Godzilla (ゴジラ, Gojira) is a 1954 Japanese kaiju film featuring Godzilla, produced and distributed by Toho. It is the first film in the Godzilla franchise and Shōwa series. The film is directed by Ishirō Honda, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. The film stars Akira Takarada, Momoko Kōchi, Akihiko Hirata, Takashi Shimura, with Haruo Nakajima and Katsumi Tezuka as the performers for Godzilla. Godzilla entered production after a Japanese-Indonesian co-production collapsed. Tsuburaya originally opted for a giant octopus before the filmmakers decided on a dinosaur-inspired creature. Godzilla pioneered a form of special effects called suitmation, in which a stunt actor wearing a suit crushes a miniature set. Principal photography lasted 51 days and special effects lasted 71 days. Godzilla was released in Nagoya on October 27, 1954, and released throughout Japan on November 3, 1954, and grossed ¥183 million during its initial theatrical run. In 1956, a heavily re-edited "Americanized" version was released in the United States. The film spawned a multimedia franchise, being recognized by Guinness World Records as the longest running film franchise in history. Godzilla has since become an international pop culture icon and the film has been largely credited for establishing the template for Tokusatsu.
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