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Japan · 1954
1h 36m
Director Ishirō Honda
Starring Akira Takarada, Momoko Kôchi, Akihiko Hirata, Takashi Shimura
Genre Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller

Japan is thrown into a panic after several ships explode and are sunk near Odo Island. An expedition to the island, led by paleontologist Professor Kyohei Yemani, soon discovers something more devastating than imagined in the form of a 164-foot-tall monster whom the natives call Gojira. The monster’s rampage threatens to destroy the world.

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What are people saying?

Conner Dejecacion Profile picture for Conner Dejecacion

The original Godzilla remains a fascinating post-war study of nuclear destruction and national tragedy. Even in the age of Oppenheimer which seems to be the definitive meditation on the atomic bomb, Godzilla's enduring legacy is a testament to the creature's cultural resilience and adaptability to metaphor. Godzilla's been a symbol for the atomic bomb, yes, but also government bureaucracy and, most recently, guilt. Even a film as old as this manages to capture the horror of atomic destruction and the sheer loss of a life a superweapon can enable with the wave of a hand - or claw, or foot.

What are critics saying?


L.A. Weekly by

Can now be appreciated not just as a minor classic of tragic destruction, but also as a somber exploration of conflicted postwar emotions.


Christian Science Monitor by David Sterritt

Not that Honda's original Godzilla is a message movie first and foremost. It's a horror flick, and an ingenious one at that, with visual effects so vivid that gimmicky spin-offs became an enduring staple of popular film.


Village Voice by J. Hoberman

As crass as it is visionary, Godzilla belongs with--and might well trump--the art films "Hiroshima Mon Amour" and "Dr. Strangelove" as a daring attempt to fashion a terrible poetry from the mind-melting horror of atomic warfare.


Film Threat by Phil Hall

While the Raymond Burr sequences and the subsequent clumsy English dubbing of the remaining Japanese footage made the U.S. version an unintentionally funny movie, the complete Japanese version is an unfunny bore.


Washington Post by Stephen Hunter

Its images of the destruction of the cities is far more powerful than in American films, where the cities are trashed for the pure pleasure of destruction, without any real sense of human loss.

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