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Godzilla: Monster to Hero



The Godzilla movies, originally Gojira meaning whale like gorilla, started in 1954 following the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Godzilla became a metaphor for those attacks and represented the United States. He represented the negative effects the nuclear attack made on Japan focusing mainly on the environmental effects. As a result, Godzilla took on the role of villain in the original films. As the years went on and more and more movies were made about Godzilla, the creature's role began to shift from villain to hero. Soon the Japanese would call on Godzilla for help in these films. However, in the most recent films, the role of Godzilla has shifted back towards the original role of monster.


American Trailer

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Japanese Trailer

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There were a total of 29 movies made on Godzilla. 28 of them were produced by Toho Co, Ltd. The other film was an American film produced in 1998. Despite the amount of money the American Godzilla made, the movie was still considered a failure by Japan. The American version represented the original Godzilla so little that Japan refused to call the American monster Godzilla. Instead, the American version is referred to as Zilla or Gino. The American producer was said to of ignore Toho's advise when making Godzilla. Toho Co, Ltd was so upset with the American version that any future squeals to Godzilla in America were immediately canceled. A few differences were the American Godzilla ran from the military where the Japanese Godzilla feared nothing. The American Godzilla was more agile and destroyed very little of the city in comparison to the Japanese Godzilla. The American Godzilla movie was more focused on digital affects rather than story plot and the meaning that Godzilla represents.


The List of original Godzilla movies with English titles

  • Godzilla (1954)
  • Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
  • King Kong Vs. Godzilla (1962)
  • Godzilla Vs. Mothra (1964)
  • Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
  • Godzilla Vs. Monster Zero (1965)
  • Godzilla Vs. the Sea Monster (1966)
  • Son of Godzilla (1967)
  • Destroy All Monsters (1968)
  • Godzilla's Revenge (1969)
  • Godzilla Vs. Hedorah (1971)
  • Godzilla Vs. Gigan (1972)
  • Godzilla Vs. Megalon (1973)
  • Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)
  • Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
  • Godzilla 1985 (1985)
  • Godzilla Vs. Biollante (1989)
  • Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah (1991)

  • Godzilla & Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992)
  • Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993)
  • Godzilla Vs. Spacegodzilla (1994)
  • Godzilla Vs. Destoroyah (1995)
  • Godzilla (1998)
  • Godzilla 2000: Millennium (2000)
  • Godzilla Vs. Megaguirus (2000)
  • Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)
  • Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002)
  • Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003)
  • Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)


The Godzilla movies were originally made in Japan and then edited by an American company and re-released in America. The original movie, Gojira was re-released as Godzilla King of the Monsters. This was the first Godzilla movie that Americans were exposed to. It used most of the scenes from the original film and had some added scenes using a Canadian actor Raymond Burr.


These films are broken down into three eras. With each era, the character of Godzilla is portrayed differently. The three eras are the Showa era (1954-1980), the Heisei era (1984-1989) and the Millennium era (1999-present). The Showa era portrays Godzilla as a horrible creature that comes to destroy Japan. The Heisei era shows Godzilla more as a hero while occasionally showing Godzilla as the antihero. The Millennium era was started as a response to the American Godzilla and tries to bring Godzilla back to its original roots.  


As Godzilla's character began to change towards the good in the Heisei era, the Godzilla films focus started to shift towards present issues. The film Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster (Godzilla vs. Hedorah) was made while Japan was facing major pollution problems. This film was made as a protest to try and make the Japanese citizens more aware of the devastation that can occur from pollution.



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The Japanese version of Godzilla has always been a man in a suit. The Japanese are more than capable of making a Godzilla film like the American version that focuses a lot on the digital effects. However, the Japanese Godzilla has remained a character played by a man in a rubber costume. The costume has been adapted over the years to fit the needs of each movie and fighting scenes. Each movie made a suite with a distinct new characteristic. In fact, 13 suites were made between the years 1954 and 1994.


Godzilla vs. Smog Monster

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Godzilla Final War

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