Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Critics Consensus

Though it may be short on dazzling special effects, The Search for Spock is still a strong Star Trek installment, thanks to affecting performances by its iconic cast.

79%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 48

61%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 64,680

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Movie Info

Adm. James T. Kirk (William Shatner) has defeated his archenemy but at great cost. His friend Spock has apparently been killed, the USS Enterprise is being scrapped, and starship physician Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy (DeForest Kelley) has taken ill. McCoy's odd behavior is evidence he's harboring Spock's katra, or animating spirit, and Kirk seeks to take the Enterprise back to the Genesis Planet and find his friend. Rebuffed, Kirk takes dramatic action that results in war with deadly Klingons.

Cast & Crew

William Shatner
Admiral James T. Kirk
DeForest Kelley
Commander Leonard H. McCoy, M.D.
James Doohan
Commander, Captain Montgomery Scott
George Takei
Commander Hikaru Sulu
Walter Koenig
Commander Pavel Andreievich Chekov
Nichelle Nichols
Commander Nyota Uhura
Christopher Lloyd
Commander Kruge
Robin Curtis
Lieutenant Saavik
Merritt Butrick
Dr. David Marcus
Mark Lenard
Ambassador Sarek
Gary Nardino
Executive Producer
Ralph Winter
Associate Producer
James Horner
Original Music
Charles Correll
Cinematographer
Robert F. Shugrue
Film Editor
Mary Ann Barton
Casting
Elza Bergeron
Casting
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News & Interviews for Star Trek III - The Search for Spock

Critic Reviews for Star Trek III - The Search for Spock

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (38) | Rotten (10)

  • This "Star Trek," the liveliest and most likable of the three, will satisfy hard-core Trekkies and win more than a few new recruits to their ranks.

    April 26, 2018 | Full Review…

    Jay Carr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • "Star Trek III" has a genuine spirituality, and, at its end, you may be surprised, especially if you're not really a Trekkie, to realize how moved you've been.

    September 7, 2016 | Full Review…
  • These are classic directorial occasions, and Nimoy rises to them with fervor, in effect beaming his film up onto a higher pictorial plane than either of its predecessors.

    May 3, 2009 | Full Review…
  • An emotionally satisfying science fiction adventure.

    March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • This 1984 film's few and unimpressive special effects evidently qualify it as science fiction, but the genre it really belongs to is the male weepie: there hasn't been a gooier buddy romance on the screen since Joe Buck took Ratso Rizzo to Miami.

    June 4, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Decent SFX, but a little more action wouldn't have gone amiss.

    February 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Derek Adams

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Star Trek III - The Search for Spock

  • Jun 22, 2016
    This film begins a downturn for the franchise as the cast members take over directing duties. Most interesting portrayal in this film is Christopher Lloyd's Klingon villain. He does a great job despite having such a storied comedy background. The film itself, however, isn't very spectacular.
    Patrick W Super Reviewer
  • Mar 01, 2016
    Star Trek has always been about the great adventures of the Starship Enterprise, but I think as this film quite clearly addresses, it's also about two unlikely friends, who are always there for each other even in the most dangerous of times. The Search for Spock does for Spock what Episode 7 did for Luke Skywalker. It's the search for Spock but it's also the search for Kirk's soul as the guilt of Spock's death weighs over him throughout the film. The whole film we are impatiently waiting for the inevitable, but luckily, the rest of the story is interesting enough to delay the revelations for just the right amount of time to give us the satisfaction we wanted. Leonard Nimoy directs and rightfully so, as it's largely his story, even without a ton of screen time. The story follows the Enterprise team journey to go back to Genesis, the planet created in the last film, to find and hopefully revive Spock. I think what I and most people will appreciate most about this entry in the long running franchise is the sense of togetherness that the previous two were missing. There is an emotional backbone to the team that perhaps even Wrath of Khan was missing. Of course, there are the inevitable villains who show and try to ruin the mission, this time led by Commander Kruge, played by Christopher Lloyd. All of the questionable campy elements to the villains are back and you never truly get a sense of where these people come from and why they are doing it. To be fair, it would be difficult for any villain to follow up Khan. The pacing is once again improved as it moves even faster than Wrath of Khan. James Horner is also back from the previous installment to keep us humming that glorious Star Trek theme even after the movie is done. Horner's music proves to be just as important to the emotionally layered moments as it was for the previous entry. With that said, I can't help but think this film is hindered by its tonal issues. We go from having a deeply emotional moment to a campy scene of Kruge doing weird things to slimy worm-like creatures. So in what is one of the darker entries to the Star Trek series, there's plenty to like. Kirk goes to some dark places that I'm not sure we really get to see in other films. We also get a satisfying conclusion to some of the cliffhangers the previous film left up for question. With the exception of tonal issues, and some distracting set pieces, The Search for Spock is a solid installment for the franchise. +Satisfying conclusion to the Genesis storyline +Emotional arc for the entire team +Gutsy plot points -Tonal issues -Some rough set pieces 7.0/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • May 04, 2014
    Third film in the Star Trek series picks up where the Wrath of Kahn left off. The Search for Spock manages to be quit a good affair, and is an entertaining picture from start to finish. The cast of the first two films return and deliver some effective performances. I'll be honest here, for Science Fiction filmmaking, this franchise never really stood out for me, and I think that the Star Wars films are much better in terms of excitement, thrills and storytelling. After the very good follow up to Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Wrath of Kahn, The series would go in new territory and improve upon each new release. I really enjoyed this third film, and thought it was an entertaining adventure film that is sure to thrill viewers that enjoyed the first two Star Trek films, especially Wrath of Kahn. The film has some good performances, a good story and very good direction as well. The film has an effective blend of action and adventure, and overall this is a well crafted third film in the series. Fans of Star Trek will enjoy this picture, as well as Science Fiction fans. This is a terrific film well worth seeing if you've enjoyed the first two. With each film, the filmmakers seemed to really improve on the formula, and that is very much the case here with The Search for Spock. I've never been big into Star Trek, but I'll admit, I quite enjoyed this one, and felt it built upon what the second one did so well. This is worthwhile entertainment, enough to appeal genre fans looking for a pleasant time waster to watch.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Jul 22, 2013
    The Star Trek movies are notorious for having their odd numbered entries be significantly weaker than their even numbered counterparts. The Search for Spock is not one of those movies, it's a hugely entertaining sci-fi adventure. No, it isn't a great as the Wrath of Khan and is obviously inferior (what film wouldn't be?), but the visuals and style are great to look at, despite some effects that seem a little weak even by 1984 standards. The acting is still as top notch as it is in Wrath of Khan. Shatner continues to chew up as much of the screen as he can, more so in this one since he doesn't have to worry about Ricardo Montalban's Khan stealing his thunder. The rest of the cast is just as great. DeForest Kelley is still perfect in the role of Dr. McCoy (a favorite character of mine) and Christopher Lloyd is great as the villain, Kruge. Once again, he's no Khan, but Kruge is still a solid antagonist to Kirk and Co. One of the things that makes this movie so enjoyable is its subtle sense of campiness, using production and set designs as well as dialog so ridiculous it almost is poking fun at itself. You don't laugh at it, you laugh with it, having fun with Kirk and Bones tossing one-liners back and forth to keep things rolling. While not the powerful, character-driven epic that the Wrath of Khan is, the Search for Spock manages to bring the fun and entertainment that makes Star Trek such a good time to watch. This third film in the long running franchise is one where you sit back and just enjoy all the adventure that's happening on screen.
    Drew O Super Reviewer

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