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Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)

 -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi  -  1 June 1984 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 50,594 users   Metascore: 55/100
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Admiral Kirk and his bridge crew risk their careers stealing the decommissioned Enterprise to return to the restricted Genesis planet to recover Spock's body.



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Title: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)

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Following Kirk's encounter with Khan that left the Enterprise severely damaged and Spock dead, they return to Starfleet so that Enterprise could be repaired. Kirk's hoping to go back to the newly-created Genesis planet where he laid Spock to rest. But upon arriving, he is told that the Enterprise will not be repaired and that Genesis has become a delicate matter and until it is resolved, no one is allowed to go there or talk about it. McCoy is also acting strangely and is later detained when he starts talking about Genesis. Kirk is visited by Spock's father Sarek, who tells him that he betrayed Spock because being placed on Genesis was not what he would have wanted. He tells Kirk he is supposed to bring Spock's body along with his soul or katra as the Vulcans call it which he passes onto someone, and bring it to Vulcan for the final rites. Sarek assumes Kirk would have it but he does not. Kirk then thinks that Spock may have passed it someone else and realizes McCoy is the one who has... Written by

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

klingon | planet | vulcan | admiral | soul | See All (159) »


The final voyage of the Starship Enterprise. See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| | |

Release Date:

1 June 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Star Trek III: In Search of Spock  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$17,000,000 (estimated)


$76,400,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The USS Grissom is named after astronaut Gus Grissom, who was killed when the Apollo 1 spacecraft was destroyed on 27 January 1967. See more »


When Kirk checks the video logs to find the keeper of Spock's katra, the timestamp reveals that Spock melded with McCoy on stardate 8128.78. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan begins on stardate 8130.3. See more »


[first lines]
[Spock's dying words, repeated from the previous film]
Captain Spock: Don't grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh...
Kirk: ...the needs of the few.
Captain Spock: Or the one. I have been and always shall be your friend. Live long and prosper.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Leonard Nimoy is credited as director in the opening credits, but is not included in the cast list. There is a long gap between the name of William Shatner and DeForest Kelley, which lasts for the length of time Nimoy's name would have been displayed. See more »


Spoofed in Sex Trek II: The Search for Sperm (1991) See more »


by Johnny Mercer & Victor Schertzinger
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Enterprise Crew Goes Renegade
21 December 2010 | by (Spring Hill, FL) – See all my reviews

After the massive success of WRATH OF KHAN, the studios found themselves at the beginning of a hot streak and immediately jumped into producing the next installment. The death of Spock (Nimoy) following the battle with Khan left the perfect storyline to follow, as fans would be lining up for the possibility of seeing everyone's favorite Vulcan return. It is discovered that Spock's mind-meld with Dr. McCoy (Kelley) left his katra, his spirit, cohabiting the doctor's mind. Spock voices his request to Kirk through McCoy that he must return to the Genesis planet, formed at the end of II when the Genesis device detonated inside the USS Reliant and the Mutara Nebula. With the Enterprise being decommissioned and the Genesis planet declared forbidden to access, Kirk makes a bold decision and his crew joins him in stealing the Enterprise from space dock to return his best friend's katra to the Genesis planet and ultimately to his home planet Vulcan. Unfortunately, a group of rogue Klingons have gained knowledge of the Genesis device and seek it's secret for its destructive properties.

THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK isn't as good as STAR TREK II, but it's still better than THE MOTION PICTURE. The film regains some of the mellow spirituality of the first film while continuing to integrate the action and humor that made the show so fun. My problem with the film was that it bounced between these two qualities and gave the film's pace a stop-and-go feel. The movie moves in bursts of excitement punctuated with long sequences that at times bored me. For example, the final act of the film where the crew arrives at Vulcan with Spock's rapidly matured new physical body was a drawn out ceremony where I found myself checking the time and waiting for it to end. My interest had waned as soon as the movie's main action had ended. The best moments are when everything's moving at an exciting pace as Kirk and his crew hijack the Enterprise or battle the Klingon Bird-of-Prey. I should also mentioned I loved the bar scene near the beginning where McCoy, losing his mind, enters a bar seeking transport to the Genesis planet. You can tell they found their inspiration from the cantina scene in A NEW HOPE and it was a fun sequence giving more screen time to my all-time favorite original series character.

The film marks Leonard Nimoy's first time directing a feature film, and I don't think he did too bad. He certainly did the best he could with a story that wasn't the strongest to begin with. It's a shame that even Nimoy himself couldn't wrangle a powerful enough performance out of William Shatner here. It's not that I don't like Shatner's work (he is and always will be the best Kirk there could ever have been), but I have seen now that he has limitations. In this film, Kirk experiences some heavy losses (both pretty crucial plot points that I don't want to spoil here in the event a reader hasn't seen the film) and, while they should've been moments for a heavy dramatic moment, I never felt it. When the Klingons decide to execute a particular captive to prove their seriousness, I never felt the weight of the loss through Shatner's performance. A brief flicker and then BAM, back to the action. It cheapened what could've been a great character moment for the starship captain who's always seemed so invincible. Too bad, it just falls a little flat.

Despite Shatner's performance shortcomings in the film, most everything else came together well. Robin Curtis replaced Kirstie Alley as Saavik (I guess her sitcom star status went to her head by this point) and does a well enough job filling her position. But while they lost one TV sitcom comedians, they gained two more: Christopher Lloyd and John Larroquette as Klingons. Lloyd is the film's main villain, the Klingon commander Kruge. He actually does a great job and is probably one of the better villains from the movie series, even if it did take me a while to stop associating the voice with Doc Emmett Brown. Speaking of Klingons, the film also introduces my favorite STAR TREK spacecraft: the Klingon Bird-of-Prey. I've always loved the design and any chance to see it in action is a treat for me.

When the movie is over, I'm happy to say the good outweighs the bad. It has some real slow bits but the parts that standout in my mind are only the best, and it leaves me with an overall good impression. While I'll not say it's the best STAR TREK film, it does have some important moments in series history and it isn't a bad way to spend two hours. Plus, you know, we're reunited with one of the most treasured characters in the franchise's history, even if it does take a while.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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