Top 10 best Godzilla films

Ahead of Pacific Rim and Gareth Edwards’ reboot, we look at the 10 best Godzilla movies ever!

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With Monsters director Gareth Edwards and The Dark Knight writer David S Goyer teaming up for a US Godzilla reboot (out 16 May 2013), and Guillermo del Toro drafting his own love letter to giant monster brawls with Pacific Rim (out 12 July 2013), 2013 is definitely going to be the year of the radioactive thunder lizard!

Having watched them all (not in one sitting, obviously), we run down the 10 best films featuring the street-stomping behemoth known only as ゴジラ…

Destroy All Monsters Godzilla

10. Destroy All Monsters 怪獣総進撃
Director: Ishirō Honda
Year Of Release: 1969
Buy: Region A Blu-ray goes for a shocking £63.54 on Amazon.co.uk

An inventive premise at least makes Destroy All Monsters worth watching. In the year 1999, all of the world’s monsters have been contained on a faraway island (a la Jurassic Park) although some space cretins come down, indulge in some mind control and force the beasts to try to destroy Earth. Yes, this is all ridiculous, but in its sublime rubber-reality there is still plenty to love.

Godzilla The Final Wars

9. Godzilla: Final Wars ゴジラ ファイナルウォーズ
Director: Ryuhei Kitamura
Year Of Release: 2004
Buy: Region 2 DVD for £19 from Amazon.co.uk

To date the final of the Japanese Godzilla movies, this is far too hyperactive and choppily edited to really pass as a ‘good’ movie, but in its defence, everything but the kitchen sink is thrown at the screen, including an amazing scene in which American Godzilla is trashed by Japanese Godzilla. Awesome.

Top 10 best Godzilla films

8. Invasion Of The Astro-Monster 怪獣大戦争
Director: Ishirō Honda
Year Of Release: 1965
Buy: Region 1 DVD for £2.28 from Amazon.co.uk

A bit of a minority opinion, this, but Invasion Of The Astro-Monster – also known as Godzilla Vs Monster Zero – is brainless, painless and actually quite good fun. The idea behind the franchise now seems a bit like post-war wish-fulfilment, with Japan finally ‘in control’ of its own weapon of mass destruction as Godzilla is sent to do battle with Ghidorah in a faraway planet. Doesn’t make a lick of sense, but there you go.

Giant Monsters All Out Attack Godzilla

7. Godzilla, Mothra And King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack ゴジラ・モスラ・キングギドラ 大怪獣総攻撃
Director: Shusuke Kaneko
Year Of Release: 2001
Buy: Region 1 DVD for £5.09 from Amazon.co.uk

Not bad critter-clobbering epic, which far too often derails from the action (we do not need to see an old doomsday philosopher in a cave), but when we get to see all of the title titans smash each other up the pace is suitably picked up.

Godzilla vs Destoroyah

6. Godzilla Vs Destoroyah ゴジラVSデストロイア
Director: Koji Hashimoto
Year Of Release: 1995
Buy: Region 1 DVD for £5.51 from Amazon.co.uk

This caused controversy at the time, because Godzilla actually dies. The film introduces a fast-dilapidating fire-breather who is now in a condition of nuclear meltdown. This novel idea means that Godzilla could effectively blow up the planet from a monster-sized heart attack. Off-kilter and unusual, this is well worth seeking out.

Godzilla 1985

5. Godzilla 1985 ゴジラ
Director: Koji Hashimoto
Year Of Release: 1984
Buy: Region 3 DVD for an eyewatering £39.99 from Amazon.co.uk

Also known as Return Of Godzilla, this is actually a worthy rebirth for the city-crunching colossus – even if, as many fans have pointed out, the rubber suit is less ‘revamp’ than ‘same old, same old’. Still, there is plenty of fun to be had here, and the darker tone more or less hits the right notes.

 Godzilla Vs King Ghidorah

4. Godzilla Vs King Ghidorah ゴジラVSキングギドラ
Director: Kazuki Omori
Year Of Release: 1991
Buy: Region 1 DVD for £5.51 from Amazon.co.uk

An excellent, mind-frazzling, time-travelling oddity, this is an ambitious attempt to tell the genesis of Godzilla’s story, and even goes so far as to destroy the beast (and then reinvent him from scratch). Not sure about the creature assisting the Imperial Army, though.

Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster

3. Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster 三大怪獣 地球最大の決戦
Director: Ishirō Honda
Year Of Release: 1964
Buy: Region 1 DVD for £3.89 from Amazon.co.uk

Aside from boasting the most annoying theme-noise ever inflicted on anyone’s ears (it is practically indescribable), Ghidorah is actually a formidable opponent for Godzilla and the equally imposing Rodan. This is the one where Godzilla ends up becoming ‘good’, although we can just about forgive that given all the action that Honda throws at the screen.

Godzilla 1954

2. Godzilla ゴジラ
Director: Ishirō Honda
Year Of Release: 1954
Buy: Region 2 DVD for £7 from Amazon.co.uk

One of the most influential, interesting and important monster movies ever made, this is also a lot more serious and well-intentioned than any of the flicks which followed in its footsteps. If you haven’t seen this little gem of Japanese cinema then you certainly owe yourself a late night viewing – it remains something special.

Mothra vs Godzilla

1. Mothra Vs Godzilla モスラ対ゴジラ
Director: Ishirō Honda
Year Of Release: 1962
Buy: Region 1 DVD for £11.11 from Amazon.co.uk

This colourful, corporate-bashing classic is arguably the highlight of the entire series. The plot takes in miniature Japanese babes (who control Mothra – the mammoth-sized moth) and curmudgeonly businessmen seeking to exploit the discovery of a mysterious giant egg. In the mist of this Godzilla destroys everything. Perhaps surprisingly, it all fits together and makes for riveting beer and pizza entertainment.

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