Star Trek (1966–1969)
46 user 10 critic

The City on the Edge of Forever 

When a temporarily insane Dr. McCoy accidentally changes history and destroys his time, Kirk and Spock follow him to prevent the disaster, but the price to do so is high.


Joseph Pevney


Harlan Ellison, Gene Roddenberry (created by)

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Episode complete credited cast:
William Shatner ... Capt. Kirk
Leonard Nimoy ... Mr. Spock
Joan Collins ... Edith Keeler
DeForest Kelley ... Dr. McCoy
James Doohan ... Scott
George Takei ... Sulu
Nichelle Nichols ... Uhura
John Harmon ... Rodent
Hal Baylor ... Policeman
David L. Ross ... Galloway
John Winston John Winston ... Transporter Chief
Bart La Rue Bart La Rue ... Guardian (voice) (as Bartell La Rue)


When an accident causes Dr. McCoy to go temporarily insane, he escapes to a strange planet. There, the search party discovers a device left by a superior, vanished civilization, a time portal that plays the history of Earth for them - but then Bones jumps through it into the past, causing a change in history important enough to make the Enterprise vanish. Kirk and Spock, who fortunately made a tricorder recording, must attempt to go through to just before McCoy's arrival and stop him from changing history in the United States during the Great Depression, where they have no advanced technology available. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

6 April 1967 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color | Black and White (flashbacks)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


No stardate is logged in the episode. Bjo Trimble assigned a stardate of 3134 based on Harlan Ellison's original teleplay, which covered stardates 3134.6-8. See more »


Kirk and Spock run down a 21st Street in Manhattan that curves; the real West 21st and East 21st Streets do not. See more »


Dr. McCoy: [to Edith] You know, I've convinced myself that this is all in a cordrazine hallucination. But I've decided you're not.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Script Supervisor is written as "SCPIPT SUPERVISOR...GEORGE A. RUTTER" in the credits. This happened on at least two other episodes in season one. See more »

Alternate Versions

More recent prints omit the shot in which Rodent accidentally vaporizes himself with McCoy's phaser. Instead, the scene ends with him standing in the alley near the collapsed McCoy and looking bewildered. See more »


Referenced in Star Trek: Discovery: The Vulcan Hello (2017) See more »


Goodnight, Sweetheart
Written by Ray Noble, Jimmy Campbell and Reginald Connelly (as Reg Connelly)
Heard playing from the radio repair shop (with an uncredited vocal performer) and later as part of Fred Steiner's instrumental score (also uncredited)
Due to copyright issues, this music was replaced on some releases in the 1980s and 1990s
See more »

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User Reviews

The Perfect Confluence
7 July 2006 | by chrstphrtullySee all my reviews

"City on the Edge of Forever" is usually considered one of the best (if not the best) of the series. The praise is well-deserved.

During a meteor storm, McCoy accidentally injects himself with an overdose of cordrazine, which leads him to paranoid insanity. He beams himself down to the planet being orbited by the Enterprise, escapes through a time portal, resulting in the obliteration of the Enterprise's world. Kirk and Spock go back through the portal to try and intercept McCoy (who has interfered with the past), and land in the New York City of the 1930s. They are taken in by Edith Keeler (Joan Collins), a pacifistic social worker, and Kirk begins to fall in love.

As the summary indicates, this episode is the perfect confluence of superb science fiction writing (Harlan Ellison), well-honed directing (Joseph Pevney), and sensitive acting (Shatner and Nimoy in particular). The script is incredibly well-written by one of the best science fiction writers of all time, and uses modest humor (e.g., Spock's clueless insistence on securing platinum, Kirk's explanation of Spock's ears to a policeman, etc.) to keep the story from becoming overly maudlin. For those who believe that William Shatner could not act (i.e., those who had never seen him in his early TV days), his nuanced and sympathetic performance clearly shows how good of an actor he could be. Likewise, Joan Collins acquits herself quite well, and Nimoy is, as always, marvelous. Spock's final line in the 1930s world alone is worth the viewing.

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