While the Devil puts in long hours, Godzilla puts in even more. Godzilla, who has been in the business for over 60 years and has appeared in over 35 films, is one of the most sought-after action stars of all time. (It is unknown whether or not he will appear in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, but that is beside the point.)
Since his introduction in 1954, he has smashed, crashed, and thrashed his way through buildings, enemies, and the Japanese government’s defense system, earning him the reputation as the undisputed best of the epic creature feature genre.
The roaring overlord last appeared in 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong, but thankfully, Legendary and the Japanese film studio Toho (the franchise’s creators) have announced a slate of upcoming Godzilla projects for Apple TV+, including a sequel to Godzilla vs. Kong (currently untitled) that will be released in March of 2024. Godzilla’s rematch with Kong, and their subsequent alliance to take down Mechagodzilla, will be the focus of the sequel.
The most recent developments make this an ideal time to (re)watch and otherwise familiarize oneself with the entire Godzilla filmography, a cornerstone of the global pop culture canon.
Before we get started, let’s take a look at the big picture of the franchise and see when and how the films fit together.
Timeline Of Godzilla Films
- Showa Era (1954–1975) – expect continuity for the majority of the films in the Show era.
- Heisei Era (1984–1995) – the Heisei era starts fresh from the 1954 film with a new story. “While the Godzilla films of the Millennium series and the Reiwa series were released during the Heisei era, they are not counted in the same series due to coming after hiatuses in the franchise and not following the same continuity.” as noted by wikizilla.
- TriStar Era (1998) – TriStar Pictures produces American-made adaptations of Godzilla and distributed several Japanese films in the U.S. between 1998 and 2005.
- Millennium Era (1999–2004) – the majority of the films are actually standalone in this period, with the exception of Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (part 1/2) and Godzilla: Tokyo SOS (part 2/2) which are connected.
- MonsterVerse (2014-) – Another American-made project, moving from TriStar Pictures to Legendary Pictures after acquiring the rights in 2010, containing four big monster movies and one in development rumored to be called “Origins“.
- Reiwa Era (2019–) – The films do not share continuity here, and only contain Shin Godzilla and the Godzilla anime trilogy.
The Following Is A Breakdown, And It Is Only Sorted By When It Was First Made Available
Does it look like an oversized lizard to you? Are we dealing with a dinosaur from the future? Perhaps a disastrous scientific experiment? After a 164-foot sea creature emerges from the Pacific Ocean and wreaks havoc on Tokyo,
Japanese citizens may wonder about things like these. In the Godzilla movies, the monster’s underwater city and family are wiped out by an American hydrogen bomb that crashes into
the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Japan, setting off a chain reaction of events that leads to his madness and rampage. It’s understandable that he’s fuming mad and ready to destroy anything that stands in his way.
Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
Godzilla has a laser-like focus on the island nation of Japan, but you’d think he’d take a break and chill out at Disneyland since it also opened in 1955. Godzilla’s sworn enemy, the ancient fire-wielding ankylosaurus Anguirus, returns to battle him in the sequel to the monster film.
The Japanese population must then devise a strategy to defeat not one but two monsters set on annihilating humanity and the planet. Another first for the series, the fact that Godzilla actually fights another monster in this film is a major selling point for subsequent entries.
The promotional clip from 1955 highlights some of the impressive production design and creature stunts that would have been necessary to make such a film at the time.
Godzilla: King of Monsters (1956)
In this Americanized remake of the 1954 original Godzilla, Raymond Burr plays a fictional journalist named Steve Martin who spends about 21 minutes documenting the giant monster’s exploits.
You can watch the Japanese trailer from 1954 and then compare it to the American trailer for the retelling from 1956. Fans of Godzilla with eagle eyes may be able to spot the deviations from the original story.
King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
On many fronts, King Kong vs. Godzilla delivers an unabashedly entertaining extravaganza. One of the highest-grossing Japanese films of all time, and one of the most successful crossover movies ever made because both characters were first seen on-screen in color in this film.
A money-obsessed publicist uses King Kong to lure pharmaceutical companies into buying more TV advertising time. Unfortunately, after being accidentally released from an iceberg by an American nuclear submarine,
King Kong and Godzilla have a fight when they reach the mainland. Is there a winner in this epic showdown atop Fuji? Discover the answer by watching this timeless film.
Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994)
After her battle with Godzilla, the hybrid female human plant Biollante escaped to a black hole. A Space Godzilla was created through genetic hybridization and some sort of strange cosmic phenomenon.
The alien creature proves to be a strong adversary for Godzilla due to the fact that he is armed to the teeth with hard crystal spikes. Godzilla intervenes when the space monster threatens Baby Godzilla and the people of Earth. For the first time in 40 years, the series is celebrated on film.
Hollywood’s incessant remaking of classic films is much like Godzilla himself. Godzilla returns to cause havoc in San Francisco in yet another American remake of the franchise.
One of the better franchise remakes, this one was directed by Gareth Edwards (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) and stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, and Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad). Taylor-Johnson and Olsen played Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, respectively, in the following year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Godzilla, under Edwards’s direction, becomes a creature of godlike power and prestige, an ally to humanity in its fight against other monstrous threats to Earth. He no longer just beheads his foes with his fire breath, but he also takes care to avoid destroying any famous buildings or monuments in the process. You could do a lot worse than this action-packed entry into the Godzilla franchise.
Godzilla: The Planet Eater (2018)
Even after utilizing Mechagodzilla, humanity still isn’t safe from the immortal monster in the final episode of the anime series.
The good news is that King Ghidorah travels to Earth to fight Godzilla for control. The only thing that could possibly stop Godzilla’s heat-based radiation would be Ghidorah’s freezing abilities.
Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)
The 36th installment is directed by You’re Next’s Adam Wingard and is a direct sequel to the 2017 reboot of King Kong, Kong: Skull Island, as well as the 2014 and 2019 Godzilla films.
Brown is back in her series role, joining returning cast members Alexander Skarsgard (The Northman) and Rebecca Hall (Passing). It has been 59 years since we last saw these two cinematic titans go to battle,
but Godzilla vs. Kong finally brings them back to the big screen. Godzilla detects a disturbance on Skull Island, leading to a showdown between the two monsters. Who will come out on top?
List of All Godzilla Films, in Chronological Order:
- Godzilla (1954)
- Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
- Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956)
- King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
- Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
- Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster (1964)
- Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)
- Ebirah: Horror of the Deep (1966)
- Son of Godzilla (1967)
- Destroy All Monsters (1968)
- All Monsters Attack (1969)
- Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971)
- Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)
- Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)
- Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
- The Return of Godzilla (1984)
- Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)
- Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)
- Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992)
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993)
- Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994)
- Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995)
- Godzilla (1998)
- Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999)
- Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000)
- Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah, Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)
- Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002)
- Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S (2003)
- Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)
- Godzilla (2014)
- Shin Godzilla (2016)
- Godzilla: Planet of Monsters (2017)
- Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle (2018)
- Godzilla: The Planet Eater (2018)
- Godzilla, King of the Monsters (2019)
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)
- Untitled Godzilla vs. Kong sequel (2024)
(Japanese, Hepburn: Kaij Gojira) is a kaiju film from 1956 that was directed by Terry O. Morse and Ishir Honda. The original Japanese version of Godzilla was released in 1954; this is a heavily edited American localization, or “Americanization,” of that film.
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