Welcome back to MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES, that column where we look at memorable quotes from the movies. Today we’re doing something a little different. Rather than look at quotes from one movie, we’re going to look at quotes from one character, Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, in the six original STAR TREK movies, in honor of the actor who played her, Nichelle Nichols, who passed away this past weekend on July 30, 2022.
Nichols played the character Lieutenant Uhura in the original STAR TREK TV series (1966-1969), and that’s really where she had her best moments. But she also played the character in the six STAR TREK movies which featured the original cast.
In honor of Nichelle Nichols, here’s a look now at some of her lines of dialogue from those movies;
STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (1979)
The first time the STAR TREK cast appeared on the big screen was in this thought-provoking special effects-laden film directed by Robert Wise which was considered somewhat of a misfire in 1979 but has stood the test of time and has only gotten better with age. Part of the fun during the first third of the movie was seeing all the show’s characters make their big screen debuts. This next conversation between Kirk (William Shatner) and Uhura was the set-up for Dr. McCoy’s (DeForest Kelley) first big screen appearance. Let’s listen:
UHURA: Captain, our final six replacements are ready to beam aboard, but one of them is refusing to step into the transporter.
KIRK: Oh! I’ll make sure he beams up!
And of course, Dr. McCoy would beam up shortly thereafter, complaining about having to have his molecules disassembled and reassembled.
When Kirk is given full command of the Enterprise again, it’s Uhura who puts it all in perspective:
SULU: He wanted her back. He got her.
ENSIGN: And Captain Decker? He’s been with this ship every minute of her refitting.
UHURA: Ensign, the possibilities of our returning from this mission in one piece may… have just doubled.
STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982)
Unlike STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, its sequel STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN was both a critical and commercial success, and more importantly, a huge hit with fans, who felt at the time that it retained the flavor the original show, something that had been lacking in the first movie. It certainly set the stage for the remaining films in the series, as they all borrowed heavily from the look and feel of this one, rather than the first film.
In STAR TREK II, it’s Uhura who brings Kirk the news of a pending reunion with a former love.
UHURA: Bridge to Admiral Kirk.
KIRK: Kirk here.
UHURA: Sir, there’s a message coming in for you from station Regula One. Doctor Carol Marcus.
KIRK: I’ll take it in my quarters, Uhura.
MCCOY: Never rains, but it pours.
One of the themes in STAR TREK II is aging, as getting older and feeling older are in the forefront of Kirk’s mind, as seen here in this scene in which Uhura gets to ponder the situation.
MCCOY: Admiral, wouldn’t it be easier to put an experienced crew back on the ship?
KIRK: Galloping around the cosmos is a game for the young, Doctor. (Exits)
UHURA: Now what is that supposed to mean?
STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK (1983)
Uhura gets to enjoy some of her finer STAR TREK movie moments here in STAR TREK III, like in this scene where she completely overwhelms a young Star Fleet officer as she helps Kirk, McCoy and Sulu (George Takei) escape to search for Spock.
OFFICER: Look at you. You’re a twenty-year space veteran, yet you pick the worst duty station in town. I mean, look at this place. This is the hind end of space.
UHURA: Peace and quiet appeals to me, Lieutenant.
OFFICER; Well, maybe that’s okay for someone like you, whose career is winding down. But me, I need some excitement, some adventure… maybe even just a surprise or two.
UHURA: Well, you know what they say, Lieutenant. Be careful what you wish for. You might get it.
(KIRK, MCCOY and SULU enter the transporter room)
KIRK: Uhura, is everything ready?
UHURA: Step into my parlor, gentlemen.
OFFICER: That’s Admiral Kirk, my God!
UHURA: Very good for you, Lieutenant.
OFFICER: But it’s damned irregular. No destination points, no encoded IDs.
UHURA: All true.
OFFICER: So what are we gonna do about it?
UHURA: I’m not gonna do anything about it. You’re gonna sit in the closet.
OFFICER: The closet? Have you lost your sense of reality?
UHURA: This isn’t reality. (Aims phaser at him) This is fantasy. You wanted adventure, how’s this? The old adrenaline going, huh? Good boy. Now get in the closet.
OFFICER: All right…
UHURA: Go on.
OFFICER: I’ll just get in the closet. All right! Damn! (Enters closet and shuts door)
MCCOY: I’m glad you’re on our side!
KIRK: (points to closet): Are you sure you can handle…?
UHURA: Oh, I’ll have “Mr. Adventure” eating out of my hand, sir. And I’ll see all of you at the rendezvous.
STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME (1986)
Clearly the most humorous of the STAR TREK movies, featuring a plot which saw the crew time travel back to 1986 San Francisco, STAR TREK IV featured comical bits with most of the characters, and Uhura was no exception, as in this scene when she, Chekov (Walter Koenig), and Sulu are on the streets of San Francisco trying to get directions to the Alameda naval base.
CHEKOV: Please, please – We’re looking for the naval base in Alameda. Can you tell us where the nuclear wessels are?
PASSERBY: Oh, I don’t know if I know the answer to that. I think it’s across the Bay. In Alameda!
CHEKOV: That’s what I said – Alameda, I know that.
UHURA (frustrated): But where is Alameda?
STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER (1989)
The weakest of the STAR TREK movies tried to recapture the playful humor from the previous installment but largely failed. In this sequence, Sulu and Chekov embarrassingly pretend they can’t hear Uhura on their communicators.
UHURA: Is there a problem, gentlemen?
(Sulu and Chekov are lost in the woods)
SULU: Uh, yes. We’ve been caught in a… we’ve been caught in a blizzard.
(Chekov blows on the communicator, pretending that it’s wind)
CHEKOV: And we can’t see a thing. Request you direct us to the coordinates.
UHURA: My visual says sunny skies and seventy degrees.
CHEKOV: Sulu, look. The sun’s come out. It’s a miracle.
UHURA: Don’t worry, fellas. Your secret’s safe with me. I’ll send a shuttlecraft to pick you up.
Uhura also arrives in person to summon Kirk, Spock, and McCoy from shore leave back to the Enterprise.
UHURA: Captain, we’ve received important orders from Starfleet Command.
KIRK: Why didn’t you just beep my communicator?
UHURA: You “forgot” to take it with you.
KIRK: Oh… I wonder why I did that?
STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY (1991)
The final film in the original film series is one of the better ones, as it’s exciting, humorous, and provides a poignant send-off for all the characters.
In a humorous moment, Uhura speaks with Spock (Leonard Nimoy) about the whereabouts of Kirk and McCoy.
UHURA: You understand, we have lost all contact with the Captain and Dr. McCoy.
SPOCK: Yes, at the moment, they are surrounded by a magnetic shield. However, if I know the Captain, by this time, he is deep into planning his escape.
(Cut to Kirk fighting and losing to an alien twice his size.)
Uhura also gets a key moment in the film’s conclusion, as the Enterprise crew is battling a cloaked Klingon vessel.
SPOCK: Gas. Gas, Captain. Under impulse power, she expends fuel like any other vessel. We call it plasma, but whatever the Klingon designation, it is merely ionized gas.
UHURA: Well, what about all that equipment we’re carrying to catalog gaseous anomalies? Well, the thing’s gotta have a tailpipe.
And Uhura is there on the bridge for the crew’s final ,moments on the big screen.
UHURA: Captain, I have orders from Starfleet Command. We’re to put back to space dock immediately to be decommissioned.
SPOCK: If I were human, I believe my response would be… “go to hell.” If I were human.
CHEKOV: Course heading, Captain?
KIRK: Second star to the right and straight on till morning.
I hope you enjoyed this MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES column where we looked at quotes spoken by Nichelle Nichols as Lieutenant Uhura in the six STAR TREK movies, and I hope you will join me again next time when we look at more memorable quotes from another classic movie.
As always, thanks for reading!
December 28, 1932 – July 30, 2022