Times film critic Eugene Archer reacted to the film and its title: "Well, there are three things, not counting the movie. One has wings and looks like a big bee. The other two are hatched from the first Thing's egg, after quite a bit of worshipful kootch dancing from a pair of foot-tall native goddesses..."

The most notable difference between Mothra vs. Godzilla and Godzilla vs. The Thing is an effects scene that was shot by Ishiro Honda and Eiji Tsuburaya's teams, yet does not appear in the Japanese version. After Godzilla attacks Nagoya, American Frontier Missile Cruisers fruitlessly bombard him, marking the first occasion the United States battled the monster. Harold Conway and Osman Yusuf, two foreign actors who were staples in Toho films at the time, appear in this sequence.

In American home video releases beginning in the 1980s, the film was retitled Godzilla vs. Mothra. However, Mothra is still repeatedly called "The Thing" in the dub, confusing many viewers who thought "The Thing" and "Mothra" were two separate monsters. Because of this, when TriStar released Godzilla vs. Mothra in the U.S., they re-titled it Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth so that it would not be confused with this film. Despite this, Peter Bollinger's cover artwork for Simitar Entertainment's VHS and DVD release of the older film continues to be erroneously used to represent the newer film on streaming services and even on Sony Pictures' official website.

United Kingdom release

Warner-Pathe brought Godzilla vs. The Thing to UK theaters in 1965, as part of a double feature with The Time Travelers.[5] It received an X rating from the British Board of Film Censors, preventing children under 16 from seeing it. Sony released the Japanese version of the film on Blu-ray in 2019 as part of the The Criterion Collection's Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954–1975 box set.

West German release

Godzilla vs. The Thing was released in West Germany by Gloria Film under the title Godzilla und die Urweltraupen (lit. "Godzilla and the Prehistoric Caterpillars") on April 15, 1974, with dubbing duties undertaken by SL Film Synchron GmbH in Berlin. Visuals such as the credits and newspaper insets were rendered in German accordingly. The dubbing itself contains a major post production error during the reel containing the battle between Godzilla and the adult Mothra, the music and effects being entirely out of sync with the visuals, possibly stemming from a lack of understanding of the proper reel and segment structure of the American International version, as it appears dubbing track elements were conformed to the reel structure of Toho's version. Presentations of the West German release on home video in contemporary Germany have been reconstructions created from various sources, as a complete copy or duplication element of the theatrical release appear lost or misplaced.

Box office

In the original April 29th, 1964 Japanese release of Mothra vs. Godzilla, the film had 3,510,000 people attend. The first re-issue of the film, on December 19th, 1970, had an attendance of 730,000. When the film was re-released again on March 15th, 1980, it got 2,980,000 people attend and made ¥1,550,000,000, or $7,000,000. All releases put together made a gross of ¥2,330,000,000, or $10,000,000, and had a total attendance of 7,220,000.


Mothra vs. Godzilla is often considered by both fans and critics alike as being one of the best in the Showa series of Godzilla films.

Video releases

Simitar DVD (1998)[6]

  • Region: 1
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (2.0 Mono, 5.1 Surround)
  • Subtitles: None
  • Special features: Optional 1.33:1 presentation (cropped), Simitar-produced trailers for the company's kaiju releases, art gallery, trivia game
  • Notes: Out of print.

Studio Canal DVD (2001)

  • Region: 2

Classic Media DVD (2002)[7]

  • Region: 1
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (2.0 Mono, 5.1 Surround)
  • Subtitles: None
  • Special features: Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee trailer
  • Notes: Cropped 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Out of print.

Toho DVD (2003)

  • Region: 2
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (1.0 and 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Japanese
  • Special features: Audio commentary by Kenji Sahara, theatrical trailer, 75-minute reissue edit from 1980, 8mm version of Mothra, "Mothra Attacks Tokyo" narrated storybook

Marketing Film DVD (2004)

  • Region: 2
  • Audio: German

Classic Media DVD (2006)[8]

  • Region: 1
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono), English (2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Special features: Audio commentary for Godzilla vs. The Thing by Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski, Akira Ifukube featurette (13 minutes), poster slideshow
  • Notes: Godzilla vs. The Thing has a cropped 1:78:1 aspect ratio. It also features the original "Godzilla vs. The Thing" title card in place of the "Godzilla vs. Mothra" card used in previous releases. Reissued in 2012; both releases are out of print.

Madman DVD (2006)

  • Region: 4

Toho Blu-ray (2010)

  • Region: A/1
  • Audio: Japanese
  • Special features: Audio commentary by Kenji Sahara, theatrical trailer, 1970 Toho Champion Festival cut, 8mm promotional footage for Mothra, "Mothra Attacks Tokyo" narrated Sonorama storybook, interview with Yuji Sakai, behind the scenes photo gallery, storyboards gallery

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

  • Region: A/1 or B/2
  • Discs: 8
  • Audio: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • 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[9]
  • Notes: Uses a new English subtitle translation by Jason Franzman. Sony distributed a Region B/2 version of the set in the United Kingdom.

A 4K restoration of Mothra vs. Godzilla first aired on Japanese satellite TV in 2021, but has yet to be released on home video.[10]


A novelization of Mothra vs. Godzilla written by Takamasa Ueda was published by Kodansha in 1984. In the novelization, it is mentioned that there is a nuclear power plant on Iwa Island that has the potential to contaminate the majority of the Japanese archipelago if it is destroyed. There is a scene where the Chief Cabinet Secretary holds a press conference and warns people to evacuate.

Manga adaptation

A manga adaptation of the film illustrated by Fumio Hisamatsu was published in the May 1964 issue of the children's comic magazine Adventure King.



Japanese Mothra vs. Godzilla trailer
U.S. Godzilla vs. The Thing trailer
Godzilla vs. The Thing U.S. TV trailer
Godzilla vs. The Thing U.S. TV spot
Godzilla vs. The Thing West German trailer
Simitar Godzilla vs. Mothra VHS trailer


YouTube Movies & Shows upload of Mothra vs. Godzilla
Ken Films Super 8 digest version of Godzilla vs. The Thing
Opening of the 1980 re-release


  • Mothra vs. Godzilla was theatrically released in Japan on a double bill with Operation Anti Hell.[11]
  • The upper lip on the Godzilla suit in this film has a slight wobble. This was originally an accident; during the filming of the scene where Godzilla smashes into the Nagoya Castle, Haruo Nakajima fell and the suit's head slammed into the miniature, loosening the teeth and damaging the jaw. Special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya actually liked this effect and kept the suit like that for the rest of filming. The scene where Godzilla's head gets set on fire by a Curtiss C-46D bomb was also accidental, with Nakajima continuing to perform the scene as the script required.[12] By the next film, Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, the suit's head had sustained so much damage that it had to be replaced.
  • Mothra vs. Godzilla and Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster are the only Godzilla films to be released in Japan in the same year.
  • Mothra vs. Godzilla is one of two Toho Godzilla movies to be released in Japanese and American theaters in the same year, the other being Shin Godzilla.
  • In the third episode of Godzilla Singular Point, "Tigerish", a billboard in Nigashio City promotes Happy Enterprises. In the same episode, Mei Kamino meets Takehiro Kai at a Happy Enterprises amusement park.

External links


This is a list of references for Mothra 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. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Craig, Rob (2019). American International Pictures: A Comprehensive Filmography. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 169. ISBN 9781476666310.
  2. "Kinema Junpo Issues 382-385". Kinema Junpo. Kinema Junposha. 1965. p. 69 – via Google Books.
  3. "List of Godzilla Movies". Nenda Ryuukou. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  4. 4.0 4.1 モスラ対ゴジラ|ゴジラ 東宝公式サイト (official page)
  5. Monsters From An Unknown Culture: Godzilla (and friends) in Britain 1957-1980 by Sim Branaghan – Part 1
  6. Godzilla Vs Mothra (1964)
  7. Godzilla vs. Mothra (1964)
  9. Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954-1975 | The Criterion Collection
  10. [1]
  11. Toho Special Effects Movie Complete Works. 28 September 2012. p. 78. ISBN 4864910138.
  12. Haruo Nakajima Interview


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