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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still The BEST Godzilla Movie
The first, ever Godzilla movie - in it's unaltered and uncut Japanese version - remains one of the lost movie masterpieces of the 20th Century, tragically overlooked in favour of it's kiddie-friendly but inferior sequels, not to mention the terrible Hanna-Barbera cartoon TV series and the stupid a** 1998 remake (as described by Kyle in the SOUTH PARK [1997-????] episode,...
Published on 2 July 2006 by D. W. Bissett

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Hokum Godzilla Movie
I hadn't seen this original version before, although I have seen a couple of the other Godzilla movies, especially the hilarious Godzilla vs King Kong which is a gas!! This is worth seeing for it was quite an achievement when it was made during the early 1950s as Japan was recovering from the devastation of World War 2. Alright, the effects are ropey, but, hey this was...
Published 7 months ago by E. A. Redfearn


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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still The BEST Godzilla Movie, 2 July 2006
By 
D. W. Bissett "dave_bissett" (Cumbria, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Godzilla [1954] [DVD] (DVD)
The first, ever Godzilla movie - in it's unaltered and uncut Japanese version - remains one of the lost movie masterpieces of the 20th Century, tragically overlooked in favour of it's kiddie-friendly but inferior sequels, not to mention the terrible Hanna-Barbera cartoon TV series and the stupid a** 1998 remake (as described by Kyle in the SOUTH PARK [1997-????] episode, 'Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls').

Dark, serious and sombre, this movie was a message for peace and no more nuclear weapons. This was made nine years after the atomic horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While it's true the special effects in this film are a bit dated, it's anti-nuclear message isn't.

The scenes where Godzilla rampages through Tokyo and the effect it has on the humans is powerful, something that has never been equalled in any other 'kaiju eiga' throughout the last 50 years (with the exception of GAMERA 3: THE REVENGE OF IRIS [1999]), the black & white cinematography gives the film a very documentary feel to it, there are some fine acting from the cast (including Takashi Shimura, best known for appearing in the many classics of Akira Kurosawa), while the musical score is memorable.

Now that the first Godzilla movie has finally been released in it's uncut Japanese version, I really do hope people will finally see the horror of Godzilla, as it was originally intended to be.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Godzilla" The 1954 Original [aka "Gojira"] on BLU RAY - Compatibility Issues For UK Buyers With One Of The USA Releases..., 26 Feb 2014
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" - See all my reviews
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As you've probably gathered most of the reviews are for the 'DVD' version of the 1954 Japanese cult original of “Gojira" (or "Godzilla" as it has become known). And the original is available on BLU RAY in the States TWICE. But which issue to buy?

Unfortunately the uber-desirable USA Criterion release is REGION-A LOCKED although it doesn't say so on Amazon.
So it WILL NOT PLAY on most UK BLU RAY players unless they're chipped to play 'all' regions (which the vast majority aren't).
Don’t confuse BLU RAY players that have multi-region capability on the 'DVD' front – that won’t help.

Luckily the other USA issue on Classic Media is REGION FREE – so that will play on UK machines.

Check you’re purchasing the right version before you buy the pricey Criterion release...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The original Gojira and his American makeover on one great set, 11 May 2012
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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NB: As is their wont, Amazon have unhelpfully bundled together all the reviews for the various editions and formats of this title regardless of how confusing this may be to prospective purchasers. This is a review of Criterion's US DVD and Region A-locked Blu-ray release, though it does discuss other available editions.

It's a strange and almost unnoticed fact that the two Japanese films of 1954 that put Japanese cinema at its most poetic and its most populist on the international map both starred Takashi Shimura. The same year he led a group of Ronin to defend a poor village for Akira Kurosawa he was also trying to unravel the mystery of Gojira, only to get sidelined in the US version of the film in favor of a not exactly seamlessly edited in Raymond Burr. Criterion's Region A-locked Blu-ray and Region 1 NTSC DVD edition of Godzilla in both its incarnations is a nice presentation of a movie that isn't quite as good as you'd like it to be but still isn't bad for all that.

While the Japanese version, with its heavy Hiroshima and Nagasaki allegorical overtones, is the better film, the American version isn't exactly negligible. Restructuring the film's timeframe, beginning in the aftermath of the destruction of Tokyo and framing much of the film as a flashback to explain the need for narration, it sidelines the nuclear subplot and Shimura (who is badly dubbed by an actor who can't pronounce `phemonenum' in his few surviving scenes) but still offers much of the flavor of the original, as well as offering a couple of bizarrely charming moments of camp from Raymond Burr: it's almost worth it for the little look he gives the security officer in the helicopter.

Both films were previously available in a decent edition from Classic Media in the USA, Gojira & Godzilla King of Monsters [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC], and despite the great claims made for Criterion's new release the picture quality is not that big an upgrade over their DVD version because they're clearly working with the same master material (though it definitely has the edge on Classic Media's disappointing 1081i Blu-ray release, Gojira [Blu-ray] [1954] [US Import], which only included the Japanese version). Where Criterion's edition scores is in an excellent selection of extras, including two audio commentaries by David Kalat on the different versions which veer more to the political and intellectual than Ed Godziszewski and Steve Ryfle's enthusiastically fan-friendlier commentaries on the Classic Media release, as well as an impressive array of interviews with actors Akira Takarada (who recalls introducing himself on set as playing the lead only to be told by a technician "Godzilla's the lead, you idiot") and the man in the suit himself Haruo Nakjima (who recollects the crew's sweat dripping down like rain from the gantries of the unairconditioned set onto the costume), special effects men Yoshio Irie and Eizo Kaimai, composer Akira Ifukube (running an impressive 50 minutes and the most detailed on the disc) and film critic Tadao Sato. As if that wasn't enough there are also a couple of featurettes on the Photographic Effects and some unlucky Japanese fishermen whose exposure to radiation were one of the inspirations for the film, The Unluckiest Dragon, the original Japanese and US trailers and a booklet.

On the minus side, some of the white subtitles aren't as easy to read against the lighter backgrounds as they could be and the Blu-ray, as per all of Criterion's discs, is incredibly slow to load. If you have the Classic Media DVD, it's worth holding onto that for its exclusive extras, but the extras package alone makes this well worth an upgrade for fans.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ROAHR! Its the original rubber suited monster!, 12 Jun 2007
By 
This review is from: Godzilla [1954] [DVD] (DVD)
In the 1950's movies about monsters and aliens were filling up the B movies slots at the cinemas. Forget the singing cowboy; it was the era of radioactive mutant consequences and nefarious plots from outer space. Heavily favoured as date movies, these kept the young people packing the cinemas and drive ins, as scenes guaranteed to provide an opportunity for girls to want to bury their heads on your shoulder in likely feigned dismay.

Hollywood at this point in time did not have the stranglehold on modern cinema it has today, and foreign productions that were dubbed if not originally in English were not that uncommon, especially in this genre. One such studio that did this was the legendary Toho Film Ltd. Interestingly enough, Toho began its life managing a large percentage of Tokyo's kabuki theatres before branching out into film making in the 1930's, before hitting gold with American audiences with their successful monster movies in the 1950's. Often poorly imitated, they became famed for their monster and special effect films, before branching out into anime with Studio Ghibi as well as superhero TV series and contributions to other production company's films, including Sam Raimi's "A Simple Plan".

No matter hw far they have branched out from their origins, ask a member of the public to name a Japanese movie from the '50's, and the odds are greatly stacked that one of their "Big 5" monster characters will feature in the film mentioned. Whether it be recalling Rodan, Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah, or Mechagodzilla., it is certain that the works of Toho have embedded themselves in modern pop culture and into the common conciousness.

~~~The Plot~~~

Originally titled Gojira, this film is set in contempory to itself times, so circa 1954.

Initially, a fishing boat is attacked by a bright light. A rescue boat is sent out, and suffers the same fate. A second boat is sent out to find out what has happened, and again suffers a mysterious fate.This time, however, a few survivors are picked up and brought ashore to Odo Island, where the natives reveal all their fish have been eaten from the sea and so they cannot catch anything, and tell the reporters that it is obvious Godzilla, the sea monster god, is responsible. He comes from the sea to eat people and in times past, they sacrificed girls to appease his hunger and to be left alone. Of course, officials think they ae backwards, superstitous yokels, and take the survivors to Tokyo after the village is mysteriously destroyed in the night. After being interviewed by officials and the scientific community, a paleontolgist decrees they must go to Odo Island and investigate. There they discover an enormous radioactive footprint and a prehistoric trilobite. As if this was not enough, the frightening spectre of a huge dinosaur raises his head above the hills and raors, before retreating back into the ocean.

This is the only the begiining, with the creature finally deciding to attack and destroy Tokyo, with conventional weapons proving useless as he has already survived huge doses of radiation thanks to Americans detonating atomic weapons in the vicinity. It remains for a weapon to be found to destroy the creature, with a romance thrown in along the way between two characters who appear in order to facilitate the finding of such a weapon.Will Tokyo be saved? Will true love prevail? Can Godzilla be killed,and is he the only one of his kind? Will this catastrophe bring the evil of the atomic age with the desruction of civilisation? Watch, and find out!

~~~Cast~~~

This is very much an ensemble piece of a film. Seemingly small parts all serve to move the story forawrd, with no truly unimportant parts with speaking lines. The cast are:

* Takashi Shimura ................. Dr Kyōhei Yamane

* Momoko Kouchi ................. Emiko Yamane

* Akira Takarada ................. Hideto Ogata

* Akihiko Hirata ................. Dr Daisuke Serizawa

* Sachio Sakai ................. Hagiwara, a journalist

* Huyuki Murakami ................. Dr Tanabe

* Ren Yamamoto ................  Seiji, a fisherman

* Toyoaki Suzuki ................. Shinkichi , Seiji's younger brother

* Tsuruko Umano ................. Shinkichi's mother

Tadashi Okabe; ................. assistant of Dr. Tanabe

* Toranosuke Ogaw; ................. President at the shipping company

* Ren Imaizumi ................. Chief shipping company radio

* Katumi& Tezuka ................. newspaper publishing company chief

* Masaak Tachibana .................announcer A;

* Ichir Obi .................announcer B

* Haruo Nakajima .................transformer substation employee

* Takeo Oikawa .................Mayor of the task force

* Kan Hayashi ................. Chairperson at Diet

* Seijir Onda.................Representative Ooyama

* Kin ;Sugai ................ Representative woman Oosawa

* Keiji Sakakida ................village mayor of Oodo Island

* Kuninori Takadou ................Old fishermen

* Tamae Kawai ................young daughter

* Shizuko Azuma ................dancer

* Kiyoshi Kamoda................ man

* Yuu Fujiki ................ telegrapher

* Kenji Sahara............... visitor on a pleasure boat

* Godzilla ................ Katsumi Tezuka and Haruo Nakajima

Note that Godzilla has two names next to him. This is because in 1954, there of course no CGI effects available and miniature models were ineffective in scenes with live people. Therefore, a rubber suit was used in several scenes. The acting appears to be fairly good quality for a B movie, but the monster is what the film is about, and he is by far the most memorable.

~~~The DVD~~

In its current DVD incarnation for the British market, this film is not the American release that many may remember. Being longer at 98 minutes, compared to the US 80 minutes, for one thing, we also have the privilege of hearing it in the original Japanese and to read English subtitles, rather than giggle at the bad dubbing and mismatched mouth motions. This is not without its own drawbacks, however. Reading the subtitles does mean your eyes are on the bottom of the screen, and you may miss some of the action onscreen. The film is presented in its original black and white, and the print is a clean one that has been lovingly restored. There are several extra features on the disc as well, making this a good addition to fans of the genre collections.

The features include:

o Voiceover Commentary By Three American Godzilla Experts

This is the best of the extras to be honest. You want the poop on Gojira (Godzilla), this is the where to get it! Very informative and presented in an interesting manner, it is an extra that you can happily watch more than once. It is an interesting look at the original film's transformation into the Americanised version, which had Raymond Burr worked into it, and it explains a lot of the true reasons behind the reworking for American audiences, none of which were political despite what many assumed.

o 12 Japanese Fishermen Documentary

The disc I rented kept sticking on this one, so I am unable to comment on it, sadly. Given the quality of the previous commentary, it likely was of value, and when I rent this again, hope to be able to view it.

o The Making Of The Godzilla Suit Featurette

This comes in the form of a slideshow. There are concept drawings and photographs of the suit, including one in which the actor was unable to move in at all, accompanied by a voice over by Steve Ryfle. It is fairly interesting, but admittedly, it is likely to be more of interest to someone interested in primitive special effects or costume design.

o The Adaptation From Original Short Story To Finished Film Featurette

I found this rather dry, with it being all about dropped subplots, amendments to the original script, and photographs including a photo of the original script. Again narrated by Steve Ryfle, he seems rather uninterested himself and his delivery is flat and rather monotone.

o Original Trailer

This is just what it suggests. It is a viewing of the original theatrical trailer as seen in cinemas.

o Original Poster

Yeehaw! A picture of the original poster. While nice for completeness, an actual repro poster would have been nicer, no?

o Stills Gallery

Merely a bunch of stills from the film. many of which we saw in the other special features.

o Booklet

Being rented, I did not get to see this. Oh well.

~~~My Thoughts~~~

I was pretty interested in how this differed so widely from the American release with Raymond Burr. No American reporter with flashbacks, and more anti nuclear dialogue that is missing from the American theatrical release of 1956. Being anti nuclear, but NOT anti- American, this film has a very relevant message today about weapons, nuclear waste, and later consequences. Given that it has been not quite a decade since the dropping of the bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, it is a testament to the fears of the resulting fall out within the Japanese population, and one that would sadly be echoed in later years in the US itself, after the Three Mile Island disaster, and even later, after the much more recent Chernobyl disaster.

While the effects are obviously dated, this film is an entertaining romp of a monster movie. It is a GREAT monster movie, as opposed to a film. I make the distinction because films are to movies what a book is to a serious novel. This is a piece of fluff that like the previously reviewed film, The Corpse Vanishes, is pure grade B fun, albeit with a serious message beneath it, and one that is sure to please on a rainy afternoon , properly armed with movie snacks.

For those who would like the American version, you can also get this film on a 2 disc release, Godzilla - Gojira Deluxe Collector's Edition, which is available as a Region 1 import. It features both this version and the American release version with the Raymond Burr additions, as well as the special features mentioned; minus the 12 Japanese Fisherman Documentary (so perhaps it was NOT that fantastic! LOL). Regardless of the disc set you wish to get, this is one film that is MUCH better that the reimagined and butchered remake of 1998 starring Mathew Broderick, despite the differences in the realism of the special effects.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie with a Great Message, 20 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Godzilla [1954] [DVD] (DVD)
Being interested in Japan, Japanese culture, Japanese as a language and so forth, I felt that I was doing myself a disservice by having not watched perhaps the most famous Japanese film of all time.

In short, it was a fantastic film!

No, the special effects haven't aged well, and the black and white nature of the film may be off-putting to some. But the core of it has aged remarkably well. The acting is strong (I watch a lot of Japanese movies and the acting in Godzilla is well above average), and the film is suitably shocking in terms of presentation and plotline.

In short the film is anti-nuclear, which makes it interesting to view in the context of the time it was made, only a few years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed by the atomic bomb. I understand that the original English-language version cut out most of the anti-nuclear message, but this version keeps it strongly. It's a great and culturally significant storyline that makes Godzilla far more than the simple monster story that most believe it to be.

In terms of this specific DVD, there isn't really anything can fault it on. The picture quality was great and it upscaled very well into HD.

It was a great film and is highly recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 7 Jan 2010
By 
L. Walker (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Godzilla [1954] [DVD] (DVD)
This was a really fun film to watch, excellent. I watched it in Japanese with english subtitles which were clear and it was easy to read them and watch the monster action at the same time. The quality of the picture was great and the original story was compelling. So glad I got it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb, 3 Nov 2009
By 
This review is from: Godzilla [1954] [DVD] (DVD)
Beautiful restoration, not a scratch or flicker, great packaging, booklet and extras. A must for classic monster movie fans. Commentary by Godzilla experts is superb. Forget other versions this is the one to have!!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars King of the monsters, 14 May 2006
This review is from: Godzilla [1954] [DVD] (DVD)
Being the first film in a series that brought out a huge franchise, an American holywood remake and a series spanning 50 years, Godzilla king of the monsters is a tale of the distaers brought around by Nuclear Warfare! The story begins with a merchant ship sinking off the japanese coast. An investigation into the shipwreck leads the japanese authorities to small island called Bikini, where the villagers believe that it is part of a myth that has been told for thousands of years. A dragon like creature who lives in the sea that terrorises the islanders, called Gojira in the native language. It is then disacovered that Godzilla is a Monster created by the Nuclear tests that the Japanese conducted during World War 2! From then on Gojira or Godzilla as he is later Dubbed in the film makes frequent appearances close to the Japanese mainland. Considered as a threat, the Japanese self defence forces attack Godzilla as he surfaces near the shore. Whith their weapons Having no effect on Godzilla the Millitary forces are rendered useless! and the bay is completely desdtroyed! Godzilla sinks back into the bay. Fearing another attack the Japanese scientists discover Godzilla is weakend by electricity, so they come up with a plan to erect pylons on Tokyo Bay, in the hope Godzilla will be put off and leave Tokyo alone! However when Godzilla arrives at tokyo bay advances up the beach, and is met with everything the Japnese millitary can throw at him! Still advancing Godzilla walks into the pylons and is flooded with the contests of the National Grid! This only slows Godzilla down. And now infuriated he smashes through the pylons and through the Japanese's last line of defence, and the collosal monster sweeps through japan destroying eveything in his path leaving tokyo in a sea of flame and rubble! Fearing that Godzilla would return the japanese Government seek the help of dr.Serizawa the inventor of the Oxygen Destroyer. His invention destroys all the oxgen in the blast area completely irradicating all forms of life! As Godzilla is sightede again in Tokyo bay Dr.Sewizawa's device is deployed and to be sure it is never used again for the purpose of warfare he takes his own life in the explosion! Putting an end to Godzilla!

Being the first film ever to feature Godzilla this is a must have for all Godzilla enthusiasts
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the one that started the craze., 9 Aug 2006
By 
Mr. A. E. Ward Davies (Canterbury , England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Godzilla [1954] [DVD] (DVD)
a brilliant start to the japanese "godzilla" film series.

all the ingredients in this film are the ones that made the godzilla franchise one of the biggest in the world; corny acting and dialogue, burning buildings, vehicles being smashed up but also the sight of an actor inside a monster suit. all very cliched of course, but that's the way i like it. i have always regarded this particular character with affection, just like that other one king kong.

and now, i finally get to see the original "godzilla" from 1954. although there were two versions of the same film released at the same time, i prefer this one as it is the japanese one with a longer running time of 92 minutes; where as the american version runs for approximately 80 minutes.

the extras are good if a bit limited; the two featurettes are informative, the original designs and sketches for the film are interesting, but i think a full length documentary covering all of the godzilla films would have been outstanding. but that is a minor quibble.

so glad to see this finally on d.v.d.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Hokum Godzilla Movie, 18 Mar 2014
By 
E. A. Redfearn "eredfearn2" (Middlesbrough) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Godzilla [1954] [DVD] (DVD)
I hadn't seen this original version before, although I have seen a couple of the other Godzilla movies, especially the hilarious Godzilla vs King Kong which is a gas!! This is worth seeing for it was quite an achievement when it was made during the early 1950s as Japan was recovering from the devastation of World War 2. Alright, the effects are ropey, but, hey this was long before CGI was available. I found it very entertaining, although it did drag a little about 40 minutes into the movie before the mighty Godzilla turned up to wreck Tokyo. Overall, worth a view, decent picture and sound, there are a few extras worth noting, particularly a trailer. There is also a 30 page booklet included which is very useful.
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