Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Godzilla Movie Poster Image
Violent updated classic could be too intense for young kids.
  • PG-13
  • 1998
  • 139 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 17 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 42 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Be careful with nuclear testing -- you could create a monster.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters are two-dimensional, comic-book-style archetypes -- the brainy scientist, the sneaky French foreign intelligence agency guy trying to cover his country's role in creating Godzilla, the brave military folks, the plucky reporter.


Much of Manhattan is destroyed by Godzilla, and the parts that aren't destroyed by Godzilla are destroyed by the U.S. military, with clandestine assistance from the French foreign intelligence agency. Cars are kicked, thrown, and crushed by Godzilla, the military sends air strikes, explodes bombs and shoots torpedoes from a submarine in the Hudson River. And the little Godzillas, spawned from the eggs laid in a nest at Madison Square Garden by giant Godzilla, kill four French soldiers. Lots of suspenseful chase scenes that could be too much for younger viewers -- with angry Godzillas chasing panicked humanity throughout the streets of Manhattan.


A male character makes a joke about a threesome.


One tirade using the words "sucks," "douchebag," "ass," and "crap."



Met Life, UPS, Sprint, Madison Square Garden.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

With members of the French military in the story, you know there's going to be some smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Godzilla is the bombastic 1998 Hollywood blockbuster update of the 1956 Japanese film. This time giant Godzilla -- a mutated lizard created as the result of a French nuclear test -- roams Manhattan looking to lay eggs, destroying buildings and crushing cars in its path. Four French soldiers are killed by little Godzillas spawned from the eggs giant Godzilla lays in a nest at Madison Square Garden. The combined U.S. military forces, aided by the French foreign intelligence agency, deploy powerful weapons to subdue Godzilla (including bombs, air strikes, and torpedoes in the Hudson River), and there are lots of suspenseful chase scenes that could be too much for younger viewers -- with angry Godzillas chasing panicked humanity throughout the streets of Manhattan. There area a few jump-out-at-you surprises and many tense moments, and some smoking, particularly by the Frenchmen. Everything and everyone is super loud, but main characters somehow find a way to escape the gaping, drooling maws of the CGI monsters.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9 and 12-year-old Written bymovielovers23417 July 24, 2009

Okay for 10 and up, but does have language and some violent images

My 9 year old saw this and can't believe (and neither can I) that you say that language is not an issue! You should rewatch and re-evaluate. Also, there i... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bySomeoneYouDon'tKnow May 27, 2012

Great Emmerich films will please his fans

I am astonished at the negative reaction towards this film. The monster was amazing, and the disaster sequences were equally stunning. Alright, maybe the acting... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byLoranikas303 July 22, 2021
Lebron12james3's queen!

What's the story?

Nuclear testing has resulted in the mutation of a fish-loving lizard who seeks out Manhattan as an ideal place to lay eggs (he is a self-reproducing hermaphrodite). While GODZILLA roars around knocking down buildings, bespectacled scientist Nick Tatapolous (Matthew Broderick) works with the U.S. Army and a mysterious group of Frenchmen to try to stop him, and Audrey (Maria Petillo), the girl who broke Nick's heart in college, tries to break into the broadcast reporting big leagues by getting the inside story.

Is it any good?

The classic Japanese monster film has been updated by the team that produced and directed Stargate and Independence Day, and what we get is basically Jurassic Park with one very, very big dinosaur.

On the scariness scale, Godzilla fits in at around the Jurassic Park level, with a few jump-out-at-you surprises and some tense moments. The special effects are state-of-the art, but not particularly innovative. There are some striking visuals and a few clever plot turns. But the movie sorely misses the quirky charm of Independence Day's Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum, and the story never captures the heart. The real special effect in this movie is making it appear that Manhattan was evacuated almost instantaneously.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this 1998 version differs from the original 1956 Godzilla movie. What's most compelling, the story or the nonstop action?

  • If you're used to seeing Matthew Broderick in romantic comedies and quirky dramas, what do you think of him in an action movie loaded with special effects?

  • Why do you think so many movies have been made about the disastrous effects of nuclear testing?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love big-screen thrills

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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