Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home

Critics Consensus

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is perhaps the lightest and most purely enjoyable entry of the long-running series, emphasizing the eccentricities of the Enterprise's crew.



Total Count: 41


Audience Score

User Ratings: 66,770
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Movie Info

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) concludes the story arc begun with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) and continued in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), but on a wholly new, different, and upbeat note. As the movie opens, months have elapsed since the events in Star Trek III; Admiral Kirk (William Shatner), McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Scott (James Doohan), Sulu (George Takei), Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), and Chekhov (Walter Koenig) are marooned in self-imposed exile on Vulcan, along with the resurrected and regenerated Spock (Leonard Nimoy, who also directed). While Spock tries to sort out the Vulcan and human halves of his resurrected psyche, the others prepare to return to Earth to face a brace of charges by the Klingon Empire and Star Fleet over events on Genesis. Taking off in their commandeered, jerry-rigged Klingon ship, they head to Earth, not knowing that a new crisis could destroy their home world -- a huge, immensely powerful alien probe has entered the galaxy and established a position near Earth, disabling every vehicle and installation in its path with its energy and communication output, and has ionized the entire atmosphere and started vaporizing the oceans, leaving the planet only hours to survive. Spock determines that the probe is sending out signals to another intelligent terrestrial life form, humpbacked whales, which no longer exist. Using the gravity slingshot time-warp effect (established early in the original series) to travel back into Earth's 20th century, Kirk and company land in 1980s San Francisco to try and bring humpbacked whales to the 23rd century, to respond to the probe. Thus starts a surprisingly breezy, light-hearted, yet serious odyssey through the past (comparable to the best work of the original series), as the crew learns to deal with exact-change buses, angry drivers, punk-rock enthusiasts and other elements of '80s life, and Kirk tries to persuade a scientist (Catherine Hicks) of his good intentions for two whales in captivity. The screenplay, co-authored by Steve Meerson, Peter Krikes, Nicholas Meyer, and Harve Bennett (from a story by Nimoy and Bennett), is the cleverest and most sophisticated of all the Star Trek movie screenplays, recalling some of the elements of Meyer's earlier time-travel movie Time After Time and also anticipating the feel and tone of the series Star Trek: The Next Generation (which would be on the air not quite a year later). Nimoy's direction offers a combination of brisk pacing and a deep love of the characters and the actors, as well as a serious appreciation of the humorous aspects of the script, and Shatner gives his best performance of any of the movies. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi


DeForest Kelley
as Dr. McCoy
Jane Wyatt
as Amanda
Majel Barrett
as Dr. Christine Chapel
Robin Curtis
as Lt. Saavik
Robert Ellenstein
as Federation Council President
John Schuck
as Klingon Ambassador
Brock Peters
as Cartwright
Scott DeVenney
as Bob Briggs
Madge Sinclair
as Captain of the Saratoga
Michael Snyder
as Starfleet Communications Officer
Michael Berryman
as Starfleet Display Officer
Jane Wiedlin
as Trillya
Grace Lee Whitney
as Janice Rand
Vijay Amritraj
as Starship Captain
Nick Ramus
as Saratoga Helmsman
Martin Pistone
as Controller #2
Phil Rubenstein
as 1st Garbageman
John Miranda
as 2nd Garbageman
Eve Smith
as Elderly Patient
Greg Karas
as Intern #2
Raymond Singer
as Young Doctor
Judy Levitt
as Doctor #2
Kirk Thatcher
as Punk on Bus
Jeff Lester
as FBI Agent
Joe Lando
as Shore Patrolman
Mike Timoney
as Electronics technician
Jeffrey Martin
as Electronics technician
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News & Interviews for Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home

Critic Reviews for Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (35) | Rotten (6)

  • If most movies today are doomed to be sure-fire, presold properties--with ideas leached from our recent TV or cinematic past--let's hope they're all as good at the game as "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home."

    Sep 7, 2016 | Full Review…
  • Latest excursion is warmer, wittier, more socially relevant and truer to its TV origins than prior odysseys.

    May 19, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • I suspect the unconverted will want to be beamed up pronto.

    Jun 6, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Kirk & Co return to present-day San Francisco to save the whales in the most enjoyable film of the series so far, also returning to the simplistic morality-play format that gave the original TV series its strength.

    Jan 26, 2006
  • Mr. Nimoy directed this Star Trek installment, and indeed he should probably direct all of them. His technical expertise leaves much to be desired. But his sincerity is unmistakable, and it counts for a lot.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 3.5/5
  • One of the series' strongest episodes.

    Sep 26, 2001 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Danny Graydon
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home

  • Jun 22, 2016
    Star Trek's attempt at making a veiled political statement. Like other films at the time in the 80s that were writing scripts with familiar characters to take on world issues, Star Trek decided to jump on the "Save the Whales" campaign. An alien probe comes to earth and threatens the planet. Since all of the humpback whales had long been extinct in the future, the Enterprise has to go back in time to get a few whales to communicate with the probe. Some comic relief with crew members going from the future to the 80s and dealing with the time jump but other than that, it is a flat film that is too obvious in its reach as far as the point the script is trying to make.
    Patrick W Super Reviewer
  • Apr 06, 2016
    The Voyage Home may very well be the goofiest, most incoherent, and outright strangest of the original series. But it's also funny, re-watchable, and probably the most entertaining. As weird as the film can get, thanks to a wonderful score, gorgeous cinematography, and a step back into the TV format, it's one of my favorites of any of the Trek films. The Voyage Home centers on the the Enterprise's hopes of finding something to communicate with a dangerous probe that wants to destroy the earth. The only possible way to communicate with the probe is to travel back in time to the late 20th century and bring Humpback Whales to the probe. Yes, that is the real premise. As a whole, it's a fun ride. Not only do we get to see the crew of the Enterprise go somewhere other than the seats of the ship, but it's the only Trek film that could be considered a comedy. Watching the crew attempt to fit in with 1980's San Francisco is good TV for sure. And that's what this film essentially is. It doesn't really fit into the film series at all, and it may have been better served as an extended episode. In fact, the only real link to Search For Spock is just the fact that Spock still hasn't fully adapted to being a member of the Enterprise as his memory is still weary. Ironically, it out-grossed all of the other Trek films leading up to it by far. It's domestic gross was the highest for the franchise up until 2009's Star Trek, so it's safe to say it was an crowd-pleaser. Perhaps it's success had to do with this film focusing less on overdone special effects and over the top villains and more so on a story people could get behind and humanized characters. As goofy as Catherine Hicks' Gillian character can get, I think she resonated with the audience. With all that said, the film is pretty nuts. The idea that the crew could just walk around San Francisco, in and out of hospitals and restaurants and not be captured by police at any time seemed a bit far fetched. Sometimes the reach for comedy was definitely felt and sadly there aren't any great "sci-fi moments" like the others have. But I think everybody can have some fun with this one. If nothing else, perhaps you can do something to help whales next time you come across one. +Has its funny moments +Goofy fun +Cinematography +Score -Stupid and incoherent moments -Why is a Trek film focusing on whales anyway? 7.2/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • May 04, 2014
    Ambitious, exciting and memorable, The Voyage Home, being the fourth installment further the increasing quality in storytelling in the series, and is another good sequel that is directed yet again by actor Leonard Nimoy. Nimoy's direction is terrific and bring some much needed depth to the plot that makes it that much more enjoyable. There are hints of humor strewn throughout the film, and it complements the thrills and action perfectly. There are plenty of improvements in this entry, most notably the film's special effects and more layed back tone. I feel that the filmmakers were much more confident with this release, and it shows on-screen. The story is good, and the cast deliver some good performances. I really was surprised by this one, and like I said, it's an entertaining Science Fiction picture worth seeing, and it's a well crafted affair that is sure to delight fans. Nimoy does impressive behind the camera, and he helped make two outstanding films in the film adaptations of the classic TV show. It's rare for a fourth film in a series to be entertaining, but in the case of The Voyage Home, it's a highly engaging film going experience that manages to be amusing for a good two hours of entertainment. There are aspects that could have been improved upon, but overall, it's a solid sequel worth seeing and it's one that stands out among the franchise's very best films. This is a different type of Star Trek film, and it works well on many levels. With good performances, a well thought out story, and good direction, The Voyage Home continues the quality of good films in the series. This is one of the better movies I've seen, and though a bit different, is a refreshing idea that is thoroughly engaging.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • May 14, 2013
    Tiresome. Thank God the cast started to die off by this date.
    Christian C Super Reviewer

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