Varan (1958)

From, the Godzilla, Gamera, Kong and Kaiju Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Image gallery for Varan (film)
Varan (film) soundtrack

Toho Company, Limited Monster Movie
The Japanese poster for Varan
Alternate Titles
Flagicon Japan.png Giant Monster Varan (1958)
Flagicon United States.png Varan, the Unbelievable (1962)
See alternate titles
Directed by Ishiro Honda
Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
Written by Ken Kuronuma, Shinichi Sekizawa
Music by Akira Ifukube
Distributor TohoJP
Crown International PicturesUS
Rating Not Rated
Running Time 87 minutesJP
(1 hour, 27 minutes)
70 minutesUS
(1 hour, 10 minutes)
Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Rate this film!
(36 votes)

When modern navy scientists defy the unknown mysteries of the past, perpetuated by centuries of native belief, then nature strikes in all its vengeance in Varan, the Unbelievable! For generations, the legend was passed on. They said Varan was there, deep in the still waters. They said, "Let Varan sleep!", but the navy commander would not heed their warning. He moved forward, ever searching, ever going deeper and deeper, until it was too late! Varan rose from the depths slowly, unrelentingly, to wreak its vengeance on the civilization that wanted to know too much. Tumultuous! Terrifying! So awesome it will shock you to the core! Varan, the Unbelievable!

— Trailer for Varan, the Unbelievable

Varan (大怪獣バラン,   Daikaijū Baran, lit. Giant Monster Varan) is a 1958 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho, and the company's last black-and-white kaiju film. It was released to Japanese theaters on October 14, 1958.


X no sunglasses.PNG This plot section is useless.
Please help out by editing this page and adding the plot.

To be added.


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


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

  • Kozo Nomura   as   Kenji Uozaki
  • Ayumi Sonoda   as   Yuriko Shinjo
  • Fumito Matsuo   as   Horiguchi
  • Koreya Senda   as   Doctor Sugimoto
  • Akio Kusama   as   Military Officer Kusama
  • Yoshio Tsuchiya   as   Military Officer Katsumoto
  • Akihiko Hirata   as   Fujimora
  • Minosuke Yamada   as   Secretary of Defense
  • Fuyuki Murakami   as   Majima
  • Takashi Ito   as   Ken
  • Fumiko Honma   as   Ken's Mother
  • Akira Sera   as   Village Priest
  • Hisaya Ito   as   Ichiro Shinjo
  • Nadao Kirino   as   Yutaka Wada
  • Akira Yamada   as   Issaku
  • Yoshikazu Kawamata   as   Jiro
  • Yasuhiro Kasanobu   as   Sankichi
  • Yoshifumi Tajima   as   Captain Uranami
  • Shoichi Hirose   as   Fisherman
  • Toshitsugu Suzuki   as   Fisherman
  • Haruo Nakajima, Katsumi Tezuka   as   Varan



Weapons, Vehicles, and Races


Main article: Varan (film)/Gallery.


Main article: Varan (Soundtrack).

Alternate Titles

  • Giant Monster Varan (Literal Japanese Title)
  • Varan, Monster from the East (東洋の怪物 大怪獣バラン,   Tōyō no Kaibutsu Daikaijū Baran, Original Television Version Title)
  • Varan, the Unbelievable (United States)

Theatrical Releases

Cancelled Television Version

While most of AD-PT was closed down, the network ABC was still active. In 1958, they had been collaborating with Toho on a TV Movie called Varan, Monster from the East. Varan was originally planned to air on American television, but this fell through. Toho set up a Japanese theatrical release date, added new scenes, deleted old scenes, and cropped the video to be released in theaters. It was later released in the United States in 1962 under the title Varan, the Unbelievable. Varan was a black-and-white film, since it was meant for TV, while Toho had been making color kaiju films ever since Rodan in 1956. 47 years later in 2005, Toho and Tokyo Shock released Varan on DVD in Japan and the United States, including the unreleased television version in both releases.

U.S. Release

American Poster for Varan The Unbelievable
Following the abandonment of the television version of Varan and its Japanese theatrical release, Crown International Pictures acquired the rights to distribute the film theatrically in the United States in 1962. The American cut of the film, called Varan, the Unbelievable, was heavily edited and bears little resemblance to the original Japanese version. Like what had been done with the American release of the original Godzilla, Crown added newly-filmed footage of a western actor, Myron Healy, and made the plot focus on him. The film's story was changed drastically, revolving around an American military officer overseeing a chemical test in a lake on an island. Varan is never referred to by name in the film, only called "Obaki," and his roar is completely changed. The scene of Varan gliding from the cliff is removed, and close-up shots of Varan's claws are added.


Varan is often considered by many kaiju fans to be one of Toho's weakest films. One common criticism from fans stems from the film's story, claiming that it's a generic monster movie story, while other Toho kaiju and science-fiction films involved more complex and interesting stories. The film is still popular for introducing the monster Varan, who has only appeared in a cameo appearance and several non-film media since.

The American version of the film, Varan, the Unbelievable, is widely disliked and infamous among fans. It is often accused of ruining the entire film and copying the strategy used in Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, but executing it much less effectively. All of the changes, from Varan's roar to the added plotline about an American officer, are heavily criticized.

Video Releases

Tokyo Shock DVD (2005)

  • Region: 1
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono, 3.0 Stereo, 5.1 Surround)
  • Special Features: Audio commentary by Varan suit maker Keizo Murase, lecture from Keizo Murase for High School Molding Seminar (29 minutes), reconstruction of the film's original TV version (54 minutes)
  • Notes: Out of print. A 2007 release packages it with Matango and The Mysterians.

Synergy Entertainment DVD (2011)

  • Region: N/A
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English
  • Special Features: None
  • Notes: Made-to-order DVD-R.

Reel Vault DVD (2015)

  • Region: N/A
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English
  • Special Features: None
  • Notes: DVD-R

Though Varan is not available on Blu-ray, an HD version can be rented or purchased on the Japanese versions of Amazon Video and iTunes.


Japanese Varan trailer
American Varan the Unbelievable trailer
Ken Films Super 8 digest version of Varan the Unbelievable

Era Icon - Toho.png
Era Icon - Showa.png
Era Icon - Varan.png


Showing 2 comments. Remember to follow the civility guidelines when commenting.

You are not allowed to post comments.


Varan The Unbelievable

17 months ago
Score 0


17 months ago
Score 0