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Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

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With the assistance of the Enterprise crew, Admiral Kirk must stop an old nemesis, Khan Noonien Singh, from using the life-generating Genesis Device as the ultimate weapon.


Nicholas Meyer


Gene Roddenberry (television series Star Trek), Harve Bennett (story) | 2 more credits »
3,592 ( 255)
3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
William Shatner ... Kirk
Leonard Nimoy ... Spock
DeForest Kelley ... McCoy
James Doohan ... Scotty
Walter Koenig ... Chekov
George Takei ... Sulu
Nichelle Nichols ... Uhura
Bibi Besch ... Carol
Merritt Butrick ... David
Paul Winfield ... Terrell
Kirstie Alley ... Saavik
Ricardo Montalban ... Khan
Ike Eisenmann ... Preston
John Vargas ... Jedda
John Winston John Winston ... Kyle


It is the 23rd century. Admiral James T. Kirk is an instructor at Starfleet Academy and feeling old; the prospect of attending his ship, the USS Enterprise--now a training ship--on a two-week cadet cruise does not make him feel any younger. But the training cruise becomes a deadly serious mission when his nemesis Khan Noonien Singh--infamous conqueror from late 20th century Earth--appears after years of exile. Khan later revealed that the planet Ceti Alpha VI exploded, and shifted the orbit of the fifth planet as a Mars-like haven. He begins capturing Project Genesis, a top secret device holding the power of creation itself, and schemes the utter destruction of Kirk. Written by Gregory A. Sheets <m-sheets2@onu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


At the end of the universe lies the beginning of vengeance. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Startrek.com





Release Date:

4 June 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Star Trek II: The Undiscovered Country See more »


Box Office


$11,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,347,221, 6 June 1982, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


There is an Easter Egg on the tactical display that Kirk calls for after beaming up from the Genesis cavern. Two men worked on four of the computer-generated displays for this movie, including the tactical screen. They were Neil Harrington and Steve McAllister. On the tactical screen, the Enterprise is designated "2-LIEN-8". This is Neil backwards (for Neil Jon Harrington), and the number 82 for the release year of the movie. Steve McAllister's nickname was "Snave", and the Reliant was designated "9-Snave-6". 69 is for the year 1969 when McAllister began working for Evans And Sutherland. There has been speculation that there is significance to the name "Kojiro Vance" in the Kobayashi Maru scene, but Harrington has said that it was in the script and so appears that way on-screen. See more »


After David Marcus says, "We can't just sit here," Admiral Kirk puts on his glasses and checks his watch, saying, "Oh, yes we can." In the very next shot, the glasses are gone. See more »


[first lines]
Saavik: Captain's log: Stardate 8130.3. Starship Enterprise on training mission to Gamma Hydra, section 14, coordinates 22-87-4. Approaching Neutral Zone; all systems normal and functioning.
Sulu: Leaving section 14 for section 15.
Saavik: Standby. Project parabolic course to avoid entering Neutral Zone.
Sulu: Aye, captain.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the opening credits: "In the 23rd century..." See more »


Referenced in Andi Mack: The Snorpion (2017) See more »


Amazing Grace (Scottish Bagpipes)
Written by John Newton
Composed by James Horner
Conducted by James Horner
[Played during funeral scene]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

It took a while, but I finally came around...this IS a good movie
1 September 2002 | by IrishWriter34See all my reviews

Since its release in 1982, STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN has emerged as perhaps the most controversial film in the STAR TREK series, eclipsing even the much-debated first film. To some vocal fans, KHAN is a total violation of what STAR TREK is about, what with its paramilitary atmosphere, its use of revenge as a plot point, and the horrific violence caused by said revenge. Gene Roddenberry's rejection of the film on those same grounds has only intensified the debate between those who hold the film as a desecration of the mythos and those who regard it as the definitive entry in the saga. Up until a few years ago, I probably would have sided with the naysayers, simply because the violence in the film upset me as a kid. I was 4 when the film came out, and I thought it was the goriest movie ever made. But then I grew up, realized that there've been far bloodier films, and gave KHAN another chance. When I finally saw it again when I was a teenager, I realized that I actually liked the film a lot…and that its violence was actually pretty mild compared to most movies.

As written and directed by Nicholas Meyer (the "screenplay by Jack Sowards" credit is a misnomer), the film goes like this: Jim Kirk is now a desk-bound admiral suffering a mid-life crisis while the Enterprise is now being turned over to a team of cadets. Unfortunately for him, Khan Noonien Singh, a genetically-enhanced maniac he marooned 15 years ago, has hijacked a Federation starship and is about to (a) steal a terraforming project called Genesis that could be used as a weapon and (b) go after Kirk in a suicidal revenge campaign. (The garden planet Kirk marooned Khan on was ravaged by a cosmic disaster that turned it into a barren desert, and Khan's wife and many of his followers were killed as a result of the devastation.) Once the scientists working on the terraforming project-among them Kirk's son and his mother-are threatened by Khan, Kirk takes command of the Enterprise and proceeds to investigate the matter. Much to Kirk's surprise, Khan is waiting for him, and a series of harrowing encounters ensues, resulting in the controversial death of Spock.

The plot is pretty simple, but this works to the film's advantage. Meyer's script (from a story by Sowards and producer Harve Bennett) is tightly constructed, moving at a swift pace and not wasting a moment on useless details. Even though the film deals with such heady matters as old age and death (an unwinnable test scenario called the "Kobeyashi Maru" becomes a motif that brackets the film), it still finds time for gentle verbal humor and wordplay. Unlike the first film, which felt uncertain at times, KHAN is confident and relaxed with the characters. The core cast is much more at ease this time out, and their performances are all the better for it. William Shatner especially is at his best in this film; this talented actor finally drops the hammy shtick that has become the target for mockery (or self-mockery, as is the case with Shatner's recent work) and delivers a subtle, easy performance that hints at what might have been had he not given in to camping it up. Bibi Besch and Merritt Butrick (both of whom have passed on) are engaging as Kirk's estranged family (the death of Kirk's son in the third film is all the more regrettable for this), and Paul Winfield, as the brainwashed captain whose ship is swiped by Khan, is suitably tragic. There's also Kirstie Alley making her debut as Saavik, Spock's protégée. But let's not kid ourselves; this is Ricardo Montalban's movie all the way. Cool yet insane, murderous yet elegantly charming, Montalban makes Khan one of the most intriguing villains in film history. And despite Khan's limited screen time, Montalban makes the character an imposing presence that dominates the film. Aided by James Horner's bombastic pirate movie-esque score and some of ILM's most dynamic FX work ever (barring one stiff matte painting in the Genesis cave), the film generates an energized feel and mood that refuses to let up until the story has run its course.

Which brings me to the accusations made by those who claim this film trashes Roddenberry's vision. "Too paramilitary"? Sorry, Roddenberry had always said that STAR TREK was a high-tech Horatio Hornblower saga, and the original series had military underpinnings. "Violence has no place in TREK"? Then please explain why the original series was saturated in deaths and near-deaths, why everyone in a red tunic got iced in almost every episode, and why every last one of the crew members was constantly getting into brawls. "Revenge is not a theme that fits what TREK is all about"? Excuse me, but I thought STAR TREK was essentially about the human condition, and the nastier, darker aspects of humanity are a part of that condition. To ignore them would be to whitewash humanity and do TREK a disservice. This film is no grimmer than the classic episode "Wolf in the Fold," about Jack the Ripper's soul possessing people in order to carry on his killing spree. Really, KHAN doesn't do anything that wasn't already done on the series. As for Roddenberry's gripes about the film…well, it's been established that he became a control freak whose grip on STAR TREK nearly paralyzed it creatively. His complaints had more to do with Meyer and Bennett being allowed to bring a fresh voice to the series than anything that was actually in the film.

It took a while for me to wake up, but now I can see STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN for what it really is: a well-crafted adventure story and a worthy entry in the STAR TREK mythos.

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