Where was Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home filmed?
San Francisco (USA), Los Angeles (USA)
Retro, Nature, Film Studio
Cabin, High-tech/Futuristic, Building Dated/Retro
About Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Ready for a sci-fi adventure like no other? Then join the crew of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home on an intergalactic journey full of surprises and wonders! Directed by Leonard Nimoy, this 1986 American science fiction feature film is based on the classic TV series, offering a unique experience through space and time.
So buckle up your seatbelts; it's sure to go an epic voyage! It serves as the fourth feature-length installment of the franchise and is a follow-up to Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984). The movie marks the conclusion of the story arc which began with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) and continued with The Search for Spock.
After being held accountable for their actions from the previous installment, the former crew of the USS Enterprise finds Earth facing a crisis due to an alien probe looking to contact extinct humpback whales. With no other options, they journey back into Earth's past to secure some whales that can respond to this probe's signal.
Leonard Nimoy was asked to direct Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and he also came up with a story idea lacking a primary antagonist. However, the first screenplay by Steve Meerson and Peter Krikes failed to gain approval, prompting Paramount Pictures to enlist Nicholas Meyer (writer/director of The Wrath of Khan) for assistance. Together with producer Harve Bennett, they co-wrote the script which had to be approved by Nimoy, William Shatner, and Paramount execs.
Filming commenced on February 24th, 1986. The Voyage Home was distinct in its extensive use of real-world locations for the film, with many of San Francisco's settings and buildings incorporated as part of the scenes. Industrial Light & Magic provided post-production and special effects for the movie. To create an authentic, lifelike experience for humpback whales, ILM used both full-size animatronics and small mechanized models.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Locations
Prior to the release of The Search for Spock, Leonard Nimoy was invited by Paramount to return and direct the subsequent movie. Allowing him more control and freedom compared to his previous experience, they referred to his vision when expressing their desire to have him on board once again - as Nimoy recollects.
After a few adventures that were mainly set in a studio, the Star Trek movie series took advantage of actual California locations for this environmentally-aware adventure. The crew of the Enterprise returns to 1986 San Francisco to save a whale.
Upon arriving in San Francisco, the crew splits up at the corner of Columbus, Kearny, and Pacific Avenues. The Klingon ship that they pilfered then travels below the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Although the crew of the Enterprise lands at 'Golden Gate Park' with their stolen Klingon ship, it is actually Will Rogers State Park, located in Pacific Palisades.
Originally the home of humorist Will Rogers, this stunning park in the Santa Monica mountains was used as a filming location for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Here is a rundown of where other memorable scenes were filmed.
Kirk and Spock first meet Gillian scene in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940, United States
Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) meet Gillian (Catherine Hicks) at the Cetacean Institute in Sausalito, where they also encounter George and Gracie, two humpback whales. In the movie, these majestic creatures are contained in a large tank outdoors near the Pacific Ocean.
However, the Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home scene was actually filmed at Monterey Bay Aquarium - located some distance away from San Francisco - which has a deck overlooking the Pacific. The whales seen on-screen were created with animatronics for closeups, with special effects taking over for shots taken from further away.
Just 120 miles down the coast from San Francisco, you'll find the Monterey Bay Aquarium located at 886 Cannery Row in Monterey. Although it doesn't have any whales on its premises, many other exciting creatures and exhibits await exploration.
To get there from the north, take the Pacific Grove Highway 68 toward Monterey and exit at Del Monte Avenue. Continue straight on this road for 1.7 miles until you reach Cannery Row. If you're arriving from the south, take the 101 Freeway to Munras Avenue and head west for 2 miles until you reach Cannery Row. Public transportation is also an option, and bus number 22 services both Del Monte Avenue and Cannery Row south of Prescott Avenue and is available throughout most days.
The Bird of Prey Water scene in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
14253 Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272, USA
Towards the movie's finale, viewers witness the Klingon Bird of Prey dramatically plunging into San Francisco Bay. However, due to safety concerns, these scenes could not be filmed in the real bay - they were instead shot in a large water tank at Paramount Studios in Hollywood. This tank can actually be filled with water for filming purposes and is also equipped with a large background that can be repainted or used as a blue screen.
The crew parks the 'Bird of Prey' at a place known as "Golden Gate Park," but this is actually Will Rogers State Park in Pacific Palisades, located at 14253 Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. This park was once the estate of famous humorist and actor Will Rogers in the Santa Monica mountains.
If you are traveling by car, head west on Chautauqua Boulevard and make a right onto Sunset Blvd. After 7 Miles you will see the address to your left. If you prefer to use public transportation, bus #652 will drop you off at the Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home filming location.
Chekov and Uhura Look For The "Nuclear Wessels" scene in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
The intersection of Columbus & Mason, North Beach, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Chekov (Walter Koenig) and Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) set off to locate the Nuclear Vessels ("wessels" as Chekov says). The scenes for this mission were shot at the intersection of Columbus, Mason, and Greenwich Streets.
The actors had to actually approach unsuspecting local passers-by to film their reactions, who had no idea they were being filmed. To retrace their steps, start by making your way to the North Beach area itself, once there use each street name as your point of reference for navigation.
Find either Columbus or Mason and you'll have no difficulty in finding their intersection. For those planning a visit to this central hub of activity in San Francisco, the best transit route is the 30-Stockton or 45-Union line - they both stop two blocks away from Columbus and Mason’s intersection!
The crew of the Enterprise arrives on Earth scene in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
900 Kearny St, San Francisco, California 94133, United States
After arriving on Earth in 1986, the crew discovers that their mission had taken a toll on the ship's power reserves. Thus, they cloak the Bounty and hide it in Golden Gate Park.
The crew then divides up tasks to be accomplished: Admiral James T. Kirk and Spock search for humpback whales, while Montgomery Scott (James Doohan), Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley), and Hikaru Sulu (George Takei) create a tank that can contain the whales necessary for their journey back to the 23rd century.
The Columbus Tower, commonly referred to as the Sentinel Building, is a multipurpose structure located in San Francisco, California. Construction had already commenced before the 1906 San Francisco earthquake caused serious damage to the building site and other parts of the city; it was eventually concluded in 1907.
Nowadays, much of the tower is occupied by Francis Ford Coppola's American Zoetrope studio. It's just a few blocks away from BART and MUNI stations, so you can easily take public transportation there or even walk if you're feeling adventurous.
You can also get there by car or bike; simply enter your starting address into a navigation application and it will provide you with step-by-step directions. Once you arrive, off-street parking is available as well as several nearby parking garages.
Vulcan scene in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Vasquez Rocks Natural Area and Nature Center, 10700 Escondido Canyon Rd, Agua Dulce, CA 91390, United States
The crew began shooting the opening scenes of Star Trek IV on the planet Vulcan at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area situated near Santa Clarita. This area is a popular filming location thanks to the aesthetics provided by its distinctive rock formations and it's relatively close to Los Angeles.
To give the scenes an even greater sense of realism, matte paintings were utilized. The Vulcan site was named after Tiburcio Vasquez, a 19th-century outlaw who had once sought refuge there.
Characterized by spurs of rock that were thrust out of the earth as a result of the San Andreas Fault, this remarkable place has been used to shoot many Westerns, sci-fi movies, and pop videos since Werewolf of London in 1935. Additionally, various episodes of the Star Trek TV series have been filmed at the location and it makes another appearance in JJ Abrams' 2009 reboot.
You can get there by car, bike, or on foot by following a few easy steps. Locate the nearest highway that has access to Agua Dulce, such as Interstate 14 or Highway 126. Once you reach the correct highway, continue driving until you find Sierra Highway/14th Street West, then turn onto Sierra Highway and take it straight until you reach Escondido Canyon Road. Keep following this road until you reach your destination at 10700 Escondido Canyon Road.
Kirk and Spock discuss their plan scene in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA, United States
As Kirk and Spock reflect on their current situation while walking along Marine Drive, situated between the San Francisco Presidio's Fort Point National Historic Site and Torpedo Wharf, they come to a decision regarding their next move after their initial plan fails.
Spanning the one-mile (1.6 km)-wide Golden Gate strait and connecting San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge was constructed at a cost of over $35 million beginning on January 5, 1933. Several designers were involved in crafting this remarkable engineering feat.
Visiting the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA is on the must-do list for many people. Starting from downtown San Francisco, you can take a ride-sharing service or public bus like Muni bus 28; both drop off close to the bridge. For those coming from outside of San Francisco, it's only a short drive away and easy to access from Highway 101 or Interstate 280.
This classic movie is affectionately referred to as "The One with the Whales" - and the nuclear "wessels". The tremendous success of this movie (it was the most lucrative Trek movie until the 2009 reboot) convinced Paramount that Star Trek could succeed in a larger franchise.
This led to another film being approved, as well as Gene Roddenberry getting the chance to develop a brand new show, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the ensuing 18 years of continual Star Trek productions. The movie is ingeniously simple in its concept. The renowned Star Trek gang, who are normally engaged in space battles against otherworldly creatures to protect the utopian and quasi-Marxist United Federation of Planets, are forced to visit our world - more specifically, mid-1980s San Francisco.
They may have mastered outwitting Romulans but now they must tackle the challenge of confrontational punks on public transport. Star Trek IV is just as entertaining as Back to the Future and does not require any knowledge of the wider Star Trek universe for an enjoyable viewing experience.