Godzilla in New York
(Warner Bros.)

It’s Time for a Godzilla Rewatch Marathon

With yet another Godzilla movie, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, on the horizon, it seems like the time to do a recap of all the Godzilla content out there. And there’s a lot. Oh, there is so much—and some of it is bad. However, if you want to attempt a watch-through of all of it well … that’s honestly kind of impressive and you should let us know how it goes in the comments. Here’s every Godzilla movie in order.

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Shōwa era

These are the original movies that first brought us Godzilla and his kaiju friends.


Godzilla, a giant lizard-monster, stomps around a city in a black-and-white still from 1954's 'Godzilla'

The 1954 black and white original that started it all, and an expression of a cultural trauma that Oppenheimer could have done more to respect, Godzilla sees American nuclear testing birth a giant unstoppable lizard monster that attacks everything in its path. With a warning that more nuclear testing will birth more kaiju, and the inventor of a superweapon ensuring that he dies along with Godzilla, and that the weapon is destroyed, so no one can ever force him to recreate it, Godzilla is frankly a better commentary on the nuclear arms race than most “serious” films.

Godzilla Raids Again

Godzilla is back (or possibly it’s a new, second Godzilla—the US didn’t lay off the nuclear testing, after all) in Godzilla Raids Again and this time he’s brought an enemy. Two pilots spot him fighting a giant ankylosaurus the authorities name Anguinus on a small island near Japan, and the race is on to keep both monsters from wreaking destruction in Osaka once again.

King Kong vs. Godzilla 

No, not the 2021 remake. This is the original King Kong vs Godzilla, only the third film in either of their now massive franchises. King Kong fights a giant octopus to protect a local village and then gets kidnapped by a pharmaceutical company that wants to use him for promotional purposes, Meanwhile, a ship crashes into an iceberg, setting free Godzilla who has somehow been trapped inside it since the end of the last movie. Godzilla attacks Japan and King Kong takes off to fight him. What I learned from this movie is that King Kong is actually a very good boy and humanity doesn’t deserve him.

Mothra vs. Godzilla

Still from Mothra vs Godzilla; Mothra emerges from her egg.
(The Criterion Collection)

You just can’t keep a good very bad lizard away from Japan. In Mothra vs. Godzilla, the ever-defeated but never-deterred lizard king is back once more, this time facing off against Mothra, an insect god from outer space who can only be communicated with via a pair of tiny fairies. In a move that may have influenced Michael Crichton’s later work, a businessman steals Mothra’s egg and places it in a theme park, ignoring all warnings about the dire consequences if he doesn’t return it. Before those dire consequences can manifest a new Godzilla emerges from another nuclear testing site and attacks, and it’s up to humans to persuade Mothra to help stop him, even though her island has also been ravaged by the testing and her egg stolen by humans.

Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

A prophetic princess on the run from assassins predicts the rise of Godzilla from the ocean, the pteranodon Rodan from Mount Aso, and an alien three-headed dragon known as King Ghidorah, coming to attack and conquer the earth. The only hope for humanity is is Mothra can convince Godzilla and Rodan to join her in fighting off Ghidorah, but after years of being harassed and attacked by humans (is all previous Godzilla-human conflict just a big misunderstanding?), they don’t see why they shouldn’t let humanity burn.

Invasion of Astro-Monster

Astronauts discover a Planet X whose seemingly peaceful people are being attacked by King Ghidorah. They want to borrow Rodan and Godzilla to fight off King Ghidorah, promising the cure for cancer if humanity agrees, but are things as they seem? Of course not. Monster battles and nonsense tech mayhem ensue.

Ebirah, Terror of the Deep

Still from Ebirah; a giant lobster rises from the sea, shaking its claw.
(The Criterion Collection)

In Ebirah, Terror of the Deep, a man looking for his missing brother encounters a giant lobster monster at sea—and then something worse: a terrorist group who has enslaved the people of Mothra’s island to make nuclear materials for them. Mothra is currently in her chrysalis life stage so they need someone, or something else to save them in the meantime, which comes in the form of Godzilla napping in a cave under the island. Three-way monster battles and monsters vs. fighter jets are the epic results.

Son of Godzilla

In Son of Godzilla, scientists attempting to create a weather control device are running into signal interference coming from somewhere on the island and encounter giant praying mantises that are out to get them. It turns out the mantises are being drawn to the source of the signal: a monster egg with a telepathic baby inside calling out for help. Godzilla is also drawn to the baby’s cry for help, and he decides to protect and adopt the baby, now called Minilla, and teach him how to be a proper monster.

Destroy All Monsters

Destroy All Monsters naively posits a then-future where humans have achieved world peace, and all monsters have been relocated to a single island where they can’t do any harm and scientists can study them. However, when communications with the island get cut off and the monsters escape and start attacking various capital cities, it’s up to Captain Yamabe and the crew of his spaceship to save the day. This was my favourite as a kid and I honestly wish it was the present we were living in instead of this bullshit.

All Monsters Attack

Screenshot from All Monsters Attack; a small, chubby Godzilla type creature faces a small Japanese boy in a rocky island landscape.
(The Criterion Collection)

In All Monsters Attack, a lonely little boy with a rich fantasy life and a love of the monsters from Monster Island learns to confront his bullies and escape from some bank robbers who have taken him hostage, through dreams where he hangs out with Minilla and helps him fight back against his own monster bully. It’s really cute.

Godzilla vs. Hedorah

It’s the ’70s and the Godzilla franchise has decided to tackle pollution with Godzilla vs Hedorah, where a pollution-eating alien life form comes to earth, becoming larger and more dangerous the more he consumes. Featuring a party at the end of the world, Godzilla the hero, and a small child who really believed in him, it’s just great. Bonus points for Godzilla silently scolding everyone over the rampant pollution everywhere too.

Godzilla vs. Gigan

Another critique of unchecked pollution, Godzilla vs. Gigan also features a reprise of the ‘theme parks are scary’ theme. A manga artist hired to do concept art for World Children’s Land discovers his employers are cockroach aliens intent on taking over Earth after their planet was destroyed by pollution. They plan on summoning King Ghidorah and Gigan, so it’s up to Godzilla and Anguirus to stop them—with a little help from the artist, his girlfriend, and their human friends.

Godzilla vs. Megalon

Still from Godzilla vs Megalon; Standing in a line the robot Jet Jaguar, Godzilla, Gigan, and Megalon.
(The Criterion Collection)

We’re back to nuclear testing with Godzilla vs. Megalon, with an undersea nation called Seatopia furious about the effect of nuclear testing on their kingdom. Stealing a humanoid robot called Jet Jaguar, the Seatopians use him to guide their beetle god Megalon to the surface so he can destroy humanity. They also summon Gigan just to get him some backup. It’s up to Godzilla (who has to be tired of saving humanity by now) and the suddenly sentient Jet Jaguar to fight them off.

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

In the wake of prophecies about a monster destroying the world, Godzilla emerges from Mount Fuji and goes on a destructive rampage in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. However, pretty soon the real Godzilla emerges and does battle with him, revealing him to be a robotic imposter, while a group of archaeologists and a priestess discover yet another group of aliens intent on conquering Earth.

Terror of Mechagodzilla

Unusually for the Godzilla franchise Terror of Mechagodzilla is a direct sequel. As Interpol tries to salvage the remains of Mechagodzilla, they meet a brand new kaiju called Titanosaurus and discover those aliens from the last movie haven’t given up yet. Bonus cyborgs and tragic love story.

Heisei era

The second generation of Godzilla movies picks and chooses which canon to take forward.

The Return of Godzilla/Godzilla 1985

Still from Godzilla 1984; Godzilla headbutts a building.
(Kraken Releasing)

In the midst of the Cold War, Godzilla 1985 sees a second Godzilla rise from the ocean, almost triggering a nuclear war between the US and Japan as they both think he’s a nuclear attack on them launched by the other. It’s up to Japan to stop that, and then stop them from nuking all of Japan in an attempt to get to Godzilla while trapping the monster themselves so he can’t do any more harm.

Godzilla vs. Biollante

Some of Godzilla’s cells were harvested during the events of Godzilla 1985, and, because of their multiple uses, are highly sought after by several countries. When a terrorist bombing kills a scientist’s daughter in Godzilla vs. Biollante, he splices some of her cells with those of a rose, then later adds Godzillas into the mix. Obviously, havoc results. Also the first appearance of Miki Saegusa, a psychic with a connection to Godzilla who recurs in movies throughout the era.

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is a weird one. Visitors known as the Futurists travel back in time to stop Godzilla’s creation, claiming it’s essential to save the Japan of the future. However, it turns out they have an entirely different motive, leading to a face-off between Godzilla, King Ghidorah, and Mechaghidorah too.

Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth

Still from Godzilla and Mothra: Battle for the Earth; Godzilla and Mothra, whose wings are bright orange and yellow, fight against a city lit up in the dark.
(Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

A meteor signals the rebirth of Mothra and her dark twin Battra in Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth. An evil corporation kidnaps the tiny twins that enable communication between Mothra and humanity, intending to use them as a theme park attraction, and Mothra and Battra do battle over Tokyo as he seeks to punish humanity and she seeks to protect them. Godzilla chooses this moment to rise from the ocean, and it soon becomes a three-sided conflict for the sake of Japan—and the rest of the world.

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II

After the events of the last few movies, the UN decided it was time to create the United Nations Godzilla Countermeasures Center, because, you know, he’s a menace. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II sees the UNGCC create a Mechagodzilla from the remains of MechaGhidora as a weapon to use against the giant, radioactive lizard. At the same time, scientists come into possession of a monster egg, that both Rodan and Godzilla have an interest in.

Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla

Remember those Godzilla cells from Godzilla vs. Biollante? Well in Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, we find out a bunch of them have made their way into space, and thanks to black hole energy further irradiating them, we’ve now got SpaceGodzilla to deal with. The UNGCC decide now is a good time to try using mind control on Godzilla in the hopes of using him to fight off SpaceGodzilla, but with the Yakuza, psychic Miki Saegusa, and giant mech M.O.G.U.E.R.A. (from the 1957 non-Godzilla movie The Mysterians) involved it all becomes a glorious, high action battle.

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah

Still from Godzilla Vs Destroyah; Godzillah and a horned monster fight in a night time city scape.
(Sony Entertainment Pictures)

A volcanic eruption on the island where Godzilla and his son live triggers a uranium deposit, overloading Godzilla’s nuclear heart and sending it into meltdown in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. If it finishes the meltdown process, Godzilla is likely to explode with enough energy to destroy the Earth. Making matters worse are the mutated pre-Cambrian crab monsters called Detroyahs that have emerged from the sea to attack.

American Interlude


The first American Godzilla movie pins the blame for the nuclear testing on the French. Also, Godzilla is a mutated iguana. Enough said.

Millenium era

In the third generation, each movie is a standalone that ignores all Godzilla canon after the original 1954 film.

Godzilla 2000: Millennium

Still from Godzilla 2000: Millenium
(Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

The people of Japan have gotten so used to Godzilla and his random assaults in Godzilla 2000: Millennium that they treat him like any other natural disaster, with the Godzilla Prediction Network formed to study and try and predict his landfalls. After raising an ancient UFO from the sea, Godzilla becomes Earth’s last hope as the aliens within plan on conquest.

Godzilla vs. Megaguirus

Godzilla vs. Megaguirus posits an AU where the Oxygen Destroyer was never used in 1954, and a section of Japan’s defence force, known as the G-Graspers was formed to combat him and his attacks. The creation of a weapon that shoots miniature black holes, attempted to take care of Godzilla once and for all, but actually allows giant, man-eating dragonflies into our world and we’re once again reliant on our favourite nuclear lizard to save us.

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Attack of the Giant Monsters

Strangely Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Attack of the Giant Monsters reinvents King Ghidorah as one of the good monsters with Godzilla as the bad guy. Mothra, King Ghidorah, and Baragon (originally from the non-Godzilla film Frankenstein vs Baragon)—the guardian monsters of Japan—must stop Godzilla before he destroys it. Another anti-war film that is definitely the spiritual successor to the original film, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Attack of the Giant Monsters adds a mystical element to Godzilla’s origins. Though still created by American nuclear testing, the final element necessary to turn Godzilla into a monster was the angry souls killed by the Japanese army during the Pacific War, who were possessing and using Godzilla to punish Japan for its refusal to properly acknowledge the atrocities of its past.

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 3

Still from Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla 3; Godzilla fights Mechagodzillah in front of a tower block at night.
(Sony Pictures)

In Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 3, a new Godzilla has arisen, and scientists are working on a cyborg Godzilla to fight him. Piloted by an officer with PTSD from a previous encounter in which she failed to kill Godzilla and lost one of her squadron, it’s a classic human vs. monster vs. mental illness conflict.

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.

Unlike previous Millennium Era movies, Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. is actually a sequel to Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 3. Mothra’s twin priestesses tell Japan the reason that Godzilla keeps attacking is because they used his predecessor’s skeleton to make the cyborg, and if they return his bones to the ocean the current Godzilla will stop. The Japanese government won’t agree, however, and soon there’s another mass monster battle featuring Mothra and her lava, Godzilla, and Mechagodzilla, and a squad of human pilots.

Godzilla: Final Wars

Years of environmental disasters have created monsters and mutants all over the world, the latter being recruited into the Earth Defense Force to defend the rest of humanity against the former. On a visit to Infant Island, Mothra’s priestesses warn that a great battle between good and evil is coming, just before monsters start attacking major cities around the world and aliens arrive in orbit. A 50th anniversary Godzilla celebration, Godzilla: Final Wars sees him travelling the world battling a range of Kaiju from previous eras.

Legendary Pictures MonsterVerse

The current American Godzilla and King Kong franchise saw the enormous monsters revived for a fresh flurry of films.


The beginning of Legendary Pictures’ Monsterverse, in this reboot, Godzilla wasn’t created by the American nuclear tests—they were an attempt to kill him after a deep sea expedition woke him up from hibernation. Godzilla is seen as a major threat, but when other monsters emerge and he starts fighting them, MONARCH (the paramilitary organization that studies them) may have to re-evaluate their position.

Reiwa Era

Named for the current Japanese era, the Reiwa Era encompasses all Godzilla films made after 2019.

Shin Godzilla

Still from Shin Godzillah; Godzillah emerges from the water while people run

Shin Godzilla sees our favourite monster rising from the ocean to wreak destruction, only for the UN to threaten to nuke Japan if they can’t subdue Godzilla in only a few days. Great commentary on US imperialism and military aggression too.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

A CGI anime Godzilla: King of the Monsters features a world dominated by Godzilla after he defeated all the other monsters and turned on humanity next. With humans near extinction, two different alien races help them evacuate, each with their own ulterior motives. When one of those humans, Haruo, who bares a searing hatred of Godzilla over the death of his parents, returns with two battalions to see if Godzilla can be defeated and earth resettled they learn that 20,000 years have passed (due to relativity) and Godzilla is now 300m tall.

Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle

Rescued by the descendants of humans left behind on earth, in Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle, the survivors of the previous film discover nanometal that leads them to the remains of Mechagodzilla. Hoping Mechagodzilla contains the secret to defeating Godzilla once and for all, things take a horrifying turn when they learn Mechagodzilla’s nanometal is a bigger threat to Earth than any monster.

Godzilla: The Planet Eater

Still from Godzillah the Planet Eater; Godzillah is surrounded by yellow flames.

The events of the previous film have led to a division in the crew in Godzilla: The Planet Eater, with different factions blaming each other and Haruo for what happened. When one member of the expedition wants to use Haruo to bring his own god, Ghidorah, through to this plane of reality to fight Godzilla, the battle for Earth reaches a turning point and Haruo will have to choose carefully for the sake of humanity itself.

Legendary Pictures MonsterVerse (again)

We return to the MonsterVerse now for its most recent Godzilla installments.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Five years after the events of the last movie, scientists have discovered a device to attract or alter Titan behavior. Eco-terrorists seize this device and the scientist who created it, hoping to awaken all dormant Titans so that they can take control of and heal the earth. Unfortunately, one monster they awaken is actually King Ghidorah, an alien hoping to conquer the planet for himself, and it seems like Godzilla is humanity’s only hope to defeat him.

Godzilla vs. Kong

Artwork for Godzilla vs. Kong
(Warner Bros.)

The crossover that marked the third-ever film in both franchises is revisited for the 2020s in Godzilla vs. Kong. In this remake, a big glass dome is being used to keep Kong on Skull Island, which is now devoid of all natives but one: a deaf girl being raised by a white scientist (yeah, there are some major red flags here) who uses sign language to communicate with him. The Apex corporation decides to go on an expedition into the Hollow Earth (MonsterVerse’s Earth is hollow) to look for a massive power source and that Kong is the perfect Titan to guide them to it, bringing a sedated Kong to Antarctica. Godzilla however interrupts their convoy to go after the giant ape, because it turns out there’s ancestral beef between their two species—something they’ll have to overcome when a new threat emerges that challenges them both.

(Return to) Reiwa Era

Godzilla Minus One

Back to Reiwa Era films, Godzilla Minus One starts all over again from the beginning. Former pilot Kōichi Shikishima, plagued by survivor’s guilt, works as a minesweeper while living in Tokyo. Having encountered a smaller but still deadly Godzilla during the war, he recognises the now much larger lizard, mutated by American nuclear testing, when his minesweeping crew is sent to try and stop it before it can attack Tokyo. Attempts to stop it from reaching Tokyo run awry and Godzilla begins to wreak his traditional destruction while Shikishima and various military types cook up a plan to stop him once and for all.

(featured image: Warner Bros.)

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Image of Siobhan Ball
Siobhan Ball
Siobhan Ball (she/her) is a contributing writer covering news, queer stuff, politics and Star Wars. A former historian and archivist, she made her first forays into journalism by writing a number of queer history articles c. 2016 and things spiralled from there. When she's not working she's still writing, with several novels and a book on Irish myth on the go, as well as developing her skills as a jeweller.