Box art for Star Trek III The Search for Spock

Star Trek III The Search for Spock

action & adventure, sci-fi & fantasy

Admiral Kirk and his bridge crew risk their careers stealing the decommissioned Enterprise to return to the restricted Genesis planet to recover Spock's body.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 10
3 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
1 out of 5
2 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5
0 out of 5
3 out of 5

Stirring but sad science-fiction enterprise.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Star Trek III includes plenty of violence, with hand-to-hand combat (and a knifing), in addition to the usual bloodless phaser fire. There's quite a sense of sadness and loss, too, and a certain heroic starship is destroyed. Kirk and the rest of Spock's friends disobey direct Starfleet orders -- a real first, in a very military discipline-oriented series -- in order to carry out their personal rescue mission.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about Spock's code of self-sacrifice for "the needs of the many" and how Kirk reverses that, deciding that "the needs of the one outweighed the needs of the many."
  • Though the idea of resurrection from death is tangible throughout the film, only the enigmatic Vulcan mystic-logic culture attaches overt religious significance to the idea of an enduring "soul." The human characters, meanwhile, keep their beliefs to themselves, despite their "emotions." Do you think this is a deeply spiritual film, as many fans do?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: 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.

- Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader, Monday, June 4, 2007

Fresh: Decent SFX, but a little more action wouldn't have gone amiss.

- Derek Adams, Time Out, Thursday, February 9, 2006


- Garth Franklin, Dark Horizons, Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Audience Reviews

2 stars

Much like the second Star Trek film the immediate follow-up may cause nostalgic feelings among those fans who saw it when it originally came out, but from today's point of view it is not much to write home about. The story fits on a beer coaster, most of the characters remain underused and uninteresting and the final fight between Kirk and his enemy is a joke. Even the special effects look rather lousy compared to some pretty decent films from that era. Hardcore fans might wipe away a tear when Spock finally returns in the last act, everyone else is looking forward to the next films, that ended up much more entertaining.

- ironclad1609, Friday, December 28, 2012

3 stars

Going back to the original roots of slow pacing and a basic story, "Star Trek III - The Search for Spock" is a little more layered that the first Star Trek film, but I enjoyed it just as much, meaning it needs work. All the idea of this film was kind of an excuse to throw in tons of backstory for new characters while the audience awaits the return of Spock. This film does a fine job of keeping me interested in what was going on, but it felt very very slow. It is the shortest of all the films, and in my opinion, it's the least exciting so far. This third instalment boasts great visuals, great acting, and a solid story, which is everything you could ask for from a Star Trek picture, but compared to the standards sent by it's predecessor, it fell flat on it's face a few times!

- fb733768972, Saturday, March 30, 2013

3 stars

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.

- TheDudeLebowski65, Sunday, May 4, 2014