I grew up loving Godzilla. My father introduced me to the large, green, atomic amphibious reptile in the early 90's. I grew up watching Godzilla fighting monsters and saving Japan. The first Godzilla film never interested me because I thought it was boring, remember, I was around five or six.
Now, cut to nearly twenty years later. I'm twenty-two and I watched Godzilla (1954) for the first time seriously. It was such an odd, breathtaking experience for me. I had been so used to seeing Godzilla as a misunderstood hero for so long, and then suddenly he's not a hero at all.
This movie was so powerful, nothing like the cheesy, campy schlock that came after it. While I still utterly enjoy the cheesiness of the movies that followed (I grew up on them after all), this movie had a heart that monster movies seem not to have anymore. You ACTUALLY feel the pain the people, and for the first time I found myself rooting against Godzilla, looking upon this creature with contempt.
Overall, this film rivals many modern hits and soars far beyond them with a powerful message. Godzilla will always be my favorite movie monster, and this film will be my favorite of the series.