Nevertheless, I can still kick back and enjoy the King of the Monsters every now and then. What follows is my purely subjective list of the Top 10 Godzilla films in terms of entertainment value. I've limited my choices only to the original 1954-1975 series, because anything beyond that is a whole other discussion.
This list is fluid, and could be somewhat different next week. But for today, this is MY...
10 - GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA/GODZILLA VS. THE THING (1964) : Often hailed by many fans as the finest Godzilla movie. Well, I like it just fine, but it doesn't grab me the way it does them.
9 - GODZILLA VS. GIGAN/GODZILLA ON MONSTER ISLAND (1972) : Colorful and completely absurd, though loaded with way too much stock footage and stock music.
8 - TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA (1975) : The swan song of the original series has some true greatness, even though its continuity is not the best.
7 - GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA/GODZILLA VS. THE COSMIC MONSTER (1974) : I am that rare person who thinks the first Mechagodzilla movie is much more fun than its successor. Heck, I even love King Seesar!
6 - DESTROY ALL MONSTERS (1968) : Not quite all the Earth's monsters, but more than enough to make your head spin. I like this movie so much that even I'm shocked it only comes in at this position, but the rest of the list beats it out for me (though some just narrowly).
5 - GODZILLA VS. THE SEA MONSTER (1966) : This one ranks as highly as it does almost solely on the charismatic pair of Akira Takarada and Kumi Mizuno, neither of whom plays your standard issue character for them.
4 - INVASION OF ASTRO-MONSTER/MONSTER ZERO (1965) : My first Godzilla movie, and the one with Nick Adams in all his Nick Adams-ness. A little slow at times, and not enough monsters, but nostalgia bumps this one up a couple of slots.
3 - GODZILLA VS. MEGALON (1973) : Either beloved or reviled, this is one of the more polarizing entries in the Godzilla "canon". It's cheap and more than a little dopey in places, but still a good time.
2 - GODZILLA/GODZILLA, KING OF THE MONSTERS (1954/1956) : The one that started it all! The Japanese cut is probably the better piece of cinema, but I have a soft spot for the Raymond Burr-starring American edit, too.
1 - GHIDRAH THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER (1964) : From top to bottom, my favorite. The monster footage (including King Ghidorah's classic rampage), the human characters, the humor, the music - all of it adds up to a movie that never fails to bring a smile to my face.
And there you have it. If you're compulsively curious, here's the movies from that era that "bubbled under", and didn't reach my Top 10:
11 - SON OF GODZILLA (1967)
12 - ALL MONSTERS ATTACK/GODZILLA'S REVENGE (1969)
13 - KING KONG VS. GODZILLA (1962/1963)
14 - GODZILLA VS. HEDORAH/GODZILLA VS. THE SMOG MONSTER (1971)
15 - GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN/GIGANTIS THE FIRE MONSTER (1955/1959)
For the record, I don't hate any of these movies, and would in fact watch any of them over the Godzilla films that followed the first fifteen. But that's just me.