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50 Greatest Godzilla Moments

Arrival

The Moment: A New York fisherman gets a bigger haul than he intended when he becomes the first person to see Godzilla rising from the waves in the 1998 movie.

Why It's Great: For sure, it's a rip-off from Jaws , but Emmerich certainly borrows wisely, teasing with just two spikes emerging from the water. Things are building nicely to the arrival of a threat that is impossible to ignore… so we'll just forget about all that silliness involving Godzilla going missing in Manhattan.

Eye Damage

The Moment: When Godzilla cells are blasted with cosmic energy in Godzilla Vs SpaceGodzilla (1994), it creates a new extra-terrestrial opponent: SpaceGodzilla. But the newcomer hasn't yet learned how to play dirty, which allows Godzilla to get the upper hand by gouging the alien's eyes out.

Why It's Great: 1990s Godzilla movies were a long way from the matinee charm of the past; this is as sadistic as our lizardly anti-hero has ever got.

Blast Off

The Moment: In Godzilla Vs Hedorah (1971), Godzilla finds a novel means of pursuing his opponent when he uses his atomic breath to propel him into the sky so he can… fly!

Why It's Great: Well, it beats Godzilla strapping a giant rocket pack to his back.

Space Cadet

The Moment: In Invasion Of Astro-Monster (1965), Godzilla makes his first trip into space when he is captured and reconditioned by the alien invaders of Planet X.

Why It's Great: Making the original movie look like a documentary, this (only the sixth film in the series) offering highlights just how bonkers Godzilla had become by the mid-1960s.

Bad Timing

The Moment: Godzilla faces down the army in the 1954 movie, only to be distracted as a nearby clock tower chimes. Cue a swift take-down of this new 'threat.'

Why It's Great: While the consensus today is that the first Godzilla movie is notable for its serious tone, it's doubtful it would be so loved without gloriously entertaining moments of destruction like this.

Clumsy

The Moment: An unexpected moment of comedy in Mothra Vs Godzilla (1964) as Gojira loses his footing and falls onto a temple. Sure, the end result is the same (the building gets destroyed!) but the execution is probably not what the creature had in mind.

Why It's Great: It's comforting to know that even the most fearsome of monsters can have a bad day at the office.

Face To Face

The Moment: Mitsuo Katagiri, head of Japan's Crisis Control Intelligence, unwisely decides to stand up to the big lizard at the end of Godzilla 2000:Millennium (1999). The creature is unimpressed, and kills Mitsuo by destroying the rooftop on which the human is standing.

Why It's Great: The third Japanese reboot of the Godzilla series, and the first following his misadventures with Roland Emmerich, restates Godzilla's credentials as no-nonsense bad-ass.

Welcome To Monsterland

The Moment: The premise of Destroy All Monsters (1968) sees Godzilla and his giant monster pals living in peace and harmony in Monsterland, an island reserve created by the U.N. to keep them all out of harm's way… but what if somebody lets them out?

Why It's Great: Several decades before Michael Crichton wrote Jurassic Park , the Godzilla series highlighted the dramatic advantages of keeping oversized eggs in one hazardous basket.

Crossover Appeal

The Moment: With Godzilla on the rampage, the people of Japan have little choice but to beg insect god Mothra to intercede on behalf on mankind, leading to Mothra Vs Godzilla (1964).

Why It's Great: By 1964, Toho Studios had enjoyed success beyond their iconic lizard. This is the first crossover with another Toho character, but far from the last.

Paradise Lost

The Moment: The opening sequence to Roland Emmerich's 1998 reboot offer the most stylish evocation of Godzilla's birth to date, as a Pacific island is subjected to a nuclear bomb test as a bunch of iguanas look on.

Why It's Great: Yes, we know that Hollywood got Godzilla wrong in 1998, but credit where it's due - these are great credits.