6. Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
This sums up the previous film (Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla) quite adequately in a credits montage, thus making anyone who watched the entire thing regret wasting their time on something that was so mediocre.
Terror of Mechagodzilla was not only franchise originator Ishiro Honda’s final Godzilla film, but his final film as a director, and you can usually tell when it’s him calling the shots – some rubbish model work aside, everything seems tighter and more controlled, with nothing extraneous in evidence.
This film features a team of experts dubbed the “Dinosaur task force”, which is wonderfully silly, and there’s also a genuinely dramatic final flourish to the film, being the final film in the series until 9 years later.
5. Destroy All Monsters (1968)
We follow what is basically the research arm of Jurassic Park but for Kaiju, then all the monsters (somewhat inevitably) manage to escape the island (creatively called Monster Island) and start attacking cities around the world. Needless to say they’re remote controlled by another set of aliens.
Destroy All Monsters has one of the simplest plots of the series and unlike most instalments goes all-in on the action almost from the start. This probably has the most detailed and widest variety of miniature sets and eleven featured monsters waiting to destroy them.
It’s not clever, but it is big and ambitious and a pretty thrilling ride.
Recommended for you: 10 Best Moments from the Jurassic Park Franchise
4. Godzilla vs Hedora (1971)
The hippies must love this one. It’s an anti-pollution treatise, man, but a really entertaining one with interludes for musical numbers, animation and trippy, surrealist imagery for good measure.
Godzilla fights an acid-spewing sludge monster created by mankind polluting the oceans. The concepts are high but the execution is decidedly more mixed thanks to a rushed production and limited resources. Luckily the politically-charged script packs enough of a punch to make up for the sometimes unconvincing spectacle – political Godzilla always makes for the most lasting, memorable Godzilla.
Godzilla flies using his atomic breath for the first time in this film, which is hilarious, albeit more than a little jarring.
Godzilla vs Hedora is pretty divisive among fans and wasn’t well received by the executives at Toho, to the extent that the director Yoshimitsu Banno was banned from working on the franchise again – at least until he ended up co-producing Legendary’s American reboot in 2014.