Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971)

gozilla vs hedorah poster 1971 movie smog monster pollution
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 7/10

Love the goofiness of this entry

Hedorah shouldn't have been alien, flying Godzilla

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Godzilla vs. Hedorah

Studio:  Toho

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  July 24, 1971

MPAA Rating:  PG


Yeah Hedorah…we’re watching you too!

The world is being polluted at record levels and when an alien entity crashes on Earth which consumes this pollution, the alien could doom the population by putting up toxins into the atmosphere.  Humanity’s only hope may be Godzilla who himself is also struggling with surviving in an ocean polluted by man.

Directed by Yoshimitsu Banno, Godzilla vs. Hedorah had the original Japanese title of ゴジラ対ヘドラ or Gojira tai Hedora.  The movie is the eleventh Godzilla film and part of the Shona series.  It followed All Monsters Attack (often called Godzilla’s Revenge) from 1969.  The movie was released in 1972 in the U.S. as Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster and divided fans and critics who saw the movie as either fun or awful.  The film was included by the Criterion Collection as part of Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954-1975 boxset (Criterion #1000).


Man…Man is responsible!!!

Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster (as I knew it growing up) was one of my favorite Godzilla movies.  It is has a Godzilla tunes-in and drops out hippy message that is interesting to contrast to the U.S. movement at the time.  I loved the funky late ’60s, early ’70s style which was the Japanese equivalent of an Austin Powers-esque look.  The “Save the World” message also was a fun combination since the hero of the franchise (aka Godzilla) is a radioactive monster (and I particularly like the U.S. dubbed “Save the World” song at the beginning of the film).


Love the Godzilla cartoon…where’s Godzooky?

The movie is like most Godzilla films however.  It has a monster show up, the people panic, and Godzilla show up to battle the monster and save them.  This is the standard format for a Godzilla film.  The movie also has a human story with characters investigating the reason behind Hedorah (and determining that it was alien) and how to help Godzilla stop it complete with a little kid who wants to be Godzilla’s friend.

With the “save the world” message, I rather wish that Hedorah had not been alien and had (like Godzilla) been a result of humanity’s pollution of the world.  Godzilla was the ’50s fear of nuclear radiation and the ’70s fear of global pollution was almost an evolution.  By making Hedorah alien instead of a result of our own actions negates the message…but it is still fun.


Now that is something you don’t see every day…

Hedorah is also one of the goofiest kaiju in Godzilla history.  He is lumpy, has googly red eyes and continues to evolves into an even lamer standing creature.  I like that he spews toxic waste, but once again, the movie doesn’t utilize this enough in the film.  With Hedorah you get some really awful music in this repetitive horn sound which is almost laughable plus weird animated scenes randomly thrown in.  In addition to the questionable Hedorah suit, the music, and the animation, the viewer is treated to the only time Godzilla flies using his atomic breath…it is a sight.

Godzilla vs. Hedorah was a bit of a box office disappointment.  The movie was originally going to have a sequel follow it but Banno was pulled as director.  With no Banno, Hedorah also disappeared until a cameo in Godzilla:  Final Wars in 2004.  The movie franchise went for more traditional roots with Godzilla vs. Gigan which was released in 1972.

Preceded By:

Godzilla’s Revenge (1969)

Followed By:

Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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