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

3 stars

Good to see strong continuity between the second movie and this story. Saavik (Robin Curtis replacing Kirstie Alley) and David are assigned to a federation ship orbiting the Genesis planet for research. Still they don't reveal any background on Saavik, though I heard on a DVD special feature that her character was intended to be half Vulcan and half Romulan. So she could have some of the same types of internal struggles as Spock, but so far I haven't seen that explored. David, as a scientist responsible for the Genesis project, is made to realize that the experiment is not going according to plan. The Enterprise crew is returning home for repairs and missing Spock. When they arrive back at the space station they find out Enterprise is to be decommissioned. Spock's father, Sarek, visits Kirk and shares information about the Vulcan mysticism of Kattra, or spirit. Eventually Kirk puts two and two together to realize that Dr. McCoy's recent strange behavior explains where Spock's Kattra has been living. Since the Genesis planet is taboo, Kirk is not allowed to go back to retrieve Spock's body. The core crew of Kirk, Bones, Scotty, Chekov, and Sulu must go rogue (with Uhura staying close to Sarek). I really enjoyed this part of the movie. It was thrilling to see them break regulations to accomplish a more important team goal. Well, Spock has been reborn and is rapidly aging with the Genesis planet. Even for sci-fi, how this happens isn't explained very adequately. Klingons are after information on how to build their own Genesis device, so the Enterprise must get past them first. After sacrificing the ship and another death, Kirk faces the leader of the Klingon ship (Christopher Lloyd) in hand to hand combat. The creature effects are looking better from the Khan movie compared to the Klingon dog thing here. At least there is some one on one action unlike with Khan and the choreography is a bit better than it usually was in the TV show. The crew must make use of the Klingon bird of prey to get Spock and McCoy to Vulcan. Leonard Nimoy could concentrate on directing since he only briefly appears as Spock. Most of his screen time as Spock is in the over-repeated clip from Wrath of Khan where Kirk is talking to a dying Spock through a clear wall of the engine room. Nimoy has put forth a good directorial effort and this isn't a bad movie.

- hypathio7, Friday, July 9, 2010

4 stars


- bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb1, Thursday, July 8, 2010

4 stars

While it is certainly not the masterpiece that The Wrath of Khan is, this films is still pretty damn good. It's quite a strange movie, but it does feature some nice ideas. Plus, the fates of both David and the Enterprise show that everyone involved wasn't afraid to take some risks. Even though I would have liked to have seen Kirstie Alley reprise her role as Saavik, Robin Curtis does a good job. The real scene stealer though is Christopher Lloyd. He kicks ass as a villainous Klingon. This film is certainly entertaining and watchable, but it doesn't quite have the re-watch value of TWOK. Still though, this one's not too bad.

- cosmo313, Saturday, February 27, 2010