The 10 Best Godzilla Movies Ever

The word "dinosaur" translates to "terrible lizard," and no lizard is more terrible than mothereffing Godzilla.

Of course, by "terrible" we mean "completely awesome." Awoken by nuclear bombs, Godzilla is a giant (s)he-beast (the gender switches, depending on the flick) who breathes radioactive fire and wallops alien invaders, plus half of Tokyo, on the reg. The most famous of the Japanese Kaiju, or giant movie monsters, has spawned more than more 30 full-length features worldwide.

The latest Godzilla movie is American and slated to hit theaters in May, but we just saw the latest extended trailer and can't contain our own excitement, so we're revisiting our favorite Godzilla flicks now.

Godzilla (Original)

Whatever you're talking about, you've got to give it up to the original, and the Godzilla franchise is no different. Gojira, or Godzilla: King of Monsters in America, was released in 1954 and quickly caught global attention. The 164-foot-tall reptile-dragon-a-bomb hybrid emerged from the Sea to topple Tokyo for the first time, ray-breathing its way into the hearts of children forever. A real menace to society, Godzilla faced only the military (not that bombs can stop her) in this first feature, and actually, it ends with a "death scene," though clearly, the menace would be back.

Godzilla vs. King Kong

What do you do when you've got an international hit on your hands? You merge that hit with another hit in an epic east-meets-west battle of the ages. America's King Kong goes head-to-head with the Japanese behemoth in this 1962 motion picture classic. It's a popular myth that in the Japanese version, Godzilla came out victorious as opposed to an American win from King Kong, but it's really just a myth.

Mothra vs. Godzilla

Arguably the most famous of the Godzilla franchise, this episode form 1964 is the one you're most likely to see replaying on late-night television. Mothra is a giant moth (duh) worshipped by tiny island people, and she's a lot nicer to people for it than the giant dino. When the sea-monster emerges to wreak havoc on Tokyo once again, Mothra teams up with man-kind to try and put a stop to the madness. Mothra is joined by her two larva babies. Adorable.

Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster

Ghidrah is one of the baddest baddies in the whole Godzilla universe, and Rodan, the giant pterodactyl, makes an appearance. He's another of our favorite Kaiju. It even features another appearance from one of Mothra's babies. In this picture from 1964 (yes, two movies in one year), the monsters begin taking on human personalities, even having full-on conversations with each other, and the idea of monsters teaming up gets its start. Yes, things are starting to get really good.

Son of Godzilla

What's better than Godzilla? A baby Godzilla! Baby Godzilla made his first appearance in 1967, breathes little smoke rings, and is in all other ways adorable and ridiculous. Not actually the biological son of Godzilla, he's also a friend to children and helps with the whole "let's make Godzilla a kid's toy" angle. Maybe this isn't the "rawest" or most gruesome in the franchise, but it does have serious cute-factor and adds some depth to the beast.

Destroy All Monster

Flash forward to 1968, and we're talking about one of our all-time favorite Godzilla battles. Destroy All Monsters pits all the best Kaiju, from Godzilla to his son, Mothra, Rodan, Anguiras, and more, against the biggest and baddest bro, Ghidora (Ghidra with a new name). Originally meant to be the finale to the Godzilla series (lawls), all the monsters have been rounded up on Monster Island, where they live rather peacefully for a bunch of hyper-powerful skyscraper beings. Of course, peace is inevitably shattered with Ghidora rears his three ugly heads. But he's no match for the Partridge family of ferociousness.

Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla

In 1974, Godzilla spends more time protecting Tokyo than destroying it, aliens (space monkeys, to be exact) build their own robobeast to take him on. At first, the terrifying creature looks just like the real Godzilla, but whenever the monster is damaged, a bit of chrome peaks through, and the jig is up. Mechagodzilla is loaded with more missiles than the United States (alright, no one has that many missiles), so he makes for a rather formidable foe. Godzilla is joined by Anguirus and King Caeser, but only Godzilla had the strength (and weird magnet powers) to give the finishing blow.

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 2

In this 1933 re-imagination, Mechagodzilla isn't the bad guy coming from outer space, he's a good guy designed by the government to take Godzilla out. But the government started it by kidnapping the son of Godzilla, so we don't really feel bad for them. Rodan appears to try his hand at the bionic beat, but its no-go, and the King of Monsters is left to finish the job - not that it's an easy one by any means.

Godzilla Final Wars

After American studios released the dumbest Godzilla move ever, wherein Godzilla is some self-replicating scrawny thing and dies in the saddest cinematic monster moment of all time, Japan came back with this modern classic. Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the franchise, it again features a heavy rotation of monsters and a new baddie, Monster X. It's as over-the-top as ever with great focus on technology and - pop punk? Yes, it's cheesy, but what about Godzilla isn't?

Godzilla 2014

Oh. My. Godzilla. This doesn't look cheesy at all! This looks like it might just be the best Godzilla movie of all time. Bryan Cranston is breaking badass up in here as the U.S. gets a second chance at making Kaiju history. Everything about this trailer gets us excited, from the music to the teaser glimpses at the reimagined monster. It looks like he's about to do some serious damage, and we're officially counting down the days 'till May. Rawr, indeed.

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Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.

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