March will be the month of the monsters as Wednesday, March 31, sets the long-awaited release of Godzilla vs. Kong in theaters and HBO Max as part of WarnerBros 2021 release strategy. Godzilla and King Kong are two of the most iconic kaiju/monsters in cinematic history with over 45 movies combined that date all the way back to 1933. With such a long history, the franchises have seen a lot of changes as technology has progressed. From a man-in-suit, stop-motion animation, to modern-day CGI, Godzilla and Kong have experienced it all.
Before you watch the King of the Monsters and King of the Apes go head-to-head on the big screen, here are 10 of the best King Kong and Godzilla movies available to stream.
King Kong (1933)
Stop-motion animation was used to create the titular character in this monster adventure-romance film created and co-directed by Merian C. Cooper. Cooper came up with the idea of the Eighth Wonder of the World after having a dream about a giant gorilla terrorizing New York. The Library of Congress deemed the film to be culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1991. Due to its popularity, King Kong launched a franchise and was the inspiration for the popular Nintendo character Donkey Kong.
The first film to feature the King of the Monster, Godzilla’s big-screen debut was an immediate success and the character became an international pop culture superstar. Suitmation was used to create Godzilla for the film, as a stunt performer wore a Godzilla-suit on a miniaturized set to make the monster seem gigantic. The entire film is a metaphor about the horrors of nuclear weapons and the effects they have on the planet and nature.
King Kong (2005)
The second remake of the 1933 film, this version is a period drama monster adventure directed by Peter Jackson. The film is known for having at the time, a record-breaking budget of $207 million, and Andy Serkis’ motion-capture performance as Kong.
King Kong Escapes (1967)
Directed by the co-creator of Godzilla Ishirō Honda, King Kong Escapes centers around Mechani-Kong, a robotic version of the King of Skull Island created by the evil genius Dr. Who, who goes head-to-head with the original King Kong. The Japanese-American sci-fi kaiju film let critics split at the time of its release; however, modern critics have praised the film.
Where to watch? Now streaming on Archive.org.
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995)
The 22nd installment of the Godzilla franchise is one of the best films in the series. The film is the debut of Destoroyah, a monster that eventually mutates and matures into a creature larger than Godzilla. Destoroyah has only made one appearance on the big screen; however, it’s still highly regarded as one of Godzilla’s best villains.
Shin Godzilla (2016)
The 31st entry into the Godzilla franchise has an 86% score on Rotten Tomatoes and is one of Godzilla’s most critically-acclaimed films. Also known as Godzilla Resurgence, the film is a satisfying return to the character’s roots after a decade of underwhelming movies.
King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
Before their showdown on March 31, these two cinematic monsters went head-to-head on the big screen nearly 60 years ago. Originally, a giant Frankenstein Monster was supposed to take on King Kong; however, plans changed which led to these behemoths in an all-out brawl.
Where to watch? Now streaming on YouTube.
The first film in the modern MonsterVerse, the 2014 film is the introduction to the Godzilla that will be fighting Kong in the upcoming film. In this reboot, Godzilla’s origins are updated for modern times and establish the key players in the Monsterverse, including Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism (MUTO), the Monarch organization, and recurring characters.
Kong: Skull Island (2017)
The second film in the MonsterVerse, serves as a reboot of the King Kong franchise. Set in 1973, Kong is smaller than what we’re familiar with in past movies, as he’s still young. The film sets up future movies in the MonsterVerse, including a post-credit scene that includes Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)
Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah are all in action in this Godzilla (2014) sequel. Mothra and Godzilla team up to defeat King Ghidorah and Rodan in a battle to save the earth. Godzilla vs. Kong will follow the events of this film.