July 27, 2008

GODZILLA FILMS ON DVD and BLU-RAY - an updated checklist


How to complete your collection of Godzilla movies outside of Japan

(Last updated in April 2014)


The picture above is of the 'Godzilla Final Box' collection. One huge Japanese DVD boxset, because in Japan all the films are owned by the same studio, Toho. Problem is, their DVD and Blu-ray releases don't have English audio or subtitles on them.

Outside Japan, the rights to release these films have been sold to a dozen different distributors, so there's no hope of getting all the Godzilla films in one big box, in English. In fact, you can't even get all the films from the same country.

Through the years, I've tried to keep this page up to date with all the new DVD releases. With a new Godzilla film due in America, over half of the Japanese films will also be available on blu-ray.

Older Godzilla films were often re-edited for the American release. I'll mention where the Japanese and US versions are drastically different, but to keep this concise I won't be listing minor differences. For that level of minutia you'll need to refer to the articles in G-Fan magazine or a thorough guidebook.

The US titles often differ from the literal English translation of the Japanese titles, meaning that the same film can be listed in IMDB and on DVD sites under differing years and titles. 


Another twist in the tail is that there can be two different English language tracks - one recorded to match the Japanese edit (refered to as 'international audio', usually for release in Hong Kong). The other is done in the US to match the re-edited release. I'll point out any releases where the English audio isn't the American version. (The Godzilla films shown on Channel 4 in the 1990s and then released on VHS in the UK all had this alternate 'Hong Kong' English language track, not used in the USA.)

The cover art is from the DVD release that I most recommend. All DVDs are US region 1 NTSC, unless otherwise stated. There have been 28 Japanese Godzilla movies in all, here we go...





1. GODZILLA / GOJIRA (1954)

There are two very different versions of this film. The original Japanese Gojira is longer and bleaker, portraying the equivalent of a nuclear holocaust. The US Godzilla includes cheaply reshot scenes of news reporter Steve Martin, played by Raymond Burr, talking us through the action. It favours monster action over the human devastation.

Both versions were shot fullscreen 4:3 (1.33) and in black and white.Classic Media released a two-disc set in the US that includes both versions, and is sold under the original Japanese title Gojira - complete with a couple of brief documentaries. This DVD set is the best release to date, though the scratchy source print could still do with further restoration. It was the first time the Japanese version was released in the US. The Japanese version is also available in the UK, released by the BFI on region 2 PAL DVD.

Classic Media also released a blu-ray of this version in 2009, not to be confused with the Criterion blu-ray (below).




The Criterion Collection released Godzilla and Gojira together on DVD and blu-ray (pictured) in January 2012 from a newly discovered print, which I believe offers much-needed, improved image quality.






2. GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN (1955)

The second Godzilla movie was also known as Gigantis the Fire Monster, and also recut for the US. This film was originally made fullscreen 1.33 and in black and white. Godzilla fights the spiky four-legged Anguiras, destroying Osaka castle in the process.

Cl
assic Media have released this on region 1 DVD as a special edition that includes the uncut Japanese version (with English subtitles), and the English language US edit.





3. KING KONG vs GODZILLA (1963)

The US version of this was cutdown, then extra scenes were filmed. It's now available on DVD and blu-ray in a beautiful 2.35 widescreen release in the US from Universal Home Video (pictured). This US version contains all the monster action of the Japanese version. (In addition, Universal have also released the non-Godzilla sequel King Kong Escapes on DVD and blu. It features King Kong, Mechani-Kong and Gorosaurus...).




The Japanese version of King Kong vs Godzilla is longer, with more dialogue scenes and humour. But it's only available in Japan and has never been released with English subtitles.






4. MOTHRA vs GODZILLA (1964)

This was retitled Godzilla vs The Thing in the US.Classic Media have released a US special edition as Mothra vs Godzilla, containing both versions of the film. However the US version is only presented cropped down to 16:9 widescreen, instead of the full 2.35 widescreen. This is OK if you want to see the Japanese version, but if you prefer the Americanised English audio in the full widescreen, get the older DVD releases (from Sony or Simitar).

The Simitar DVD has non-anamorphic widescreen 2.35, and with only the English language audio.





5. GHIDRAH THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER (1964)



Despite the title, this is also a Godzilla movie. Classic Media released this as a marvellous special edition, in 2.35 anamorphic widescreen in Japanese with English subtitles, with an option of the English language US version.






6. INVASION OF ASTRO-MONSTER (1965)

Classic Media released this as a US special edition in 2.35 anamorphic widescreen in Japanese with English subtitles (pictured). It includes the English language US edit as well. The opening title sequence says Monster Zero and is only 16:9 widescreen, before branching back to the correct 2.35 for the rest of the film.

The Simitar DVD is also watchable, presented in 2.35 widescreen (but non-anamorphic - not as good for widescreen TVs) with only the English language track.







7. GODZILLA vs THE SEA MONSTER (1966)

Also called Ebirah - Horror of the Deep. Sony Pictures released this as Godzilla vs The Sea Monster (pictured) with the original Japanese audio in 2.35 widescreen. The English language track is the International version, not the dub that American audiences will be familiar with from decades of TV broadcasts.

Kraken will also release this on blu-ray in May, 2014.





8. SON OF GODZILLA (1967)


Sony Pictures released a 2.35 widescreen version (pictured) with the original Japanese soundtrack in the US, but only the English International audio (not the US dub).






9. DESTROY ALL MONSTERS (1968)

Every Godzilla monster was in this film and it's one of the most enjoyable from the sixties. It wasn't available in the US for many years.


A new transfer from Media Blasters heralded an anamorphic widescreen release on DVD and blu-ray in the US in October 2011 (with the above artwork). While the anamorphic widescreen was welcome, the blu-ray transfer wasn't as sharp as I'd hoped, possibly because the film elements were several generations down from the Japanese original. 





ADV released this with two different covers in 2000 and 2004. It's only the US version of the film, in 2.35 non-anamorphic widescreen, and only has the American English audio track. 





10. ALL MONSTERS ATTACK /
GODZILLA'S REVENGE (1969)

Lots of repeated footage from earlier films makes this the laziest and shortest Godzilla film. But the plot, about a bullied little boy finding his feet, still has charm. Classic Media have done a special edition in the US (pictured) including both the Japanese and US versions.

The earlier Simitar DVD was released as Godzilla's Revenge in 2.35 anamorphic widescreen, but only with an English language track.






11. GODZILLA vs HEDORAH /
GODZILLA vs THE SMOG MONSTER (1971)

Usually called Godzilla vs the Smog Monster in the US, this is one of the best Godzilla films - best monsters, best nightclub scene! Very eco-friendly too.

Sony Pictures have released a 2.35 anamorphic widescreen DVD (pictured) , with the choice of English or the original Japanese soundtracks and English subtitles. The onscreen titles are in English.


Kraken will also release this on blu-ray on May, 2014.





12. GODZILLA vs GIGAN (1972)

Sony Pictures released a 2.35 anamorphic widescreen region 1 DVD (pictured), with optional English or original Japanese soundtracks and English subtitles.


Kraken will also release this on blu-ray on May, 2014.






13. GODZILLA vs MEGALON (1973)

>The first US DVD release was issued by Media Blasters in 2012, and it should also be on blu-ray any week now (due April 2014). The DVD has optional Japanese or English audio and English subtitles.

Beware the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 version - it's cropped to fullframe 4:3 and the team talk humorously over the entire movie.





14. GODZILLA vs MECHAGODZILLA (1974)

Sony Pictures have released a 2.35 anamorphic widescreen DVD (pictured), with optional English and Japanese soundtracks and English subtitles. Don't get confused with the other four films with MechaGodzilla in the title!





15. TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA (1975)

Non-stop alien superspy action in the best seventies Godzilla movie. Only time you'll see breasts in the series (sort of)!

Classic Media released this as a special edition (pictured) in 2.35 widescreen in Japanese with English subtitles. It includes the English language US edit as well, but the title sequence is cropped to 16:9 widescreen, before branching back to the correct 2.35 aspect for the rest of the movie.

BEWARE both the Simitar and Sony DVD releases, they are cropped to full-frame 1.33.





16. THE RETURN OF GODZILLA (1985)


Like the 1954 film, there were two very different cuts of this, with an awful (really awful) Raymond Burr version, shortened from the Japanese, dubbed into English, with more comedy and intrusive Dr Pepper product placement! The longer Japanese cut is by far the better version. Also called Godzilla 1984 (in Japan) and Godzilla 1985 (in the US).

This has never been on DVD in the USA. The Japanese version has been released by Universe Video in Hong Kong, on an NTSC region 3 DVD as The Return of Godzilla (pictured). It's widescreen, with Japanese audio and English subtitles (that share the screen with Chinese subtitles). The US version was last seen on VHS as Godzilla - The Legend is Reborn.





17. GODZILLA vs BIOLLANTE (1989)

This finally hit DVD and blu-ray in the US in 2012. Optional Japanese (5.1) or English (mono) audio, and of course English subtitles.






18. GODZILLA vs KING GHIDRAH (1991)

What's more fearsome than MechaGodzilla? Mecha King Ghidorah! Great slamdown finale among the skyscrapers of Tokyo's financial district, Shinjuku.


Sony are releasing this on blu-ray in May as a double-bill with Godzilla vs Mothra (1992). I've heard that it will also get a DVD release, but be careful not to get their 1998 version of this double-bill on DVD - it was a very tightly-cropped 1.33 fullscreen version (pan-and-scanned), with English language only.





19. GODZILLA vs MOTHRA (1992)

One of the best 90s' Godzilla movies for monster action. Sony are releasing this on blu-ray in May as a double-bill with Godzilla vs King Ghidrah (1991). I've heard that it will also get a DVD release, but be careful not to get their 1998 version of this double-bill on DVD - it was a very tightly-cropped 1.33 fullscreen version (pan-and-scanned), with English language only.






20. GODZILLA vs MECHAGODZILLA II (1993)



Sony Pictures released a 16:9 anamorphic widescreen DVD in the US (pictured) with both the Japanese and English soundtracks. 


They're now also releasing it on blu-ray, in May, on a double-bill with Godzilla vs Space Godzilla (1994).





21. GODZILLA vs SPACE GODZILLA (1994)

This old Columbia Tristar DVD double-bill (pictured above) is correctly presented in anamorphic widescreen, but with English language only.




In May, Sony are releasing Godzilla vs Space Godzilla on blu-ray, on a double-bill with Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla II (1993). That's rather confusing...






22. GODZILLA vs DESTOROYAH (1995)

The old Columbia Tristar DVD double-bill (pictured above) is anamorphic widescreen, but with English language only.



Godzilla vs Destoroyah will hit blu-ray in May, on a double-bill with Godzilla vs Megaguiras (2000).






23. GODZILLA 2000 (1999)

Godzilla returned (again), after the three-year break allowed for Roland Emmerich's Godzilla. Godzilla 2000 was also known as Godzilla Millennium.

The Madman Entertainment Australian PAL region 4 DVD (above) is almost the same as the US DVD, with 2.35 anamorphic widescreen and no Japanese audio. The advantage is a notably less grainy image.


The Columbia Tristar release in the USA (pictured) has only English (and French) audio on it, and is anamorphic widescreen 2.35. The letterbox looks too tight at the top, on this and all other versions that I've seen. This version is also slightly shorter compared to the Hong Kong disc. The American dubbing can't resist occasionally poking fun at the film in a bizarre and unfunny way, "Great Caesar's ghost!"


Universe Video released this in Hong Kong on region 3 NTSC. There are Chinese and Japanese audio tracks, but the 
English subtitles can only be selected with the Chinese audio track. The image is a tightly-framed transfer, the Japanese audio mix is muddy and therefore not recommended.







24. GODZILLA vs MEGAGUIRUS (2000)

This US DVD release (pictured above) marked the moment when Sony Pictures started listening to fans and releasing Godzilla DVDs with Japanese audio as well. There's also optional English audio and English subtitles. It's 2.35 anamorphic widescreen.



Sony will release this on blu-ray in May on a double-bill with Godzilla vs Destoroyah.





25. GODZILLA MOTHRA KING GHIDRAH - 

GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK (2001)

Sony Pictures DVD (pictured) has Japanese language, optional English language or subtitles, 2.35 anamorphic widescreen.






26. GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA (2002)

The Sony Pictures DVD (pictured) has Japanese language, optional English language or subtitles, 2.35 anamorphic widescreen. Reviewed here.





27. GODZILLA TOKYO S.O.S. (2003)

The Columbia Tristar DVD (pictured above) has Japanese language, optional English language or subtitles, 2.35 anamorphic widescreen.




This will be released on blu-ray in May on a double-bill with Godzilla Final Wars (2004).





28. GODZILLA FINAL WARS (2004)

The last Japanese Godzilla film. Bigger budget, international locations, electronic soundtrack, and ALL the Toho monsters they could possibly cram in... Review here.

DVD released by Sony in the US (pictured above), with Japanese or English audio, and English subtitles.




Sony are releasing this on blu-ray in May, on a double-bill with Godzilla Tokyo SOS.









For lengthier analysis and interviews about Godzilla and his giant monster friends, try the regular, and professionally produced fan magazine G-Fan. They also organise annual conventions in the US.

For online news about Japanese giants,try August Ragone's
The Good the Bad and the Godzilla, and SciFi Japan.

Good luck, and happy hunting! The Hong Kong DVDs can be found here from
YesAsia. Thanks also to Ian W. (Killer Meteor on the Classic Horror Forum) for info about the Australian releases.


24 comments:

  1. Love the completeness of this list and your comments

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  2. Thanks so much. Just one request if you can. On your next update, could you let us know which (Tristar) DVDs have dubtitles, or accurate subtitles? For example, I read somewhere that GMK is dubtitled (which I confirmed myself, "Jesus those were my buddies!" riiiight, lol) while Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla is accurate subtitling. I despise dubtitles as they tend to ruin an otherwise good moment in the film and when added up, can ruined the experience somewhat.

    If you could do that on your next update, that'd be great. The Tristar releases are nice overall, but some dubtitles on some of them bring them down a notch or two. Perhaps you could provide alternative choices to these select Tristar dubtitled movies?

    Other than that, this is the best list I've seen. It's a shame all 28 movies couldn't receive the Classic Media treatment, with the good dubbed version and original JP versions with accurate subtitles. Damn shame, really. I love their extras and packaging too. Looks really slick on my DVD shelf and the cases are sturdy as hell. Imagine having 28 beauties like that lined up. It's a shame.

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  3. Dubtitling! I forgot about dubtitling! OK Steve, I'll make some further amendments soon.

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  4. I thought I should comment about this, I found it a decent overview of the DVDs available and found it quite useful.

    Though I would change the Godzilla 2000 entry as the Madman disc does NOT have Japanese, it's only the English cut of the film in English, as I found when I ordered it and had to send it back.

    I'm going to put together some screen shots comparing the various releases sometime.

    The only thing I would say is that it could do with being a bit more ordered using boldface for the release and then the description below. I might do a similar page on my blog, with the shots, been wondering what to use it for.

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  5. Thanksfor your comments - i'll correct accordingly. This list is rather unwieldy - dare I say, a bit of a monster.

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  6. Hope you don't mind the competition but I've been working hard on a comprehensive Godzilla list myself, it's still a work in progress.

    http://siccoyote.livejournal.com

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  7. Biollante has been released in R2, at least in Scandinavia. It's non-anamorphic 1.85:1, Japanese 5.1 and mono audio, and unfortunately only Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Finnish subtitles.

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  8. Great list, Mark! I've got the Millennium series in the original Japanese. This helps me in deciding which to choose for the other films as well.

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  9. Monster Godzilla is very heroic in all the films. I use to collect many toys, especially Godzilla Plush Toys. It looks very cool and colorful.

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  10. Hey

    Great post and review! My brother and I have been life-long Godzilla fans; we grew up watching Godzilla (and other kaiju) films, and we recently decided to revisit them and watch them all. We have 23 of the films, and are planning to get the rest.

    I thought I'd add a couple of things that other Godzilla fans should know. Toho considers "Zone Fighter" as part of the official Godzilla canon, and, in addition to the 28 movies you've listed, shouldn't be overlooked by the Godzilla purist. Zone Fighter was a TV show from 1973, and they had 26 episodes. They are now available on DVD.

    And, while not actually part of the canon, Mystery Science Theater 300 covered 2 Godzilla movies; "Godzilla vs. Megalon" and "Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster." Both are funny, and a Godzilla fan would certainly enjoy them...

    Thanks again for your post!

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  11. For Godzilla vs Megalon, due to the thorny rights issues, that MST3K boxset was quickly removed from the market and then replaced with MST3K Vol 10.1 substituting the public domain Gila Monster movie. That disc included directions on how to dispose of your now illegal copy (with HEAVY winking) properly from some of the original cast back in costume for the first time in decades. So an original MST3K Godzilla vs Megalon disc is now quite expensive and rare to find.

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  12. Wow. I'm beginning to think Megalon will never appear in the US...

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  13. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the Godzilla reviews. I have used your blog to complete my DVD and Blu-ray collection with the best copies available.

    Question - Do you know where the Universal Video from Hong Kong videos can be purchased? The link you provided for HKFlix does not work anymore.

    I would be interested in purchasing these copies if possible.

    Thanks again for the great blog!!

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  14. Thanks for stopping by! And thank you for reminding me about the dead link, Chris. HK Flix have gone out of business.

    PlayAsia may be of help, but I've replaced the link in the article with one for YesAsia who have a DVD and a VCD of RETURN OF GODZILLA, for instance.

    Glad to be of some help.

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  15. Great list enjoyed it very much, just waiting for a region 1 Godzilla 1985 to finish my collection now! I picked up all the universe region 3 DVDs and they are great. Really hope they re-release those 90s films with a proper treatment for region 1, can't stand the double feature, maybe with the new movie, things are looking up...

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  16. Have you noticed the classic media films are now being released in a regular DVD case the artwork is the same. I like the silver book style of the toho master collection but have always missed just being able to but everything in order looking uniform... Just curious if anyone else was excited about this?

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  17. I've been looking for a list like this for quite some time and this was the most complete list I could find. Thanks! It was very informative and detailed.

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  18. Thanks! I was curious if you could list what editions come in which boxsets as well?

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  19. Eek. I'm just sharing what I know.

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  20. Fair enough. I have a 5-pack from classic media that includes Godzilla King of The monsters, Rodan, Godzilla vs Mothra(1964), Godzillas Revenge, and Terror of Mechagodzilla. I'm thinking I'm going to have to double dip to get better copies, but I couldn't resist picking the 5 pack up at a pawn shop(mint condition no less) for $5.

    Using your list as a basis for a checklist on my android to keep around for my godzilla shopping needs. Was wondering if you could add the related movies and tv show to this list to make it a bit more complete.

    http://www.rinkworks.com/checklist/list.cgi?u=bondjamesbond&U=shipoopi&p=godzillamovies
    This adds
    1. Rodan! The Flying Monster (1956)
    2. The Mysterians (1957)
    3. Varan the Unbelievable (1958)
    4. Mothra (1961)
    5. Atragon (1963)
    6. Dagora, the Space Monster (1964)
    7. Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965)
    8. War of the Gargantuas (1966)
    9. King Kong Escapes (1967)
    10. Yog: Monster From Space (1970)
    11. Rebirth of Mothra (1996)
    12. Rebirth of Mothra II (1997)
    13. Rebirth of Mothra III (1998)
    To the list of movies, and I heard mention of a tv series:
    http://godzilla.wikia.com/wiki/Godzilla_Island_(TV_series)
    there was also another series that godzilla appeared in. I can't find much info on it, or where I initially heard about it(was browsing my history for upwards of 2 hours looking for it with no luck).

    After another hour(yes, I kept this page up), I found it's called Zone fighter. As one godzilla fan to another, was wondering if you had any clue about it?
    http://godzilla.wikia.com/wiki/Zone_Fighter_(Series)

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  21. I was afraid that, one day, someone was going to ask for this. I think that almost all of these have been released in the US on DVD in the correct aspect ratios.
    The other main guest appearance that the Godzilla (suit) made was in an episode of the very first ULTRAMAN series, and an episode of its predecessor, ULTRA Q, both series also out on DVD in the US!

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  22. There's pictures of the ULTRA Q Godzilla in my review here -
    http://blackholereviews.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/ultra-q-1966-japanese-monster-tv-series.html
    and of the ULTRAMAN Godzilla episode here -
    http://blackholereviews.blogspot.co.uk/2010/04/ultraman-1966-perfect-for-godzilla.html

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  23. I actually just watched the ultraman episode and it hurt to that happen to zilla. I'll have to track down ultra q now. I know mothra can be obtained through those TriStar double bills(no idea on quality) but the others I am unsure of. Rodan came with the 5-pack and that seemed OK(I'm unfamiliar with the technical jargon) but I have nothing but YouTube view to compare to. I'm unfamiliar with the rest of those and I can't seem to find godzilla island or zone fighter on DVD anywhere either. I'm sorry to be a bother with bringing your fear true. I've never found a complete list and recommendation for the godzilla stuff, and figure you seem to know more then I do. Tell me what you need and I'll help you pull the info to update this glorious list! XD.

    Sorry for switching between my Google account and anon, my tablet wouldnt let me. I changed the PW just to speak with you!

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  24. "But around the world the rights to release these films have been sold to a dozen different distributors, so there's no hope of getting all the Godzilla films in one big box, in English "

    Well here my daily disappointement

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