Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

Movie review by
Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Movie Poster Image
Cold War-influenced exit of classic space crew.
  • PG
  • 1991
  • 116 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 2 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 and species-integrated, and there is a strong sense of friendship, duty, and loyalty. There is also the theme of militaristic types (in both the Federation and Klingon Empires) being unable to let go of old grudges when the chance comes for reconciliation. Kirk, initially, can't forgive Klingons for killing his son, but he sees the bigger picture.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kirk is able to overcome his anti-Klingon prejudice to encourage peace negotiations.


Ray-gun fire that both disintegrates flesh, dismembers, and draws blood (floating in zero-gravity globules). Kirk vs. alien fights. A man freezes to death.


A joke about locations of alien genitalia. A coy reference to Kirk having made love to an alien (and how often that happens).


Kirk starts to say "Son of a..." but leaves it unfinished. "Go to hell" uttered by Spock, of all people.


Keep in mind that Star Trek is a wealth of products all by itself.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Humans and Klingons go overboard with social drinking of "Romulan ale." Inmates of the Klingon prison smoke an unspecified substance.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country centers on an assassination, which, even though it involves ray-guns, spills a lot of (Klingon) blood and shows gore. There are assorted fistfights, a man quick-freezing to death, and spaceships battling. References to heavy drinking, smoking (apparently a marijuana-like drug) and, less obviously, how Captain Kirk manages to have sex with most every attractive alien girl who crosses his path. Unimpeachable military authority (Starfleet) is cast in doubtful light.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAllAges August 13, 2020

Great story; Should’ve been PG-13.

As violent as Wrath of Khan, with some PG swears. Great story.
Adult Written bystarbuck 78 August 21, 2011

Good movie, don't be so wimpy

This movie reflects the attitudes that were very strong during the close of the cold war. The gore that everyone speaks of is purple and ridiculous to be shock... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old January 9, 2017

Excellent movie, but too much for younger kids

I think this is an excellent movie. But it is still best for older kids. There is a lot of fighting and a bloody scene, but it's not the kind of blood you... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 19, 2013

Undiscovered is ok

This is a good movie, just some deaths that are done stylized.

What's the story?

Made after the death of Gene Roddenberry (to whom it's dedicated), STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY is calculatingly engineered as a farewell adventure to the beloved Star Trek TV cast. The plot is a clear parallel to the off-screen thaw in U.S.-Soviet relations. When the dangerous, militaristic Klingon Empire suffers a potential doomsday disaster after their power-station moon explodes (think Chernobyl), the liberal Klingon Chancellor Gorkon (think Mikhail Gorbachev) accepts a historic Federation peace accord to allow an organized humanitarian cleanup. Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) volunteers the USS Enterprise and a shocked Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) for the diplomatic rendezvous, arguing, logically, that the negotiations will be more legitimate if the Klingon's greatest enemy is on board for it. But Gorkon is assassinated in a sneak attack seemingly originating from the Enterprise. Kirk does the unthinkable -- surrenders -- and faces a Klingon court, while Spock and the crew investigate and try to unravel the high-level conspiracy.

Is it any good?

The original cast, spectacular space-battle scenes, and overall good feeling make it easier to ignore the fact that the mystery plot is a klunky affair, filled with question marks. For example, shouldn't there be better security at the most important peace conference in Federation history? If Klingons had a shape-shifting alien spy, wouldn't she have been put to better use? However, the veteran cast of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country appears to be having a fine time going through their paces -- they literally all sign their autographs over the end credits. And fans of Sulu (George Takei) will enjoy how he is now a captain with his own starship. 

The U.S.-U.S.S.R. parallel spoke at the time to fears that warriors in America and Russia had lived too long in ceaseless conflict to put down their weapons and face a changed world, and Kirk's ability to surmount his own anti-Klingonism is nicely rendered. Interesting to note that in Roddenberry's original TV show, Starfleet was (like the U.S. armed forces in golden-age Hollywood depictions) an upstanding military that could do no wrong. That sure changed by the time this was made.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the Cold War historical parallels in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country . (Gorkon -- Gorbachev, hmmmm...) How is science fiction effective in modeling real life events?

  • Discuss some of the literary references in the movie (Gen. Chang's frequently quotes Shakespeare and Mr. Spock references Sherlock Holmes). Why do you think they talk about old writers when the movie takes place very far in the future?

  • What is the benefit of Starfleet having such a diverse membership? How does diversity help people understand other cultures?

Movie details

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Themes & Topics

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