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Star Trek: First Contact (1996) - Illustrated Reference

Updated on November 7, 2016

Star Trek: First Contact was directed by Jonathan Frakes. It premiered on the 18th November 1996. Starring Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Alfre Woodard, Alice Krige and James Cromwell. Screenplay by Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga. Music by Jerry Goldsmith. 111mins.

After a battle with the Federation, a Borg ship escapes and travels back in time to interfere with Earth’s history. The Enterprise-E under the command of Jean-Luc Picard follows the Borg vessel back to 2063, the year of First Contact.

The Borg are a race of cybernetic beings from the Delta Quadrant, they move through the galaxy assimilating worlds and turning sentient races into Borg. Their favourite catchphrase is “Resistance is Futile”. The Borg first appeared in the ST-TNG second season episode Q-Who? (1989), followed by the Emmy Award winning The Best of Both Worlds p.1-p.2 (1990), in which Captain Picard is captured by the Borg and assimilated, calling himself Locutus of Borg. He is rescued by the Enterprise crew and the Borg Cube destroyed.

Lily: Jean Luc, blow up the damn ship!
Picard: No! Nooooo! I will not sacrifice the Enterprise. We've made too many compromises already; too many retreats. They invade our space and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far, no further! And I will make them pay for what they've done.

Patrick Stewart (1940-) / Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Born in Yorkshire, England, Patrick Stewart has played Picard in 178 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994) and the films Star Trek Generations (1994), Star Trek First Contact (1996), Star Trek Insurrection (1998) and Star Trek Nemesis (2002).

Jonathan Frakes (1952-) / Commander William T. Riker

Born in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, Jonathan Frakes has played Riker in 178 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994) and the films Star Trek Generations (1994), Star Trek First Contact (1996), Star Trek Insurrection (1998) and Star Trek Nemesis (2002).

Brent Spiner (1949-) / Lt.Commander Data

Born in Houston, Texas, Brent Spiner has played Data in 178 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994) and the films Star Trek Generations (1994), Star Trek First Contact (1996), Star Trek Insurrection (1998) and Star Trek Nemesis (2002).

Lily Sloane: Borg? Sounds Swedish.

Alfre Woodard (1952-) / Lily Sloane

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Alfre Woodard was Oscar nominated Best Supporting Actress for Cross Creek (1983). Her films include - Scrooged (1988), Grand Canyon (1991), Crooklyn (1994), Primal Fear (1996), Dinosaur (2000), K-PAX (2001), The Core (2003) and The Forgotten (2004).

Zefram Cochrane: So you're all astronauts on some sort of... star trek?

James Cromwell (1940-) / Zephram Cochrane

Born in Los Angeles, California, James Cromwell was Oscar nominated Best Supporting Actor for Babe (1995). His films include - Murder by Death (1976), Explorers (1985), The Babe (1992), Eraser (1996), The People vs Larry Flynt (1996), LA Confidential (1997), Deep Impact (1998), The General's Daughter (1998), The Green Mile (1999), Space Cowboys (2000), The Sum of All Fears (2002), I, Robot (2004), The Queen (2006), Spider-Man 3 (2008), W (2008) and The Artist (2011).

Borg Queen: I am the beginning. The end. The one who is many. I am the Borg.

Alice Krige (1954-) / Borg Queen

Born in Upington, South Africa, Alice Krige won a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress for Star Trek First Contact. She reprised the role of Borg Queen in the Star Trek Voyager episode “Endgame” (2001). Her films include - Chariots of Fire (1981), Ghost Story (1981), King David (1985), Sleepwalkers (1992), Reign of Fire (2002), Silent Hill (2006), Solomon Kane (2009) and The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010).

Dwight Schultz (1947-) / Lt. Reginald Barclay

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Dwight Schultz played Reginald Barclay, a recurring character on Star Trek The Next Generation. Barclay has social anxiety disorder, suffers from Transporter-phobia and is addicted to the Holodeck. The actor appeared as “Howling Mad” Murdock in The A-Team (1983-1987).

We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.

Star Trek: First Contact was at one time to be titled Star Trek: Resurrection but after finding that the next Alien movie was named Alien Resurrection it was changed. An early story draft was titled Star Trek: Renaissance. Another title considered was Star Trek: Borg.

The movie opens with a spectacular sequence which begins on a close up of Patrick Stewart’s eye and the camera pulls back and back until the massive interior of a Borg ship is revealed. It was the last scene to be filmed.

Zefram Cochrane: I've gotta take a leak.
Geordi La Forge: Leak? I'm not detecting any leak.
Zefram Cochrane: Don't you people from the 24th century ever pee?

Zephram Cochrane was first played by Glenn Corbett (1933-1993) in the classic Star Trek episode “Metamorphosis” (1967).

According to the DVD trivia track, the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars is among the Federation ships during the battle with the Borg Cube. Award winning effects company ILM dropped the Falcon in as a joke, but I’ve never spotted it.

The phrase “Star Trek” is uttered for the first time in a Star Trek movie (or series). It is spoken by James Cromwell in a scene with Frakes, Burton and Sirtis.

Jean-Luc Picard quotes Moby Dick at one point in the film after Lily compares him to Ahab. Khan Noonien Singh also speaks lines from Herman Melville’s classic novel in Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan (1982). Patrick Stewart would play Captain Ahab in the TV movie Moby Dick (1998) receiving Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for the role.

Robert Picardo (1953-) appears briefly in the film as the Emergency Medical Hologram. Picardo is popular among Trekkies as the EMH in Star Trek Voyager (1995-2001).

Georgi La Forge’s visor is replaced with ocular implants in the movie. Actor LeVar Burton hated wearing the visor. In the next film he won’t be needing the implants either.

After the destruction of the Enterprise-D in Star Trek Generations (1994) Picard gets a brand new ship - the Enterprise-E. Launched in 2372, the most advanced ship in the fleet, it was 685 meters long and had 24 decks. All this advancement and the Borg still beam aboard undetected.

One of the most memorable and startling effects in the film was the first shot of the Borg Queen, just her head, shoulders and spine lowered down by cables and attached to the rest of her body. ILM took months to finish the shot.

The Borg and Borg Queen makeup effects were effective enough to receive an Oscar nomination. The film also received 10 nominations from the Academy of SF, Fantasy and Horror, and a Hugo nomination for Best Dramatic Film.

Star Trek: First Contact cost $45m to produce and opened with an excellent $30m in 3 days, with a US total of $92m and $146m worldwide it was the highest grossing Star Trek film at the time.

The 8th Star Trek film was well received and a fan favourite, in my opinion the best of the four Next Generation Treks. The Borg are an effectively creepy menace. Patrick Stewart is superb in his ‘raging Ahab” scene with Alfre Woodard. Excellent direction by Jonathan Frakes and another superb Jerry Goldsmith score.

The Critic’s Wrote –

"Trekkers should beam up in droves to the next available screening of "Star Trek: First Contact." The latest "Star Trek" movie is a thoroughly enjoyable visit with the crew of TV’s "Star Trek: The Next Generation. You don’t have to be insanely devoted to "Star Trek" arcana to appreciate the series’ consistent quality over the years. "First Contact," pulsates with great imagination, amusing characters and the fundamental optimism handed down by founder Gene Roddenberry. " (Desson Howe, Washington Post)

"Indebted to films as disparate as Alien and Back to the Future, with space-flight sequences that will soon be outdone by the 20th-anniversary release of Star Wars, this Star Trek hasn't much visual novelty to recommend it. As directed by Jonathan Frakes, who plays the hearty, four-square Riker in a manner that can only be called Shatneresque, it offers an unengaging and sometimes surprisingly violent series of crises." (Janet Maslin, New York Times)

"Star Trek: First Contact is one of the best of the eight Star Trek films: Certainly the best in its technical credits, and among the best in the ingenuity of its plot. I would rank it beside Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), the one where the fate of Earth depended on the song of the humpback whale. This one benefits from the latest advances in f/x artistry, starting with its sensational opening shot, which begins so deep inside Picard's eyeball, it looks like a star-speckled spacescape and then pulling back to encompass an unimaginably vast Borg starship" (Roger Ebert)

"The Borg are back, the future is in peril and the "Star Trek" mythos proceeds apace. "Star Trek: First Contact" is a smashingly exciting sci-fi adventure that ranks among the very best in the long-running Paramount franchise." (Variety)

"Is it just me, or does Krige manage to make a bald woman with a pointy head lacerated with cables the year's sexiest screen siren?" (Time Out)


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    • Steve Lensman profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Lensman 

      5 years ago from Manchester, England

      Thanks sasanqua, appreciate the comment. I'm a Borg fan too, they were great Trek villains, maybe we'll see them again in the new series of Trek movies.

      First Contact is my favourite of the Next Gen movies.

    • sasanqua profile image


      5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks for this hub. I've always loved the Borg, whilst being totally terrified of them at the same time! Gonna go check out your other hubs now...

    • Steve Lensman profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Lensman 

      6 years ago from Manchester, England

      Hello Bruce, thanks for commenting on my year old Star Trek hub, that was the time I wrote separate hubs on all the Star Trek and James Bond movies within a few weeks, I was a publishing machine back then. :)

      The Bond hubs have had a resurgence in views thanks to the 50th anniversary and the upcoming new movie. Dr. No was my no.1 hub a few days ago.

      My Trek hubs should get a boost when the new Trek movie is released next year.

      Glad you liked Trek 8, it was dark and funny too.

      Btw that's the longest comment I think I've seen Rob write (good that "Rob write") :)

      Thanks for posting and may the force be with you... oh wait its the other one isn't it?

    • Cogerson profile image


      6 years ago from Virginia

      I left my first comment here a year ago.....having just watched this movie a few days ago...I have come to the conclusion that I had not seen the movie before....which explains my confusion in remembering the movie....that being said....I think this was a good and fun movie to watch....but was the last hurrah for this Star Trek crew.....I think Roger Ebert would be of his complaints about the Star Trek movies....was the fact that the shields always get damaged and the race against time to fix the shields is in every Trek movie...this one does not have that Star Trek cliché in the entire movie.

      Since I am back to your hub...I am voting up across the board long and prosper.

    • Steve Lensman profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Lensman 

      7 years ago from Manchester, England

      An enjoyable review Rob, thanks for that.

      50 views in 24 hours, not bad for a Star Trek hub. Three more to go.

    • Robwrite profile image


      7 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      This was definitely the best of the ST:TNG films. The Borg made worthy villains. (Before they were ruined and diminished during the ST: Voyager series). They remind me very much of the Cybermen from 'Dr. Who' (Some have accused the Trek writers of copying the idea from Dr. Who, but it never bothered me.)

      Patrick Stewart really shined in this one, after being overshadowed by Bill Shatner in the previous film. Alice Krige made for the best villain since Kahn.

      First officers always make good directors. Like Nimoy, Frakes is so familiar with the franchise and the cast that he brought something special to the film.

      One criticism I had was that the overused Time Travel gimmick was wearing thin by this point. It had already been used in "Voyage home" and "Generations", and would be used again in the 'Trek' reboot.

      Having seen the classic Trek episode "Metamorphsis" so many times, it was hard to think of Glen Corbett's Cochrane being the same guy as Cromwell's version, but Cromwell is such an entertaining actor, I got absorbed in his portrayal.

      I was glad to see that Marina Sirtis as Troi got a bigger role in this one because I had such a crush on her back then. I met her once at a sci-fi convention and she was incredibly sexy.

      The heavy-handed 'Moby Dick' references didn't quite click for me since the metaphor was done previously--and done better--in "Wrath of Kahn".

      I didn't feel that Alfre Woodard and Patrick Stewart had chemistry as a romantic pair. I'd have rather seen Gates McFadden (Dr. Crusher) paired off with Picard in Woodard's place, since she and Stewart had much better romantic chemistry together. (Poor Gates never got much to do in any of the 'Trek' films. She got the Unhura treatment.)

      Lots of good action scenes here. Next to 'Wrath of Kahn', this movie had the best action sequences of the franchise.

      Another fun Trek hub. Keep 'em coming, Steve.


    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 

      7 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      A mental lapse due to a time warp...I guess Spock in the reboot is living in denial having time traveled himself.;)

    • Steve Lensman profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Lensman 

      7 years ago from Manchester, England

      Hey thanks for posting Mentalist. In the recent reboot thanks to time travel the Vulcans lose their entire planet, I guess that's what you get for not believing in time travel. :)

      Curious. Why Are You Capitalising All Your Words?

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 

      7 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      I've Seen And Liked This Movie Greatly...I Noticed There Were No Vulcans In This Series As In The Star Trek Enterprise Series(The Story Of The First Enterprise) The Vulcans Don't Believe In Time Travel Which Leaves A Gaping Paradox On The Whole Star Trek Franchise.;)

    • Steve Lensman profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Lensman 

      7 years ago from Manchester, England

      Bruce, Flora thanks for your comments, deeply appreciated.

      I really liked this one because the Borg are such unusual villains, like space zombies except they don't want to eat you they want to assimilate you and turn you into space zombies too. Frakes did a god job keeping the lighting low on the Enterprise and turning it into a creepshow as the Borg swarm through the corridors.

      The thing that bugs Trekkies is how the hell did they get on board without being detected? And on the latest bug free version of Enterprise-E, with updates and the latest Service Pack installed too! tut tut

      You know I've never seen James Cromwells signature role as Farmer Hoggett in Babe, when I saw the trailer and the talking pig and other animals I decided to skip it. Maybe I would have enjoyed it.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image


      7 years ago

      As I've not seen anything of TNG only movies, I'll have to comment only on the actors themselves. Cromwell and the original Cochrane look nothing alike. I remember being confused when I saw Metamorphasis that this was NOT Robert Conrad. I can't watch that episode without thinking of Conrad.

      Cromwell also had a recurring role on Six Feet Under. Of the films you mention, I've seen L.A. Confidential and The Queen.

    • Cogerson profile image


      7 years ago from Virginia

      For some reason I find it real hard to separate the Next Generation movies from each other....I know I have seen all of them...but your Illustrated References are helping me get a better memory of the movies.

      I agree with you that this is the best of the Next Generation movies...easily as they did not have to worry about the classic trek characters at all.

      I think you also correct in giving J. Franks lots of credit for his direction of the movie. Nice reviews....I agree with you that is the best...and I also think it is funny that this brand most advance ship with 24 decks still can not detect when the Borg arrive.....great job...voted up and awesome.


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