At the close of the 20th Century, all of the Earth's kaiju have been collected and confined in an area known as Monster Island, by the United Nations Science Committee, in the Ogasawara island chain. A special control center is constructed underneath the island to ensure the monsters stay secure, and serve as a research facility to study them. When communications with Monster Island are suddenly and mysteriously severed, and all of the monsters begin attacking world capitals, Dr. Yoshida of the UNSC orders Captain Yamabe and the crew of his spaceship, Moonlight SY-3, to investigate Ogasawara. There, they discover that the scientists, led by Dr. Otani, have become mind-controlled slaves of a feminine alien race identifying themselves as the Kilaaks, who reveal that they are in control of the monsters. Their leader demands that the human race surrender, or face total annihilation. Godzilla attacks New York City, Rodan invades Moscow, Mothra lays waste to Beijing, Gorosaurus destroys Paris, and Manda attacks London, which is set in to motion to take attention away from Japan, so the aliens can establish an underground stronghold near Mt. Fuji in Japan. The Kilaaks then turn their next major attack on Tokyo, and without serious opposition, become arrogant in their aims, until the UNSC discover the Kilaaks have switched to broadcasting the control signals from their base under the Moon's surface. In a desperate battle, the crew of the SY-3 destroy the Kilaak's lunar outpost and return the alien control system to Earth.
With all of the monsters under the control of the UNSC, the Kilaaks unleash their hidden weapon, King Ghidorah. The three-headed space monster is dispatched to protect the alien stronghold at Mt. Fuji, and battles Godzilla, Minya, Mothra, Rodan, Gorosaurus, Anguirus, Kumonga, Manda, Baragon, and Varan. While seemingly invincible, King Ghidorah is eventually overpowered by the combined strength of the Earth monsters and is killed. Refusing to admit defeat, the Kilaaks produce their trump card, a burning monster they call the Fire Dragon, which begins to torch cities and destroys the control center on Ogasawara. Captain Yamabe pursues this new threat in the SY-3, and narrowly achieves victory for the human race. The Fire Dragon is revealed to be a flaming Kilaak saucer and is destroyed. Godzilla and the other monsters are eventually returned to Monster Island to live in peace.
There was an initial screenplay with the preliminary title All Monsters Attack Directive, which would have many of the same elements, which would be used in the eventual film. However the difference was that the film would have ten monsters, instead of eleven. This first draft for the project included monsters that would appear in the final film, such as Godzilla, Kumonga, King Ghidorah, Baragon, Varan, Rodan, Mothra and Manda. The other two monsters included in the early script were Maguma from 1962's Gorath and Ebirah from 1966's Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster. The roles for the two monsters are unknown, except that Maguma was to be one of the guardians of the Kilaak base with Baragon, who would have been the ones to fend off the SDF. The film’s title was later changed to Destroy All Monsters, and Ebirah and Maguma were replaced with Anguirus, Minya and Gorosaurus.
U.S. versionsAmerican International Pictures released the film theatrically in North America in 1969. The Americanization was handled by Titan Productions (formerly Titra Studios).
There were some minor alterations done to prepare the film for U.S. release:
- Dialogue was dubbed to English (featuring the voices of actors such as Hal Linden).
- Dialogue: First line of opening narration changed from "It's the end of the 20th Century," to the year specific, "The year is 1998."
- Deleted: Opening credits; Moved to the end of the film and changed to white credits against a black background with the original Ifukube cue.
- Deleted: Shot of Minilla covering his eyes while King Ghidorah drops Anguirus.
This version has been replaced on home video and television by Toho's "International Version". While uncut and widescreen, it features an English dub track produced by William Ross' Tokyo-based Frontier Enterprises used to sell the film to overseas markets in 1968. Subsequently, American International Pictures found the dubbing to be substandard and handed the film over to Titan Productions in New York to record a new English dialogue track.
Critical reception of U.S. Release
The New York Times did not review the film on first release, but film critic Howard Thompson gave it a positive review.
- During Godzilla: the Series, there was a 3-part story arc called Monster Wars. During these episodes, aliens known as the Tachyons appeared and took control of the monsters of Earth. They are eventually defeated and their base of operations is turned into Site Omega or, as it is more commonly called, Monster Island. Also, elements from both Destroy All Monsters and Monster Wars were used in Godzilla: Final Wars, where a race called the Xiliens came, took control of Earth's monsters and used them to attack major cities.
- This film has the greatest number of kaiju to appear in one Godzilla movie of the Showa series, and the second greatest number out of all the movies, only surpassed in 2004 by Godzilla: Final Wars. While the film stars many familier faces from the Godzilla series, such as Mothra, Rodan, King Ghidorah, Minya (from the previous year's Son of Godzilla), Kumonga (also from Son of Godzilla), Anguirus (last seen in Godzilla Raids Again 1955), and, of course, Godzilla himself, the film also incorporates several other monsters that had previously stared in their own flims in seperate continuities. These monsters are Baragon (who had stared along-side Frankenstein's monster in 1965's Frankenstein vs. Baragon), Manda (the giant sea dragon from Atragon), Varan (from the 1957 film by the same name), and Gorosaurus (who had first been seen fighting King Kong in the 1967 film King Kong Escapes).
- Destroy All Monsters was supposed to be the last movie for Godzilla but instead they decided to make a another movie. The "new" movie was All Monsters Attack (Godzilla's Revenge).
- This film is one of only two films where the monster Mothra appears without her twin priestesses. The only other was Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001).
- Of all the kaiju in the film, Baragon and Varan are the least prominant. Both monsters are only seen in two, brief shots in the entire film. This is because the props used for both creatures were in a state of disrepair during the shooting of Destroy All Monsters. The Varan prop was 11 years old and not in good shape, and the Baragon suit had been altered considerably for an appearence in the Ultraman television series. Repairs on the suit continued even during shooting, and the planned scene of Baragon's attack on Paris had to be altered. Gorosaurus was placed in the sequence insted, meaning the monster gained Baragon's burrowing ability and, oddly, it's roar. In the scene that appears in the film, Gorosaurus is dubbed with the roar of Baragon, and in the scene where news of the monster's attacks on the world's major cities is reported on TV, the news anchor states that the monster attacking Paris is, in fact, Baragon. (This inconsistancy occurs in both the original Japanese and altered American editions.)
- The movie takes place in 1999, even though it was made in 1968 and all other movies are set in the year they were made.
- In the movie, Monsters vs. Aliens, the evil alien Galaxar commands his army to destroy all monsters. If one listens to the commentary, the creators say that the line was put in as tribute to the Toho movie. They also called it the greatest movie of all time.
- This film marks the 2nd time Godzilla, Rodan and King Ghidorah were under alien mind control since Godzilla vs. Monster Zero. This is also the only time Mothra was mind controlled by aliens.