At the close of the 20th Century, all of the Earth's kaiju have been collected and confined in an area known as Monsterland, 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 Monsterland to live in peace.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
American 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.
Destroy All Monsters had a budget of roughly ¥200,000,000 and received an attendance of 2,580,000 on its original August 1, 1968 Japanese release.
Destroy All Monsters has received acclaim among Godzilla fans. The New York Times did not review the film upon release, but film critic Howard Thompson gave it a positive review on a re-release at a children's matinee with the Bugs Bunny short, Napoleon Bunny-Part, in December of 1970. He commented that "the feature wasn't bad at all of this type. The trick photography and especially the blended sweep and skill of the miniature settings provided the visual splash. The human beings, with good dubbed English voices, were a personable lot as they wrestled with some outer space culprits who had rounded up Japan's favorite monsters and turned them against the planet earth."
Among modern critics, Steve Biodrowski of Cinefantastique wrote, "In the end, Destroy All Monsters is too slim in its storyline, too thin in its characterizations, to be considered a truly great film. It is not as impressive as the original Godzilla, and it is not as hip as Monster Zero. But for the ten-year-old living inside us all, it is entertainment of the most awesome sort." Matt Paprocki of Blogcritics said the film is "far from perfect" and "can be downright boring at times" but felt that "the destruction scenes make up for everything else" and "the final battle is an epic that simply can't be matched."
This film has the greatest number of monsters 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 familiar faces from the Godzilla series, such as Mothra, Rodan, King Ghidorah, Minilla, Kumonga, Anguirus, and, of course Godzilla himself, the film also incorporates several other monsters that had previously starred in their own films in separate continuities. These monsters are Baragon, Manda, Varan, and Gorosaurus.
Very early scripts called for Kamacuras and even Gaira to appear.
In 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.
Destroy All Monsters was supposed to be the last Godzilla movie, but instead Toho decided to make more movies and aim them at kids, starting with All Monsters Attack.
Of all the kaiju in the film, Baragon and Varan are the least prominent. 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 appearance 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 instead, meaning the monster gained Baragon's burrowing ability. 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 inconsistency occurs in both the original Japanese and altered American editions.
Destroy All Monsters 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 second time Godzilla, Rodan and King Ghidorah were under alien mind control since Invasion of Astro-Monster. This is also the only time Mothra was mind-controlled by aliens.
The 2013 kaiju film, Pacific Rim, shares a similar concept of aliens trying to take over the Earth by using kaiju under their control.
Gareth Edwards stated that if the 2014 American Godzilla film was successful enough to spawn a sequel, he would do a Destroy All Monsters-type sequel.
This is a list of references for Destroy All Monsters. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: