Gamera the Invincible (1966)

5.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 5/10

Big monsters are always fun and funny, the Gamera song

Godzilla rip-off that doesn't really offer anything new

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Gamera the Invincible

Studio:  Daiei Film Co., Ltd.

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy-B-Movie

Release Date(s):  November 26, 1965 (Japan)/November 15, 1966 (U.S.)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


Hey guys! How’s it going?

An accidental dropping of a nuclear weapon unleashes an ancient giant turtle known as Gamera.  As the world debates what to do with Gamera, Gamera roams the planet seeking fuel for food.  When attacks on Gamera fail, Plan X must be enacted in the hopes of saving the world from the threat of Gamera.

Directed by Noriaki Yuasa, the American Gamera the Invincible (originally title Gammera the Invincible with two Ms it has since been just called Gamera) was an attempt to compete with the popular Toho Godzilla films.  The movie was known as大怪獣ガメラ Daikaijū Gamera (aka Giant Monster Gamera).  It has spawned sequels and its own following due to the Sandy Frank releases in the 1980s which were used for Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K K05 and MST3K #302).


Insert generic Americans here…

Gamera the Invincible is pretty much the equivalent of Godzilla, King of the Monsters!  With Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, the original Gojira was reedited with Raymond Burr for American audiences.  Here Gamera is “Americanized” by adding new scenes with American actors and these scenes covered some of the Japanese footage but did add five minutes to the overall runtime.

A turtle just doesn’t seem like the best idea for a monster since the general opinion of turtles is slow.  I like that the scientists’ big coup is that they flip Gamera on its back and hope that it will die.  Of course Gamera is an almost magical flying turtle, so no such luck.  It was helpful however because it did reveal which of the scientists were really Replicants (unnecessary Blade Runner reference).


Just a boy and his turtle

Gamera in my opinion just isn’t Godzilla.  Godzilla often looked cheap, but Gamera looked really cheap.  The problem with Gamera is that Godzilla had already turned goofy by the time Gamera was made.  The original Godzilla (or Gojira) was dark, but then as the movies progressed, Godzilla became goofy, funny, and a hero instead of a villain.  Here, Gamera already starts out goofy with his kid, turtle lovin’ friend, Toshio (or sometimes Kenny).  You also have the great Gamera song which doesn’t give any credit to making the franchise very serious.

Gamera is what you’d expect from a Japenese giant monster attack film.  It still is easier to find this 1966 Americanized version instead of the original…or the Sandy Frank versions.  With Gamera, you do get a big creature rampaging and destroying the world that breathes fire and flies…it just happens to be a giant turtle with its own theme song.  It isn’t an awful movie, but you might just want to stick to Godzilla…but the MST3K verisons are definitely worth checking out.

Related Links:

Gamera: The Giant Monster (1965)

Gamera vs. Barugon (1966)


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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