One of the top G-films most definitely, probably one of the best out of not just the Showa series, but the whole franchise. Its number three on my personal top ten Godzilla film list, right after "Godzilla vs. Destroyah" and "Gojira". I think it's a great work of classic cinema in general not just as a Japanese giant monster movie. It was the last film before Godzilla began his transformation into a hero and worse in the 70s a child star. It wouldn't be for another 20 years, in 1984's Return of Godzilla", that the Monster King would go back to his roots. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy some of those films, after all I highly enjoy "Terror of MechaGodzilla", and I absolutely adore "Ghidorah The 3-Headed Monster" and "Destroy All Monsters". But none of those have the effect of this one. Firstly, it was for the most part realistic and didn't have any ridiculous story lines like latter Godzilla films (like "Godzilla vs. Gigan" and "Godzilla vs. Megalon"). Plus it didn't involve aliens (not that I mind that. It's just that after 1968's "Destroy All Monsters", it becomes too often a part of the story). The plot is excellent work and the human characters I found entertaining. One of the best parts of the film is when the moral of the movie is exposed as Kenji Sahara's character tries to get away with the money after shooting his supposed business partner Kumayama (played by Yoshibumi Tajima) in the back in cold blood. However, his clean-getaway is inadvertently ruined by Godzilla, who in turn kills him. Director Honda was a World War II veteran, and abhorred violence, and yet we clearly see when Kumayama is shot in the head. It's a graphic type of violence rarely seen in the early films, though shoot outs would become common in the late 60s and 70s era G-films.
The message is that for one, greed never prevails. The anti-nuclear tone is still there, after all a Geiger counter alerts the characters to Godzilla's location right before he awakes. But it takes a back seat for another powerful message; that being the need for all nations to unite and stop being against one another, the movement towards a brotherhood of men. Honda always had a beautiful story to tell, and this is one of his best. Akira Takarada and Jun Tazaki star as well, as well as Hiroshi Koizumi. So many great actors in one film, including Yuriko Hoshi, who stars in the 2000 film "Godzilla vs. Megaguirus". The occasional comedic scene actually blends in but is not shown through the monsters. Godzilla's role in the film is very similar to his role in the first film, an unstoppable terror who walks the earth to remind humans of the mistake of "playing with the fire of the gods" as one character calls it.
Godzilla looked even better than he did in the last film and he really defines what the King of the Monsters is all about: maniacal and brutal yet symbolic destruction. His eyes are powerful and imposing and the spikes on his head are a nice touch. This is my favorite version for sure. There isn't a single touch of campiness in his movements or attacks, the best part of it all. The Monster King has another grand entrance and Ifukube's music really embodies his rampage. One theme, where he is attacking Nagoya, is sad and touching while another, when he first emerges, is dark and terrifying. Mothra, both adult and larva, look incredible and gave completely realistic movements throughout the film. The web effect is very nicely done and the adult throws a few neat moves in the epic fight.
When the two monsters battle, Tsubaraya makes sure the SFX give a presentable and creative show. The Mothra marionette is massive and moves as if it were a living creature. There are even shots where she appears as if she's actually breathing. The attention to detail in the film is monumental. And the many battles with the military are unique among G-films, especially against the artificial lightning generators. For once Godzilla is hurt, actually brought down to the ground, but of course not stopped.
And for once in a lifetime the American version doesn't go overboard and is pretty much left alone.I actually like the dubbing for the U.S.
Review by gigan-92 from the Internet Movie Database.