Top 10 Godzilla Movies To See Before King of the Monsters

Last Updated on August 3, 2021

With GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS invading screens this weekend, many of you may be revisiting the classic run of kaiju flicks to prepare for the monster onslaught coming your way. With seven decades worth of movies to choose from, it may be daunting to find the diamonds in the rough, but there are definitely good ones out there. To help you prepare, here are our picks for the ten films in the ongoing Godzilla franchise worth checking out. If you disagree with our picks or think we missed one, let us know in the comments below.


In 1968, Toho created this massive crossover film that brough Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, King Ghidorah, Gorosaurus, Manda, Minilla, Anguiris, Kumonga and the alien Kilaaks along with Fire Monster for a film that destroyed cities across the planet and remains one of the biggest monster movies of all time. If KING OF THE MONSTERS has any sort of predecessor, it is DESTROY ALL MONSTERS.


The movie that started it all, the original GODZILLA was a metaphor for nuclear war and one that innovated the kaiju filmmaking style. It would be four decades before Hollywood even attempted a quality version of the monster character and it would be another twenty years before they finally got it right. Spend the time and watch the original subtitled version without the added Raymond Burr scenes and you will see why the series has lasted as long as it has.


Debuting the same year as Mothra, King Ghidorah is a much deadlier antagonist and one who provides for the most cinematic battles with Godzilla. The three-headed Ghidorah is a cool design with roots in mythology and has been one of the most recurring villains in the Godzilla series. While the showdown between the two is a centerpiece of KING OF THE MONSTERS, this original 1964 entry is one that still holds up well to this day.


The first showdown between Godzilla and his flying foe is one of the franchise's weaker films, plot-wise. But, the special effects were impressive at the time. They may be silly today, especially when it looks like Godzilla is fighting with a butterfly, but the difficulty in achieving the shots should not be ignored. Still, when you see how badass Mothra looks in KING OF THE MONSTERS, you will appreciate how much the monster has evolved in the last fifty years.


Gareth Edwards' reboot was a financial hit in 2014 but fans were left hoping for more monster in their monster movie. But, even if you were let down by the lack of screen time for Godzilla in this movie, the plot and narrative structure are key to following the story in KING OF THE MONSTERS. Whether you liked this movie or not, the production values alone make it a worthwhile watch in the pantheon of kaiju films.


Following the GODZILLA 2000 reboot, this film serves as a new crossover battle film between the three headlining monsters. Their updated designs and looks coupled with Godzilla fighting other monsters like Baragon. This film also focused on the idea of the monsters being Guardians and Godzilla serving as a protector. While that idea had existed for decades prior, the new Millennium franchise of films honed it in and serve as inspiration for KING OF THE MONSTERS.


The second reboot of the Japanese franchise, this film ignores all of the previous movies and introduces the foe Millennian, born of an ancient UFO at the bottom of the ocean. While a box office failure, GODZILLA 2000 worked to further distance the franchise from Roland Emmerich's 1998 film and brought the classic man-in-suit style into the 21st Century.


Also known as SHIN GODZILLA, this is the 31st entry in the overall franchise and the third reboot. Taking the beast out of the WWII/Cold War metaphor and updating it to the more recent nuclear disaster in Japan, the special effects are bumped up a notch as the film was designed to compete with the American reboot of the series. Much more inline with the Japanese style of Godzilla films, this monster was built with motion capture but still carries that classic look and style.


It is only a matter of time before the Hollywood GODZILLA franchise brings in the robotic foe modeled after the titular monster. This may be the film that most looks like an episode of Power Rangers, but it is also cool to see Godzilla fight against an opponent as close to his own skills as possible. While these movies never really strive for realism, this film is the closest we may get to a PACIFIC RIM/GODZILLA crossover.


As you can plainly see from the image above, this is nowhere near the caliber of special effects we are getting in recent GODZILLA films, even the ones made in Japan. But, the clash of East versus West monsters is a good palate cleanser for the same match up coming next year. Godzilla may be a badass but seeing him go toe to toe with Kong will be amazing to see with cutting edge special effects.


About the Author

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Alex Maidy has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.