The Godzilla movie universe

·8 min read
Photo credit: Toho
Photo credit: Toho

From Digital Spy

It may not come as a surprise to you that there are a lot of Godzilla movies. And by a lot, we mean a lot. The franchise began in 1954 in Japan, co-created by Honda Ishirō, making its North American debut in 1956 with Godzilla, King of the Monsters!

The 1956 version was, for all intents and purposes, an adaptation of the original, featuring new footage edited into the 1954 film. It was so popular, it spawned what is still the longest-running film franchise to date, consisting of 36 features, which vary in tone, style, and target audience.

Despite the franchise's tonal cacophony, Godzilla has remained a pop-culture mainstay, inspiring television shows, music, literature, video games, action figures and more. Here is the definitive list of all the Godzilla films, including the MonsterVerse movies in which Godzilla appears.

Shōwa era (1954–1975)

Photo credit: Toho
Photo credit: Toho

Godzilla (1954)

American nuclear weapons testing results in the creation of a seemingly unstoppable, dinosaur-like beast. This serves as a prequel to the eventual first reboot of the franchise in the Heisei era.

Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

Godzilla battles an irradiated Ankylosaur and destroys Osaka in the process.

King Kong vs Godzilla (1963)

A newspaper and television station funded by a pharmaceutical company want a sensation, which happens to be the discovery of King Kong on an island. He is captured and brought to Japan, where he escapes from captivity and battles Godzilla.

Mothra vs Godzilla (1964)

A typhoon washes ashore a gigantic egg that's claimed by greedy entrepreneurs near Nagoya. They refuse to return it to its rightful owner, Mothra, as Godzilla washes ashore from the same typhoon.

Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)

Photo credit: Touchstone Pictures
Photo credit: Touchstone Pictures

The disappearance of a princess coincides with the arrival of a prophetess who warns of the return of Godzilla, Rodan and the arrival of a civilization-destroying space monster.

Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)

Aliens known as the Xiliens arrive on Earth seeking to borrow Godzilla and Rodan to save their planet from Monster Zero. Sent on the expedition are astronauts Glenn and Fuji, who discover it's none other than King Ghidorah.

Ebirah, Terror of the Deep (1966)

A young man steals a boat to find his brother, but he and his shipmates become shipwrecked on a mysterious island inhabited by a giant sea monster and a slumbering Godzilla.

Son of Godzilla (1967)

Photo credit: Toho
Photo credit: Toho

Scientists experimenting with changes in weather on a tropical island get more than they bargained for when Godzilla shows up to battle humongous insects and protect his newborn child.

Destroy All Monsters (1968)

Female aliens take control of Earth's monsters and begin using them to destroy the human race.

All Monsters Attack (1969)

A bullied schoolboy dreams of travelling to Monster Island, where he befriends Godzilla's son, who is also having bully troubles.

Godzilla vs Hedorah (also called Godzilla vs the Smog Monster) (1971)

Photo credit: Toho
Photo credit: Toho

From Earth's pollution, a new monster is spawned. Hedorah, the smog monster, destroys Japan and fights Godzilla while spewing his poisonous gas to further the damage.

War of the Monsters (1972)

A man begins to suspect that something is wrong about his employers; meanwhile, Godzilla and Anguirus are alerted to something strange going on.

Godzilla vs Megalon (1973)

The undersea nation of Seatopia sends the gigantic Megalon to destroy the world above – and it's up to Godzilla and a size-shifting robot, Jet Jaguar, to defeat him.

Godzilla vs Cosmic Monster (1974)

Ape-like aliens build a robotic Godzilla to destroy Japan, and the true Godzilla may not be powerful enough to destroy it.

Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)

Godzilla comes to the rescue when an alien race rebuilds Mechagodzilla to destroy Earth's cities. A traitorous scientist gives them a second weapon: Titanosaurus.

Heisei era (1984-1995)

The Return of Godzilla (1985)

Photo credit: Toho
Photo credit: Toho

Thirty years after the original monster's rampage, a new Godzilla emerges and attacks Japan. This is a direct sequel to the first-ever Godzilla film and ignores the rest of the events of the Showa era movies.

Godzilla vs Biollante (1989)

Desolate by the loss of his daughter, a geneticist creates a monstrous new mutation.

Godzilla vs King Ghidorah (1991)

Time-travellers use Godzilla in their scheme to destroy Japan to prevent the country's future economic reign.

Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992)

Japan is caught in the middle of a three-way battle between Godzilla, the divine Mothra, and her dark counterpart Battra.

Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla II (1993)

Photo credit: Toho
Photo credit: Toho

The United Nations assembles the ultimate weapon to defeat Godzilla, while scientists discover a fresh pteranodon egg on a remote Japanese island.

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Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla (1994)

Godzilla is threatened by two new forces: Mogera, another UN built machine and Space Godzilla, a beast spawned from Godzilla's particles in space.

Godzilla vs Destoroyah (1995)

The aftermath of the Oxygen Destroyer brings forth Destoroyah, a beast intent on killing Godzilla, who is on the verge of a nuclear meltdown.

Millennium Era (1999-2004)

Godzilla 2000 (1999)

Photo credit: Toho
Photo credit: Toho

Another reboot of the franchise, this one is also a direct sequel to the 1954 original Godzilla. In this film, Godzilla saves Tokyo from a flying saucer that transforms into the beast Orga.

Godzilla vs Megaguirus (2000)

Japan creates an artificial black hole device to trap Godzilla forever, but a test of the device creates new foes for Godzilla, car-sized dragonflies called meganula and their queen, Megaguirus.

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)

Three ancient guardian beasts awaken to protect Japan against Godzilla.

Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla (2002)

Photo credit: Toho
Photo credit: Toho

After the appearance of a new Gojira (Godzilla), the Japanese government builds a robotic Godzilla from the bones of the original monster that attacked Tokyo in 1954 to stop the beast.

Godzilla: Tokyo SOS (2003)

One year after the fight between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla, the two monsters along with Mothra face off in a conclusive battle royale.

Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)

Godzilla's fiftieth Anniversary project, in which Godzilla travels around the world to fight his old foes and his allies plus a new, mysterious monster named Monster X.

The Hollywood era (1998, 2014 - present)

Godzilla (1998)

Photo credit: TriStar
Photo credit: TriStar

A failed Sony reboot, written and directed by Roland Emmerich, starring Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Maria Pitillo, Hank Azaria, and more. A giant, reptilian monster surfaces, leaving destruction in its wake as it strides into New York City. To stop it, an earthworm scientist, his reporter ex-girlfriend and other unlikely heroes team up to save their city.

Though a trilogy was planned, it was abandoned after the tepid reception to the film.

Watch on Amazon Prime Video

Godzilla (2014)

A soldier attempts to return to his family while caught in the crossfire of an ancient rivalry between Godzilla and two parasitic monsters known as MUTOs. This is the fourth reboot of the franchise, and the second made wholly outside of Japan. However, the film was initially set to be a short movie made by Yoshimitsu Banno (director of 1971's Godzilla vs Hedorah) before being transferred to Legendary and kickstarting the Hollywood franchise.

This era also ties into the Legendary MonsterVerse (featuring Kong: Skull Island).

Watch on Amazon Prime Video

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

Photo credit: TriStar
Photo credit: TriStar

The crypto-zoological agency Monarch faces off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah.

Watch on Amazon Prime Video

Godzilla vs Kong (2021)

The epic next chapter in the cinematic Monsterverse pits two of the greatest icons in motion picture history against one another – the fearsome Godzilla and the mighty Kong – with humanity caught in the balance.

Reiwa era (2016 - present)

Shin Godzilla (2016)

The first of many animated Godzilla films, in Shin Godzilla Japan is plunged into chaos upon the appearance of a giant monster.

Watch on Amazon Prime Video

Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters (2017)

A desperate group of refugees attempts to recolonize Earth 20,000 years after Godzilla took over, but one young man wants revenge above all else.

Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle (2018)

Photo credit: Toho/Polygon
Photo credit: Toho/Polygon

Humanity's desperate battle to reclaim the Earth from Godzilla continues. The key to defeating the King of the Monsters may be Mechagodzilla, a robotic weapon thought to have been lost nearly 20,000 years ago.

Godzilla: The Planet Eater (2018)

Humanity, their alien allies, and Godzilla all enter their endgame as the powerful destructive entity known as Ghidorah arrives on Earth.

Phew! So that's the lot. Unfortunately, most of them are not available to watch online. You can purchase the Showa Era films on BluRay from Amazon for a whopping £149.

Godzilla vs Kong is coming soon to the UK and will be released in cinemas and on HBO Max on March 26 in the US.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is available now on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K.

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