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Tearjerker / Godzilla (1954)

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To reiterate: This is the darkest Godzilla film ever made in the franchise's overall chronology, and the first film of the franchise.
Prime example of Tragic Monster
  • The film is the saddest monster movie. Ever. Why? There's several sad scenes in this film that separates this from any other film, even American Monster films in the same year this was made. Sure, Terror of Mechagodzilla, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, and Godzilla: City On the Edge of Battle are sad in their own rights, but Honda used it in a much darker sense. You also feel sympathy for Godzilla, making as though everyone and everything's a victim of the nuclear apocalypse.
  • As paramedics carry out a mother's body on a stretcher, one of her daughters starts shrieking and crying for her. Emiko picks the girl up and tries comforting her, telling her the mother will be OK. After a nurse takes the child, Emiko starts to break down. It's very heartbreaking.
  • Perhaps the saddest moments — or at least the bleakest — came when Serizawa watched the TV coverage following Godzilla's rampage. The shots of the overcrowded hospital, with people (including children) suffering from radiation burns and regular-fire burns, would not have looked out-of-place in a World War II documentary about the firebombing of Tokyo or the atomic bombing of Hiroshima — events which, at the time, were only 9 years in the past and were still part of the viewing audience's direct experience. Then there's the choir of schoolgirls singing in despair, something that James Rolfe admits always gets to him.
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  • Shortly after the above moment, Serizawa finally agrees to use the Oxygen Destroyer on Godzilla. However, he states that it must be the only time that it is used. He then proceeds to wordlessly burn his research, looking at his notes fondly, one last time, before feeding them to the fire. Nothing is said, but Emiko breaks down in tears at the realization that Serizawa is sacrificing everything that he'd ever worked for in order to help them.
  • The moment when Godzilla is burning Tokyo and a mother and her children are up against a wall, and the mother says "Don't cry, we'll be with daddy soon, just a few more minutes and we'll be with daddy again." This moment is one of, if not the heaviest and most horrific scene in not just the Godzilla franchise but the entire kaiju movie genre. This moment is also why this film is considered a horror movie.
    • The mother dies in the hospital scene of radiation poisoning, and it's heavily implied that the father is dead, likely from the War.
  • About half the fanbase see this Godzilla as an embodiment of evil while the other half see him as just a confused and hurt animal. Godzilla's own roars sound unnatural and horrific, his skin is totally scarred and disfigured by the bombings and in general he looks less like the goofy hero most people are familiar with and more like a mutated, horribly scarred, disfigured abomination of a creature. His image is softened by the fact he is merely sleeping when Serizawa and Ogata come upon him with the Oxygen Destroyer.
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  • When you have a Godzilla theme that sounds like this, then you know it's not the cheesy B-Movie the later films became known for, and it shows.
  • The makers of the film painstakingly made the scenes of Godzilla's attack on Tokyo so eerily similar to how Hiroshima and Nagasaki looked after being bombed. Consider, for a moment, that Godzilla turns the city into a "sea of flames", and a similar event had actually happened just a decade prior to the film's release. Those who had survived the firebombing of Tokyo and saw Gojira in theaters would've definitely been reminded of those they had lost during the attacks.
  • Prayer For Peace, a song calling for peace after the aftermath of Godzilla's attack on Tokyo. It's a not so subtle theme where the devastation of the atomic bomb's destructive power and heavily emphasizes the film's theme of tragedy and the consequences that haunts the Japanese.
  • Ishiro Honda's life after World War II. He was a happy man who had an optimistic view on life. That immediately changed when World War II happened. As such, he spend most of his film making career making propaganda war films, only to be conscripted into the Imperial Japan's army where he was a foot soldier and was captured by the US military. After the war, he saw the most horrifying scene that haunted him for the rest of his life: The aftermath of the Little Boy Atomic Bomb. 9 years later, a Hydrogen Bomb test in the Bikini Atoll caused the entire nation of Japan on edge because of this. And thus Honda's war trauma is why Godzilla is a combined Horror/Tragedy film that has more weight than all of the series' sequels combined.

Alternative Title(s): Gojira


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