Blu-ray, DVD Release: Godzilla

Release Date: Jan. 24, 2011
Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95
Studio: Criterion

Godzilla movie scene

Godzilla stomps across Tokyo in his 1954 movie debut.

Ishiro Honda’s 1954 Godzilla is, was and always will be the roaring granddaddy of all giant monster movies… and it’s more-than-deserving of the Criterion treatment.

It’s also a remarkably humane and melancholy drama film made in Japan at a time when the country was still reeling from nuclear attack and H-bomb testing. Its titular radioactive beast, a rampaging metaphor of an entire population’s fears, became a beloved international icon of destruction, spawning more than 20 sequels and spinoffs. This first spectacle continues to be a cult film phenomenon.

This Criterion edition of the classic movie presents the original Japanese version, along with Godzilla: King of the Monsters!, the 1956 American reworking starring Raymond Burr (Rear Window).

The film has a new high-definition digital transfer (on both versions) and an uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition, plus new and improved English subtitle translation.

Here are the special features:

  • audio commentary by David Kalat (A Critical History and Filmography of Toho’s Godzilla Series)
  • audio commentary for Godzilla: King of the Monsters! by Kalat
  • new interviews with actor Akira Takarada (Hideto Ogata), Godzilla performer Haruo Nakajima, and effects technicians Yoshio Irie and Eizo Kaimai
  • interview with legendary Godzilla score composer Akira Ifukube
  • featurette detailing Godzilla’s photographic effects
  • new interview with Japanese-film critic Tadao Sato
  • The Unluckiest Dragon, an illustrated audio essay featuring historian Greg Pflugfelder describing the tragic fate of the fishing vessel Daigo fukuryu maru, a real-life event that inspired Godzilla
  • theatrical trailers
  • booklet featuring an essay by critic J. Hoberman
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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.