Top 10 Star Trek Movies
Script written by Joe Jatcko. Think there aren’t enough “Star Trek” films for a top 10 list? That’s never stopped us before. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the 10 best films in the “Star Trek” franchise. For this list, any film that starts with the words “Star Trek” is eligible, from those featuring the original cast, to those with the Next Generation cast, and even the current re-boots. Now, engage! Special thanks to our users jwiking62, Joshua Aucapina, Jason Lundgren, Joeltheman, Luke Altman, Mihai Furtună and Nolan davian for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.com/suggest
Top 10 Star Trek Movies
Think there aren’t enough “Star Trek” films for a top 10 list? That’s never stopped us before. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the 10 best films in the “Star Trek” franchise.
For this list, any film that starts with the words “Star Trek” is eligible, from those featuring the original cast, to those with the Next Generation cast, and even the current re-boots. Now, engage!
#10: “Star Trek: Nemesis” (2002)One of the more overlooked “Trek” films; “Nemesis” came at a time when the world was engulfed in “Lord of the Rings” and “Harry Potter” mania. The darkest of the sometimes-vanilla Next-Gen entries, it’s a story with clones, coups d’état and campaigns for planetary destruction. With Tom Hardy joining the Next Generation cast as an evil Reman leader, it’s the tenth film in the franchise, so it’s bound to rehash familiar plot points and devices; but this one also brings humanity to its characters – yes, even the androids.
#9: “Star Trek Generations” (1994)Let’s face it, this one’s mostly lands here on the strength of cool-points, nostalgia and inside jokes – but that’s enough for us! Like many “Trek” films, the plot of the seventh flick only kinda makes sense – but c’mon, Captains Kirk and Picard versus a sneering Malcolm McDowell in a desert standoff: it’s gotta be awesome, right? While the battle itself may be about as exciting as the slow-motion fight sequences of the Original Series, it’s still good to see Kirk back in action one last time.
#8: “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” (1979)The first film to bear the “Star Trek name,” this one came an entire decade after the original series was canceled, and thus it’s perhaps the most divisive amongst fans. Subsequently nicknamed “The Motionless Picture,” the film re-introduced Gene Roddenberry’s iconoclastic franchise to a new audience…at least those who were able to stay awake until the end. Yes, it has been criticized for its slow pace and lack of action, but we prefer to remember the inaugural “Trek” film for its awesome visuals and breathtaking special-effects.
#7: “Star Trek Into Darkness” (2013)The twelfth installment overall, and the second for J.J. Abrams and his stellar cast, “Into Darkness” borrows nemeses, plot elements and entire sequences from previous “Trek” films – but it’s anything but a tired retread. The official militarization of space sets the stage for an imposing villain in the form of Benedict Cumberbatch to join the series. With enough novel elements to invite new fans, and enough callbacks to keep lifelong Trekkers satisfied, this exhilarating, effects-heavy trek through space is an exciting, and funny, adventure.
#6: “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” (1984)Directed by Leonard Nimoy, “The Search for Spock” attempts to mesh the best elements of the “Trek” films that came before it, combining mesmerizing effects with emotional intensity. With rogue Klingon captain Kruge portrayed by Christopher Lloyd, the only actor this side of Ricardo Montalban who can match William Shatner at over-the-top performances, “Search for Spock” never stops being awesome. While it falls short of “Khan”’s success, the third “Trek” film offers fans an emotionally rewarding movie experience with their beloved characters.
#5: “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (1986)Whether or not you see this as a propaganda piece for one of the rallying cries of the ‘80s – that is, the “Save the Whales” campaign – the results are pretty great. By comparing Gene Roddenberry’s idyllic future with 20th century insensitivities and Cold War tensions, “The Voyage Home” embodies the hope that has always made “Star Trek” unique. After two decades together, the cast gels, allowing for the human interaction and humor we’ve come to expect. And, it’s pretty cool how the “slingshot-around-the-sun” time travel premise works.
#4: “Star Trek: First Contact” (1996)Speaking of nonsensical but convenient time travel, the eighth film sees the Enterprise go suddenly from blowing up a Borg cube to three centuries into the past. In what is widely considered the greatest “Star Trek” film to feature the Next Generation cast, Picard and company battle the most diabolical adversary of the new series in an epic, “Moby Dick”-inspired story. With Jonathan Frakes as director, the Starfleet crew attempts to thwart the Borg’s quest to stop First Contact – which involves talking some sense into this guy.
#3: “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” (1991)After the campy, low-budget Shatner-fest “Star Trek V,” the franchise found itself on its knees. But, with proper financing and director Nicholas Meyer at the helm, the series’ sixth installment confronts perhaps the most important geo-political allegory of the entire series. In the wake of the fall of the USSR, this Klingon peace-mission-turned-conspiracy-adventure paralleled real-life events, but set them in a familiar future that has no trouble remembering its past. Not only did this episode solidify the original cast’s legacy; it also sent them off with respect.
#2: “Star Trek” (2009)J.J. Abrams’ lens flare-filled update finally brought “Star Trek” to mainstream audiences. As TV series and films featuring new casts waned in popularity, the eleventh film returns to the iconic characters and look of the original series, while polishing up every detail and pushing the pace to breakneck speeds. Abrams’ tinkering with the series’ DNA made fans anxious, but with new cast members who pay homage to their older counterparts and a story that reminds us why we love the series, it’s a stellar reboot for an interstellar franchise.
While we don’t generally do “dishonorable mentions,” it’s kinda hard not to when a film is bad enough to not make it onto a list of 10 out of a dozen possible options – so, here are a few dishonorable mentions:
- “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” (1989)
- “Star Trek: Insurrection” (1998)
#1: “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” (1982)The undisputed chief of this list, Nicolas Meyer’s “Trek” masterwork helped usher in a new era of science fiction during the summer of 1982, not with effects or tricks but with stories about human nature. Overhauled since the previous film entry, this film goes back to the formula that made the original series so compelling. Using every tool at a captain’s disposal, the Enterprise crew attempts to outwit the chest-baring, super-human adversary they’d previously met in the 1960s series. And what a worthy adversary he is, too.
Do you agree with our list? Which Trek films do you think are the best? For more top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.