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50 Greatest Godzilla Moments

What's That Coming Over The Hill?

The Moment: Twenty minutes into the original 1954 movie, Dr. Kyohei Yamane and his team finally discover what has been terrorising Odo Island when Godzilla emerges over the hill in front of them.

Why It's Great: After a stark, gloomy build-up of grieving families and mysterious footprints, Godzilla needed to be an entrance - and does just that, in a scene that can still have movie lovers squeeing with delight.

Museum Piece

The Moment: In a specially-shot teaser for Roland Emmerich's 1998 reboot, a group of schoolchildren is visiting a natural history museum when Godzilla's foot come crashing down on the skeleton of a T-Rex.

Why It's Great: Jurassic Park ? Too small. Emmerich likes to think big and perhaps nothing else in Godzilla's long history encapsulates the monster's sheer size.

Battle Of The Beasts

The Moment: The final battle in King Kong Vs Godzilla (1962) sees the titular beasts duke it out atop Mt Fuji, with Kong even trying to choke Godzilla with a tree! Both end up in the water; only Kong emerges. Has Godzilla died? [No.]

Why It's Great: A loving shout-out from one generation's giant monster to another's, as the king of Golden Age Hollywood shows up in Japan to tackle the local legend.

Seeing Double

The Moment: An enraged Godzilla is on the warpath… but who's this? Another Godzilla? The real creature has arrived to fight his interloper, the alien-controlled mechanical monster that is Mechagodzilla. Hence: Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla (1974).

Why It's Great: It's amazing that it took until the 14th film in the series to deliver the ultimate dust-up between two Godzillas!

A Deadly Choice

The Moment: Eyepatch-wearing scientist Serizawa, still hurting from memories of WWII, refuses to use the Oxygen Destroyer that would kill Godzilla… but also all other sea life. Yet, in Gojira (1954), when he sees footage of the devastation the monster has caused, as well as children singing a sad hymn, he realises he must do battle.

Why It's Great: The crux of the original movie, this is a sober, ultra-serious evocation of Japan's post-war anxiety and the benchmark for all subsequent attempts to make Godzilla mean more than just a cool monster.

Three Against One

The Moment: How does one defeat the titular baddie of Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster (1964)? Clearly, it needs three friendly monsters to join forces. Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra do just that.

Why It's Great: A major change in the franchise sees Godzilla persuaded to set aside his differences with previous opponents and become a good guy to help defend the Earth against a greater threat.

Bad Breath

The Moment: In the original 1954 movie, the Japanese military erect an electrified fence to keep Godzilla out of Tokyo. Yeah, right. Turns out that Godzilla has atomic breath, and his lethal halitosis makes short work of breaching the defences.

Why It's Great: A crucial, enduring element of Godzilla is revealed, as the creature's roots in nuclear war are translated into one of cinema's coolest methods of destruction.

Battle Royale

The Moment: If you're gonna make a movie called Destroy All Monsters (1968), you'd better make sure you end it with Godzilla and chums duking it out in one massive super-battle. In which case, job done.

Why It's Great: Featuring all your favourites alongside Godzilla - including Mothra, Rodan, Anguirus and the bad-ass King Ghidorah - this is pretty much the defining battle of Godzilla's early years.

RIP Godzilla

The Moment: In Godzilla Vs Destroyah (1995), Godzilla's heart begins to suffer a fatal nuclear meltdown and, despite defeating Destroyah, the strain proves too much and the beast dies.

Why It's Great: Sure, sure, Godzilla has 'died' lots of times but this film, fully intended as the final Japanese outing for Godzilla before the Hollywood version, remains the saddest and most tragic demise for the critter.

The Roar

The Moment: One thing hasn't really changed over the past 60 years: Godzilla's iconic roar, created by original composer Akira Ifukube using a resin-soaked glove, a contrabass and the equipment to slow down the playback.

Why It's Great: It is one of cinema's most recognisable sound effects. When you hear it, you know trouble is coming.