Mothra vs. Godzilla

Japan Release: 1964
Running Time:
88 minutes

Mothra vs. Godzilla

Japanese Title

[Mosura tai Gojira]

Distributor: Production:


During a typhoon, a giant egg is washed ashore in Japan. Before scientists can study it, the local villagers claim the egg and sell it to entrepreneurs Kumayama and Banzo Torahata. They plan to showcase the egg as a tourist attraction. The tiny Shobijin suddenly arrive and try to convince the men to return the egg, as it belongs to Mothra. Instead, the business men unsuccessfully try to capture the faries. Undettered, Kumayama and Torahata begin construction of the dome for the egg. Just as the development is completed, though, Godzilla arrives on the mainland. With the King of the Monsters unopposed by military attacks, Japan tries to convice Infant Island to send Mothra for aid. The natives scoff at the request after the egg was not returned, but reluctancly consent after a heartfelt plea. An aging Mothra also agrees to fight Godzilla, knowing it will not survive...

Live Action Science Fiction KaijuGodzilla

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


International Title

Mothra vs. Godzilla

Initial US Title

Godzilla vs. the Thing
US Distributor: AIP (1964) / Time: 88 Minutes

Alternate Titles

Mothra vs. Godzilla
[Literal Translation]

Godzilla and the Prehistoric Caterpillars
[German Title]


Aliens, SDF & Misc.



Directed by Ishiro Honda
Writing credits Shinichi Sekizawa
Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka, Sanezumi Fujimoto
Music by Akira Ifukube
Stock Music by Hiroshi Miyagawa
Cinematography by Hajime Koizumi
Film Editing by Ryohei Fujii
Production Design by Takeo Kita, Akira Watanabe
Assistant Director Koji Kajita
Director of Special Effects Eiji Tsuburaya
Assistant Director of Special Effects Teruyoshi Nakano
Ichiro Sakai, News Reporter Akira Takarada
Junko 'Yoka' Nakanishi, News Photographer Yuriko Hoshi
Miura, Professor Hiroshi Koizumi
Jiro Nakamura, Reporter Yu Fujiki
Shobijin Emi Ito, Yumi Ito
Kumayama Yoshifumi Tajima
Banzo Torahata, Owner of Happy Enterprises Kenji Sahara
Arota, Editor Jun Tazaki
Politician Kenzo Tabu
Infant Island Chief Yoshio Kosugi
Head Villager Akira Tani
Japanese SDF Officer Susumu Fujita
Priest Ikio Sawamura
Sailor Ren Yamamoto
Soldiers Katsumi Tezuka, Tadashi Okabe, Kozo Nomura
Journalist Koji Uno
Villager Senkichi Omura
School Principal Yutaka Sada
School Teacher Miki Yashiro


Box Office

Release Date: April 29th, 1964 (Japan)
Initial Attendance: 3,510,000 (Japan)
Release Date: December 19th, 1970 (Japan, Re-issue)
Re-Issue Attendance: 730,000 (Japan)
Release Date: March 15th, 1980 (Japan, Re-issue) [Double Billed with Doraemon: Nobita's Dinosaur]
Second Re-Issue Attendance: 2,980,000 (Japan)
Second Re-Issue Distribution Earning: ¥1,550,000,000 / $7,000,000 (Japan, Rough Figure)
Second Re-Issue Total: ¥2,330,000,000 / $10,000,000 (Japan, Rough Figure)
Attendance Total: 7,220,000 (Japan)

Toho Stock Footage

DVDs and Blu-rays

United States Region 1 Godzilla versus Mothra Simitar (1998) Order
United States Region 1 Godzilla vs. Mothra Classic Media (2002) Order
United States Region 1 Godzilla vs. Mothra CineVu (2004) [Unlicensed]
United States Region 1 Mothra vs. Godzilla Classic Media (2006) Order
Australia Region 2 Mothra vs. Godzilla Studio Canal (2001)
Japan Region 2 Mothra vs. Godzilla Toho (2003)
Australia Region 4 Godzilla vs. Mothra Madman (2006)
Japan Blu-ray Mothra vs. Godzilla Toho (2010)
United States Blu-ray Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films Criterion (2019) Order

CD Soundtracks

Background and Trivia

  • AIP (American International Pictures, Inc.) submitted the movie to the US copyright office on August 26th, 1964 under the registration number LP0000029676. It used the US based titles Godzilla vs the Thing, Godzilla versus the Thing, Godzilla vs Mothra and Godzilla versus Mothra.
  • The Japanese English title, used on posters both for the initial release and also late as for the 1980 re-release, is Godzilla Against Mothra. Despite this, the international title is Mothra vs. Godzilla with Mothra getting top billing over Godzilla, which matches the Japanese title for the movie.
  • Composer Akira Ifukube and director Ishiro Honda ran into an out of character agreement on the film, where Honda, without approval from Ifukube, inserted the Godzilla theme into the final sequence just as Godzilla arrives on the island where the schoolgirls are. According to Ifukube, after giving Honda a hard stare for this, the director shrugged his shoulders and in a soft, innocent tone apologized. Mentioned in Age of the Gods (self-published).
  • The Nagoya Castle model cost ¥500,000 yen to construct. Noted in Age of the Gods (self-published).
  • Although he had worked as an assistant director before for special effects productions, this movie was the first time Teruyoshi Nakano was officially credited as an assistant special effects director. This is because there could be as many as four assistant directors for the special effects, each ranked. His work on this film was the first time he earned the rank of "first assistant special effects director" which also earned him the on-screen credit. Mentioned in Japan's Favorite Mon-Star (ISBN: 1550223488).
  • The idea to film an extra shot of Godzilla shaking the dirt off his body, after emerging from the ground, came from future special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano. Brought up in Monsters are Attacking Tokyo (ISBN: 0922915474).
  • It was director Ishiro Honda who approached actor Kenji Sahara about appearing as the villian in the movie. Although in stark contrast to the type of roles he had done earlier in his career, Sahara had recently come off playing a more seedy character the prior year for Matango (1963). Due to his success in that role, Honda approached him with: "Would you like to try again?". This fact is mentioned in the 2011 book Mothra Films Encyclopedia (ISBN: 9784862487612).
  • Prior to production, the film was pre-sold for distribution to American International Pictures. This lead to the situation where they were in a position to request an extra scene, which ended up being the Frontier Missile sequence. Assistant director of special effects Teruyoshi Nakano has no recollection of shooting the sequence, possibly as it was done rapidly without his presence, but stated the reason for it was because the "American distributors wanted films to have longer running times than the Japanese versions." Despite Nakano's sentiment, the final run time of the US version is actually shorter than the Japanese version. Cited in Age of the Gods (self-published).

Cut Scenes

Devastated Coastal Resort

Devastated Coastal Resort

A hurricane causes major flooding to a costal area of Japan, specificaly a costal resort.

In 1988, Toho released on VHS Toho Unused Special Effects, which showcased many deleted clips, edited back into the film scene or in comparison to their final version. In the case of Mothra vs. Godzilla, there are a couple of scenes. The one discussed here is an extended opening. Instead of a ship destroying what was seen as a coast line resort, we have a hurricane wave come up and crashing into a giant hedge which acts like an arc. Then the scene fades into an extended shot of the water pumps, with the scene beginning even further behind the pumps which allows the audience to see more of the devastation.

Extended Godzilla Emerges

Extended Godzilla Emerges

More than a year after the nuclear leviathan's climatic battle with King Kong, Godzilla awakens to raid Japan once more after emerging from the ground of a recently devastated site.

There was additional footage filmed for Godzilla's initial appearance in the movie than was shown in the final cut of the 1964 movie. As shown in the picture, there are some full body shots of Godzilla after emerging out of the dirt that were filmed for this sequence, but never used.

Extended Godzilla vs. Mothra Imago

Extended Godzilla vs. Mothra Imago

Mothra arrives to do battle with Godzilla in an effort to save both humanity and the deity's egg from destruction.

For the movie's first battle sequence, a lot of unused footage was filmed and cut for various reasons. To begin with, instead of Godzilla dazing at the giant egg before Mothra starts attacking, we get a shot of Godzilla looking up via a puppet to see the approaching Mothra. Later, the same puppet and the Mothra marionette fight each other in front of a blurry background piece. The rest of the battle goes on as in the film until Godzilla walks up to Mothra after burning her wing. An alternate angle of Godzilla approaching Mothra is used, and after the creature takes off to land on her egg we get a shot of Godzilla roaring from a low point of view.

Extended Godzilla vs. the Mothra Larvae

Extended Godzilla vs. the Mothra Larvae

Wanting to save humanity and to avenge their mother's slaughter, the two brave larvae do battle with the King of the Monsters.

Additional footage of Godzilla's final battle in the movie was lensed but never used in the final print. About seven seconds of Mothra spraying Godzilla was cut. An alternate version of Godzilla falling into the water was also filmed, with the sequence being shot from above using the Godzilla suit from King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962).


Anthony Romero Star Rating
February 3, 2004
Alexander Smith Star Rating
April 2, 2007