DVD Title
Gojira - Godzilla
International Title
DVD Length Original Length
96 Minutes 96 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
Classic Media 2006
Language Subtitles
Japanese English
Region Number of Discs
1 2
Aspect Ratio Sound
1.33:1 2.0 Mono
. Menus (English)
. Chapters (24)
. US Cut: Godzilla King of the Monsters (English, 80 Minutes)
. Trailers: Godzilla, Godzilla King of the Monsters
. Godzilla Story Development (13 Minutes)
. Making of the Godzilla Suit (13 Minutes)
. Commentary with Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski (English)
. Commentary on the US version with Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski (English)
. 12 page essay by Steve Ryfle found in the booklet

This disc marks the first, in what is hopefully many, quality releases from Classic Media that places their earlier budget titles, rightfully, to shame. The company starts off their "new leaf" with the much anticipated two disc release of the original Ishiro Honda classic: Godzilla. Overall, the set gives a nice presentation with decent video and audio tracks for the aging film, while also including a wealth of extras including the entire US version of the movie.


Given the age of the movie, Classic Media has included a decent presentation of the feature film. The most noticeable thing about it is the shape of the print used for the transfer, which features a near constant level of dirt and scratches through out in levels comparable to what was seen on the theatrical Rialto release of the movie in 2004. In general, this seems to be the worst at the start of the film and gradually decreases as the movie continues, although never really vanishes completely. On the plus side, Godzilla looks fairly sharp for a 52 year old film, a feature of the video presentation that can be touted over the two region 2 releases. Unfortunately, the aspect ratio is a little messed up on the Classic Media release. The movie itself seems to have had the very top of the image cut off, for whatever reason. On a DVD-Rom drive this will cause for a black space to be seen at the top of the screen. On a normal full screen TV, though, the movie will fill the viewing area, but will crop the left and right of the image to achieve this. Overall, it's not enough space to probably be noticeable unless it's pointed out, but why this error is even present at all is a better question as it gives the video tracks on both region 2 releases a sizeable edge over this one.


Gojira features a 2.0 mono audio track of the film in Japanese. In terms of quality, the track sounds good, as it features only a few audible pops or crackles. The dialogue isn't always as crystal clear as it could have been, but given the age of the film it's more than serviceable.

The audio can be accompanied with, removable, English subtitles.


In terms of supplemental content, this set is packed with features for more dedicated fans of the title character to mill over. The first of these is a commentary done by Steve Ryfle and Ed Godziszewski for the feature film. The commentary is very insightful overall, going into the background on several of the people involved in the production including composer Akira Ifukube and his methods for creating the trademark sound effects and music heard during the movie. The two also briefly talk about how the kaiju genre has changed over the years after this groundbreaking movie, and how this film differs from those that followed both in the Godzilla series and other monster movies done by Toho. The pair also debunk some long standing rumors about the film, which is also nice to hear.

The first disc in the set also has two other features related to the film, both of which are very similar, although not identical, to ones that appeared on the earlier BFI release on region 2. The first is an excellent 13 minute documentary on the making of the story behind the film, which goes into great depth in relation to the cut scenes of the movie and concepts that were drafted but never made filmed. The next short is another 13 minute documentary, this time focusing on the hurdles and challenges facing the staff behind creating the Godzilla suit. Both documentaries are loaded with rare shots and stills related to the narration, which is done by Ed Godziszewski. The movie's original trailer is also present, although not in the best condition. Overall, the advert is very dark and hard to make out with noticeable print damage, but far from unwatchable all the same.

The most stand out feature of this set, though, is easily the inclusion of the US version of Godzilla, which makes an excellent side companion to the original. The set has the full US cut on the second disc, complete with 9 chapter stops for easier navigation. In terms of quality, it's comparable to the previous Classic Media release: Godzilla King of the Monsters, which isn't great but it's more than watchable. The audio also gets a little harsh in parts, but nothing too severe. Thankfully, the aspect ratio problem found on the Japanese version is not present on the US cut. In contrast to the Simitar version, with a shot from this version versus the 1998 release, the handling of digital inconsistencies is still a large improvement with the movie looking far sharper and without obvious signs of shimmering. The real surprising thing about this presentation, though, is the inclusion of the original English credits. Now the quality during this segment is much worse than any other part of the movie, with the audio becoming very soft and there being noticeable print damage, but it's so rare that it's great to see it included regardless.

A commentary track for the US version is also available in this set, again from Ryfle and Godziszewski. For this track, the pair go into generous detail on how this version came to be made and general observations about the techniques utilized to try and blend actor Raymond Burr into the movie. The commentary also contains excerpts from earlier interviews with Edmund Goldman, who purchased the North American rights to the film from Toho. The pair's conversation even touches briefly on the infamous Americanization of the later Toho film Varan (1958) too. Overall, the commentary is very well done, one of the more enjoyable I have heard in fact, and is a highly recommended feature.

Something else worth mentioning here is the menu layout of this release, which is simply breathtaking when first witnessed. Without any reservation, I would say that this is the most thought out and well done menu presentation of a Toho film that I have seen to date. For this set, Classic Media has gone for a look that recreates a newspaper style of layout that is excellently complimented by stills and adverts for the film. This look to the menus is also found on both the first and second disc, while each sub-section has its own distinct menu while the view "pans" over to that respective area.

Finally, the release also contains a 12 page essay by author Steve Ryfle that includes two nice promotional stills and even more background information on the feature film, most of which comes from his book Japan's Favorite Mon-Star.

It should be noted that the wealth of extras present easily merit a full score; however, it doesn't necessarily mean that this is the most supplemental filled presentation of the movie to date, as this disc lacks the galleries and the "The Japanese Fishermen" documentary that were present on the BFI release. The interview with composer Akira Ifukube, present on Toho's region 2, is also missing. Furthermore, there were some other features planned for this release, that were intended to be unique to the Classic Media set, but for various reasons were dropped back in July of this year and are not present.

 Overview: Star Rating

Bottom line, Classic Media has come along way since they first released DVDs like Rodan in 2002, and it's nice to see them become a company to look toward for quality releases. This release in particular is a very excellent one from the company, including a nice package design and outstanding menus. Is this the definitive DVD version of the movie as hoped for? Sadly, I'd say no. That title probably belongs to the BFI region 2 release. However, this release is the only way to experience the uncut Godzilla on region 1 DVD, and is the best way to experience the 1956 US version of the picture, giving non-importers and people who enjoy the US edit ample reason to pick this up.

This disc is also featured in the DVD box set: The Godzilla Collection.

- Anthony Romero  
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