Made in 1954, Godzilla was Japan's first foray into the big budget feature, costing ten times as much as the average Japanese movie and twice as much as the same studio's Seven Samurai which was released the same year.

Takashi Shimura stars as the revered palaeontologist who uncovers the horrible secret at the heart of the monster (Godzilla is a long dormant Jurassic beast awoken by the atom bomb). The original Godzilla is a fierce indictment of the atomic age. Sold to an American distributor, the film was cut, dubbed into English, re-titled Godzilla: King Of The Monsters! and new scenes were added starring Raymond Burr as an American reporter observing the monster's rampage from the sidelines. All trace of the anti-nuclear message was excised in the American version.

An enormous hit for the Toho film studio, the original film created a legendary monster that would enter the lexicon of popular culture worldwide, spawning more than twenty sequels over fifty years, countless rip-offs, and a new genre: the kaiju eiga or Japanese monster movie. Still rated amongst the top twenty Japanese movies of all time, the original Godzilla is perhaps the definitive monster movie – both a bold metaphor for the atomic age and a thrilling tour de force of pioneering special effects.

Technical Specs

Director: Ishiro Honda
Year: 1954
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Duration: 98 min
Colour: B/W
Certificate: PG