The Return of Godzilla

Japan Release: 1984
Running Time:
103 minutes

The Return of Godzilla

Japanese Title


Distributor: Production:


Three decades have passed since Godzilla, a monster spawned by postwar H-bomb tests, turned Japan's capital city into a radioactive wasteland. Its wrath was brief and the monster seemingly disappeared from existence. After a long era of peace and prosperity, the horrors of the past return to haunt the Japanese people. A fishing boat, swept adrift in a typhoon, passes the volcanic Izu-Oshima Islands, which suddenly erupt in a series of violent explosions. This is accompanied by a blood-chilling, inhuman screech. The boat is discovered the next day, drifting aimlessly through the sea. All the crew are dead save for one, who testifies to having seen a giant animal rise from the island's strata. Tensions continue to build on an international level when a Soviet nuclear submarine is destroyed. Before long, the Japanese government is left with no choice but to tell the nation—as well as the world—that Godzilla has returned. The creature eventually comes ashore and decimates a nuclear power facility. Godzilla's true goal is absorbing radiation from the reactor core. During the attack it's discovered that the monster possesses a homing instinct similar to migratory birds. Scientists quickly arrange a strategy that could return Godzilla to a subterranean prison. Meanwhile, the military enacts counteroffensive strategies in hopes of destroying the beast. As both sides hurry to complete their plans, it becomes clear Godzilla will make landfall a second time, in Tokyo Bay.

Live Action Science Fiction Kaiju Godzilla

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


International Title

The Return of Godzilla

Initial US Title

Godzilla 1985
US Distributor: New World Pictures (1985) / Time: 91 Minutes

Alternate Titles

Godzilla: The Return of the Monster



Aliens, SDF & Misc.



Directed by Koji Hashimoto
Writing credits Shuichi Nagahara
Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
Music by Reijiro Koroku
Cinematography by Kazutami Hara
Film Editing by Yoshitami Kuroiwa
Production Design by Akira Sakuragi, Yasuyuki Inoue
Director of Special Effects Teruyoshi Nakano
Assistant Director of Special Effects Shinji Higuchi
Goro Maki, Reporter Ken Tanaka
Naoko Okumura Yasuko Sawaguchi
Hayashida, Biophysicist Doctor Yosuke Natsuki
Mitamura, Prime Minister Keiju Kobayashi
Hiroshi Okumura Shin Takuma
Kanzaki, Finance Minister Eitaro Ozawa
Minami, Geologist Hiroshi Koizumi
Emori, Foreign Minister Mizuho Suzuki
Takegami, Chief Cabinet Secretary Taketoshi Naito
Director-General of the Defense Agency Junkichi Orimoto
Gondo, Chief Editor Kei Sato
Homeless Man Tetsuya Takeda
Captain of Super-X Sho Hashimoto
Isomura, Home Affairs Minister Nobuo Kaneko
Kitagawa, Desk Editor Takenori Emoto
Henmi, Secretary Kunio Murai
General Hidaka, Environemental Director Yoshifumi Tajima
Captain of the Yahata Maru Shigeo Kato
Power Plant Guard Koji Ishizaka


Box Office

Release Date: December 15th, 1984 (Japan)
Budget: $6,250,000
Attendance: 3,200,000 (Japan)
Distribution Earning: ¥1,700,000,000 / $7,000,000 (Japan, Rough Figure)
Total: ¥2,550,000,000 / $11,000,000 (Japan, Rough Figure)

Release Date: August 23rd, 1985 (US)
Lease: $500,000 (From Toho in 1985)
Budget: $200,000 (US)
Marketing: $2,500,000 (US)
Opening Weekend: $509,502 (US, 235 Theaters)
Total: $4,116,395 (US)

Toho Stock Footage

DVDs and Blu-rays

United States Region 1 Godzilla 1984: The Return of Godzilla Kraken Releasing (2016) Order
Japan Region 2 Godzilla Toho (2002)
Hong Kong Region 3 The Return of Godzilla Universe (2006)
Japan Blu-Ray Godzilla Toho (2009)
United States Blu-Ray Godzilla 1984: The Return of Godzilla Kraken Releasing (2016) Order

CD Soundtracks


Background and Trivia

  • On April 13th, 1985, both Toho International and New World Pictures registered the film under the title "Godzilla is Alive", with The Return of Godzilla listed as an alternate title. It's possible this was considered for the US title before Godzilla 1985 was settled on. The first instance of Godzilla 1985 being registered was months later on July 28th, 1985, when Lisa Tomei's screenplay for the US version was copyrighted. The "Godzilla is Alive" record (document number V2115P473) and the Godzilla 1985 screenplay copyright (document number V2129P150) are found in the U.S. Copyright Office.
  • This is the first film in the Heisei Godzilla series, which ran for 11 years up until Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995). Despite being the first movie in the series, The Return of Godzilla was actually filmed in the Showa era. The Heisei era didn't start until January of 1989, with Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989) being the first entry in the Godzilla franchise to be filmed during this era.
  • The movie is a reboot of the continuity, ignoring all previous Godzilla films with the exception of Godzilla (1954).
  • 800,000 people saw the film on opening day in Japan. This information is found in the 1997 book Age of the Gods (self-published).
  • Actor Akhiko Hirata was the one to announce the movie to the press. During the briefing, the actor wore an eyepatch in nod to his role as Serizawa from Godzilla (1954). Noted in Age of the Gods (self-published).
  • Director Koji Hashimoto had worked as an assistant director on several of director Ishiro Honda's lighter-tone Godzilla movies such as Ghidorah, the Three-headed Monster (1964) and All Monsters Attack (1969) but was excited to make this film because it allowed him to make Godzilla scary, which he felt was more interesting. This fact is stated in The Making of Godzilla 1985 (ISBN: 409103151X).
  • Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka asked Reijiro Koroku to write a score which captured the feel of Akira Ifukube's music while simultaneously creating something new. Koroku felt this wasn't possible, so he wrote a score according to his own senses. Noted in The Making of Godzilla 1985 (ISBN: 409103151X).
  • In crafting the score, Reijiro Koroku used acoustic instruments such as strings and brass instead of synthesizers, because he felt acoustics better complemented Godzilla as a living, breathing creature. The "thumps" in the score's main theme were also intended as a musical image for Godzilla's footsteps. Account found in The Making of Godzilla 1985 (ISBN: 409103151X).
  • Composer Reijiro Koroku says he wrote the score in about four days. Noted in The Making of Godzilla 1985 (ISBN: 409103151X).
  • Assistant director Koji Matsumoto objected to the Super-X, feeling it was too outlandish. He felt real-life weapons, such as missiles or F-15s or F-1s, would've been more suitable. The account is contained in The Making of Godzilla 1985 (ISBN: 409103151X).
  • Director Koji Hashimoto stated shooting was great fun every day, the only difficulty coming from newcomer Yasuko Sawaguchi, who was playing the part of Naoko Okumura and was very inexperienced. Part of the difficulty was teaching her to mask her Kansai accent. Hashimoto, however, did appreciate Sawaguchi putting her heart into the role and was kind enough to let her see the rushes and pick out any scenes she wanted to reshoot. This information comes from The Making of Godzilla 1985 (ISBN: 409103151X).
  • Actor Akihiko Hirata was originally planned to appear in the movie. Unfortunately, the actor passed away in the summer of 1984 and had to be replaced by Yosuke Natsuki in that role. Noted in Age of the Gods (self-published).
  • Special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano has stated that his favorite three films from his work, in terms of execution of the special effects, are: Submersion of Japan (1973), Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974) and The Return of Godzilla (1984). Account found in Age of the Gods (self-published).
  • Special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano has lamented at how difficult the giant, 18 foot cybot version of Godzilla was to work with in the movie. However, it was Nakano himself who had convinced the studio to create it in the first place. As it turned out, though, Toho got a lot of use out of the prop in promotiong the film. In fact it was used to promote the movie both to the press and also later to the public in October and November closer to release. Noted in Age of the Gods (self-published).
  • To learn how specific buildings would crumble, Hashimoto consulted Yorihiko Ohsaki, a Doctor of Engineering. Ohsaki and his company, the Ohsaki Research Institute, turned in a 10cm-thick stack of paper detailing the hypothetical demolition of buildings in the Yurakucho and Shinjuku districts. Noted in The Making of Godzilla 1985 (ISBN: 409103151X).
  • Geophysicist Hitoshi Takeuchi served as a consultant on the film and recommended possible locations for Godzilla's defeat. Before ultimately deciding on Mt. Mihara, the staff considered staging the finale at Mt. Fuji and the Fossa Magna. The account is located in The Making of Godzilla 1985 (ISBN: 409103151X).
  • Against the wishes of other executives and producers, who wanted another monster in the movie, producer Tomoyuki Tanaka was the one who ultimately decided to have the feature focus on Godzilla. His desire in doing so was to make it feel more like Godzilla (1954). Cited in Age of the Gods (self-published).
  • Producer Fumio Tanaka, who worked on films such as Vampire Doll (1970) and The War in Space (1977), has criticized the movie in retrospect for not including another monster, saying that Godzilla "has no personality" and adding another monster would have helped with his motivation. This account located in Age of the Gods (self-published).
  • Actor Raymond Burr told the Washington Post that he welcomed the chance to play Steve Martin again, stating that "everybody thought I was out of my mind. But it wasn't the large sum of money. It was the fact that, first of all, I kind of liked Godzilla, and where do you get the opportunity to play yourself 30 years later?". This fact is found in Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of "The Big G" (ISBN: 1550223488).
  • In a 1985 People magazine interview, producer Tomoyuki Tanaka stated that he felt previously altering Godzilla to be a heroic monster "was a mistake" and that "this character change was responsible for his decline." Referenced in Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of "The Big G" (ISBN: 1550223488).

Concept Art


Miles Imhoff [New World] Star Rating
July 28, 2005
J.L. Carrozza Star Rating
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Alexander Smith Star Rating
October 17, 2012
Patrick Galvan Star Rating
January 4, 2015