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50 Greatest Godzilla Moments

Monster Vs Machine

The Moment: By the 1980s, Japan has developed the Super X aircraft to defend its cities… but it's no match for a certain beast from the depths, as The Return Of Godzilla (1984) proves.

Why It's Great: When the original film series ended, Godzilla was just one of many kaiju; this 1984 reboot made the sensible decision to refocus on humanity's battle with the king of the monsters.

No Mercy

The Moment: Fan favourite Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) sees an attempt by Baragon to stop Godzilla in his tracks. Bad move - Baragon is pwned so badly that, at one point, Godzilla flicks his opponent skywards with his tail, where Baragon collides with a helicopter carrying a camera crew.

Why It's Great: GMK is a conscious attempt to make Godzilla as fearsome as possible, and this battle shows how little a chance a lesser-known kaiju has against him.

Revenge On Hollywood

The Moment: Ever wondered what the Japanese thought of the 1998 Hollywood movie? In Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), the American Zilla takes on the original, only to be blown to bits over Sydney Opera House by the latter's atomic breath.

Why It's Great: Revenge is sweet, as the character's 50th anniversary takes time to literally remove the franchise's most reviled moment.

Making An Entrance

The Moment: Titanosaurus is on the rampage in Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975), until he's knocked over by a familiar ray. We then see Godzilla looming in the distance amongst the smoke and rubble, before a crash-zoom into his face confirms what we already knew: Godzilla means business.

Why It's Great: It's one of the great entrances for Godzilla, not least for being shot at night so that the lizard dips in and out of darkness to add a moodiness that other brightly-lit appearances could never match.

Don't Mess With A Grieving Godzilla

The Moment: In Godzilla Vs Destroyah (1995), the latter creature kills Godzilla's adopted son, sending our hero into such a grief-stricken rage that he soon gains swift and devastating revenge over his opponent.

Why It's Great: This final bow for the second Godzilla series attempts to bring a tragic grandeur to the character, and near enough exceeds. Excuse us, we've got something in our eye.

Move Over, Godzilla, Your Time Is Up

The Moment: In only Godzilla's fifth appearance, he loses his name in the title to a new threat, the dragon-like alien that is Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster (1964).

Why It's Great: Threatening to oust Godzilla from his own movie? No wonder he gets so mad, in one of the greatest examples of a Godzilla sequel raising the stakes.

The First Of Many Deaths

The Moment: The end of Gojira (1954) sees Godzilla disintegrated after scientist Serizawa switches on the lethal Oxygen Destroyer - a cruel and devastating end for cinema's new anti-hero.

Why It's Great: While most Godzilla films are open-ended enough for the lizard king to return next time, this represents one of the rare occasions when Godzilla actually dies. [In the sequel, Godzilla Raids Again , the creature is identified as being a different Godzilla.]

Keep Your Trap Shut

The Moment: The final battle of Godzilla Vs Biollante (1989) sees the freaky flower/lizard hybrid overpower Godzilla, only to make a fatal mistake by opening its mouth just long enough for Godzilla to blast it with a dose of atomic breath.

Why It's Great: A stunning, visceral fight scene showcases the change in tone between 1980s Godzilla and his camp turns during the 1970s, but it's comforting to know at heart he's still the same old death-ray-breathing Godzilla of old.

Ouch!

The Moment: In Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla (1974), Anguirus is somewhat shocked when Godzilla rips off his pal's jaw; as he fights back, Anguirus wounds Godzilla only to find that underneath his skin is metal. It isn't Godzilla!

Why It's Great: Genuinely cruel and shocking, this is a superb reveal for one of Godzilla's greatest opponents.

Train In Vain

The Moment: Godzilla attacks Tokyo for the first time in the 1954 movie, and isn't going to let a train get in his way. Having put his foot down to stop it, Godzilla lifts a carriage and chows down.

Why It's Great: The first big set-piece in a Godzilla movie doesn't disappoint, especially given the moody monochrome camerawork disguises the wires and rubber suits well enough to make this genuinely unnerving.