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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 9+
Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 35 reviews

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
Adult Written byZillaFan98 September 28, 2019

Too Bad There Was Never A Sequel.

I saw this movie when it was first released, and I loved it, still do.
Teen, 16 years old Written byMovieGeek12345 December 4, 2017

Americanised (yes this is how Australians spell it) version of Japanese classic is long and boring.

Godzilla is a long running series of movies that has been made in Japan since the 1950's, the titular monster itself is based off nuclear weapons and there... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byKingRobert November 9, 2017

Beautifully shot

I've watched this movie a thousand times and it never gets old!

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

Themes & Topics

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