Box art for Star Trek IV The Voyage Home

Star Trek IV The Voyage Home

action & adventure, sci-fi & fantasy

To save Earth from an alien probe, Kirk and his crew go back in time to retrieve the only beings who can communicate with it, humpback whales.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

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

Buoyant, farcical time-travel Enterprise escapade.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Star Trek movie is the most farcical of the big-screen series. As much comedy as adventure derives from the journey of the Starfleet heroes to 1986 Earth, and the relative rudeness and local color they encounter in San Francisco. There are instances of comical swearing and drug references.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the movie's emphasis on comedy, and the culture-shock of the future space travelers in (more or less) present-day Earth society. What aspects of this world do you think would bewilder visitors from tomorrow? Also, what eco-messages do you find in the movie?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: An effective and enjoyable sample of entertainment -- not good science fiction, but a lightweight piece of comic fantasy utilizing characters so familiar that they feel like old friends.

- James Berardinelli, ReelViews, Saturday, January 1, 2000

Fresh: 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.

- Janet Maslin, New York Times, Tuesday, May 20, 2003


- John A. Nesbit, Old School Reviews, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Nimoy has his second time at the helm of a Star Trek feature film and the continuity between the previous picture and this one is still good. The lead Enterprise crew members along with Spock and his returning memory spend the entire movie in the Klingon bird of prey ship. I find it adds interest to the story that the ship is not one they are familiar with and that the scenery is simply different. The verbal jabs exchanged between McCoy and Spock are back to normal. There was always some humor in those exchanges. An unidentified probe's outgoing signal has been neutralizing the computerized operations of all the ships it passes and it is heading toward Earth. As Kirk and crew head toward Earth too, they know there will be some punishment for having stolen the Enterprise. There has been a council meeting of the United Federation of Planets. The diversity of the council members is fun and creative, though they all still look fairly human with two arms and two legs. When the probe reaches Earth all the electronics are disabled and water from the oceans is thrown up in the air causing extreme storms. Kirk and crew are warned just in time to not approach any closer. Spock does a little research and realizes the sound emitted from the probe is the call of the humpback whale, which is extinct in the 23rd century. In order to save Earth and all the ambassadors that are there they must find some whales from the past. It is a pretty outrageous plot, but it appears to be the only option. And they have used the maneuver to travel in time before in the episode Tomorrow Is Yesterday. Some of the episodes where they travel to alien planets that seem to closely resemble Earth cultures from the past are the silliest excuse to recycle costumes and props from other movies. In this case they travel supposedly to the 1980's, when the movie was made. So the producers save a bit of money by showing the familiar surroundings of 1980's San Francisco. That place and time is alien to our adventurers from the future and as expected there is much humor to be found in the situations. I love the sense of humor. This movie gets back to the social/environmental/cultural statements that the original series often made. Plus Kirk gets to try to charm a lady like he so often did on TV. Saving the humpback whales to bring an extinct population back into existence in the future was a good message. Ecologically the way all creatures on Earth share it as home is important. I am bothered a bit by how one male and one female whale are supposed to repopulate their species (kind of like where the other people came from if Adam and Eve were the first and only humans). But anyways, this movie takes us on an exciting journey.

- hypathio7, Friday, July 9, 2010

4 stars


- bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb1, Thursday, July 8, 2010

4 stars

The voyage home is the return to the status quo, now that Spock is back to the crew where he belongs. This is the lightest entry of the Star Trek films, a delightful incursion into comedy featuring some hilarious dialogues and a very welcome ecological story, even if not so original.

- blacksheepboy, Wednesday, April 7, 2010