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Ahead of Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, here's how to watch every Godzilla movie and show in order

Godzilla's got a list film appearances as long as his tail - let Popverse guide you through them

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When it comes to movie stars, they don’t get much bigger than Godzilla. The creature affectionately known as the King of the Monsters has been captivating audiences since his debut in the 1954 film Godzilla. Since then he’s gone on to star in 37 movies, which is more films than the MCU, Star Wars, or the James Bond series. The loveable giant is known for rampaging through Tokyo, knocking over buildings, and fighting other monsters.

Godzilla is the crown jewel of Toho, the Japanese film studio that has produced most of his movies. If you’re looking to explore Godzilla’s filmography, Popverse has you covered! This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the King of the Monsters, his various film series, the continuity between them, and more.

How to watch the Godzilla movies in release order

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla still
Image credit: Toho

If you’re looking to have a full Godzilla marathon, then here’s a list of all of his films in release order. You might note that some of these films are listed under multiple names. This is because some of the Godzilla films were retitled when they were released in different markets. In order to help you track down each film you’ll need, I’ve listed alternate titles if they’re notable.

For release dates I’ve used the year each film was released in their original market. For example, Godzilla: King of the Monsters was released in the United States in 1956. However, 1954 is listed as the release date since that’s the year the movie was premiered in Japan (under the title Godzilla). More information about the differences between American and Japanese releases of the films can be found later in this guide.

Here is every Godzilla film in release order…

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Do all of the Godzilla films take place in the same continuity?

Godzilla and Minilla
Image credit: Toho

If you’re looking for continuity in Godzilla films, you’ll be disappointed. The Godzilla films mostly serve as standalone movies, and rarely acknowledge the events of the other films. A few human characters reoccur, but only on rare occasions. For example, Dr. Yamane from the original 1954 film briefly reappears in Godzilla Raids Again, but it’s only for one scene.

The American-produced MonsterVerse series features a tight continuity, with reoccurring characters, and continuing plot threads. However, many of the Japanese movies ignore continuity. In fact, films even contradict the continuity within their own series. Godzilla wrecks buildings, and fights other monsters, that’s the only thing that matters.

If you’re curious about the various continuities within the Godzilla film series, this article will break down the various eras, and explain how continuity works for each one.

Is there a difference between the American and the Japanese versions?

King Kong vs Godzilla still
Image credit: Toho

If you’re watching an American release of a Japanese produced Godzilla film, you might be getting a completely different movie. In some cases the film will be identical to the Japanese release, minus the English dubbing. In other cases, editing has transformed the production into a completely new film. For example, the 1962 film King Kong vs. Godzilla was heavily recut. The film rearranged some sequences, changed key pieces of dialogue with dubbing, used stock footage from other monster films, and even shot new scenes with American actors.

The American export of the original 1954 film could almost be considered a different movie. Raymond Burr filmed extra scenes as Steve Martin, a character who wasn’t seen in the original Japanese release. Hollywood editing was used to make it seem like Burr was interacting with the Japanese actors from the original release. Over time this practice died down. Now the American and Japanese versions of the film are mostly the same, minus dubbing and minor bits of editing.

The Showa Era

Godzilla Raids Again still
Image credit: Toho

The first phase of Godzilla’s film series is known as the Showa Era. It began in 1954 with the film Godzilla, and concluded when the series went on hiatus after the release of the 1975 film Terror of Mechagodzilla. The Showa Era is named after Emperor Showa, the man who ruled Japan from 1926 through 1989. This stretch of films introduced Godzilla, most of his monster allies and enemies, and many of the tropes associated with the film series.

Although the first entry in the series was a cautionary tale about the horrors of atomic weapons, later films became more comedic and family friendly. Godzilla became somewhat of a superhero, protecting Japan from other monsters who sought to destroy the city. If you want to watch all of the Showa Era films in order, here is a complete list

  • Gojira/Godzilla/Godzilla: King of the Monsters (1954)
  • Godzilla Raids Again/Godzilla’s Counterattack/Gigantis, The Fire Monster (1955)
  • King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
  • Mothra vs. Godzilla/Godzilla vs. The Thing (1964)
  • Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
  • Invasion of the Astro-Monster/Godzilla vs. Monster Zero (1965)
  • Ebirah, Horror of the Deep/Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster (1966)
  • Son of Godzilla (1967)
  • Destroy All Monsters (1968)
  • All Monsters Attack/Godzilla’s Revenge (1969)
  • Godzilla vs. Hedorah/Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster (1971)
  • Godzilla vs. Gigan/Godzilla on Monster Island (1972)
  • Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)
  • Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla/Godzilla vs. The Cosmic Monster/Godzilla vs. The Bionic Monster (1974)
  • Terror of Mechagodzilla/The Terror of Godzilla/Monsters From an Unknown Planet (1975)

The Heisei Era

Return of Godzilla still
Image credit: Toho

After a hiatus that lasted almost a decade, the Godzilla film series returned in 1984. In Japanese culture, the Heisei Era refers to the reign of Emperor Akihito, which began in 1989 and ended in 2019. Although Godzilla’s Heisei Era began in 1984 during the reign of Emperor Showa, The Return of Godzilla is still considered the first film of the Heisei Era since it kickstarted the new continuity.

The Heisei Era was a continuity reboot, ignoring every movie except for the 1954 film. The Return of Godzilla serves as a direct sequel to the original film, with the monster menacing the world after a 30 year absence. Godzilla was portrayed as an antagonist, and the films took on a more serious tone than the Showa Era.

The Heisei Era concluded in 1995 with Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. The film ends with Godzilla dying after the radiation within his body causes him to have a nuclear meltdown. Godzilla Junior absorbs the radiation from his father’s meltdown, growing into a full-sized monster. If you want to watch all of the Heisei Era films in order, here is a complete list.

  • The Return of Godzilla/Godzilla 1985 (1984)
  • Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)
  • Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)
  • Godzilla vs. Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992)
  • Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993)
  • Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994)
  • Godzilla vs. Destoroyah/Godzilla vs. Destroyer (1995)

The Millennium Era

Godzilla 2000: The Millennium still
Image credit: Toho

The Millennium Era was another continuity reboot, with an odd twist. Each entry in this series acted as a direct sequel to the 1954 Godzilla film, ignoring the events of every other movie. In other words, each movie was a reboot. The lone exception was Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., which served as a sequel to Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla. In other words, the Millennium Era could almost be considered an anthology series of standalone Godzilla films. If you want to watch all of the Millennium Era films in order, here is a complete list.

  • Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999)
  • Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000)
  • Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monster All-Out Attack (2001)
  • Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002)
  • Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003)
  • Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)

The Reiwa Era

Shin Godzilla still
Image credit: Toho

The current phase of Japanese Godzilla films is known as the Reiwa Era. This slate is named after the current era of Japan’s official calendar. However, Japan’s Reiwa Era did not begin until 2019, while this slate of Godzilla films began in 2016. Despite this chronology confusion, the Reiwa Era is the accepted name among Godzilla fandom, due to the time period it’s associated with.

The Reiwa Era began with Shin Godzilla, a standalone film. It was followed by a trilogy of anime films, which told stories in a separate continuity. More projects are currently being developed. If you want to watch the current era of Japanese Godzilla films, here’s their release order.

  • Shin Godzilla (2016)
  • Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters (2017)
  • Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle (2018)
  • Godzilla: The Planet Eater (2018)

The American Godzilla films

Kong vs. Godzilla promotional image
Image credit: Legendary Pictures

While the majority of Godzilla films have been produced in Japan, the monster has become somewhat of a worldwide phenomenon. As a result, American filmmakers have tried to put their own spin on Godzilla. TriStar Pictures attempted to launch a Godzilla franchise in 1998, but the failure of the first film caused the studio to abandon their plans.

In 2014 Legendary Pictures began their own Godzilla franchise, known as the MonsterVerse. In addition to Godzilla, the MonsterVerse also features King Kong and King Ghidorah. More classic monsters are planned for future entries. The MonsterVerse has a tighter continuity than previous Godzilla films, with reoccurring characters and plotlines.

If you want to watch the American Godzilla films, here’s how to do it.

TriStar Pictures Godzilla
  • Godzilla (1998)
The MonsterVerse
  • Godzilla (2014)
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
  • Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)
  • Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (2024)

Note: Kong: Skull Island is part of the MonsterVerse series, but it was left off of this list because Godzilla doesn’t appear in it (except as a drawing). If you want to get the complete MonsterVerse experience, here’s how to include Kong: Skull Island. If you’re going for a chronological order, watch Kong: Skull Island first. If you’re going for release order, then watch Kong: Skull Island between Godzilla and Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

Godzilla spin-offs

Image credit: Toho

Godzilla has come across many other monsters over the years, and some of them have starred in their own movies. These movies can be considered part of Godzilla’s cinematic universe, but don’t hold your breath looking for references. In most cases, these films act as standalone movies, without any references to Godzilla. Some of these monsters, like Mothra, make frequent appearances in Godzilla’s films. Others, like Dogora, would only briefly appear in projects like the television series Godzilla Island. Don’t forget, there are multiple branches of continuity within Godzilla’s film series. If you want to follow all of the monsters who exist in Godzilla’s film universe, here is how you would do it.

  • Rodan (1956)
  • The Mysterians (1957)
  • Varan, the Unbelievable (1958)
  • Mothra (1961)
  • Gorath (1962)
  • Atragon (1963)
  • Dogora (1964)
  • Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965)
  • War of the Gargantuas (1966)
  • King Kong Escape (1967)
  • Space Amoeba (1970)
  • Rebirth of Mothra (1996)
  • Rebirth of Mothra 2 (1997)
  • Rebirth of Mothra 3 (1998)
  • Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Godzilla television and web shows

Image credit: Studio Koganemushi

Godzilla is so huge that his stardom transcends cinema. The King of the Monsters has been starring on various television shows since 1973. Godzilla made his television debut when he guest-starred on the Toho produced series Zone Fighter. Some of the Godzilla television shows might seem strange to American audiences. For example, the series Godzilla Island uses toys for many of the action sequences. This makes sense once you learn the series was created to promote a line of Godzilla toys.

Godziban stars a puppet version of Godzilla, while Godzilland features a young chibi version of the famous monster. Godzilla has also been the star of multiple animated programs. From the exciting to the absurd, here’s how to watch Godzilla’s fascinating television career.

  • Zone Fighter (1973)
  • The Godzilla Power Hour (1978)
  • Godzilland (1992)
  • Godzilla Island (1997)
  • Godzilla: The Series (1998)
  • Goziban (2019)
  • I’m Home! Chibi Godzilla (2020)
  • Godzilla: Singular Point (2021)
  • Monarch: Legacy of Monsters (Nov 2023)

As you can see, Godzilla is one of the hardest working actors in the film industry. The giant monster might be a fictitious creature, but he’s real in the hearts of millions of moviegoers. In some ways Godzilla is one of the constants of this world. World leaders come and go, fads go out of style, and the world keeps changing, but Godzilla is still standing. All hail the King of the Monsters.

What Godzilla movies are on Netflix?

If you are scrolling Netflix and want to get your Godzilla fix, there's not a ton to pick through. These following animated Godzilla movies are currently on the Netflix streaming service: Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters, Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle, and Godzilla: The Planet Eater.

Is Godzilla Minus One in English?

Godzilla Minus One - roar
Image credit: Toho

Godzilla Minus One is in Japanese, not in English. Still, we think 2023's sneak hit Godzilla Minus One is 10000% worth watching. In the words of Parasite director Bong Joon Ho, “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”

Which Godzilla movie made the most money?

The Godzilla movie that has made the most money at the box office (so far) is 2014's Godzilla from Warner Bros. According to Box Office Mojo, Godzilla 2014 has made (as of this writing) $200,676,069.

Will there be a Godzilla film in 2024?

You bet your scaly, radioactive hide there will be! As we mentioned before, the next entry into Godzilla's cinematic history comes to us from Legendary Pictures's MonsterVerse - Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire. Having apparently reconciled after their first encounter in the MonsterVerse, the kaiju nobles will go up against a creature that threatens not only their world, but ours.

Godzilla's Oscar Win

Before you go, we just wanted to point out the most recent of Godzilla's accomplishments - winning an Oscar. Yes, at the 2024 Oscars, the Godzilla Minus One team took home the gold for Best VFX of the year, and Popverse's Tiffany Babb thought it was pretty well-deserved.

Whichever giant monster is your favorite, Popverse has you covered. We have a guide to Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire's ending (and what it means for the broader MonsterVerse), as well as watch orders for both Legendary's MonsterVerse and Godzilla's overall movies, as well as why Godzilla Minus One left theaters early (and why New Empire could be to blame!), and if you're a Popverse premium member, a New York Comic Con-exclusive interview with the cast and crew of Legendary's kaiju-hunting drama Monarch: Legacy of Monsters.

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Joshua Lapin-Bertone avatar
Joshua Lapin-Bertone: Joshua is a pop culture writer specializing in comic book media. His work has appeared on the official DC Comics website, the DC Universe subscription service, HBO Max promotional videos, the Batman Universe fansite, and more. In between traveling around the country to cover various comic conventions, Joshua resides in Florida where he binges superhero television and reads obscure comics from yesteryear.
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