Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home



119 Min

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home


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.

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Nov 26th, 1986


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Top Contributors

  • The scene where Chekov and Uhura are asking a woman about "nuclear wessels" was almost completely improvised. Her line about them being in Alameda was ad-libbed by her, and although she wasn't supposed to say very much, Leonard Nimoy enjoyed the spontaneity of the scene so much he left it the way it was.
  • The punk on the bus is played by associate producer Kirk R. Thatcher. He also wrote the song that is playing on the boom box during his scene.
  • One early draft script was subtitled 'The Trial of James T. Kirk'. This script involved Kirk being 'court-martial'ed at the request of the Klingons, who were indignant about the events in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. One particularly interesting facet of this script is that it included the character of Harry Mudd (Roger C. Carmel)as a character witness. When the time-travel script was approved instead, the trial was included as a minor sequence. The trial-by-Klingons idea (and portions of the dialogue) was later re-used in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
  • Some shots of the whales were in fact four foot long animatronics models. Four models were created, and were so realistic that after release of the film, US fishing authorities publicly criticized the film makers for getting too close to whales in the wild. The scenes involving these whales were shot in a pool underneath a Paramount parking lot. The shot of the whales swimming past the Golden Gate Bridge were filmed on location, and nearly ended in disaster when a cable got snagged on a nuclear submarine and the whales were towed out to sea.
  • The scene with Chekov and Uhura sitting on the rocks looking at the Aircraft Carrier was shot in San Diego at North Island Naval Air Station.
  • Scotty provided the formula for transparent aluminum in this movie. Interestingly, this state of matter was discovered in 2009.
  • The computer graphic consoles that became standard on the 24th century Star Trek bridges and also called "Okudagrams" (named for designer Michael Okuda), make their first appearance on the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-A. It is also the final appearance of the entire original Star Trek movie bridge set as only small parts were reused for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
  • Kirk R. Thatcher did such extensive work on the film that he was promoted from "Production Assistant/Visual Effects" to "Associate Producer" by the end of the film.
  • The sounds of static from the computers heard in the background when the Bird of Prey comes out of timewarp are the loading sounds of a Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer.
  • Sulu (George Takei) was supposed to leap into the Huey helicopter when the pilot was outside, looking the other way, and make off with it. Takei had just run the San Francisco marathon when they were supposed to shoot this scene, and was too sore to leap into the helicopter. They tried having a grip throw him in, but couldn't get it to look realistic, so the scene was cut. In the final edit, Sulu is shown talking to the pilot, then shows up flying the helicopter a few minutes later.
  • The whale hunters speak Finnish. The older Finnish hunter says "What the hell was it, that hit the harpoon?"
  • During the final scene of the movie, where the Enterprise crew is in the shuttle Sulu says "with all due respect I hope we get Excelsior". In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Sulu is the Captain of the Excelsior.
  • According to George Takei, when McCoy, Scotty and Sulu are standing in front of the building with Yellow Pages advertisement, a door opens and an Asian woman appears. The scene in the movie ends at this point but originally this woman was to begin shouting for a young boy named Hikaru, who would run into Sulu. Sulu would realize that this boy was his great-great-(etc.) grandfather. The young boy hired for this scene began to cry on the set before the shot and they were unable to get him to do the scene. With no one to replace him, the scene was never shot.
  • According to Leonard Nimoy, about 95% of the Humpback Whale footage in the final cut of the film was man-made.
  • Final cinema film of Robert Ellenstein.
  • During the film's 1 hour 59 minute runtime, there's only a total of about 1 minute 13 seconds worth of shots of the Enterprise - the shortest amount of time the Enterprise is seen on screen in any Star Trek movie. The first 33 seconds of it during the beginning courtroom scene was stock footage of the Enterprise's destruction from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. The other 40 seconds of it were shots of the Enterprise-A towards the end.
  • According to Spock's computer on Vulcan, Kiri-Kin-Tha's First Law of Metaphysics states that "Nothing unreal exists".
  • While attempting to escape from the security agents aboard the USS Enterprise, Chekov tosses his phaser to one of the agents; although it is representative of twenty-third century technology, it is never retrieved.
  • The film was originally supposed to have Eddie Murphy instead of Catherine Hicks. Murphy was supposed to have played a professor concerned with UFO's who spots the de-cloaking Klingon ship at the Super Bowl. Apparently, all others are convinced the ship is a half-time special effect while Murphy believes it is real. Paramount declined this script for two reasons: Paramount didn't want to combine their two most profitable franchises (Star Trek: The Original Series and Beverly Hills Cop), and Murphy had signed on to do The Golden Child instead.
  • CAMEO(Bob Sarlatte): The waiter in the restaurant.
  • In the bus scene, there is a man in a brown jacket sitting just in front of the "loud punk." He can be seen "reading" the latest issue of Omni Magazine, which from 1978 to 1998 published articles on scientific developments as well as short works of science fiction. The specific issue in this scene is from May 1986; the cover celebrates the "25th Anniversary of American Manned Spaceflight." (
  • The device Dr. McCoy uses to heal Chekov's head injury is part of a model kit of an AMT movie version Klingon Battlecruiser.
  • The captain of the USS Saratoga, seen at the start of the film, was the first female captain ever seen in a Star Trek story. The success of this film led to offers by several US TV networks to produce a new Trek TV series with the original cast. Instead, Paramount gave the green light to produce the syndicated Star Trek: The Next Generation starring an all new cast. A woman (Kate Mulgrew) was cast as ship's captain in the Star Trek series Star Trek series 'Star Trek: Voyager (1995)'.
  • The miniature of the Spacedock interior (some fifteen feet across) had been destroyed at the end of production on the previous film and had to be rebuilt from scratch.
  • SPOILER: Harve Bennett and Nicholas Meyer both had disagreements over the fate of Gillian Taylor, Bennett wanted her to go to the 23rd Century. while Meyer wanted her to stay in the 20th century
  • The sound the probe makes is taken from the sound of baby's heartbeat during a sonogram, slowed down and digitalized.
  • The location where Dr. Gillian Taylor picks up Kirk and Spock is not an actual street. It's a parking lot that runs alongside the main road.
  • It is often claimed that this is the only Star Trek film where no weapons are fired. This is incorrect, as Kirk uses his phaser to weld a door shut, and the whaler fires its harpoon. Chekov also tries to use his phaser, though it doesn't work. It is also one which no cast member from this film is killed, as the only deaths were from the reused footage from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
  • The film bore the dedication, "The cast and crew of Star Trek wish to dedicate this film to the men and women of the spaceship Challenger whose courageous spirit shall live to the 23rd century and beyond..."
  • CAMEO(Jane Wiedlin): The Go-Go's rhythm guitarist appears as the captain of a ship rendered powerless by the Probe. She is seen on the right of three huge video screens amid a chaotic control room on Earth. Her line: 'The condition remains the same. The Probe has neutralized all power supplies. We are functioning on reserves only'.
  • Humpback whales, when they sing, move into an upside down vertical position as correctly depicted in the movie. After hearing the humpback response, the alien probe also moves into this same position and replies.
  • When Chekov is running away in the ship the Finnish Jaeger march is playing in the background.
  • About the Finnish speaking whalers. There are no actual whaling in Finland since there are no whales in the Gulf of Finland or in the Baltic Sea.
  • During Spock's memory tests, the computer speaks very rapidly, almost too rapidly to discern. The first question it asks Spock is, "Who said 'Logic is the cement of our civilization, with which we ascend from chaos, using reason as our guide'?"
  • Jane Wyatt's final cinematic appearance.
  • After V'Ger, humpback whale is the largest lifeform Spock has mind melded with in the movies or (live action, not animated) series.
  • When Kirk, McCoy, and Gillian first enter the hospital and are walking around trying to locate Chekov, a voice on a loudspeaker in the background says "Paging Dr. Zober... Dr. Sandy Zober." Sandra Zober was director/star Leonard Nimoy's wife at the time.
  • Scenes of the Enterprise's final moments and its self-destruct were reused from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
  • The 'USS Enterprise CVN-65' was actually The USS Ranger CV-61. The Enterprise was out to sea during filming.
  • The officer on the Saratoga who announces that the thruster controls are offline is of the same alien race as the Federation President in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. This race has never been officially named, but some promotional materials identify the race as the Efrosians (named after Mel Efros, unit production manager for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home).
  • The time-travel method used in the film comes from the Star Trek: The Original Series episode 'Tomorrow is Yesterday'.
  • The antique glasses that Kirk sells to make some cash are the pair that was given to him by McCoy for his birthday in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982). It's suggested that once sold in the antiques store, those glasses hang around until they're bought by McCoy, in the future, and then Kirk takes them back in time, and so on, in which case one has to wonder where the glasses "originally" came from. This constitutes an "ontological paradox", an old favorite of science fiction writers, and raises too many questions to discuss here. (It is possible that these glasses existed in two places simultaneously, like characters in the "Back to the Future" films, rather than being caught in a causal loop.) The same paradox arises when Scotty explains how to make transparent aluminum. If the formula is "found" for the first time in the 20th century, but only because Scotty took the information back, then it was never invented in the first place! (This may not be a paradox if Scotty only gave Doctor Nichols the chemical formula but not the manufacturing process.)
  • Early in the film, the President of the Federation tells the Klingon Ambassador that Kirk is charged with nine violations of Starfleet Regulations. At his court-martial at the end, only six charges are listed: 1. Conspiracy, 2. Assault on Federation Officers, 3. Theft of Federation Property (the Enterprise), 4. Sabotage of the Excelsior, 5. Destruction of Federation Property (the Enterprise again), and 6. Disobeying direct orders of a superior officer.
  • When Chekov is running through the Enterprise (the aircraft carrier), trying to get away from the Marines, the words "Escape Route" and an arrow can be seen on the bulkhead walls.
  • One of the questions Spock is asked by the Computer on Vulcan asks about the major historical events of 1987. We never see or hear the answer to that question as the film was made in 1986.
  • The Probe is modelled after Rama from Arthur C. Clarke's "Rendezvous with Rama".
  • Susan Sarandon was among performers that were considered for the main guest lead of Dr.Gillian Taylor.
  • SPOILER: Uhura is the only crew member in duty uniform. Everyone else (except Spock) is dressed in Starfleet, casual wear. Saavik is also in uniform, but stays behind. Chekov leaves his civilian clothes in the past.
  • Scenes filmed on location in San Francisco marked the first time any Star Trek installment had been filmed outside the Los Angeles region.
  • In order to find the best actress to play Dr. Gillian Taylor, two prospective actresses were brought out to William Shatner's ranch by Leonard Nimoy to meet with the man himself. It was Shatner who personally chose Catherine Hicks saying that she was "spunky" (According to Shatner and Nimoy in the DVD Commentary).
  • The computer that Scotty uses to show transparent aluminum was originally going to be an Amiga, but Commodore would only provide a computer if they bought it. Apple was willing to loan them the Mac.
  • For the shot of Sulu flying the helicopter over San Francisco bay, the filmmakers tried to get a pilot to fly a Huey, but they were unable to. The long shot was accomplished using a radio controlled model from Japan.
  • When the alien ship is approaching Earth at the beginning to look for the humpback whales, there were originally subtitles saying things like "Where are you? Can you hear us?". The studio wanted to keep them despite Leonard Nimoy's objections. In the first test screening, however, test audiences indicated the subtitles were unnecessary so they were cut.
  • When Nicholas Meyer was asked to help with the script, the first thing he wanted to do was change the location from San Francisco to Paris because he had previously written and directed a movie about time travel involving San Francisco called Time After Time. But since Starfleet is supposed to be located in San Francisco, he was overruled. Oddly enough, scenes in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, as well as scenes from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine depict the Office of the Federation President to be in Paris.
  • The Cetacean Institute is actually the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California. The Institute's logo also belongs to the Aquarium.
  • The idea of having Spock give the Vulcan nerve pinch to the punk rocker was inspired by Leonard Nimoy who was walking down the street in New York when a punk came out of a store with his boombox blaring, disturbing everyone around him. Annoyed, Nimoy thought "If I was REALLY Spock, I'd pinch his head off!" (According to Nimoy in the DVD Commentary).
  • The original script called for the whales to be intercepted during aerial transport over the Golden Gate Bridge. San Francisco Mayor Diane Feinstein objected, saying that the city already had enough trouble with jumpers on the bridge, and that the scene would only encourage more. This led to the scene showing capture of the whales in Alaska.
  • After Leonard Nimoy allowed Kirk R. Thatcher to play the punk on the bus, Thatcher expressed displeasure at the music chosen for his boom box on the bus scene. He then asked to write and perform a song that he felt would be more representative of his character than the pre-selected music that was to appear. The result was the song "I Hate You".
  • The scene with the punk music on the bus was written by Nicholas Meyer to revive a scene that was cut from his movie Time After Time, that had H.G. Wells encountering a teenager with music blaring from a boom box.
  • A scene written for but cut from the film explained why Saavik stays on Vulcan: she is pregnant with Spock's child, stemming from an event in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. This was the character's final appearance in a Star Trek film.
  • This film features the only instance in which Kirk says "Scotty, Beam me up"
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