Mothra vs. Godzilla

(also known as Mothra Against Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla vs. the Thing, etc.) is a tokusatsu kaiju film, fourth in the Godzilla series, produced by Toho Company Ltd. in 1964. The film was the product of the celebrated creative team of Shinichi Sekizawa (screenplay), Ishirô Honda (human drama), and Eiji Tsuburaya (special effects).


A news reporter named Sakai and his photographer Junko take pictures of the wreckage caused by a typhoon. Later on that day a giant egg is discovered on the shore. The local villagers salvage it, and scientists come to study the egg.

While Sakai and Junko try to ask Professor Miura questions about the egg, an entrepreneur of Happy Enterprises named Kumayama scurries the scientists off and explains that he bought the egg from the local villagers. Instead of letting scientists study the egg, Kumayama wants to make it into a large tourist attraction. Sakai, Junko, and Professor Miura are disgusted and believe that Kumayama has no right to keep the egg.

While the three are discussing the egg at a hotel, they discover Kumayama checking in. Sakai wonders aloud if somebody else may be working with Kumayama and investigates the matter. Kumayama walks into Mr. Torahata's room, the head of Happy Enterprises. As the two are discussing the billion-dollar tourist attraction, two tiny twin girls, known as the Shojobin, interrupt them. The Shojobin explain that they are from "Infant Island" and that the egg belongs to their god Mothra who lives there. Torahata and Kumayama ignore the girls' pleas and try to capture them.

The Shojobin escape the room and meet with Sakai, Junko, and Professor Miura outside the hotel. The girls beg them to bring the egg back too and the three promise to try as hard as they can to bring the egg back to Infant Island. The girls explain that if the egg is not returned, a larva will hatch and will cause great destruction to its surroundings as it searches for food. Sakai tries to write editorials but "...public opinion is powerless against the law."

The girls soon leave and even though they could not get the egg back, they thanked Sakai, Junko, and Miura for their kindness. While the three are testing for radioactivity in an industrial area, Godzilla suddenly pops out of Kurada Beach, where he had been blown ashore by the storm and buried under mud, and begins to attack Nagoya.

The editor of Sakai's newspaper believes that the military cannot do anything against Godzilla and discusses it with Sakai and Junko. Jiro, another reporter who loves to eat eggs, walks in and suggests that Mothra might be able to defeat Godzilla. Sakai and Junko are skeptical that the island would agree because atomic testing had destroyed most of their island, and they had failed to return the egg to them.

The two go to Infant Island anyway with Professor Miura. They are captured by the local villagers and are brought to the tribe’s chief. The three ask for assistance but, as expected, are turned down because of the atomic testing that destroyed their island, and Japan's failure to return the egg.

The Shojobin are heard singing and everyone walks towards them. Sakai, Junko, and Miura ask the Shojobin for Mothra's assistance but they are also turned down. Junko then pleads to all the villagers that not everyone from Japan should be blamed for what happened to their island. Godzilla is killing everyone and refusing their country assistance Sakai then adds that "we're all human" and that everyone is connected and must help each other. Mothra's screech is soon heard and the Shojobin ask everyone to follow them. They convince Mothra to help Japan but the monster is weak. Even if the fight between Godzilla and the monster is over, the monster will have no power to return to the island.

The next day, Kumayama barges into Torahata's room and demands Torahata to give him his money back that Torahata had recently swindled from Kumayama. The two get into a fistfight and Kumayama knocks Torahata down. Kumayama crawls into Torahata's money cabinet and begins to steal the money from it. Torahata wakes up and sees Godzilla approaching the hotel. He then grabs a gun and kills Kumayama. Torahata tries to escape with his money but Godzilla destroys the hotel, killing Torahata in the process.

Godzilla walks towards the egg and tries to destroy it until Mothra shows up. The two fight a tough battle where Mothra seems to have the upper hand. While on the ground, Godzilla fires his atomic breath into Mothra's face and kills her. Mothra dies with her wing resting on top of her egg. Godzilla walks away. The Shojobin then explain to Sakai, Junko, and Miura that the egg can be hatched today. The tiny twins soon begin to sing.

Meanwhile, the military tries to fight Godzilla by electrocuting him with "artificial lighting" but fail. The Shojobin continue singing and the monster egg finally hatches with not one, but two Mothra larvae. The Mothra larvae follow Godzilla to Iwa Island and use their cocoon spray on Godzilla to wrap the mutant dinosaur up in a cocoon. Godzilla struggles as he becomes fully wrapped up and plunges into the ocean. The Mothra larvae celebrate and return to their island.


  • Godzilla Against Mothra (International)
  • Godzilla vs. the Thing (US Theatrical)
  • Mothra Versus Godzilla (Translation of the Japanese Title)
  • Godzilla vs. Mothra (US-Video and TV)
  • Godzilla vs. the Giant Moth (UK Theatrical)
  • Godzilla vs. the Moth Monster (Original UK Television Title)


American International Pictures originally released the film in the United States in September 1964, and it opened in New York City on November 25, 1964. Retitled Godzilla vs. the Thing, Mothra's appearance was kept out of promotional material, which hinted that Godzilla's opponent would be a hideous tentacled creature and referred to it only as "The Thing". New York Times film critic Eugene Archer reacted to the film and its title: "Well, there are three things, not counting the movie. One has wings and looks like a big bee. The other two are hatched from the first Thing's egg, after quite a bit of worshipful kootch dancing from a pair of foot-tall native goddesses...".

In video releases of the 1980s, the film was titled simply Godzilla vs. Mothra. However, Mothra is still repeatedly called "The Thing" in the film, confusing many film-goers who thought "The Thing" and "Mothra" were two separate monsters.

This is the only Showa Godzilla film to be nearly completely intact for American release (a very few small unimportant scenes were editied out)


  • The upper lip on the Godzilla suit in this film has a slight wobble. This was originally an accident; in the filming of a scene where Godzilla smashes into the Nagoya Castle, the actor in the suit (Haruo Nakajima) fell, and the suit's head slammed into the castle, loosening the teeth. Special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya liked this so much that he wanted to keep the suit like that for a while.
  • The claw of Godzilla was made by FRP for the first time by this movie.
  • Another highlight of the film is the "Frontier Missile" sequence, where Godzilla was being attacked on a beach by American battle cruisers. This scene was featured in American International Pictures' United States version, Godzilla vs. the Thing. But this was actually a deleted scene in Japan (and not made exclusively for AIP, contrary to legend), and included only in prints outside Japan for international marketing. It was seen briefly in the original Japanese trailer. The reason for its deletion was that Japanese viewers, who were still sensitive after World War II, were supposedly offended by seeing American missiles hit Japanese ground.
  • This film marks the first appearance of Mothra in a Godzilla film. Mothra would go on to be Godzilla' most frequent kaiju co-star, appearing in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla, GMK, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., and Godzilla: Final Wars.
  • Although not mentioned as such, this movie along with Ghidorah the Three Headed Monster are made as Godzilla's 10th anniversary.
  • During Godzilla's initial assault on Iwa Island, composer Akira Ifukube originally wanted there to be no music. However, Ishiro Honda disagreed and added music during post-production and when Ifukube saw this at the film's premiere, he turned to face Honda behind him and gave him a dirty look. It's the only noted disagreement they've ever had in their professional careers.

Box Office

The film sold approximately 3,510,000 tickets in Japan.

DVD Releases

Simitar Entertainment

  • Released: May 6, 1998
  • Aspect Ratios: Widescreen (2.35:1) letterboxed; Full frame (1.33:1)
  • Sound: English (1.0), English (5.1)
  • Supplements: Godzilla trailers; Godzilla art gallery; Trivia game; Film facts; DVD-ROM (screen savers, printable art gallery, web access)
  • All Regions
  • Note: Contains the U.S. release

Sony Wonder (Classic Media)

  • Released: September 17, 2002
  • Aspect Ratio: Full frame (1.33:1)
  • Supplements: Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters melee video game trailer
  • Region 1
  • Note: Contains the U.S. release

Sony Wonder (Classic Media)

  • Released: November 7, 2006
  • Aspect Ratio: U.S. version - Widescreen (1.78:1; cropped from 2.35:1); Japanese version - Widescreen (2.35:1)
  • Supplements: Audio commentary by Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski, original Japanese theatrical trailer, poster slide-show, Akira Ifukube biography featurette
  • Region 1
  • Note: Contains the U.S. and original Japanese versions.

External links

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