Kaiju films

by Mighty_Emperor | created - 18 Jan 2012 | updated - 1 month ago | Public

Giant monster films from Japan, and others from elsewhere inspired by them. I also threw in the Ultra Series but haven't tried to be too completest on the television front. I've also not included every giant monster movie (there was a fad for them in America during the mid-20th Century), focusing instead on Japanese films and their imitators. There is already a more general giant monster movie list or this wider-ranging one.

See also: my weird Japanese films list

Further reading: * http://www.kaijuphile.com * http://www.digitalmonsterisland.com * http://godzilla.wikia.com

This page has the technical details of Toho's kaiju, except Godzilla: http://www.listal.com/list/toho-kaiju-films

NB: IMDb's list ordering system is playing up so they're out of order

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1. Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

Approved | 78 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

Godzilla battles an irradiated Ankylosaur and destroys Osaka in the process.

Directors: Motoyoshi Oda, Ishirô Honda | Stars: Hiroshi Koizumi, Setsuko Wakayama, Minoru Chiaki, Takashi Shimura

Votes: 4,960

aka Godzilla Raids Again

aka King Kong Appears in Edo

An unauthorised King Kong rip-off and possibly the first true full-length kaiju film, now thought to be lost. More on it at Wikipedia:


3. Japanese King Kong (1933)

30 min | Short

The character "Santa" is a vagabond whose main source of income is locating lost coins on the streets of Tokyo. He is dating the pretty girl Omitsu, but her father Seizo does not consider ... See full summary »

Director: Torajirô Saitô | Stars: Yasuko Koizumi, Isamu Yamaguchi, Kotarô Sekiguchi, Chosei Yamada

Votes: 26

An early attempt to cash-in on the original King Kong film, the giant ape would appear a few more times in Japanese films over the years.

4. Godzilla (1954)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

78 Metascore

American nuclear weapons testing results in the creation of a seemingly unstoppable, dinosaur-like beast.

Director: Ishirô Honda | Stars: Takashi Shimura, Akihiko Hirata, Akira Takarada, Momoko Kôchi

Votes: 27,156 | Gross: $2.42M

It set the standard for all future giant monster films, and span-off its own massive franchise. Presumably partly inspired by the 1953 B-movie The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms

5. Godzilla (1954)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

78 Metascore

American nuclear weapons testing results in the creation of a seemingly unstoppable, dinosaur-like beast.

Director: Ishirô Honda | Stars: Takashi Shimura, Akihiko Hirata, Akira Takarada, Momoko Kôchi

Votes: 27,156 | Gross: $2.42M

Here to give the list a pretty picture when listed elsewhere - the list proper starts below:

aka The Giant Buddha Statue's Travel Through the Country

The rather gentle adventures of a roaming statue, now thought to be lost.


7. Godzilla: King of the Monsters! (1956)

Not Rated | 80 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

60 Metascore

A 400-foot (122-meter) dinosaur-like beast, awoken from undersea hibernation off the Japanese coast by atomic-bomb testing, attacks Tokyo.

Directors: Ishirô Honda, Terry O. Morse | Stars: Raymond Burr, Takashi Shimura, Momoko Kôchi, Akira Takarada

Votes: 6,692

8. Jû jin yuki otoko (1955)

94 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

A yeti terrorizes people on top of Mount Fuji.

Director: Ishirô Honda | Stars: Akira Takarada, Akemi Negishi, Momoko Kôchi, Nobuo Nakamura

Votes: 168

Re-edited as Half Human for western consumption but not widely disseminated these days because of cultural concerns.

9. Rodan (1956)

Unrated | 74 min | Adventure, Drama, Horror

A large mining accident sets loose prehistoric Insects and giant pterosaur's on Japan.

Director: Ishirô Honda | Stars: Kenji Sahara, Yumi Shirakawa, Akihiko Hirata, Akio Kobori

Votes: 4,181 | Gross: $0.50M

aka Radon

10. The Mysterians (1957)

TV-Y7 | 85 min | Action, Family, Sci-Fi

Shortly after a giant robot destroys a village, aliens from outer space arrive offering friendship. Will stupid Earth creatures tie these two events together?

Director: Ishirô Honda | Stars: Kenji Sahara, Yumi Shirakawa, Momoko Kôchi, Akihiko Hirata

Votes: 1,280 | Gross: $0.98M

aka The Mysterians

Features Moguera a giant robot.

11. The Giant Claw (1957)

Approved | 75 min | Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi

Global panic ensues when it is revealed that a mysterious UFO is actually a giant bird that flies at supersonic speed and has no regard for life or architecture.

Director: Fred F. Sears | Stars: Jeff Morrow, Mara Corday, Morris Ankrum, Louis Merrill

Votes: 3,014

B-movie that seems to merrily lift crazy ideas from the earlier Japanese science fiction films.

12. Tokyo 1960 (1957)

Action, Sci-Fi


Director: Teodorico C. Santos | Stars: Tessie Quintana, Eddie del Mar, Zaldy Zshornack

Votes: 7

First in a series of giant monster movies from the Philippines, a country hose film industry was quick to capitalise on new trends. It is also the most obvious one as it is set in Tokyo.

13. Half Human (1958)

63 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

Japanese villagers worship a monster and his son who live in an island cave. Some circus people hear about them, go to the island to capture the monster and wind up shooting its son. Then ... See full summary »

Directors: Kenneth G. Crane, Ishirô Honda | Stars: John Carradine, Russell Thorson, Robert Karnes, Morris Ankrum

Votes: 281

The US edit of Ju jin yuki otoko.

14. Varan the Unbelievable (1958)

87 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

When a rare species of butterfly is found in a mysterious valley in Japan, a pair of entomologists go to investigate and find more. However, when they get there they find an uncharted lake ... See full summary »

Director: Ishirô Honda | Stars: Kôzô Nomura, Ayumi Sonoda, Koreya Senda, Akihiko Hirata

Votes: 451

aka Giant Monster Varan

15. The H-Man (1958)

Approved | 79 min | Crime, Horror, Sci-Fi

When a narcotics deal goes sour and a suspect disappears, leaving only his clothes, Tokyo police question his wife and stake out the nightclub where she works. His disappearance stumps the ... See full summary »

Director: Ishirô Honda | Stars: Yumi Shirakawa, Kenji Sahara, Akihiko Hirata, Eitarô Ozawa

Votes: 1,091

aka H-Man

16. Nippon tanjô (1959)

112 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

The legend of the birth of Shintoism. In Fourth Century Japan, the Emperor Keikoh's son Ouso expects to succeed his father on the throne, but Otomo, the Emperor's vassal, prefers Ouso's ... See full summary »

Director: Hiroshi Inagaki | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yôko Tsukasa, Akihiko Hirata, Kyôko Kagawa

Votes: 214

aka The Birth of Japan


17. Anak ng bulkan (1959)

117 min | Action, Drama, Fantasy

From out of this world comes this monster bird of a rampage of destruction.

Director: Emmanuel I. Rojas | Stars: Fernando Poe Jr., Edna Luna, Ronald Remy, Miriam Jurado

Votes: 17

18. Tuko sa Madre Kakaw (1959)

Fantasy, Sci-Fi

A mad scientist, plots to conquer the world by using a serum that can turn ordinary animals into giants.

Director: Richard Abelardo | Stars: Nita Javier, Willie Sotelo, Hector Reyes, Luz Valdez

Votes: 6

19. Mothra (1961)

Passed | 101 min | Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Thriller

A giant, ancient moth begins to attack Japan when coming to the rescue of its two, foot-tall worshippers who were taken by shipwreck survivors.

Director: Ishirô Honda | Stars: Furankî Sakai, Hiroshi Koizumi, Kyôko Kagawa, Yumi Itô

Votes: 3,415

aka Mothra

20. Gorgo (1961)

Unrated | 78 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Greedy sailors capture a giant lizard off the coast of Ireland and sell it to a London circus. Then its mother shows up.

Director: Eugène Lourié | Stars: Bill Travers, William Sylvester, Vincent Winter, Christopher Rhodes

Votes: 2,938

A British Godzilla, with perhaps a bit of inspiration coming from the 1959 dinosaur vs London film, Behemoth the Sea Monster (which in turn was a British version of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, making everything confusingly circular, as Godzilla was also influenced by it).

21. Reptilicus (1961)

Passed | 82 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

After copper miners discover part of the frozen tail of a prehistoric monster in Lapland, scientists inadvertently bring it back to life.

Directors: Poul Bang, Sidney W. Pink | Stars: Bent Mejding, Asbjørn Andersen, Povl Wøldike, Ann Smyrner

Votes: 3,418

The Danish Godzilla - 1961 was clearly the year of Eurozilla!!

22. King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)

Not Rated | 91 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

40 Metascore

A newspaper and television station funded by a pharmaceutical company want a sensation, which happens to be the discovery of King Kong on an island. He is captured and brought to Japan, where he escapes from captivity and battles Godzilla.

Director: Ishirô Honda | Stars: Tadao Takashima, Kenji Sahara, Yû Fujiki, Ichirô Arishima

Votes: 7,841 | Gross: $2.73M

aka King Kong vs. Godzilla

23. Varan the Unbelievable (1962)

Unrated | 70 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

A prehistoric behemoth is unwittingly awaken from hibernation due to a U.S-Japanese military experiment on it's watery lair for economic means, where it proceeds in attacking Japan.

Directors: Jerry A. Baerwitz, Ishirô Honda | Stars: Myron Healey, Tsuruko Kobayashi, Clifford Kawada, Derick Shimatsu

Votes: 614

The US edit of Giant Monster Varan

24. Gorath (1962)

Not Rated | 83 min | Action, Family, Sci-Fi

In 1980, a giant planetoid named Gorath is discovered to be on a collision course with Earth. Even though it is smaller than Earth, its mass is huge enough to crush the Earth and destroy it... See full summary »

Director: Ishirô Honda | Stars: Ryô Ikebe, Yumi Shirakawa, Akira Kubo, Kumi Mizuno

Votes: 567

aka Gorath

Featuring Maguma.

Third in Toho's trilogy of space-operas, the first being The Mysterians and the second is the non-kaiju film Battle in Outer Space.

25. Killer Whale (1962)

100 min | Drama, Fantasy

A fishing village is terrorized by a giant whale, and the fishermen are determined to kill it. A Japanese variation of the "Moby Dick" story.

Director: Tokuzô Tanaka | Stars: Kyôko Enami, Shiho Fujimura, Kôji Fujiyama, Kôjirô Hongô

Votes: 66

aka Whale God or Killer Whale


26. Atragon (1963)

TV-Y7 | 94 min | Adventure, Family, Sci-Fi

When an ancient underground civilization and their snake-like guardian plots to reclaim the surface world, those of the surface fights back.

Director: Ishirô Honda | Stars: Tadao Takashima, Yôko Fujiyama, Yû Fujiki, Kenji Sahara

Votes: 841

aka Atragon

Features Manda a giant snake.

27. Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)

Unrated | 89 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

A typhoon washes ashore a gigantic egg. It's soon claimed by greedy entrepreneurs who refuse to return it to its rightful owner, Mothra. Soon Godzilla arises near Nagoya, washed ashore by the same typhoon.

Director: Ishirô Honda | Stars: Akira Takarada, Yuriko Hoshi, Hiroshi Koizumi, Yû Fujiki

Votes: 6,960

28. Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)

Not Rated | 85 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

After a meteorite unleashes a three-headed beast upon Tokyo, Mothra tries to unite with Godzilla and Rodan to battle the extraterrestrial threat.

Director: Ishirô Honda | Stars: Yôsuke Natsuki, Yuriko Hoshi, Hiroshi Koizumi, Akiko Wakabayashi

Votes: 5,033

aka Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

29. Dogora (1964)

83 min | Crime, Horror, Sci-Fi

The Earth is attacked by a giant jellyfish monster from outer space that, for some reason, has a sweet tooth for diamonds.

Director: Ishirô Honda | Stars: Yôsuke Natsuki, Yôko Fujiyama, Hiroshi Koizumi, Nobuo Nakamura

Votes: 572

aka Dogora or Dogora, the Space Monster or Giant Space Monster Dogora

30. Gamera: The Giant Monster (1965)

Not Rated | 81 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

From out of the arctic comes a gigantic flying, fire-breathing turtle that sets its sights on destroying Tokyo.

Director: Noriaki Yuasa | Stars: Eiji Funakoshi, Harumi Kiritachi, Junichiro Yamashita, Yoshiro Uchida

Votes: 2,498

aka Gamera or Giant Monster Gamera

Daiei's answer to Toho's Godzilla franchise. The film is public domain, get from the Internet Archive:


31. Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965)

Unrated | 87 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

During WWII, a human heart taken from a certain lab in Europe (Dr. Frankenstein's) is kept in a Japanese lab, when it gets exposed to the radiation of the bombing of Hiroshima. The heart ... See full summary »

Director: Ishirô Honda | Stars: Tadao Takashima, Nick Adams, Kumi Mizuno, Yoshio Tsuchiya

Votes: 1,682

aka Frankenstein Conquers the World or Frankenstein vs. Baragon

How did a giant Frankenstein end up fighting monsters? Glad you asked, this is a good overview from Den of Geek:

The tale of how Frankenstein’s Monster arrived at Toho films is a long and storied one. In the 1960s, legendary animator Willis O’Brien wrote a script treatment where a giant version of Frankenstein’s Monster would face off against King Kong. Hollywood didn't bite, but Toho did. Toho was more interested in featuring their treasured Godzilla and produced Godzilla vs. King Kong instead. Toho became fascinated with the idea of Frankenstein and planned to produce Godzilla vs. Frankenstein. Toho eventually rejected the idea because Godzilla was still being used as a villain and they did not want him to put in the role of protector against Frankenstein, so they inserted a new monster, Baragon, into the script and produced Frankenstein Conquers the World. So what began in Willis O’Brien’s brain morphed into an amalgamation of madness.


32. Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)

G | 93 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Aliens from Planet X request the use of Godzilla and Rodan to fight off King Ghidorah, but have a better use for the three monsters.

Director: Ishirô Honda | Stars: Nick Adams, Akira Takarada, Jun Tazaki, Akira Kubo

Votes: 4,846

33. Urutora Q (1965– )

TV-PG | 30 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

The first television series produced by eiji tsyburaya,the special effects man behind Godzilla.In the vein of the outer limits and the twilight zone except with giant rubber suited ... See full summary »

Stars: Kenji Sahara, Yasuhiko Saijô, Hiroko Sakurai, Yoshifumi Tajima

Votes: 108

A kind of X-Files with giant monsters that laid the foundations for the Ultraman series.

34. Gammera the Invincible (1966)

Unrated | 86 min | Family, Sci-Fi

An atomic explosion awakens Gammera--a giant, fire-breathing turtle monster--from his millions of years of hibernation. Enraged at being roused from such a sound sleep, he takes it out on Tokyo.

Directors: Sandy Howard, Noriaki Yuasa | Stars: Albert Dekker, Brian Donlevy, Diane Findlay, John Baragrey

Votes: 959

A version of the original Gamera film edited for US audiences.

The film is public domain, get from the Internet Archive:


35. Gamera vs. Barugon (1966)

Not Rated | 106 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

A giant monster that emits a destructive ray from its back attacks Japan and takes on Gamera.

Directors: Shigeo Tanaka, Noriaki Yuasa | Stars: Kôjirô Hongô, Kyôko Enami, Yûzô Hayakawa, Takuya Fujioka

Votes: 1,876

aka War of the Monsters or Gamera Strikes Again or Gamera vs. Barugon

The film is public domain, get from the Internet Archive:


36. Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966)

PG | 83 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

A young man steals a boat to find his brother, but he and his shipmates become shipwrecked on a mysterious island inhabited by a giant sea monster and a slumbering Godzilla.

Director: Jun Fukuda | Stars: Akira Takarada, Kumi Mizuno, Chôtarô Tôgin, Hideo Sunazuka

Votes: 4,073

aka Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster

37. Daimajin (1966)

Unrated | 84 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

A giant stone statue comes to life to protect the residents of a small town against the depradations of an evil warlord.

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda | Stars: Miwa Takada, Yoshihiko Aoyama, Jun Fujimaki, Ryûtarô Gomi

Votes: 1,095

Another giant monster movie series from Daiei, unusually they are period films featuring samurai.

Available in a nice triple pack DVD set.

38. Return of Daimajin (1966)

Not Rated | 79 min | Drama, Fantasy

Giant statue exacts revenge upon those who conquer its worshippers.

Director: Kenji Misumi | Stars: Kôjirô Hongô, Shiho Fujimura, Tarô Marui, Takashi Kanda

Votes: 519

aka Return of Daimajin

39. Wrath of Daimajin (1966)

Not Rated | 79 min | Fantasy

In a mountainous region of Japan, Lord Arakawa kidnaps the men of nearby villages to use as slave labor, producing gunpowder from his sulfur pits. A band of young boys decide to rescue their enslaved fathers on their own.

Director: Kazuo Mori | Stars: Hideki Ninomiya, Shinji Hori, Masahide Iizuka, Muneyuki Nagatomo

Votes: 488

aka Wrath of Daimajin

40. The Magic Serpent (1966)

Not Rated | 86 min | Fantasy

In ancient Japan, a good lord is killed and his throne is taken by the trecherous Yuki Daijo and his wizard friend Oroki-maru. The young prince Ikazuki-maru is rescued from the jaws of ... See full summary »

Director: Tetsuya Yamanouchi | Stars: Hiroki Matsukata, Tomoko Ogawa, Ryûtarô Ôtomo, Bin Amatsu

Votes: 314

aka Battle of the Dragons

41. The War of the Gargantuas (1966)

G | 92 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

An experimental lab animal called a gargantua escapes from his captors and is suspected to be the creature that is killing people all over the countryside. But when the gargantua from the ... See full summary »

Director: Ishirô Honda | Stars: Russ Tamblyn, Kumi Mizuno, Kenji Sahara, Nobuo Nakamura

Votes: 2,197

aka War of the Gargantuas

43. Gogola (1966)


A scientist must find a way to destroy a giant, prehistoric beast that has been ravaging the city.

Director: Balwant Dave | Stars: Azaad Irani, Nayam Palli, Polson, Rani

Votes: 6

Bollywood Godzilla rip-off, pity as it is also lost as I'd watch it (and it is thought to be the only Bollywood monster movie, so it is historially important):


44. Ultraman: A Special Effects Fantasy Series (1966–1967)

TV-14 | 30 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

A human member of a defense force is given the life and ability to change into a giant super-hero to battle the monsters that wrecks havoc on Earth.

Stars: Susumu Kurobe, Sandayû Dokumamushi, Masaya Nihei, Bin Furuya

Votes: 452

45. Son of Godzilla (1967)

PG | 84 min | Action, Adventure, Family