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Star Trek III: The Search for Spock Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 70

    out of 100


    Star Trek III is an emotionally satisfying science fiction adventure. Dovetailing neatly with the previous entry in the popular series, Star Trek II.

  • 70

    out of 100

    The New York Times Janet Maslin

    Leonard Nimoy, who directed this third installment, hasn't matched the playfulness and energy of ''Star Trek II,'' but he's way ahead of the first film, making up in earnestness what he lacks in style. That kind of conviction, while sometimes verging on undue self-importance, goes a long way toward making the material touching.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    Newsweek David Ansen

    "The Search for Spock" is everything it ought to be: solemn and shlocky and rousing and heartfelt, like all good reunions. For those whose cup of tea this is, drink deep and enjoy. [11 June 1984, p.80]

  • 75

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    While the sluggish beginning and ending mar this Star Trek outing somewhat, there's still enough here to please fans of the series, and, to a lesser extent, movie-goers in general.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    This is a good but not great Star Trek movie, a sort of compromise between the first two.

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  • 80

    out of 100

    Time Richard Schickel

    It features as ghastly a group of interstellar pirates, the Klingons, as ever entered the star log, plus a spectacularly self-destructive planet and plenty of technically adroit and sometimes witty special effects. These are classic directorial occasions, and Nimoy rises to them with fervor, in effect beaming his film up onto a higher pictorial plane than either of its predecessors.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 10+

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.

  • 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?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: There is a continuing theme throughout about how to react with courage and resourcefulness in a seemingly hopeless situation. Themes of loyalty, sacrifice, friendship, and love run throughout.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: Even though it means unthinkably rebelling against Starfleet, the main characters go above and beyond to save their comrade. Starfleet is racially and species-integrated. While many female characters are secondary, there is one standout female Vulcan character .

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Phaser and photon starship battles, hand-to-hand combat with casualties, and characters evaporated by death rays. Planets and spaceships blow up.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Not an issue

  • language false2

    Language: "Bastard" is uttered in the famous line, "You Klingon bastard, you killed my son!"

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: Star Trek itself is an enormous commodity.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Social drinking, toasts, and a 23rd-century bar.