Star Trek: First Contact

Movie review by
Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
Star Trek: First Contact Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Intense, gory Starfleet adventure earns series' first PG-13.
  • PG-13
  • 1996
  • 111 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 14 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Starfleet is notably racially, gender, and species-integrated (with the addition of Mr. Data, even machine-integrated), and there is a strong sense of friendship, duty, loyalty and, if necessary, sacrifice.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Picard's vengeful attitude towards the Borg is called into question by a civilian, and he relents. Mr. Data puts his own wishes to be human aside for the greater good.


Spaceship explosions, ray-gun fire, dead bodies seen. Grisly close-combat with the Borg, including snapped necks, injections-implants piercing skin, disembodied or hacked-off body parts, and dissolving flesh.


Dialog about sexuality in general terms, mostly with the android Data being tempted by an inhuman villainess. He talks about being anatomically correct and programmed in "techniques." A human character described as a drunken womanizer.


More bathroom talk than usual Starfleet regulations, including "bulls--t," "hell."


Tie-ins with three Star Trek TV shows, innumerable action-figure/book/video game spin-offs. Zephraim Cochrane forces the crew to listen to classic rock.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Quite a lot of drinking and drunkenness among the people of Earth, played comically.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know Star Trek: First Contact is the first Trek movie to Go Where No Star Trek Flick Had Gone Before, to a PG-13 rating. It has some pretty gruesome violence and a macabre threat in the menacing Borg, a zombie-like, infectious, cybernetic race who could give younger viewers nightmares. Humans and Borg alike die in battles, with some limbs severed, and a Borg commander can detach her head at will. There is some generalized dialog about sexuality, as well as mild swearing. A historical Starfleet hero is revealed as a misfit drunkard; while his alcoholism is perhaps meant as pathos, it comes across as mainly comical.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9 and 13-year-old Written bypillsbur December 27, 2020

Fine except for that one scene...

Fairly standard sci-fi violence with movie gore (this is not just an episode from television). The Borg Queen is the riskiest aspect for families. She’s designe... Continue reading
Adult Written byAllAges August 13, 2020

The Best TNG Film. Excellent flick, deserving of PG-13 rating.

Not as gory as Wrath of Khan, but it has it’s moments. Excellent movie.
Kid, 10 years old August 14, 2019

First Contact was way better than Generations

First Contact is very good. But there is a lot of combat with the Borg. In one scene Captain Picard was digging in Ensign Lynch’s Borg body and some of the thin... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byGfan54 November 7, 2018

Exciting and memorable.

Star Trek: First Contact starts off with without a doubt the most disturbing scene in the film where one of the characters eyes is implied to be impaled, from t... Continue reading

What's the story?

A theatrical spin-off of the fine TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation, STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT gets right to business with the most compelling of the villains from the program, the Borg, an army of ghoulish cyborgs from deep space, out to conquer all humanoid life. Responding to an attack on Earth by the Borg, the starship Enterprise (a new model since the previous one got trashed in the last film) discovers the invaders have sent a Borg expedition back in time, to a war-devastated 21st-century Earth. By striking at this crucial interval, the Borg will absorb humanity at its weakest point, altering history and preventing the founding of Starfleet. Following in the same time warp, the Enterprise crew split into two teams; one beams to the wilderness of Montana of 2063, to find a genius inventor-pilot named Zephraim Cochrane (James Cromwell), responsible for faster-than-light space travel -- but he turns out to be a gangly wastrel, aghast that he's destined to be regarded as the planet's greatest hero. That's played on a comic level; more serious events unfold on the Enterprise, where Borg have taken root like an infection and are spreading throughout the ship.

Is it any good?

Kids (heck, adults too) who have absorbed Treklore on the level of their Pokemon or Buffy the Vampire Slayer scholarship should be delighted by the well-modulated space adventure. Though it comes on like gangbusters (or Borgbusters, as the case may be), as with many Star Trek movies, knowledge of the dense TV mythology is crucial to comprehending this maximum-warp theatrical expansion. Someone who has not seen the cliffhanger episodes in which Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) is captured and turned into a Borg, will be a bit lost -- and Star Trek: First Contact not only references them but also connects, to varying degrees, with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, among others. In-joke lines and cameos that made audiences cheer in 1996 may seem puzzling and out of context today.

While the relatively tame stuff on Earth with Zephraim Cochrane seems to have drifted in from an entirely different (and more lighthearted) film, it gives you vital breathing space in between the Borg conflict, in which the stakes are literally a fate worse than death. Indeed, the vibe is not unlike Alien as the purposeful zombies take over deck by deck -- only to meet their match in human will and loyalty.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why the Borg are standouts among all the alien menaces on Star Trek. Why are they such memorable adversaries? 

  • What about the side-story about Zephraim Cochrane, the legendary inventor who turns out to be an extremely reluctant hero? Can you think of any real-life equivalents in human history?

  • The theme of Moby Dick and obsessive vengeance arises, a reference that also came up in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. What similarities are there in the stories? 

Movie details

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