The “Star Trek” franchise is one of the few that has been just as successful on the big screen as it is on the small screen. The franchise ventured into movies for the first time in the late 70s, reuniting the cast of “Star Trek: The Original Series.” Over the next two decades, five more TOS movies were made.
A complete experience of the original Trekverse requires watching all the TOS movies, preferably in chronological order. To help fans accomplish this, Heavy has put together a complete list of all the TOS films in chronological order, along with information about how fans can watch them.
‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ (1979)
“Star Trek: The Motion Picture” hit theaters in December of 1979. According to “The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” though “The Original Series” was beloved by fans, it was never considered a hit by the network. When the show was canceled after the third season, it went into reruns and that’s when the fandom really grew around the show.
Negotiations for a “Star Trek” movie started in the early 70s, but Gene Roddenberry and Paramount Pictures spent a year and a half hammering out a deal. The project stalled several times before finally coming to fruition in 1979.
The movie earned only mediocre reviews. The BBC even called the film a “critical failure.” However, it did succeed in reviving the franchise and getting Paramount to greenlight a second movie.
Fans who want to watch the first Trek movie can find it on Paramount+ and Hulu or rent it on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and AppleTV.
‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’ (1982)
Two and a half years later, the next installment in the TOS movie franchise premiered. “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan” hit theaters in June of 1982. The movie brought back one of the most iconic TOS villains — Khan Noonien Singh.
The crew of the Enterprise was sent to save the crew of the Reliant, which had been captured by Khan and his crew. The movie set up an epic confrontation between William Shatner’s Captain Kirk and Ricardo Montalbán’s Khan. It’s widely considered one of the best movies in the Trekverse.
Fans looking to watch this Trek masterpiece can find it on Paramount+ and Hulu or rent it on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and AppleTV.
‘Star Trek III: The Search For Spock’ (1984)
The massive success of “The Wrath of Khan” led the studio to order a new “Star Trek” movie almost immediately. “Star Trek III: The Search For Spock” released almost exactly two years after its predecessor.
The movie was the first of the Trek films to be directed by a member of the cast. Leonard Nimoy had been unsure about returning to the franchise after his character’s death at the end of “Wrath of Khan,” but agreed to come back on the condition that he was allowed to direct the next film.
The film picked up right where “The Wrath of Khan” left off. The crew of the Enterprise embarked on a mission to retrieve Spock’s body from the Genesis planet so he could be laid to rest on Vulcan. When they arrived at the Genesis planet, they were confronted by the Klingons, who wanted to steal the Genesis device. Of course, an epic battle ensued. Once it was complete, the crew of the Enterprise continued their search for Spock.
Fans looking to watch the third installment in the Trek movie franchise can find it on Paramount+ and Hulu or rent it on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and AppleTV.
‘Star Trek VI: The Voyage Home’ (1986)
Though “The Search for Spock” wasn’t as well-received as “The Wrath of Khan,” it proved that the franchise was in high demand. Paramount followed up with “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” just over two years later. The movie hit theaters in November of 1986.
“The Voyage Home” began a few months after the events of the previous movie. The crew of Enterprise was headed back to Earth in a Klingon Bird of Prey because the Enterprise had been destroyed. When they reached Earth’s orbit, they found the planet under attack by a probe speaking an unknown language. When scientists determined that the probe was trying to communicate with the long-extinct whales, the crew of the Enterprise went back to the 80s to save the whales.
The movie was the film franchise’s first foray into comedy-drama, and it worked out pretty well. “The Voyage Home” is widely considered one of the best Trek movies of all time.
Fans looking to watch this incredible film can find it on Paramount+ or rent it on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and AppleTV.
‘Star Trek V: The Final Frontier’ (1989)
The “Star Trek” movie franchise continued a few years later with “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.’ The movie broke with the pattern of releasing a new “Star Trek” film every two years because the plot of the film, devised by Shatner, was a subject of much controversy within the Trekverse.
The crew of the Enterprise was sent to rescue diplomatic hostages on Nimbus III. During that mission, they discovered that Spock’s half-brother Sybok was responsible for the incident. His grand plan was to commandeer the Enterprise so he could use the ship to hunt down God. Using his manipulative abilities, Sybok convinced the Enterprise crew to aid him in his search.
The movie is widely considered one of the worst in the franchise. In an interview with TrekMovie, Ralph Winters, one of the movie’s producers, admitted “we almost killed the franchise.”
Luckily, they didn’t.
Fans looking to watch the fifth movie in the TOS series can find it on Paramount+ and Hulu or rent it on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and AppleTV.
‘Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country’ (1991)
The Trek movie franchise quickly redeemed itself with the final TOS movie, “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.” The movie released in December of 1991, exactly 12 years after the release of the first TOS movie.
The movie focused on the tensions between the Klingon Empire and the Federation. Kirk’s hatred of the Klingons, who killed his son in “Star Trek III,” drove much of the movie’s plot.
When the Klingon moon Praxis was destroyed, the crew of the Enterprise was sent to meet with a Klingon delegation. The Klingon ship was destroyed shortly after a meeting between the Enterprise’s senior staff and the Klingon diplomats, which led the Klingons to believe that the Federation’s intentions were hostile. The crew of the Enterprise embarked on a mission to uncover the real plot to destabilize relations between the Klingons and the Federation.
The lead villain of “The Undiscovered Country” was played by award-winning actor Christopher Plummer, who delivered a standout performance as General Chang. The movie is widely considered one of the best TOS movies.
Fans looking to watch this incredible Trek movie can find it on Paramount+ and Hulu or rent it on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and AppleTV.
Though the TOS movies were complete after “The Undiscovered Country,” the “Star Trek” movie franchise continued with the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” movies.
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