King Kong vs. King Kong

King Kong vs. King Kong

It’s time for a King Kong version of March Madness! Now that we’ve seen the newest iteration of the mighty King Kong, we’re going to put him in a hypothetical brawl against his forbearers to see who is the mightiest of the Kongs.


Whenever a film franchise goes through several remakes, sequels, and reboots, there’s always the question of which one is the best. King Kong is one such franchise that has returned to the big screen many times over the last 84 years in different variations and versions. The King Kong franchise revolves around its primary attraction, the giant gorilla known as Kong. While the movies have been of differing quality over the years, one thing that has been consistent is that King Kong himself has always been a formidable screen presence. To find out which version of Kong is the best, I’ve decided to stage a mock tournament where each version is faced off against another. The winner of each battle moves on, and the one that wins it all will be not only King Kong, but the mightiest Kong.

One of the trickiest things to pin down is the size of each Kong iteration, because they vary widely. The “King Kong” featured in the 1938 film King Kong Appears in Edo is easily the smallest - at nearly the size of a regular gorilla (based on descriptions available of the now-lost film), and Kong from King Kong vs. Godzilla appears to be the biggest. The rest of them fall someplace in between. To provide an estimate of the sizing for each of these versions of Kong, I looked at still shots of the gorilla in combat from each film - comparing items of known size shown in those stills to determine an approximate size. That process and the results are explained further at the bottom of this article.

After sizing all of the versions of King Kong that would be featured in the Tournament of Kong (1938 Edo Kong was left off - he will get crushed), I used these sizings to create the ranking. Largest is ranked #1 seed, smallest is #8 seed. In true tournament fashion, #1 seed plays #8 seed in the first round. Kong from the 1976 remake was ranked higher than the same Kong from Kong Lives because the Kong from Kong Lives is surgically repaired and expected to be weaker. Here is the complete bracket:

kong bracket

  Round 1: The Tournament of Kong Quarterfinals

Round 1 Fight 1 copy

For the first matchup, we have granddaddy of all Kongs against a formidable Godzilla opponent. 1933 Kong may have single-handedly started special effects in films, but this fight isn’t just about movie accolades. There’s a significant size difference, but in life, you know that size isn’t everything. Let’s see how this plays out.

Kong (1967)

Kong (1933)


  • Size - To take on the legendary Godzilla, you better be big enough to withstand the punishment, and this version of Kong is plenty big

  • Smart - Tries to prevent Godzilla from using his most powerful weapon by jamming a tree down his throat

  • Throws building-sized rocks


  • Agility - we all saw him scale the Empire State building in no time.

  • Intelligent, can use his surroundings for victory, like when he shook off his human followers from a log over a ravine to protect himself and Ann Durrow

  • Strong and good in a fight - Won against a T-rex, a giant snake, and a flying Pteranodon


  • Fire slows him down

  • Retreats from battle a lot


  • Size - The smallest Kong is probably also the weakest

  • Easily defeated with gas bomb

Who Wins: Although 1933 Kong would probably put up a good fight, 1967’s size is just too great of a strength to overcome. Their smarts cancel out - both have used intelligent tactics to try and win. However, 1967’s ability to throw giant rocks (that are probably the same size or larger than 1933 Kong himself) show that 1933 Kong would be little more than a play toy to 1967 Kong. 

Round 1 Fight 2 copy

 It’s a battle of the newest Kongs! One of them is made as a bigger version of his 1933 grandfather, and the other is mega-sized in order to take on a giant Godzilla in a future crossover film. Size is still a problem for the lower seed, let’s see what happens:

Kong (2017)

Kong (2005)


  • Large size - lots of brute strength - likes to smash things and even pulled apart a helicopter with his bare hands.

  • Can use weapons - Uses a boat impeller against the giant skull crawler

  • Benevolent - Cares for and watches over the peaceful life forms and humans on Skull Island


  • Agility - Able to evade all of the giant deadly insects and flying creatures on Skull Island

  • Strong - Breaks the jaw of a mighty Vastatosaurus rex

  • Intelligent - Shows understanding with Ann, and frustration when betrayed.


  • Benevolent - Caring for things also is a weakness which can be exploited

  • Temper Issues - Gets mad and smashes things, including humans, in a split second


  • Captivated by Ann Farrow - She distracts him by dancing and juggling

  • Size - Bigger than the original, but still small in comparison to the others in this tournament.

Who Wins: Like the last battle, this one would also come down to size. 2017 Kong is just too big for 2005 Kong. 2005 Kong might be able to outsmart 2017 Kong, and may be able to run faster than him, but 2017 Kong’s favorite tactic is smashing things, and I have a feeling 2005 Kong would end this fight as a pancake.

Round 1 Fight 3 copy

This is an interesting matchup because both of these Kongs are from the only two Kong sequels. King Kong Escapes is the only Japanese standalone Kong movie, but it builds on what has happened previously in the series. King Kong Lives finds Kong resurrected thanks to a heart transplant, and he has new motivation when a Lady Kong is discovered. Is that enough for him to win this round? 

Kong (1967)

Kong (1986)


  • Intelligent - Easily the smartest Kong - evades human capture, defeats his enemies with brains as much as brawn.

  • Capable fighter - Not only wins in the film against Mechani-Kong, but beats a giant serpent and a dinosaur that is as large as he is

  • Incredible strength - Nothing can contain him, shrugs off bullets


  • Extremely Motivated - When it is revealed that Kong has a mate, and soon a son, he will do anything to get back to them

  • Has lots of experience vs. humans - Having been captured several times now, this Kong can take on anything humans send at him

  • Moderate size - Big enough to take on tanks and helicopters successfully


  • Easily controlled with radio and hypnosis

  • Has a weak spot for a woman who can also control him with her voice


  • Has artificial heart - slows him down over time

  • Needs another blood transplant - also slows down his rampage.

Who Wins: Both these versions of Kong have an interesting relationship with humans. 1967 Kong was released from an iceberg by humans, but only so that he would work for them. 1986 Kong had his life saved by humans, but his mate was taken away from him. This makes them both very angry and it would likely be a close, intense, and emotional fight. Although 1967 Kong has some liabilities, he would simply be able to outlast 1986 Kong with his artificial heart.   

Round 1 Fight 4 copy

Mechani-Kong is the human-built version of King Kong. That doesn’t make him the most authentic contender on this list, but that does make him unique. Does a Kaiju version of Kong have any chance against the real thing? Can Kong redux hold up against an unstoppable killing machine? One of them terrorized Tokyo, while the other one terrorized New York. Let’s see what happens when they are unleashed on each other.

Mechani-Kong (1967)

Kong (1976)


  • Is a Robot - Made of metal, doesn’t feel pain, crushes things easily with his heavy metal feet and arms

  • Explosive belt - Carries a collection of bombs on his waist

  • Strong - Lots of power and brute force


  • Fearless - Takes on a giant snake, eventually tearing it apart by the jaw

  • Strong - Breaks out of an unbreakable cage

  • Relentless - Walls, chains, helicopters, giant buildings...they can’t stop him.


  • No agility - Slow moving, basically a blunt object

  • Malfunctions - Isn’t always reliably controlled.


  • Size - Not the biggest Kong.

  • Not the smartest - Easily trapped and outwitted.

Who Wins: In the first upset of the tournament, the lower seed comes out on top. Mechani-Kong may the strongest version of Kong, but he is slow and can’t move very well. That’s exactly where a smaller, more agile opponent can take advantage. 1976 Kong has a surprising amount of strength for his size, and his ability to break metal objects with ease will be put to good use here. Mechani-Kong is not exactly reliable either, it’s only a matter of time before an electronic short, or a stray power line, takes him out of commission.   

Round 2 - The Tournament of Kong Semifinals 

Round 2 Fight 1 copy


Our #1 seed won the first round thanks to his immense size, and it would probably be his primary advantage in this match up as well. However, 1976 Kong is about twice the size of 1933 Kong, so I’m sure he would be able to put up more of a fight.

Who Wins: Another easy matchup for our #1 seed would probably end with 1962 Kong as undefeated. The large boulders that he throws would not necessarily squash 1976 Kong, but he would have a hard time dealing with them. And although 1976 Kong had an impressive victory over his own reptile foe (a giant snake), 1962’s experience against Godzilla is irreplaceable.

Round 2 Fight 2 copy

Our toughest matchup yet finds the new Kong up against a classic Japanese creation. King Kong Escapes was meant to be the Japanese monster movie homage to the original Kong film, right up to an ending that finds him scaling the Tokyo Tower. While 2017 Kong hasn’t yet scrambled up any large buildings, he did manage to put a smackdown on a giant skullcrawler, something that 1967 Kong would not stand a chance against.

Who Wins: What’s this? In an epic upset, 1967 Kong pulls off the “W”! Although he gives up about 20 feet in height, 1967 Kong makes up for it with his cunning nature and agile fighting skills. 2017 Kong is nearly defeated by humans luring him in, which is a big red flag that he could be easily manipulated by an intelligent opponent, and seemed to be injured from all encounters. 1967 Kong defeated the stronger Mechani-Kong by electrocuting him, which showed his intelligence, and never seemed fazed even when taking a ton of damage from a gunboat. Those qualities make up for 1967’s lack of size.  

The Tournament of Kong Finals 

Finals copy

Our competition thus far has shown that the Japanese versions of King Kong seem to be the strongest. Where as the King Kong remakes all seemed to make minimal changes to the titular character (besides making him a bit bigger), the Japanese injected him with their fascination for giant killer monsters. By elevating Kong from a big gorilla to a colossal building-smashing menace, Kong looses some of his charm, but fully realizes that which his original creators intended; an entertainment spectacle.

Who Will Win: 1962 Kong is a lot bigget than 1967 Kong, yet they're both proficient at destroying man-made objects. 1962 Kong has an important trick up his sleeve that I think would put him over the edge. Electricity appears to make him stronger. Rather than hurting him, it charges him up. In his film, human's attempts to stop Kong by electricuting him via power lines is ultimately what helps him to compete with Godzilla. This super power, if you will, is what would win 1962 Godzilla this match, and ultimately the crown of the King of the King Kongs. 

Now that I've gone through my tournament picks, which version of King Kong do you think would win? Let us know in the comments below! 

How I sized the Kongs:


unnamed 2unnamed 4

From below picture, Kong and Mechani-Kong are similar sizes (Kong may be a bit taller):

maxresdefault This picture shows that Kong (1976) is approximately 36 feet tall, assuming the people at his feet are 6 feet tall. Kong (1986) is the same version of Kong, so I assumed they are both the same size.

kong escapeunnamed 1 unnamed 3