Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

Japan Release: 1964
Running Time:
93 minutes

Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster


Japanese Title

三大怪獣: 地球最大の決戦
[San Daikaiju: Chikyu Saidai no Kessen]

Distributor: Production:

Toho
Toho

A giant meteorite lands in the mountainous Kurobe Valley. An expedition to the site makes a startling discovery: the rock is growing, producing heat and has a strong magnetic pull. Meanwhile, after the apparent assassination of Princess Mas Selina Salno, a woman matching her physical appearance emerges. She claims to be from Venus and is able to predict the future. The woman warns of great calamity that will strike Earth stating at Mount Aso. The prediction is correct, as shortly afterwards Rodan emerges from the dormant volcano. Next, she attempts to stop a ship from sailing, which is carrying Mothra's Shobijin: the twin fairies. The ship's captain ignores the warning, although the Shobijin leave the ship in secret. Out at sea, Godzilla emerges and destroys the vessel. The King of the Monsters travels inland, confronting Rodan. While Godzilla and Rodan battle, the meteorite in Kurobe Valley breaks open. Unleashing a giant fireball into the sky, the inferno takes shape and forms the monster King Ghidorah. The three-headed monster flies off and, using its gravity beams, begins to destroy Japan at an alarming rate. With its destructive power far beyond any kaiju who has attacked Japan before, the government reaches out to the Shobijin, hoping Mothra might aid them. The twin fairies doubt their deity could stop the space monster, but have an idea that involves Godzilla and Rodan...

Live Action Science Fiction KaijuGodzilla

Box Office - Stock Footage - DVDs - CDs - Pictures - Background - Concept Art - Cut Scenes - Reviews

Titles

International Title

Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

Initial US Title

Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster
US Distributor: Continental (1965) / Time: 85 Minutes

Alternate Titles

Three Giant Monsters: The Greatest Battle on Earth
[Literal Translation]

Frankenstein's Monster Fights Against Ghidorah
[German Title]


Monsters


Aliens, SDF & Misc.


Staff

Cast

Directed by Ishiro Honda
Writing Credits Shinichi Sekizawa
Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
Music by Akira Ifukube, Hiroshi Miyagawa
Stock Music by Sei Ikeno
Cinematography by Hajime Koizumi
Film Editing by Ryohei Fujii
Production Design by Takeo Kita
Assistant Directors Koji Hashimoto, Ken Sano
Director of Special Effects Eiji Tsuburaya
Assistant Director of Special Effects Teruyoshi Nakano
Shindo, Detective Yosuke Natsuki
Naoko Shindo Yuriko Hoshi
Murai, Assistant Professor Hiroshi Koizumi
Mas Selina Salno, Princess of Sergina Akiko Wakabayashi
Shobijin Emi Ito, Yumi Ito
Tsukamoto, Doctor Takashi Shimura
Malmess, Chief Assassin Hisaya Ito
Okita, Chief Detective Akihiko Hirata
Chairman of Board Meeting Minoru Takada
Kanamaki, Editor in Chief Kenji Sahara
UFO Expert Somesho Matsumoto
Fisherman Ikio Sawamura
Murai's Assistant Kozo Nomura
Assassins Toru Ibuki, Susumu Kurobe, Kazuo Suzuki
Journalist Haruya Kato
Leader of the Assassins Shin Otomo
Hat Retriever Senkichi Omura
Wu, Butler Hideyo Amamoto
Tourist (Lost Hat) Yutaka Nakayama
Meteorite Scientist Yutaka Oka
Chief of Infant Island Yoshio Kosugi
Astronomer Heihachiro Okawa
Ship Captain Yoshifumi Tajima
Spectators in Crowd Koji Uno, Shigeki Ishida
Villagers Toshihiko Furuta, Kotaro Tomita

Posters


Box Office

Release Date: December 20th, 1964 (Japan)
Initial Attendance: 4,320,000 (Japan)
Initial Distribution Earning: ¥210,000,000 (Japan, Rough Figure)
Release Date: December 12th, 1971 (Japan, Re-Issue)
Re-Issue Attendance: 1,090,000 (Japan)
Attendance Total: 5,410,000 (Japan)

Release Date: September 13th, 1965 (US)
Film Rentals: $1,300,000 (US, Rough Figure)


DVDs and Blu-rays

United States Region 1 Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster Classic Media (2007) Order
Japan Region 2 Three Giant Monsters, Greatest Battle on Earth Toho (2001)
United States Blu-ray Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films Criterion (2019) Order
Japan Blu-Ray Three Giant Monsters, Greatest Battle on Earth Toho (2010)

CD Soundtracks

Compilations
Space Monster Dogora

Background and Trivia

  • Toho submitted the film to the US copyright office on September 27th, 1982 with the registration number of PA0000152335. Oddly, the titles used were the US title, Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster, and a modified version of the Romaji title for the 1971 re-release: Chikyu saidai no kessen : Gojira, Mosura, Kingu Gidora. Subsequent filings, to date, from Toho have continued to use the "Ghidrah" spelling, although Classic Media copyrighted the movie in June 23rd 2011 with the title Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster under registration number V3604D834.
  • Was originally scheduled to be released in Spring of 1965 in Japan. However, was decided it would be a New Year's film instead for 1964 and production was accelerated to accommodate. Noted in Age of the Gods (self-published).
  • The set for the Fuji village destroyed by King Ghidorah took over 500 man-days to construct. Mentioned in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Godzilla (self-published).
  • Director Ishiro Honda in an interview said that he was hesitant to let Mothra act a meditator in the film saying that he felt the "monsters in that sequence were far too humanized." Brought up in Age of the Gods (self-published).
  • Actor Yoshio Tsuchiya was originally cast as the head assassin Malmess. However, the extended filming required for Red Beard (1965) conflicted with this, which ended up running 8 months behind its original release date. So the part went to Hisaya Ito instead. Noted in Japan's Favorite Mon-Star (ISBN: 1550223488).
  • Toho re-released the movie in 1971 as part of the Toho Champion Festival. This involved editing the film and also retitling it. In this case the new title was "Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: The Greatest Battle on Earth" (ゴジラ・モスラ・キングギドラ: 地球最大の決戦 - Gojira, Mosura, Kingu Gidora: Chikyu Saidai no Kessen). For this process, the original trailer was also edited, to replace the title. It's believed that the original source of the trailer was used for this, as an unedited version of the trailer has yet to surface since the dawn of home video.
  • Generated $200,000 in film rentals in its first five days, and $1.3 million overall for the US. Cited in Japan's Favorite Mon-Star (ISBN: 1550223488).

Cut Scenes

Rodan from Mount Aso

Rodan from Mount Aso

As predicted by Mas Selina Salno, the monster Rodan emerges from the volcanic Mount Aso to take flight.

Background:
This was merely a non-satisfactory special effects shot that extends the sequence as it appears in the movie. Originally, the opening sequence of Rodan was to be in two shots - different from the final edit due to distance. However, the movement of Rodan's wings do not match up with the explosive squibs at the bottom of the set, which is supposed to give the illusion that Rodan's hurricane winds are blowing dust and debris all over the area.

 
Godzilla's Landing

Godzilla's Landing

After destroying a cruise ship, Godzilla ventures onto Japanese soil, decimating property in his path before Rodan appears overhead in the night's sky.

Background:
This sequence was originally longer, featuring some more creative filming as well. The most famous of the two deleted shots with this scene is one from an aerial point of view of the town, which can be interpreted as Rodan's POV. Another stunning shot which was removed from this sequence is a far away view of Godzilla attacking the city, allowing the size of the set being filmed on to be seen in greater measure.

 
King Ghidorah's Rampage

King Ghidorah's Rampage

From the sky, King Ghidorah racks the Japanese metropolis below with his gravity beams.

Background:
Some additional footage to this sequence was originally filmed, including some shots of the city before King Ghidorah strikes. There is also some low angle footage of the devestation his beams are causing that was removed from the final cut, such as the crashed tower above.


Reviews

Miles Imhoff [Continetal] Star Rating
February 22, 2005