Godzilla — The Japanese Original — Is Making Its Way Back Into Theaters

By Rudie Obias | Updated

This article is more than 2 years old

Godzilla in a scene from the film.  © Toho Co. Ltd. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED“Uncut. Uncensored. Undubbed.” With the upcoming release of the Godzilla remake, audiences around the world will be treated to the king of monsters’ return to the big screen. Now Rialto Pictures is planning to re-introduce the original Godzilla (Gojira) to American audiences in its original form, minus Raymond Burr, for the film’s 60th anniversary.

The film has been restored in its beautiful, black-and-white 1954 glory. Before the monster movie came to the States in 1956, Godzilla was already a box office phenomenon in Japan, a touchstone to the legacy of the atomic bombings during World War II. When Godzilla made its way to the United States two years after it was first released, TransWorld Releasing Corp. re-titled the film to Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, added about 40 minutes of additional footage of actor Raymond Burr as a journalist caught up in all of the destruction, and only used an hour of the original Japanese film. TransWorld spliced in the footage so American audiences could identify with the Japanese characters and make the film’s story more palatable for American audiences.

Now that Rialto Pictures is re-releasing the monster movie, a new generation can discover the beauty of the original Godzilla. The restoration will make its debut at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, which will be followed with a limited theatrical release throughout the country. The film’s first stop on the tour will be at the Film Forum in New York City for a one-week special engagement in April. Check out the rolling tour dates below:

  • April 18 – 24: NEW YORK, NY — Film Forum
  • April 25 – May 1: SANTA FE, NM — Jean Cocteau Cinema
  • May 2 – 5: PORTLAND, OR — Hollywood Theatre
  • May 2 – 8: SEATTLE, WA — SIFF Cinema Uptown
  • May 23 – 26: HOUSTON, TX — The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
  • May 28: LEXINGTON, KY — Kentucky Theatre
  • July 17: COLUMBUS, OH — Wexner Center for the Arts

Rialto Pictures also released a new trailer, but it doesn’t really feature any of the film’s restored footage. It’s worth watching though, just to hear Godzilla’s mighty roar!

A few years ago, the prestigious Criterion Collection released the original Japanese Godzilla with a brand-new transfer and restoration with new bonus materials, including the “Americanized” version of the monster movie. Now that Godzilla is back in the pop-culture limelight, this new re-release from Rialto Pictures will give people the opportunity to experience the brilliant original. Just imagine, there’s a whole swath of the general public who only know Godzilla from multiple cheesy Saturday-afternoon spinoff movies, or as Roland Emmerich’s remake from 1998.

Warner Bros. recently released a few stills from the upcoming remake. We have yet to see the new Godzilla in action, but with only three months until the movie is out in theaters, it’s likely we’ll see plenty more images to build anticipation and buzz.

At the moment, there are no plot details available for the remake, aside from the brief plot synopsis from Warner Bros., which reads: “An epic rebirth to Toho’s iconic Godzilla, this spectacular adventure pits the world’s most famous monster against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.” While vague, it seems as if the new movie might feature more than one monster facing off against Godzilla.

British filmmaker Gareth Edwards directed the new Godzilla reboot, following up on his 2010 directorial debut, Monsters from 2010. The movie features Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn, Bryan Cranston, and Sally Hawkins, with Akira Takarada from the original film putting in a special cameo appearance.

The original Japanese Godzilla remake will begin its rolling theatrical tour on April 18 in New York City, and it will stomp into theaters everywhere on May 16, 2014, in 3D and IMAX.


Godzilla in a scene from the film.  © Toho Co. Ltd. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED