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Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)

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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Cast overview, first billed only:
Admiral Morrow
Vadia Potenza ...


In the wake of Spock's ultimate deed of sacrifice, Admiral Kirk and the Enterprise crew return to Earth for some essential repairs to their ship. When they arrive at Spacedock, they are shocked to discover that the Enterprise is to be decommissioned. Even worse, Dr. McCoy begins acting strangely and Scotty has been reassigned to another ship. Kirk is forced to steal back the Enterprise and head across space to the Genesis Planet to save Spock and bring him to Vulcan. Unknown to them, the Klingons are planning to steal the secrets of the Genesis Device for their own deadly purpose. Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many. See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

1 June 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Star Trek III: In Search of Spock  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$17,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$16,673,229 (USA) (3 June 1984)


$76,471,046 (USA)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The Excelsior was supposed to debut in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) and be identified as newly-promoted Captain Sulu's first command. This plotline was dropped, and the Excelsior saved for this film. Sulu would finally take command of her in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991). The ship design would be re-used for the U.S.S. Enterprise-B in Star Trek: Generations (1994). See more »


Sarek has great influence with the Federation. It would have been a great help to Kirk and McCoy if he had explained to Federation what was wrong with the doctor. He would probably have no trouble asking Federation Command to have Grissom recover Spock's body and take it to Vulcan. Then Sarek, Kirk and McCoy could have flown to Volcan from Earth and performed the ceremony without incident. 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

End title: "And the adventure continues..." See more »


That Old Black Magic
by Johnny Mercer & Harold Arlen
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Live Long And Pander
29 March 2017 | by (Greenwich, CT United States) – See all my reviews

The needs of the franchise outweigh the needs of the movie. It's certainly logical. I just wish the movie left me more to think about.

Shortly after the battle that resolved "Star Trek II," we join a largely vacated U. S. S. Enterprise heading home. Still mourning his friend and comrade Mr. Spock, Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) discovers Spock's sealed-off cabin occupied by "Bones" McCoy (DeForest Kelley), himself occupied by Spock's "katra," or spirit.

"Climb the steps of Mount Seleya," a tranced-out McCoy tells Kirk, kicking off a new journey for the Enterprise.

No doubt the "Star Trek" production team, buoyed by the great success of their prior film but now stuck with a gaping, pointy- eared hole, saw its repair as job one. Bringing Spock back to life thus becomes the focus of the film, and the only thing that it gets right.

A series of decent if lully setpieces that awkwardly cohere into a larger story, "Star Trek III" feels stuck in orbit from first to last. The funeral tone of mourning Spock, established in the opening moments, hangs over the rest of the film. Kirk broods about the "emptiness" he feels, about abandoning "the noblest part of myself" and "our dearest blood."

Having spent decades unsuccessfully separating himself from his best-remembered part, director Leonard Nimoy could have told his old comrades it was no use. You don't just say goodbye to Spock and expect him to stay dead. Nimoy lets his film linger over the loss of our favorite Vulcan, at the expense of the tension and suspense that animated "Star Trek II."

What Nimoy does do well is engage the other actors, at least the ones he worked with in the original series. Kelley is delightful as the keeper of the katra, struggling to reconcile his new persona as a logical Vulcan while retaining Bones' short temper. "It's his revenge for all those arguments he lost," McCoy fumes when Kirk explains what has happened to him.

What did happen, anyway? The introduction of a mystical element to the Vulcan story, that Spock has what Kirk calls "an immortal soul," is at odds with "Star Trek's" materialistic approach to life, especially as it culminates in a religious ceremony conducted in English with a lot of "thou" and "thee." I can't say I bought it, but then again, it wasn't like I felt expected to. It's something to justify the reason we are here, getting Spock back.

The rest of the film punctuates this by giving us little else to watch. There's some business about renegade Klingons trying to steal the secret of the prior film's Genesis project from the Federation, but the action here is strictly by the numbers. Christopher Lloyd spits every line as the head Klingon, pushing to dominate every scene he's in. Long sections of narrative deal with the collapse of the Genesis planet and its impact on a young Vulcan who may be Spock, a plot device which is neither believable nor compelling.

What "Star Trek III" needed was something to pull us from the Spock story, a crisis/adventure to engage us long enough for Spock's return to take us by surprise, the same way his demise did in "Star Trek II." Unfortunately, "Star Trek III" doesn't find that hook, and the film becomes a minor slog with some funny character-driven moments, pleasant for fans but eminently forgettable.

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