Godzilla's original name is "Gojira," a blend of the Japanese words for gorilla and whale. This giant lizard – who resembles neither gorilla nor whale – has starred in over 30 movies, including 2014's 'Godzilla.' Here he is through the years.
Where it all began. An ancient sea monster, awakened by a nuclear blast, surfaces and wreaks havoc on Tokyo. There's nothing campy or cute about Godzilla's chilling debut.
'Godzilla, King of the Monsters!' (1956)
This is a recut version of the 1954 Japanese film, with newly-shot scenes of an American reporter (Raymond Burr) spliced in to make it more appealing to the U.S. market.
'Godzilla Raids Again' (1955)
Back in Japan, a sequel to the blockbuster hit was quickly put into development. Here the lizard fights another giant monster. The "monster vs. monster" genre would soon become a mainstay of Japanese cinema.
'King Kong vs. Godzilla' (1962)
King Kong is imported to fight Godzilla to the death. The first Godzilla movie in color still stands as the most successful of the series in Japan (at least until 2014). Kong obviously added a lot of marquee value.
'Mothra vs. Godzilla' (1964)
Mothra was actually introduced in her own film in 1961. As her name suggests, Mothra is a sort of gargantuan moth, a peaceful creature worshipped on her own island and represented by these two tiny twin fairies.
'Son of Godzilla' (1967)
With the Godzilla movies being marketed more and more to children, a cute little monster was inevitable. And so we have "Minilla," adopted by the now gruff but lovable Godzilla. They battle various monsters; Tokyo isn't even on the radar.
'Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla' (1974)
Godzilla's studio struggled to keep coming up with new enemies for him to fight – hence this giant robot lizard. The 1975 sequel, 'Terror of Mechagodzilla,' would be the last in the series for ten years.
'Godzilla 1985' (1985)
This is the English language version of 'Return of Godzilla,' Japan's official reboot of the franchise after a Godzilla-free decade. For the U.S. theatrical release, the movie's American producer even brought back Raymond Burr for a few scenes.
Hollywood's first attempt to make a Godzilla movie on its own turned out to be a modest worldwide hit, thanks in part to slick digital effects and Matthew Broderick's agreeable presence – and no thanks to generally poor reviews.
'Godzilla 2000' (1999)
Japan capitalized on the success of the Hollywood 'Godzilla' with this installment. It was the last Japanese-made Godzilla movie to get a U.S. theatrical release, with all the original dialogue dubbed in English – but alas, no Raymond Burr.