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How to watch the Star Trek movies in order

star trek movies in order
(Image credit: Paramount)

It’s a good time to be a Star Trek fan and watch all the Star Trek movies in order. With three active TV series (Discovery, Picard, Lower Decks) and three more in the works (Section 31, Prodigy, Strange New Worlds), there are more Star Trek adventures airing now than at any point since the mid-90s. 

While Star Trek TV shows have come and gone since the ‘60s, Star Trek movies maintained a pretty consistent release schedule between 1979 and 2016. On average, we got a new film once every three years. But with the fourth move of the Star Trek reboot franchise allegedly canceled, we may be in for a long wait until we see the U.S.S. Enterprise on the big screen again.

Still, there’s one missing piece of the puzzle: Where are all the Star Trek movies? Unlike watching the Star Wars movies in order, you can't see every Trek film on the same service.

In the meantime, there are thirteen Star Trek movies to watch (or rewatch), either on DVD or your favorite streaming services. I personally bought the Blu-ray collections so that I wouldn’t be at the mercy of shifting streaming schedules, but if you prefer an all-digital experience, these movies are almost always available somewhere online.

Star Trek movies in order: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

(Image credit: Paramount)

Star Trek movies in order of release date

Watching the Star Trek movies in release order is, for the most part, exactly the same as watching the Star Trek movies in chronological order. (There’s some time travel here and there, but the later films still follow “after” the earlier ones.) There are 13 films. The first came out in 1979; the last came out in 2016. 

The only issue is that they're spread out across a number of different subscription services. 10 of the 13 can be found on Amazon Prime Video, and seven of those are also on Hulu. FX Now and Fubo each have one Star Trek movie a piece, each film being a streaming exclusive (you'd need to buy or rent to watch otherwise). And then CBS All Access (soon to be Paramount Plus) and Pluto also have one film. 

  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979): On Hulu and Prime Video
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982): On Hulu and Prime Video
  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984): On Hulu and Prime Video
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986): On Prime Video
  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989): On Hulu and Prime Video
  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991): On Hulu and Prime Video
  • Star Trek: Generations (1994): On Prime Video
  • Star Trek: First Contact (1996): On Prime Video
  • Star Trek: Insurrection (1998): On Hulu and Prime Video
  • Star Trek: Nemesis (2002): On CBS All Access/Paramount Plus and Pluto
  • Star Trek (2009): On Fubo
  • Star Trek Into Darkness (2013): On FX Now
  • Star Trek Beyond (2016): On Hulu and Prime Video

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Amazon Prime Video has a huge library beyond Star Trek movies. Not only do they have a ton of top movies and TV shows, they've got a lineup of acclaimed originals. They've got everything from Fleabag to Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to The Expanse to Jack Ryan. View Deal

Fubo.TV: One of the streaming services you'll need to complete the Star Trek movies in order, Fubo has all of the right network channels too. Who needs cable? Not Fubo subscribers. It's got a 7-day free trial so you don't need to pay up front.View Deal

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On top of there not being one home for all the movies, there are a few small wrinkles in this plan, however. First: The Star Trek movies aren’t completely standalone. They require some knowledge of what happened in the Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation TV shows to fully grok. 

Furthermore, the 13 movies don’t tell one continuous story. Rather, they’re based on three separate iterations of the long-running franchise.

star trek movies in order: Star Trek: First Contact

(Image credit: Paramount)

Star Trek movies in order of series

Just like the Star Trek TV shows, the Star Trek movies don’t all focus on the same characters and settings. While there’s a little bit of crossover (which we’ll cover below), the films generally fall into three categories.

The first category is based on Star Trek: The Original Series. This is your daddy’s Star Trek, complete with Kirk, Spock, McCoy, the original U.S.S. Enterprise and Scotty beaming people up. If you’ve ever heard about “KHAAAAN!” or “the one with the whales,” or “Shakespeare in the original Klingon,” this is where they come from.

They're all available on Prime Video, and almost all (The Voyage Home is missing) are on Hulu as well. 

Star Trek: The Original Series movies

  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979): On Hulu and Prime Video
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982): On Hulu and Prime Video
  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984): On Hulu and Prime Video
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986): On Prime Video
  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989): On Hulu and Prime Video
  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991): On Hulu and Prime Video

Next up, there are the Next Generation movies. This is Gen X/Elder Millennial Star Trek, starring Picard, Data, Worf and the crew. The movies start off with the Enterprise-D, but transition to the sleeker Enterprise-E in First Contact. Generations features a crossover with some original series crewmembers, but the rest put the TNG cast front and center, with occasional Deep Space Nine and Voyager cameos.

You'll need at least two streaming services to see all of them.

Star Trek: The Next Generation movies

  • Star Trek: Generations (1994): On Prime Video
  • Star Trek: First Contact (1996): On Prime Video
  • Star Trek: Insurrection (1998): On Hulu and Prime Video
  • Star Trek: Nemesis (2002): On CBS All Access/Paramount Plus and Pluto

Finally, there are the “reboot” Star Trek films, also known as the “Kelvin timeline” films. Kirk, Spock and McCoy take center stage again, but this time in an alternate reality, where events play out differently. This is Star Trek for the cool kids, complete with fast starships, pulse-pounding action and soundtracks populated by the Beastie Boys. (It’s not quite as mindless as it sounds — except for Into Darkness, maybe.) For the most part, these films don’t require previous Star Trek knowledge. But they do pick up where Nemesis left off, more or less, before winding the clock back.

This set is the splintered across services more than any of the others.

Star Trek reboot movies

  • Star Trek (2009): On Fubo
  • Star Trek Into Darkness (2013): On FX Now
  • Star Trek Beyond (2016): On Hulu and Prime Video

star trek movies in order — Star Trek: The Original Series: Space Seed

(Image credit: Paramount)

Star Trek episodes to watch first

Star Trek series acronyms

TOS: The Original Series
TNG: The Next Generation
ENT: Enterprise

Watching the Star Trek movies is an extremely straightforward process, but they may be a little incomprehensible unless you’ve seen at least some of the TV series. (I watched the entire franchise, but that may not be practical for you.) The Motion Picture picks up after The Original Series ends; likewise with Generations and The Next Generation.

As such, here are some episodes you should watch if you’re going to dive into the movies. Generally, the movies stand on their own, but it might help to know about some of the supporting characters and subplots:

Episodes for Star Trek: The Original Series movies

  • Space Seed (TOS, S1, E22): On Hulu and Prime Video
  • Errand of Mercy (TOS: S1, E26): On Hulu and Prime Video
  • Journey to Babel (TOS: S2, E10): On Hulu and Prime Video

Episodes for Star Trek: The Next Generation movies

  • Q Who (TNG: S2, E16): On Hulu and Prime Video
  • The Best of Both Worlds, Parts I and II (TNG: S3, E26 / S4, E1): On Hulu and Prime Video
  • Family (TNG: S4, E2): On Hulu and Prime Video

Episodes for Star Trek reboot movies

  • Unification, Parts I and II (TNG: S5, E7 & E8): On Hulu and Prime Video
  • First Flight (ENT: S2, E24): On Hulu and Prime Video
  • The Xindi (ENT: S3, E1): On Hulu and Prime Video

star trek movies in order — star trek

(Image credit: Paramount)

Which Star Trek movies are good?

If you watch all 13 Star Trek movies, you’re signing yourself up for about 26 hours of screen time. That’s more than a casual fan may want to invest. Luckily (or unluckily?), not ever Star Trek film is created equal. For a long time, fans held that the even-numbered movies were good, while the odd-numbered ones were bad. That trend seems to have reversed with the recent reboot films, though: The odd ones are good, while the even one is, well, not.

In any case, if you want to start with the movies that are really worth your time, here they are:

  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982): On Hulu and Prime Video
  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984): On Hulu and Prime Video
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986): On Prime Video
  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991): On Hulu and Prime Video
  • Star Trek: First Contact (1996): On Prime Video
  • Star Trek (2009): On Fubo

I personally like some of the other ones quite a bit (Nemesis is better than you remember, and Generations has quite a few moving moments), but those should at least represent a good starting point.

And once you’re done with those, you can move onto Galaxy Quest: the best Star Trek movie that’s not actually a Star Trek movie.