On this day in 1954, Godzilla was first released. It’s a great film. If you base the film on later versions of it or on the monster movie genre over all, you will get the wrong idea about it. The film is at base a warning against the misuse of science. It starts with the true story of the fishing boat that was destroyed during the first hydrogen bomb test.
The film circles around the stories of two scientists. The first is Kyohei Yamane (played by the great Takashi Shimura), who comes to see Godzilla as a creature that shouldn’t be killed. The other is Daisuke Serizawa, who has developed a weapon that can kill Godzilla but is afraid to unleash yet another unthinkably powerful weapon on the world. Not surprisingly, these larger ethical considerations were removed from the English language release of the film.
I highly recommend checking out the film. The Criterion Collection Godzilla is particularly good with both the original and the America versions of the films. They both contain commentary tracks from David Kalat, who provides you with all the historical and cinematic context you could need for the films. If you have a problem with monster movies, this will help you to see it in a whole new way.