Sixty-five years ago today, Toho Studios introduced the world to a certain giant lizard with Godzilla, which premiered in Japan on Nov. 3, 1954. Here are five ways to celebrate the G-man’s birthday.
1. Watch the original film.
While the “suitmation” effects may look basic to today’s audiences, 1954’s Godzilla remains a riveting watch. Directed by Ishirō Honda, the film was made less than a decade after America dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which adds a terrifying dimension to proceedings as its titular creature destroys the movie’s cityscapes. The film was released in the U.S. under the title Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, with new footage featuring Raymond Burr.
Would we still be talking about, and watching, Godzilla films if special effects artist Eiji Tsuburaya had followed through on his initial plan of making the movie’s monster an octopus? Maybe not.
2. Listen to Blue Öyster Cult’s “Godzilla.”
The classic rock act kicked off their 1977 album Spectres with a monster-ous tribute written by guitarist Buck Dharma. Sample lyric: “He picks up a bus and he throws it back down / As he wades through the buildings toward the center of town.”
“I wrote the riff for that song in a Hyatt Hotel in Dallas,” Dharma said in an interview with Vintage Guitar Magazine. “The riff made me think of Godzilla, and I wrote the first verse right off the top of my head, then I labored for several more weeks to come up with more lyrics. I thought the music and the groove were reminiscent of that first Godzilla movie that Raymond Burr was in.”
3. See Godzilla play basketball with Charles Barkley.
Godzilla has been recruited to shill a range of products in commercials, from Snickers to Fiat cars. For entertaining lunacy, however, it’s hard to beat the 1992 Nike commercial which found the G-man being dunked on by Charles Barkley.
4. Watch Shin Godzilla
With 65 years of history to the franchise, there is a Godzilla movie for pretty much every mood you’re in, from 1967’s near-unwatchably dumb Son of Godzilla to this year’s epic Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the most recent attempt to make an American ‘Zilla movie. But if you’re looking for an adventure that pays full homage to the series then definitely check out 2016’s Shin Godzilla (a.k.a. Godzilla: Resurgence). Essentially an update of the original 1954 film, the movie unleashed a CG Godzilla on audiences and won Picture of the Year at the Japanese equivalent of the Oscars.
5. Look forward to Godzilla v. Kong
A sequel to both Godzilla: King of the Monsters and 2017’s Kong: Skull Island, this MonsterVerse match-up stars Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, and Kyle Chandler, and will invade theaters on March 13, 2020.
“I do want there to be a winner,” director Adam Wingard told EW, back in 2017. “The original film (1962’s King Kong vs. Godzilla) was very fun, but you feel a little let down that the movie doesn’t take a definitive stance. People are still debating now who won in that original movie, you know. So, I do want people to walk away from this film feeling like, Okay, there is a winner.”