Greatest Movie Series
Franchises of All Time
The Star Trek Films:
(The Original Movies)





Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

Star Trek Films (original)

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) | Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) | Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) | Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) | Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
Star Trek (2009) | Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

The Original Star Trek Movies - Part 4

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
d. Leonard Nimoy, 119 minutes

Film Plot Summary

Three months after the conclusion of Star Trek III in the year 2286, the crew of the USS Saratoga reported to Starfleet Command that it was tracking a cylindrically-shaped "probe of unknown origin" moving towards Earth; the probe was damaging everything in its path, and draining power; at Starfleet headquarters during a Federation council hearing before the President, the Klingon Ambassador denounced Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) as a "renegade and terrorist" and called for his trial for the murder of the Klingon crew aboard the stolen Enterprise, the theft of a Klingon vessel, and the Genesis torpedo designed to "annihilate the Klingon people"; Spock's father Sarek (Mark Lenard) counterargued in Kirk's defense that the Klingons destroyed the USS Grissom, drew first blood, and killed Kirk's son; the President of the Federation stressed that Kirk was charged with nine violations of Starfleet regulations and must return.

Meanwhile, the exiled Enterprise crew on the planet of Vulcan were in their 3rd month of self-imposed exile, while a recovering Spock was retraining and retesting his memories; the crew voted to return to Earth (on the Klingon Bird of Prey - renamed the HMS Bounty) to "face the consequences of their actions" - court-martial --- Kirk commanded: "Mr. Sulu, take us home"; as the probe reached closer to orbiting Earth, it disrupted weather patterns (causing extensive cloud cover that blocked the Sun), ionized the atmosphere, and vaporized the oceans; on their return in the Klingon vessel, the Enterprise officers heard Starfleet's Red Alert distress warning about the probe "causing critical damage" - "Avoid the planet Earth at all costs"; Spock determined that the probe wasn't intentionally hostile, but was unaware of its destructive force; he surmised that the probe's alien signal was actually a transmission of communication matching the songs of long-extinct humpback whales (hence, there was no reply in the 23rd century).

Kirk decided to save the doomed Earth by time-traveling back to the late 20th century (using a sling-shot technique around the Sun), to a time when whales did exist, to locate and bring back the mammals to "give a proper response" to the probe and save Earth; they emerged in the year 1986 in San Francisco (landing in cloaked mode in Golden Gate Park), although one problem had occurred - the ship's dilithium crystals were decrystallizing, draining the ship's power for cloaking and for returning home.

The crew split up for different tasks: Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) and Chekov (Walter Koenig) went to the naval base in Alameda to find a "nuclear wessel" with nuclear power to gather photons from its atomic reactor to recharge the Klingon ship's crystals; Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Sulu (George Takei) and Scotty (James Doohan) were instructed to devise a holding tank in the cargo bay for the whales, and Kirk and Spock took public transportation to the Maritime Cetacean Institute in Sausalito to locate a mated pair of humpback whales (George and Gracie) under the care of assistant director and marine biologist Dr. Gillian Taylor (Catherine Hicks); Spock swam with the whales and engaged in a mind-meld, learning that the female whale was pregnant and the whales were unhappy with the way they were treated by humans (eventually made extinct); the whales were to be transported imminently to another location, putting them at risk of being hunted.

The photons were collected from the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier, and the holding tank Plexiglass aquarium walls for the whales were constructed by the Plexicorp company (in exchange for the formula for "transparent aluminum") and transported by helicopter to the park; however, Chekov was pursued and captured by Marines after successfully completing his mission of collecting photons - but then injured and taken to Mercy Hospital in critical condition ("not expected to survive"), necessitating his rescue and healing by McCoy and others.

Kirk had romantically wooed Dr. Taylor to receive her assistance - and eventually, she was very cooperative, providing him with the radio frequency (401 mghz) of the whales' location - and she herself was beamed aboard the Klingon ship as it prepared to depart when she threw her arms around him; the pair of whales were also beamed onboard just before being threatened by whale-hunters - when Kirk decloaked the Klingon vessel above the whaling ship; reverse time-travel returned the crew to a crash-landing in San Francisco Bay (under the Golden Gate Bridge) of the 23rd century, when the ship was rendered powerless by the probe; the whales were released from the cargo hold, and their response to the probe's signal saved Earth as the probe retracted back into the cylinder and it retreated into deep space.

Kirk and his officers' crew were brought before the Federation Council at Starfleet for a judicial reprimand; almost all charges were dropped, although Kirk was reduced in rank to Captain - and then given, for saving the planet - the command of a newly-christened starship, also named U.S.S. Enterprise - Registry NCC-1701-A ("My friends, we've come home"); on their first journey, Kirk instructed: "All right, Mr. Sulu. Let's see what she's got."

Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)

The fourth film of the original series. The second, third, and fourth films comprised a loose trilogy. The largest grossing film of all the films. Nominated for four Academy Awards (with no wins): Best Original Score, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing.

With a production budget of $27 million, and box-office gross receipts of $109.7 million (domestic) and $133 million (worldwide).

Great Scene: Spock's silencing (with a neck pinch) of a Billy Idol-look-a-like punk with a loud boom-box on a San Francisco bus.


Federation Council President
(Robert Ellenstein)

Klingon Ambassador
(John Schuck)

Sarek
(Mark Lenard)

James T. Kirk
(William Shatner)

Captain Spock
(Leonard Nimoy)

Dr. Gillian Taylor
(Catherine Hicks)

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