Japan Release: 1998
Running Time:
140 minutes


Japanese Title


Distributor: Production:

Tristar / Centropolis / Independent Pictures

After nuclear tests in French Polynesia, an iguana's nest is exposed to massive amounts of radiation. This causes one of the newborn reptiles to mutant into a giant creature. The huge beast then attacks a Japanese fishing boat, leaving few survivors. One radiation stricken individual from the boat tells French officials what he saw: Gojira. Meanwhile, the US military sends scientist Niko Tatopolous to investigate some destruction caused in Panama. He concludes that the attack is in fact from a giant lizard that was created from the nuclear tests. The monster, later dubbed Godzilla after a news anchor mispronounces Gojira, lands in Manhattan in search of food. Leaving the city in disarray, as people attempt to evacuate, the military arrives to do battle with the creature. However, the monster proves adept at burrowing, complicating matters for finding the monster as it starts to nest in the city...

Live Action Science Fiction Kaiju Godzilla

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


International Title


Initial US Title

US Distributor: Tristar (1998) / Time: 140 Minutes

Alternate Titles

The Big Fin
[Working title]



Aliens, SDF & Misc.



Directed by Roland Emmerich
Writing credits Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio
Produced by Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich, Ute Emmerich, William Fay, Cary Woods, Robert Fried, Kelly Van Horn, Peter Winther
Music by David Arnold, Michael Lloyd
Cinematography by Ueli Steiger
Film Editing by Peter Amundson, David Siegel
Production Design by Oliver Scholl
Director of Special Effects Patrick Tatopoulos
Niko Tatopoulos, Doctor Matthew Broderick
Philippe Roaché Jean Reno
Audrey Timmonds Maria Pitillo
Victor "Animal" Palotti Hank Azaria
Hicks, Colonel Kevin Dunn
Charles Caiman, W.I.D.F. Anchor Harry Shearer
Elsie Chapman, Doctor Vicki Lewis
Ebert, Mayor Michael Lerner
Gene, Mayor's Aide Lorry Goldman
Lucy Palotti Arabella Field
O'Neal, Sergeant Doug Savant
Mendel Craven, Doctor Malcolm Danare
Jean-Luc Christian Aubert
Jean-Pierre Frank Bruynbroek
Jean-Claude Philippe Bergeron
Jean-Philippe Francois Giroday
Ed, W.I.D.F. Engineer Nicholas J. Giangiulio
Murray Robert Lesser
Joe, Elderly Fisherman Ralph Manza
Governor Greg Callahan
Anderson, General Chris Ellis
Caiman's Secretary Nancy Cartwright
Phelps, Admiral Richard Gant
Anderson, Lieutenant Stephen Xavier Lee
Leonard Jack Moore
Arthur Brian Farabaugh
Jules Steve Giannelli


Box Office

Release Date: July 11th, 1998 (Japan)
Attendance: 3,500,000 (Japan, Rough Figure)
Distribution Earning: ¥3,000,000,000 / $25,000,000 (Japan, Rough Figure)

Release Date: May 19th, 1998 (US)
Budget: $130,000,000 (US)
Attendance: 29,000,000 (US, Rough Figure)
Opening Weekend: $44,047,541 (US, 3,310 Theaters)
Total: $136,314,294 (US)

Worldwide Total: $379,014,294

DVDs and Blu-rays

United States Region 1 GODZILLA Tristar (1998) Order
United States Region 1 GODZILLA: Monster Edition Sony Pictures (2006) Order
Japan Region 2 GODZILLA Toho (2000)
United States Blu-ray GODZILLA Sony Pictures (2009) Order
United States Blu-ray GODZILLA: Mastered in 4K Sony Pictures (2013) Order
Japan Blu-ray GODZILLA Toho (2014)  

CD Soundtracks

(9910) [Unlicensed]
Come With Me
Come With Me
Come With Me: Remix

Background and Trivia

  • Sony submitted the film to the US copyright office on May 15th, 1998 with the registration number of PAU002235911. The title used was Godzilla, although it included the Romaji version, Gojira, and the movie's secretive working title, The Big Fin.
  • In 1992, Toho and TriStar signed a deal to make an American Godzilla movie, which was announced in October of that year. This is reported to include an upfront fee of $400,000 plus other undisclosed terms. Cited in Japan's Favorite Mon-Star (ISBN: 1550223488).
  • On May 2nd, 1996, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin were announced to be attached to the GODZILLA project. Roland Emmerich, set to direct the movie, originally pitched using more models and going with a budget of around $65 million. After their film Independance Day was a hit, though, this idea was tossed away and emphasis was placed on more expensive CGI shots. Noted in Japan's Favorite Mon-Star (ISBN: 1550223488).
  • After director Roland Emmerich and writer/producer Dean Devlin were attached to the project, Emmerich and designer Patrick Tatopoulous went to Tokyo in September of 1996 to meet with Toho executives, along with producer Shogo Tomiyama and special effects director Koichi Kawakita. Emmerich noted that he would only take on the faltering project, which had previously failed to get off the ground, if he and Devlin were given absolute creative control over the project. The reason being that Toho had previously given a list of guidelines in a 75 page document on how the character had to be treated. Just a few of the items included were:
    - Godzilla's birth has to be the result of a nuclear explosion
    - Godzilla must have four claws on its hands and feet
    - Godzilla must have three rows of dorsal fins along its spine
    - Godzilla does not eat people
    - Godzilla cannot die
    Emmerich was looking for more freedom, and had Tatopoulous unveil their design for the 1998 Godzilla. As noted in a May 25th, 1998 issue of Time, he then gave an ultimatum: "we either do it like this, or we don't do it at all. It's your trademark, but if you don't do it this way… you'll have to find someone else." In response, Toho said they would get back to Emmerich tomorrow. The following day, chief executive Isao Matsuoka of Toho told Emmerich that the project was greenlit. Tatopoulous noted that he was told that "the new Godzilla is miles away from the old creature, but that [Tatopoulous] kept its spirit."
  • The first screenplay for the movie was submitted on December 19th, 1996, following a five week retreat by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where they could focus on the script. Discussed in Japan's Favorite Mon-Star (ISBN: 1550223488).
  • Centropolis Effects employed more than 60 animators who worked on the digital effects in the movie. Mentioned in Japan's Favorite Mon-Star (ISBN: 1550223488).
  • Several large models and props were created for the movie. This includes a 300 pound, 1/24 scale model of the Flatiron building, which is destroyed accidentally by the military. A 1/24 scale version of the Chrysler Building, which is accidentally attacked by helicopters, was also built. A 35 foot ship model was created for the movie, originally as an oil tanker. However, the script was revised so that Godzilla attacked a fishing vessel at the start, requiring it to be repurposed. The attack sequence involving this ship was filmed at Universal Studios. Noted in Japan's Favorite Mon-Star (ISBN: 1550223488).
  • The catch phrase for the American promotion campaign was "Size Does Matter".
  • To promote the movie, two music videos were created around the production. One featured Puff Daddy and Jimmy Paige with the song "Come With Me", while another featured the band The Wallflowers and the song "Heroes". The latter was released on the home video editions of the movie in the United States.
  • Promotional partners, according to the Los Angeles Times, invested more than a combined $150 million in tie-ins for GODZILLA. Partners included Taco Bell, Hershey, Duracell, Trendmasters, Electronic Arts and more.
  • The movie's tight production schedule, given the huge amount of special effects, didn't allow for test screenings. Writer Dean Devlin laments on this fact, noting that they were "so determined to make [the May 20th date] that we built a schedule where we couldn't screen test, and we should have. I think we really could have improved the film…". Cited in the September issue of the The Star-Democrat.

Concept Art


Miles Imhoff Star Rating
August 3, 2004
Patrick Galvan Star Rating
September 28, 2014