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Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
"San daikaijû: Chikyû saidai no kessen" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Action, Adventure, Fantasy  |  13 September 1965 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 2,688 users  
Reviews: 40 user | 57 critic

After a meteorite unleashes a three-headed beast upon Tokyo, Mothra tries to unite with Godzilla and Rodan to battle the extraterrestrial threat.


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Title: Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Yôsuke Natsuki ...
Detective Shindo
Yuriko Hoshi ...
Naoko Shindo
Hiroshi Koizumi ...
Professor Miura
Akiko Wakabayashi ...
Mas Selina Salno, Princess of Sergina
Emi Itô ...
Yumi Itô ...
Dr. Tsukamoto
Akihiko Hirata ...
Chief Detective Okita
Hisaya Itô ...
Malmess, Chief Assassin
Minoru Takada ...
Prime Minister
Someshô Matsumoto ...
Alien Expert
Ikio Sawamura ...
Honest Fisherman
Kôzô Nomura ...
Kenji Sahara ...
Editor in Chief Kanamaki
Susumu Kurobe ...
Moustachoied Assassin


A princess from a small Himalayan country becomes possessed by the spirit of a Venusian (a Martian in the American version) and escapes a plane just as it explodes. As this happens a meteorite falls from the sky containing Ghidorah, the monster responsible for her planet's destruction. At the same time, Godzilla and Rodan emerge from hibernation and not only attack Japan, but each other as well. Mothra, along with its twin priestesses, attempt to convince Godzilla and Rodan to stop their fighting each other and to team up to fight the new monster. At the same time, the princess is being hunted by a group of assassins who want to kill her so that her enemies can take over her homeland. Written by Brian Washington <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

rodan | godzilla | mothra | japan | kaiju | See All (212) »


The Three-Headed Monster battles Godzilla, Mothra and Rodan for the world!


Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

13 September 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster  »

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Technical Specs


| (1971 reissue)

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is the final film to feature the Ito Sisters (aka the Peanuts) as Mothra's twin priestesses. See more »


During one of the scenes in which the pick axes and rocks are being attracted to Ghidorah's meteor, a hand is seen throwing the last rock. See more »


[translated version]
Mas Selina Salno, Princess of Sergina: Why does no one pay heed to my warning? The entire human race will parish from the Earth. When the monster Ghidrah passes, only flaming ruins are left.
Detective Shindo: Ghidrah?
Mas Selina Salno, Princess of Sergina: Centuries ago, the monster appeared in the skies of Mars. Within a month, the culture of Mars had been wiped out completely. The civilization on my planet had reached a stage of development which you people will not achieve for a long time. Centuries, at least. Today, because of the space monster, it is a dead world....
See more »


Referenced in James & Mike Mondays: Karate Champ (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

Godzilla's first time out as a good guy
5 August 2007 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Grabbing a rare day off from the protracted shoot of Kurosawa's Redbeard, Takashi Shimura returned to the series for the last time, this time as a psychologist, in San Daikaijû: Chikyû Saidai No Kessen/Earth's Greatest Battle aka Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster - or Ghidrah if you watch the US version. Marking Godzilla's first time crossing the line from villain to hero (albeit very reluctantly) which many hardcore fans regard as the beginning of the end for the big feller, while it's certainly enjoyable, like most Toho monster mashes this spends much more time with the humans than it does with the critters. This time the plot revolves around a plot to kill a princess of an obscure kingdom during her visit to Japan which goes awry, as these conspiracies so often do, when she steps out of her plane into a gap between dimensions and emerges as a Venusian prophetess of the end of the world at the claws of Ghidorah, a rather impressive cross between a flying dragon and an economy-price Hydra (half the heads, all the destructive power) with previous for laying wastes to whole worlds.

Godzilla and flying monster Rodan are also back on the rampage, and it's up to the two singing fairy girls from Infant Island and Mothra to persuade them to save the Earth in a dementedly enjoyable monster summit where they translate the surly critters' grievances with the pesky human race that is always picking on them. Unfortunately Rodan is one of the least impressive of Toho's monster roster, and here the model work is particularly bad, turning him into across between The Giant Claw and Sam the Eagle from The Muppet Show, while Mothra is still in its larva stage purely because its cheaper to do special effects with a giant slug than a giant flying moth (its twin from Mothra Vs. Godzilla having conveniently died between movies presumably for the same reason). When the monsters do finally slug it out in the last half hour, it's something of a disappointment. The big feller's battle with Rodan consists largely of the prehistoric bird pecking him on the head while he kicks rocks at it, although a sequence where the two throw and head the same rock between each other, Mothra watching like a spectator at Wimbledon, is amusing. Similarly, the final battle with Ghidorah never lives up to its potential, with the beasts considerately having their showdown in the countryside to keep the city stomping to an affordable minimum.

This also ups the comedy: with body language straight out of Oliver Hardy and getting zapped in the butt and the groin, you half expect Godzilla to get a custard pie in the face at times. The special effects are a step down from previous entries, with a lot of unconvincing puppet work, while plot inconsistencies abound - the two singing fairy girls say they don't want to attract attention, yet appear on a Where Are they Now? TV show – but do you really see a Godzilla film for the plot? Unlike previous entries in the series, the US version also included on Classic Media's Region 1 DVD is more a case of trimming and tidying the chronology than a radical overhaul, though it does change the princess from a Venusian to a Martian and adds shots of Rodan to Godzilla's early rampages to make them seem less unmotivated.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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