Star Trek VI: The Undisovered Country Turns 20 – A Video Retrospective

20 years ago today the original Star Trek crew embarked on their final big screen adventure with the premiere of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country on December 6, 1991. Today TrekMovie takes a look back with a retrospective of video interviews, features and promotional clips for STVI from 1991. So get into your wayback machines below.


Remembering Star Trek VI

1991 was a major year for Star Trek. It was the 25th anniversary of the franchise, which saw a new wave of interest in Trek with TV specials, marathons and new merchandise. Star Trek: The Next Generation entered its 4th season and had grown into a hit TV series. It was also a bittersweet time as 1991 also saw the passing of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.

1991 is also the year Paramount chose to release the sixth (and final) feature film with the original Star Trek crew. After the critical and box-office disappointment of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1989 there was some talk about that being the final TOS film. Producer Harve Bennett proposed moving to a younger cast with a prequel set at Starfleet Academy (sound familiar?). But the studio felt the 25th anniversary should feature the original crew one last time. This disagreement led to the departure of Bennett from the franchise, with Leonard Nimoy moving in as executive producer and Ralph Winter moving up to full producer. Nimoy developed a cold-war allegory story with Star Trek II director Nick Meyer who also returned to helm the film.

The final result was a much more satisfying swan song for the original crew of the USS Enterprise. The film was much better received than Star Trek VI by both fans and general film audiences. It grossed around $75 million domestically which made it the 15th highest earner for the year (ahead of films like The Prince of Tides and JFK). The film was also well-received by critics. After previously panning Star Trek V, this new film led Roger Ebert to ask "Why on earth (or anywhere else) would Paramount want to retire this crew, which is as familiar and comforting as old family friends, and which does its job with the effortless grace of long familiarity? "

So today TrekMovie looks back at Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country with a video retrospective. Enjoy.




TV Commercial


Entertainment Tonight STVI Cast interviews + behind the scenes + 25th anniversary

MTV feature on 25th anniversary and STVI, hosted by Marina Sirtis

Good Morning America behind the scenes on Star Trek VI

William Shatner on The Tonight Show promoting STVI

Current Affair feature on STVI

Fun Stuff

Direct TV commercial (2006) w/ STVI footage and new Shatner

Star Trek VI (as directed by JJ Abrams)…by wcleere

The Wrath of Sulu…by zOtasAki

Happy Anniversary to Star Trek VI!


POLL: Rating Star Trek VI



Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

That teaser is still the best trailer Trek has ever done!

Has it really been 20 years? Dang, i’m getting old….

Wow – hard to believe everyone was getting bitchy at the time about the TOS cast all being old, yet Shatner and Nimoy were probably only 59 or so during filming.

Today, LIam Neesen is as old as they were and no one is shoving him off the stage. Harrison Ford is TEN YEARS OLDER than they were.

We lost 10 years of good TOS movies because the studio wanted to shove TNG down our throats.

I call this my favorite of them all, it did have a few weak points and actors but it had all of MY favorite elements of Star Trek: a strong story, emotional attachment to all the main characters, proper effects, peppered humour and a longing for it not to end when the credits came up. The signatures at the end were the perfect good-bye (though they ruined that with generations).

4 – I love the signatures at the end as well, that moment with the soaring music is a gift to the fans.

My oldest was 5 when STVI came out. Now he’s in his 3rd year of college and I have all this gray hair. My favorite movie with the original cast.

I arranged for a private birthday screening of this film for my brother at a local cinema. I had access to film prints through paramount and it was a wonderful day. All our friends attended and I’m so glad I could do that for him. He will be missed.

My favorite Trek movie. It had a great balance between action and storytelling. Seeing the 1701-A, Excelsior, and a BoP in a space battle at the end is also the greatest in Trek history, imo.


Great film. Loved it in the theater (a number of times).

Then went out on the streets of Manhattan, where I worked at the time, and bought a really crappy overpriced bootleg copy on VHS (1991, after all). Some guy had balanced a videocamera on his shoulder in the theater and sold the tape on the street.

Watched it over and over again anyway, despite the background noise and wobble.

I recall seeing it on opening night and I also recall that the ending in theaters was not the same ending that wound up on home video.

September of 1991 was the start of TNG’s fifth season. But, then again the 4th season ended in June of 91 so….

Sorry, I know, who cares. LOL

i can’t believe this movie is 20 years old. It still holds up pretty good visually and so does the story for that matter. I was in 9th grade when it came out. Saw it on opening night with my dad.

Now I’m old and a teacher???!!! Weird how fast time flies!

I had just started working as a head projectionist, back when FILM STOCK was the norm for a theater, and I ran ST VI. I remember screening the movie the night before it opened and cried when the signatures of the cast appeared at the end. Now 20 years later I’M the one with graying hair and some ppl think I’m a grumpy person.

I seen this when I was in the Navy in Singapore. I remember the theater was full and the fans there very enthusiastic for the movie. The only Trek film I seen overseas. I seen it in singapore about 8 times. I was thre for 3 months as my ship was in dry dock. even after 7 weeks there was still good crowds there.

#1: CORRECT – This was and is the best Trek trailer ever! seeing the TV uniforms on the big screen just showed me how it could have worked back then, with some minor adjustments. Still has an emotional impact on me to this day.

The next one should have been the Generations that was SUPPOSED to be made – TNG’s “Yesterday’s Enterprise” on the big screen, with the TOS crew showing up instead.

Missed opportunities (sigh).

Very nice compilation. Never saw the GMA piece. It’s too bad they went to TNG movies (which, arguably had little resemblance to TNG– except Insurrection). The original cast had at least one movie left in them, maybe more.

I absolutely adore that teaser. It’s like a warm blanket.

This is the date I offically became a Trekkie (late in the game I know)

Top 5:

1. Wrath of khan (obviously)
2. Star Trek (JJ Abrams)
3. Undiscovered Country
4. First Contact
5. Search for Spock

Always loved this movie… For me this and TWOK have been tied.

Great movie. Trek09 borrowed and repurposed a lot of Trek lore (which is why it feels so respectful, to me) and from TUC they took the notion that Spock has faith, faith in the universe — that things will turn out.

TUC might have been greater if Saavik was in it, thereby completing her arc.

And did those shots of nekkid Valeris ever come out? I ask purely out of my interest in Star Trek, yeh.

Terrible terrible movie !!!

@16: I have always said that…they should’ve sat on that story until they could put it on the big screen. Would’ve been epic!

One thing this movie demonstrated without question: Nicholas Meyer is one of the few directors/creative forces brought in from entirely “outside” the Trek “inner circle” that absolutely and unequivocally “got” Star Trek. He took the Horatio Hornblower to heart and made it work fabulously in both films he directed. He was interested in directing Trek III until they added in the Genesis planet sequence that made Spock’s “death” seem vague and unresolved, and it really put him at odds with Bennett et al.

There were a few weak elements of VI, but they were easily outdistanced by its successes. “Only Nixon could go to China” was an awesome Spock line, and if I’m not mistaken Meyer took credit for that line specifically. The composition of the scene with Kirk and Spock at opposite ends of the big conference table, at odds with each other, was fabulous.

It would have been awesome had they been able to get Kirstie Alley to reprise Saavik, which was the original intent of the Valeris character, but Alley was not interested/too expensive.

ILM did yeoman’s service with the FX, and the Klingon warships looked *great*. It was a far cry from the half-baked effects disaster that Bran Ferren’s group did for Trek V.

This was a fitting sendoff, and I think in retrospect that Meyer could easily have given us another fine TOS film given the chance. Alas. Next Gen, while fun, never caught the magic for me the way TOS did.

How much do I love this movie? I saw it twice…on opening day! I wound up seeing it 11 times in the theater! I knew this was the last time I’d see the full original crew on screen, and I didn’t want to regret not seeing them as many times as I could.

Sure, there are flaws in the film (why does the Enterprise need a kitchen when they have replicators?), but I still loved it.


Re pix of Valeris – the “lore” I heard was that Nimoy got wind of what she was doing, became outraged, and went up to the studio/stage during one of her “film sessions” (presumably on the bridge set itself) and *personally* chewed out both her and her photographer buddy, confiscated what film he could, and destroyed it. I admired him greatly for that. Obviously, that’s anecdotal, can’t prove a word, but that’s what I heard when the Valeris rumors emerged.

Great article and look back, trekmovie, thank you!

I really like TUC, but I just can’t get past the scene when Uhuru can’t speak Klingon and has to use the books. I skip it every time I watch it. It just doesn’t make any sense!

Other than that, great movie.

@28 Precisely the scene I try to ignore as well. Understood what they were trying to do, and it was even a relevant plot point, but it was easily the film’s most awkward and poorly executed scene. It just didn’t work, esp. with all the books – surely that stuff would have been on the computers even if they couldn’t use the dreaded universal translator.

The farther away from the original cast we get, the worse Star Trek gets.

I wish Nick Meyer could do one more with any crew!

TWOK, TUC, FC, all great. But Star Trek? Doesn’t compare. It’s the standard popcorn flick we have all been fed repeatedly over the last 5 years. It is meant to appeal to the Transformers movie crowd not the TOS, TNG crowd.

It’s not about being ST. It’s is about throwing just enough in to please the people who will see it no matter what, then fill it with a bunch of unnecessary action scenes and cliffhangers.

And Pine does a FINE job, but that is not Kirk. It’s random bad-boy action hero 42,9786.

I’m still not pleased, but yes, I’ll give the next one a shot.

This was the 1st star trek film I saw. We had a family outing to the cinema. The girls went to see My Girl. I wanted to watch that with mummy (I was only 6). After that I couldn’t get enough of the old girl that is star trek. Drove my family spare with it.

@16 Holy cow!! Yesterday’s Enterprise is easily my favorite TNG episode, and you just blew my mind! That would have been so unbelievably appropriate and SO much better than Generations. My head is spinning. Wow… what a missed opportunity indeed.

More specifically on the topic–I’ll come out and say it, ST VI was my favorite ST movie. Yes, ahead of Khan. I would probably place Khan in a tie with First Contact for second.

But again–@16–WOW!!! I may simply move to an alternate universe where that actually happened!

Watching that “Wrath of Sulu” video is TORTURE.

Is that Christopher Plummer voicing trailer #1 above?

I loved that teaser trailer, I used to watch it over and over. I just started college when that movie came out., now it’s nearly time for my oldest to start college. How weird.

It’s one of my favorites, but some of the continuity gaps and writing disjoints are still painful to watch. It’s like they finished the script five minutes before the cameras started to roll, and no one proofread it.

Kind of like the way the script for Trek 12 seems to be shaping up.

So proud of this film, after V I could hold my head up high, wonderful.

This and Wrath of Khan for me are tied as the two best Trek films of all time. TUC was a little darker in tone and really worked without Harve (no disrespect). The teaser is just beautiful to watch and I think this film out of the others have such a special connection to me because it was the first Trek film that I saw in theaters. I was young, really young, but I had developed a really strong connection to Star Trek and my mom (being the other Trekie in the family) who had introduced me to Trek, took me to the theater so we could watch this one together. It is my best Star Trek memory and one of the top memories I have from childhood.

I mightve been a fan before TUC, but afterwards I was sold for life. BIG thanks to everyone involved in any form of Trek out there.

#16 & 34 Agree, missed opportunity


exactly – if everyone hadnt been obsessing over their age maybe they couldve done Star Trek VII with the original cast for 1993 or 94 (something along the lines of Shatners ‘Ashes of Eden’ maybe directed by N Meyer again), TNG couldve done another couple of years on tv (no need for any DS9 or VOY) and then introduced the TNG crew with the ‘Generations’ film in 1996 for the 30th anniversary (more Yesterdays Enterprise/All Good Things like than what was done)

then started the standalone TNG movies in 1998 (First Contact)

Shatner and Nimoy would have only been 65 if they had been in a final final film in 1996. the same age H Ford was in the last Indy!

This was my favorite one of all. I liked the tie in to TNG with Col. Worf. Also, Excelsior and 1701A were and still are the two most graceful starships ever to grace the screen.

Definitely one of my favorites, despite whatever flaws it may have. Even the goofy translation scene doesn’t bother me that much, I suppose I always fanwanked it away by assuming the Klingon at that particular border post spoke a dialect Uhura was unfamiliar with. Though JJ’s Trek09 certainly readdressed it by having her speak 3 different Romulan dialects.

We need to get Nick back and fix Trek!


agreed – they didnt even need to sit on Yesterdays Enterprise – they could have just done what TMP did and used elements of the episode for the film – not doing it verbatim but similar (e.g. TMP – with Doomsday Machine/The Changeling…TVH – Tomorrow is Yesterday/Assignment Earth…TFF – The Way to Eden) maybe the Ent D couldve come back to the 23rd century – ‘Tomorrows’ Enterprise?’

they could have released it in 94 or 1996 – thus allowing abit of time in order to come up with a decent script, build some anticipation for TNG on the big screen and also have given the TNG actors and writers etc a bit of a rest after 7 years to recharge..not thrown them into doing the movie immediately after the last ep. Plus 96 was Treks 30th anniversary – the perfect time for a crossover film. Also they could have got Meyer or Nimoy to direct the film (both had directed time travel movies) – apparently Nimoy was offered directing and appearing in the existing Generations but turned it down due to the script and lack of time.

It could have been an epic 2 hour crossover event movie – Star Trek VII/TNG The Motion Picture

Great film! I always figured if Paramount had enough faith in ST to make TUC after TFF, TNG still has a chance to return after the box office bomb, NEM. Here’s hoping!

The best of the original TOS movies, I do opine.

Love that Direct TV ad.


Fanwanked !!?