Tokyo is in ruins. The city is a smoldering, twisted, wrecked disaster. Steve Martin, a foreign correspondent from the U.S., awakens in a hospital “overflowing with the maimed and the dead.” Many of the survivors are suffering from radiation poisoning. Martin begins to recount his story.
He was on his way to Cairo, Eqypt, but was going to make a stop in Tokyo to visit college friend Dr Serizawa. While riding in his plane, sailors on a fishing vessel spot boiling water and are blinded by a bright light. The ship slips beneath the ocean, but radio operators manage to send out a distress signal. Martin and security officer Tomo Iwanaga push their way past the crowd into the office of the Nankai Shipping Company. The company dispatches a rescue ship, but it also catches fire and sinks. Martin reports back to United World News, that a total of eight ships have been destroyed under similar mysterious circumstances.
A fishing ship discovers survivors floating in the water, but they die shortly from “shock and strange burns.” The natives of Odo Island have also recovered a survivor, who also soon died. Martin and Iwanaga are among the investigators questioning the natives, who claim they saw a monster. Overnight, a fierce storm develops while Martin and Iwanaga are trying to sleep in a tent. A horrific roar is heard and buildings are smashed and torn. Many people die. There was much more in the storm than just rain, wind, and lightning.
Survivors of the Odo Island disaster testify before a government panel, all agree it was a creature that destroyed their village. Martin joins a research team lead by Dr Yamane and includes his daughter Emiko, marine officer Ogata, the man she loves. Emiko, however is engaged to Dr. Serizawa. The research team combs over the wreckage of the village at Odo Island. They find many radioactibe hot spots, including a footprint of a huge animal.Yamane finds a trilobite, thought to have been extinct for millions of years.
A prehistoric creature suddenly rises from above a hill, terrifying the inhabitants and visitors of the island. The beast returns to the ocean, leaving footprints on the beach sand. Dr Yamane tells a government committee he believes Godzilla, as the natives of Odo Island call the monster, is a cross between land-living and sea-living creatures originally from the pre-historic Jurrasic period. Repeated nuclear testing has apparently caused Godzilla to reappear.
Emiko, who is in a marriage arranged in her childhood, tries to tell Serizawa she is in love with Ogata. Before she can, he shows her the results of his experiments. He drops a ball-bearing sized object into a fish tank, killing all the fish. He swears her to secrecy to keep its destructive powers from becoming known. The Japanese Navy drops depth charges into the ocean near Odo Island in an effort to kill Godzilla. Yamane becomes morose: Godzilla should be studied, not destroyed.
Partiers on a pleasure cruise in Tokyo Harbor are the first to see Godzilla, who swims out to sea. The Japanese Defense Force mobilizes to defend the nation. Their efforts are futile when Godzilla returns. He crashes through an industrial sector, with hundreds of people fleeing and finally returns to the sea. Plans are made to use existing high voltage lines ringing Tokyo to electrocute Godzilla. Martin is standing by at the press office, to record a report of Godzilla’s destructive path through Tokyo.
Godzilla rises from the harbor and makes his way to shore. He rips through the electronic barrier as though it is made of sewing thread and paper mache. The military fires on Godzilla, but he shrugs it off. The efforts of the Japanese military are only an annoyance to Godzilla as he continues to stomp through the city, smashing and setting buildings on fire.
Martin is hospitalized, recovering from his injuries. Emiko admits that Serizawa showed her the oxygen destroyer, which removes oxygen from water, disintegrating anything in the water. Ogata and Martin convince Emiko she needs to convince Serizawa the oxygen destroyer must be used against Godzilla. Ogata confronts Serizawa about the oxygen destroyer. The scientist locks himself in the lab, but Ogata breaks in. After a brawl, a plea by Ogata, and viewing the awesome destruction on TV, Serizawa agrees to use the weapon against Godzilla.
Serizawa insists on joining Ogata in placing the oxygen destroyer in Tokyo Bay. Godzilla awakens from a sleep and begins moving toward the two men. Ogata returns to the surface, but Sarizawa remains underwater and activates the oxygen destroyer. The water bubbles and froths. Serizawa reports that it is working, and tells Ogata to “live happily with Emiko.” He cuts the cables to his diving suit.
The shipped is rocked by the bubbling water. Godzilla rises for moment and roars in agony before slipping under again. His flesh disintegrates, then his bones.
Martin reports, “The menace was gone. So was a great man. But the whole world could wake up and live again.”
Human Cast: Raymond Burr (Steve Martin), Takashi Shimura (Dr. Yamane), Momoko Kochi (Emiko), Akihiko Hirata (Dr. Serizawa)
Monster Cast: Godzilla
Notes: This is the English language U.S. version. Gojira is the original Japanese language version.
LogBook entry by Robert Parson