Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Gojira (1954, Jp.) (aka Godzilla)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Gojira (1954, Jp.) (aka Godzilla)

In this influential classic, Japanese horror film by director Ishirô Honda, with effective special effects - the original 1954 version; Godzilla was a dormant (but revived) giant, fire-breathing, dinosaur-like, reptilian monster/creature; it had been awakened, irradiated and mutated by atomic H-Bomb tests in the ocean, revealed when ocean waters turned boiling hot. The film served as an allegory for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks almost 10 years earlier, and for the dawning of the nuclear age with continuing atomic tests in the Pacific:

The film was later released in 1956 as a shortened, re-edited "Americanized" version (with Raymond Burr as US reporter Steve Martin).

  • in the film's opening near Odo Island, a 7,500 ton Japanese freighter crew (owned by the South Seas Shipping Co.) on the Eiko-maru at sea was suddenly rocked by a mysterious, devastating explosion (signaled by a flash of light) and boiling water; after a distress signal was sent out, the ship sank; an SOS phone call was placed to the South Seas Salvage ship captain Hideto Ogata (Akira Takarada) to summon him to the Coast Guard office at once; at the time, he had to delay his dating plans with his new girlfriend-fiancee Emiko Yamane (Momoko Kōchi)

South Seas Salvage Ship Captain Hideto Ogata (Akira Takarada)

Ogata's Fiancee-Girlfriend Emiko Yamane (Momoko Kōchi)
  • a second South Seas ship, the Bingo-maru, that approached the same area, also suffered the same exact demise; during an investigation into the two tragedies by the Coast Guard and helicopters, three survivors were rescued by a fishing boat, but as they were being taken to nearby Odo Island, the fishing boat also sank and "met the same fate" in the same location; press reporters surmised possible causes: "Naval Mines? Undersea Volcano?"
  • near Odo Island, almost-dead fishing boat survivor Masaji Yamada (Ren Yamamoto) was found on his floating raft; he claimed before he expired: "It got us, and our boat too"
  • the villagers of Odo Island found that their fishing industry had been destroyed - there were no more fish; a superstitious, villager-inhabitant elder blamed everything on the ancient legend of a creature named Godzilla ("I knew it. It must be Godzilla") - an enormous, destructive and ancient sea creature (in the Japanese mind, a symbol of the nuclear holocaust); obviously, something in the water seemed to be eating the fish or ruining the eco-system
  • a newspaperman Hagiwara (Sachio Sakai) and the Coast Guard arrived by helicopter to further investigate; during a ritualistic dance that evening, the elder also explained how ancient sacrificial rites on the island used to satiate Godzilla ("a giant terrifying monster"), but not anymore, and the legend had come true about monster: ("Once it eats all the fish in the sea, it'll come ashore and eat people. In the old days, if the catch was poor for a long time, we'd sacrifice a young girl, send her drifting out into the middle of the ocean. This dance is all that's left of that exorcism ritual")
  • after a fierce typhoon, the devastated residents of Odo Island demanded disaster relief in Tokyo; it was reported that the storm had destroyed 17 homes and killed 9 villagers, plus the loss of 20 livestock (12 cows and 8 pigs); some stated that the crushing destruction came "from above" and therefore could be possibly be attributed to something other than the storm

Villagers Screaming in the Mud During Typhoon

Paleontologist Professor Kyohei Yamane (Takashi Shimura)

Emiko with Ogata on Board the Research Vessel
  • paleontologist Professor Kyohei Yamane (Takashi Shimura), Emiko's father, also testified during the government hearings in Tokyo; he urged the formation of an emergency research team to immediately investigate; a research vessel was quickly dispatched (including Yamane with his daughter Emiko and her fiancee Ogata on board)
  • Yamane's team surveyed the island's destruction and found traces of radioactivity (and strontium-90) in the villages' well-water, plus they hypothesized the presence of a giant ancient dinosaur (with radioactive footprints); they also discovered a prehistoric, previously-extinct trilobite
  • a warning bell signaled a brief sighting of the monstrous creature by some villagers on the other side of Hachiman Hill; Professor Yamane also saw it and exclaimed that the monster was "a creature from the Jurassic era" about two million years earlier
  • in an informational hearing back in Tokyo, Professor Yamane reported that the monster appeared to be about 165 feet tall, with origins as a marine reptile that evolved and became a terrestrial animal; he theorized that Godzilla had appeared in Japan's territorial waters only after being awakened in its sea cave "sanctuary" by repeated underwater H-bomb testing in the Pacific region; he concluded: "Godzilla is emitting high levels of H-bomb radiation"; following the report, there was very vocal debate about whether the information should be made public or not
  • by now, the radioactive Godzilla had gone on a destructive, terrorizing rampage, affecting the fishing and international shipping industries, and almost 20 more ships had been sunk, to date; one of Tokyo's female citizens, a passenger on a train (Shizuko Azuma) noted: "I barely escaped the atomic bomb in Nagasaki -- and now this!"
  • the seemingly-invincible Godzilla survived depth charge attacks from a squadron of 10 frigates sent to destroy him near Odo Island; Dr. Yamane was more interested in studying, understanding and researching Godzilla (and understanding its resistance to radiation) rather than killing him - and actually admitted that Godzilla was invincible: ("Godzilla was baptized in the fire of the H-bomb and survived. What could kill it now? Right now, our priority should be to study its incredible powers of survival")
  • in a sub-plot occurring in Tokyo, newspaperman Hagiwara was sent to interview Dr. Daisuke Serizawa (Akihiko Hirata), a reclusive colleague of Emiko's father and "Professor Yamane's future son-in-law" - although Emiko had already secretly chosen to drop Serizawa (she felt he was like an "older brother") and had selected a new boyfriend/fiancee - Ogata; however, she hadn't yet told Serizawa about breaking-up; the reporter asked for Emiko to be granted an introduction to Dr. Serizawa in order to speak to him
  • Dr. Serizawa (with an eye patch over his right eye) was rumored to be working on a Godzilla-related secret project ("a major breakthrough in defeating Godzilla") at his research laboratory; however, he refused to answer any questions about his work with the reporter, but then offered to privately demonstrate his secret weapon to Emiko that he had devised to destroy Godzilla - but only if she promised to keep quiet: ("you mustn't tell a soul"); after she nodded in agreement, he led her to his basement's locked 'mad scientist' lab, where she was horrified by what she saw (OFFSCREEN, a tank full of fish were turned to skeletons in mere seconds), covered her eyes, and screamed
Dr. Serizawa's Secret Weapon Demonstrated to Emiko
  • meanwhile, Godzilla (with deafening, stomping footsteps) continued to further rampage after emerging from Tokyo Bay, and then attacking the downtown area of the city of Shinagawa (a ward of Tokyo), a passing train, and destroyed a major bridge before retreating back into the ocean
  • during the crisis, research scientists and experts from around the world converged on the area to help aid the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and Coast Guard combat the monster; a barbed-wire security barrier (100 feet high and 165 feet deep) was to be constructed along the entire Tokyo-Yokahama coast and then electrified with 50,000 volts; it was designed to convince Godzilla (through electrocution) to turn back and stop devastating the area; everyone in the immediate coastal area around Tokyo Bay where the fence was erected was evacuated, and a security alert was issued
  • it was clear that the opposing views of Professor Yamane (who wanted to study the "priceless specimen" and why it survived such high radiation) and Hideto Ogata (who wanted to exterminate the "violent monster" on the loose) led to a falling out, and jeopardized Ogata's chances to marry Yamane's daughter Emiko
  • Godzilla was undeterred by the electric fence, broke through it with a blast of radioactive atomic breath (to irradiate, heat and melt the fence, causing radiation sickness), and continued to unleash its wrath and ravage the city of Tokyo by producing huge fires and "a sea of flames" everywhere, and an attack on a TV tower; eventually, the invulnerable Godzilla temporarily backed off into Tokyo Bay, in part after repeated attacks by heavy artillery, tanks and fighter jets
Godzilla's 'Atomic' Breath
  • distraught by the carnage, Emiko was compelled to go back on her word and break her promise by divulging to her fiancee Ogata what she had seen in Dr. Serizawa's laboratory; the film flash-backed to the laboratory sequence - and revealed what happened with the deployment of the secret weapon - instant skeletal fish
  • the flashback sequence continued with Serizawa's description to Emiko of his dangerous weapon (more powerful than atomic bombs) that he had developed - it was a device known as an "Oxygen Destroyer" that sucked all the oxygen from an aquarium tank full of fish, asphyxiating and then liquefying the living creatures instantly; he explained how he had unintentionally created a dangerous WMD superweapon: "I discovered an unexpected form of energy. After my first experiment, I was horrified at the power I'd unleashed. I couldn't eat for days. Just a small ball of this substance could turn all of Tokyo Bay into an aquatic graveyard...If used as a weapon, it could lead humanity to extinction, just like the H-bomb."
  • Dr. Serizawa felt he could be convinced to use the deadly device to benefit society by destroying Godzilla since there was no other alternative; but he was reluctant to use the device against the kaiju, knowing that its potential power could destroy all of mankind: ("Should anyone try to force me to use it before then, I'm willing to give up my life and destroy my work rather than let that happen"); the flashback ended

Instant Oxygen Destroyer - The Remains Were Skeletal Fish

Serizawa's Description of His Weapon to Emiko

"It could lead humanity to extinction..."
  • after Emiko divulged the Oxygen Destroyer to Ogata, the two decided to approach Dr. Serizawa and pressure him to save the world from "utter disaster"; Ogata confronted Serizawa and revealed that Emiko had broken her promise and had told him about his secret weapon; Emiko begged: "Please let him use it!"; Ogata begged: "You're our only hope", but Serizawa steadfastly refused: ("If it could be put to good use, I'd be the first to reveal it to the world. But right now, it's nothing but a weapon of mass destruction....If the Oxygen Destroyer is used even once, the politicians of the world won't stand idly by. They'll inevitably turn it into a weapon. A-bombs against A-bombs, H-bombs against H-bombs - as a scientist - no, as a human being - adding another terrifying weapon to humanity's arsenal is something I can't allow")
  • in response, Ogata again reiterated: "Only you can save us from this tragedy"; Serizawa realized that he had to destroy his research documents and lab notes-materials in order to prevent the Oxygen Destroyer from getting into the wrong hands, and being used as a weapon (after its use against Godzilla); however, he still feared that he had knowledge of the device's construction in his head: ("Even if I burn my notes, everything's still in my head. As long as I'm alive, who can say I wouldn't be coerced into using it again? If only I'd never invented it!"); however, Serizawa finally agreed to their appeals after viewing a TV broadcast surveying the devastation, and he saw schoolgirls singing a prayerful song for peace; he burned his notes as Emiko cried tears of joy
  • to plant the device in Tokyo Bay, a naval ship transported Ogata and Serizawa near to Godzilla's last known location, using a radiation Geiger counter; after the device was taken deep into the water by the two wearing diving suits, Serizawa unexpectedly ordered Ogata to the surface as Godzilla approached, in order to deliberately sacrifice himself (to save humanity from further destruction if the horrible weapon's plans were revealed to the world's superpowers); alone, he released and detonated his device underwater and cut his own diving suit air-hose - killing both Godzilla and himself

Serizawa: "Farewell"

Serizawa's Knife to Cut His Own Diving Air Hose

The Death of Godzilla
  • the film ended with Professor Yamane on the deck with cautionary worries that further nuclear testing of weapons might generate another Godzilla in the future and threaten civilization once again: ("I can't believe that Godzilla was the last of his species. If nuclear testing continues, then someday, somewhere in the world, another Godzilla may appear")

Freighter Crew Reacting to Flash of Light (Atomic Blast Underwater)

Burning, Sinking Freighter at Site of Blast

Lethally-Wounded Fisherman Masaji on Raft: "It got us..."

Village Elder: "I knew it, it must be Godzilla"

Newspaper Reporter Hagiwara (Sachio Sakai)

Masked and Costumed Ritualistic Dancer

First Sighting of Godzilla On the Other Side of a Hill on the Island

Ogata Protecting Emiko From the Monster

Professor Yamane Reporting On His Findings Back in Tokyo

Emiko Yamane's New Fiancee/Boyfriend Ogata

Emiko's Ex-Fiancee Dr. Serizawa (Akihiko Hirata)

Godzilla on a Rampage in Shinagawa (A Ward in Tokyo)

Different Points of View About Godzilla: Dr. Yamane and Ogata

Godzilla Coming Ashore to Break Through Electrical Fence Barrier

Fighter Jets Attacking Godzilla During Its Retreat

Dr. Serizawa's Description of His Fears About Unleashing His WMD

Emiko Cried Tears of Joy as Serizawa Burned His Notes and Agreed to Destroy Godzilla

The Oxygen Destroyer

Ogata and Serizawa in Diving Suits

Dr. Yamane's Concluding Cautionary Words


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z