Matt Metcalf is easily the biggest Godzilla fan that I know, and for the last few weeks, he’s been tweeting his way through the entire Godzilla filmography in preparation for the upcoming Godzilla: King of the Monsters. In other words, when he puts together a list of the 5 essential Godzilla films, I take him at his word.
As the longest running movie franchise in history, clocking in at 30 live action Japanese films and 3 animated, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the prospect of knowing where to start.
To help out, I am offering up five films that I consider to be both some of the best of the series and most closely related to characters and events of the new American film. These films will introduce you to the major players: Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah. They will also give you an appreciation for the variety found across the some 65+ years of Toho films starring Godzilla.
With such a long history the films are often broken down into three distinct “eras”, which are the periods of time that Toho was actively producing Godzilla films. These eras are: Showa (1954 – 75), Heisei (1984 – 95), and Millennium (1999 – 2004). I’ve selected three Showa era films, one from the Heisei era, and one from Millennium.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters arrives in theaters on May 30th, and based on the trailers and marketing so far, it looks like it’ll be an absolute blast to watch. I can’t wait to see it.