Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster (1964)

ghidorah the three headed monster poster 1964 movie godzilla
5.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Act: 5/10
Visuals: 6/10

Ghidorah, big monster throwdown and debate

The human plot is pretty weak

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster

Studio:  Toho

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  December 20, 1964

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

ghidorah the three headed monster godzilla rodan mothra

Let’s team-up, gang! I guess…

Princess Selina Salno (Akiko Wakabayashi) is kidnapped from a plane by aliens but returns to Earth claiming to be from Venus. The target of assassins from within her kingdom Princess now gives visions of death. She predicts the return of Rodan and Godzilla but the death of Earth in the form of a beast called Ghidorah. When her predictions come true, the Shobijin (Emi and Yumi Ito) summon Mothra to confront Godzilla and Rodan because only together can they defeat Ghidorah.

Directed by Tomoyuki Tanaka, Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster (三大怪獣 地球最大の決戦 or San Daikaijū: Chikyū Saidai no Kessen aka Three Giant Monsters:  Earth’s Greatest Battle), has many names and is the fifth entry in the Godzilla franchise (as part of the Shōwa period).  The movie is Ghidorah’s first appearance and also is the first time that Godzilla acts as a hero.  It followed Mothra vs. Godzilla (also released in 1964) and was included by the Criterion Collection as part of Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954-1975 boxset (Criterion #1000).

ghidorah the three headed monster rodan

This is my big shot…I can be as famous as Godzilla if I don’t blow it…

Godzilla is an institution, and you pretty much know what you are getting into when you start a Godzilla movie.  There is generally an overly complicated story that leads to a big throwdown at the end…and Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster is pattern.

I love Godzilla, but there is way too much going on in this story. There is the Princess and Mars storyline which seems a really unnecessary way to get Ghidorah into the story. In addition to the coolly designed Ghidorah there is Godzilla and Rodan and Mothra. All seem underused since it takes them a while to even reach the screen. The whole human plot of the story is weak but it is traditionally the weak part of the story in a Godzilla movie. Kids just want to see monsters fight monsters.

ghidorah the three headed monster mothra peanuts

Who’s the cutest like kaiju? Mothra…that’s who!

I have to say my favorite part of this movie is when Godzilla, Mothra, and Rodan sit around and debate helping the humans by stopping Ghidorah. This actually happens in the movie. The three creatures meet up, start to fight but Mothra convinces them to talk. The whole debate is translated by Mothra’s little friends the Shobijin (who also get sing the so-awesome Mothra song a few times). It is ridiculous, but it is moments like that which make me love Godzilla.

Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster isn’t the best Godzilla movie, and I can’t really recommend it for the casual fan. Kids will love the movie for all the monsters but might get bored until the royal-rumble of monsters finally occurs. It isn’t a long film, and I almost enjoy watching the shorted dubbed version more for the full Godzilla Saturday afternoon effect.  Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster was followed by Invasion of the Astro-Monster in 1965.

Preceded By:

Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)

Followed By:

Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)

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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