Destroy All Monsters, released in Japan as , is a 1968 daikaiju eiga (Monster Movie). The ninth in Toho Studios' Godzilla series, it was directed by Ishiro Honda with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya and Sadamasa Arikawa. While the plot resembles that of Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965), this entry is significant in that it showcases 11 daikaiju, a record for the Godzilla series until Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), and the American animated Godzilla: The Series Monster Wars trilogy, which was a tribute to this film. Several of these (Gorosaurus, Baragon, Manda, Varan) had only appeared in their debut films at this point; others (Anguirus, Rodan, Mothra, King Ghidorah, Minilla, Kumonga) returned from previous Godzilla films.
When communications with Monsterland are suddenly and mysteriously severed, and all of the monsters begin attacking world capitals, Dr. Yoshida (Jun Tazaki) of the UNSC orders Captain Yamabe (Akira Kubo) and the crew of his spaceship, Moonlight SY-3, to investigate Ogasawara. There, they discover that the scientists, led by Dr. Otani (Yoshio Tsuchiya), have become mind-controlled slaves of a feminine alien race identifying themselves as the Kilaaks, who reveal that they are in control of the monsters. Their leader (Kyoko Ai) demands that the human race surrender, or face total annihilation.
Godzilla attacks New York City. Rodan invades Moscow. Mothra lays waste to Beijing, Baragon destroys Paris (but is actually Gorosaurus), and Manda attacks London, which is set in to motion to take attention away from Japan, so the aliens can establish an underground stronghold near Mt. Fuji in Japan. The Kilaaks then turn their next major attack on Tokyo, and without serious opposition, become arrogant in their aims, until the UNSC discover the Kilaaks have switched to broadcasting the control signals from their base under the Moon's surface. In a desperate battle, the crew of the SY-3 destroy the Kilaak's lunar outpost and return the alien control system to Earth.
With all of the monsters under the control of the UNSC, the Kilaaks unleash their hidden weapon, King Ghidorah. The three-headed space monster is dispatched to protect the alien stronghold at Mt. Fuji, and battles Godzilla, Minilla, Mothra, Rodan, Gorosaurus, Anguirus, Kumonga, Manda, Baragon, and Varan. While seemingly invincible, King Ghidorah is eventually overpowered by the combined strength of the Earth monsters. Refusing to admit defeat, the Kilaaks produce their trump card, a "burning monster" they call the "Fire Dragon", which begins to torch cities and destroys the control center on Ogasawara. Captain Yamabe pursues this new threat in the SY-3, and narrowly achieves victory for the human race. Godzilla and the other monsters are eventually returned to Monsterland to live in peace.
This version has been replaced on home video and television by Toho's "International Version." While uncut and widescreen (slightly cropped), it features an English dub track produced by William Ross' Tokyo-based Frontier Enterprises used to sell the film to overseas markets in 1968. Subsequently, American International Pictures found the dubbing to be substandard and handed the film over to Titan Productions in New York to record a new English dialogue track. Considered by fans and critics to be the preferred English-language dubbing, AIP's arguably superior version is unfortunately now considered "lost."
The New York Times did not review the film on first release, but film critic Howard Thompson gave it a positive review on a re-release at a children's matinee with the Bugs Bunny short, Napoleon Bunny-Part, in December 1970. He commented, "...the feature wasn't bad at all of this type. The trick photography and especially the blended sweep and skill of the miniature settings provided the visual splash. The human beings, with good dubbed English voices, were a personable lot as they wrestled with some outer space culprits who had rounded up Japan's favorite monsters and turned them against the planet earth."
In Japan, the film sold approximately 2,580,000 tickets.