The NeverEnding Story
American release poster
Directed By
Produced By
Bernd Eichinger
Dieter Geissler
Edited By
Jane Seitz
Music By
Distributed By
West Germany
United States
Release Date
filmdate198446West Germanydf=y

102 minutes (US Version)

107 minutes (German Version)
$27 million
$20,158,808 (USA) $100,000,000 (worldwide

 The NeverEnding Story (German: Die unendliche Geschichte) is a 1984 West German (English language), epic fantasy film based on the novel of the same name by Michael Ende, about a boy who reads a magical library book that tells a story of a young warrior whose task is to stop a dark storm called the Nothing from engulfing a fantasy world. The film was produced by Bernd Eichinger and Dieter Giessler and directed and co-written by Wolfgang Petersen (his first English-language film) and starred Barret OliverNoah HathawayTami StronachMoses GunnThomas Hill; and Alan Oppenheimer as the voices of both Falkor and Gmork. At the time of its release, it was the most expensive film produced outside the USA or the USSR. The film was later followed by two sequels.[1]

Ende felt that this adaptation's content deviated so far from his book that he requested that production either be halted or the film's title be changed; when the producers did neither, he sued them and subsequently lost the case.[2] The film only adapts the first half of the book, and consequently does not convey the message of the title as it was portrayed in the novel. The second half of the book would subsequently be used as the rough basis for the second film, The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter. The third film, The NeverEnding Story III: Escape From Fantasia, features a completely original plot.


 [hide*1 Plot


Bastian Balthazar Bux (Barret Oliver), a shy and friendless bibliophile child, hides in a bookstore, interrupting the grumpy bookseller, Mr. Coreander (Thomas Hill). Bastian asks about one of the books he sees, but Mr. Coreander advises against it; despite which, Bastian seizes the book, leaving a note promising to return it, and hides in the school's attic to read. The book describes the world of Fantasia threatened by a force called "The Nothing"; wherefore the Childlike Empress (Tami Stronach) who rules over Fantasia has fallen ill, and has summoned Atreyu (Noah Hathaway) to discover the cure. Atreyu is therefore given AURYN. As Atreyu sets out, the Nothing summons Gmork (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer), a werewolf, to kill Atreyu.

[1]AURYN, based on the Ouroboros, representing infinity/eternity. The original prop is now owned by Steven Spielberg.[3]

Atreyu's quest directs him to the advisor Morla the Ancient One in the Swamps of Sadness, where his beloved horse Artax is lost to the swamp. Atreyu continues alone, and is surprised when Morla reveals itself as a giant tortoise. Bastian, reading, is also surprised and lets out a scream, which Atreyu and Morla appear to hear. Morla does not have the answers Atreyu seeks, but directs him to the Southern Oracle, ten thousand miles distant. In the walk through the Swamps, Atreyu is rendered unconscious and rescued by the luckdragon Falkor(voiced by Alan Oppenheimer). Two gnomes who helped restore Atreyu explain the Oracle, including the trials that one must face before reaching it. Atreyu completes one trial and is perplexed when the second trial, a mirror that shows the viewer's true self, reveals a boy matching Bastian's description; whereupon Bastian throws the book aside, but cautiously continues. Atreyu, past the trials, stands before the Oracle, who tells him the only way to save the Princess is to find a human child to give her a new name, beyond the boundaries of Fantasia. Atreyu and Falkor then flee before the Nothing, and Atreyu is knocked from Falkor's back into the Sea of Possibilities, losing AURYN in the process. He wakes on the shore of an abandoned town, and finds a series of paintings depicting his quest. Here Gmork reveals himself, and explains that Fantasia represents humanity's imagination, and that the Nothing represents adult apathy and cynicism against it. Upon hearing himself named, Atreyu kills Gmork with a stone knife. Atreyu and AURYN are then recovered by Falkor. Fearing his quest has failed, Atreyu and Falkor approach the Empress's Ivory Tower, where Atreyu apologizes for his failure. As the Nothing starts to consume the Ivory Tower, knocking Atreyu unconscious in the process, the Empress pleas directly to Bastian to give her a new name before it is too late; whereupon Bastian shouts the name "Moon Child", and finds himself before the Empress, who reveals that his imagination can re-create Fantasia. With this done, Bastian rides Falkor over the restored Fantasia, and sees Atreyu reunited with Artax. In the real world, the bullies that chased down Bastian at the start of the film, are themselves chased by Bastian and Falkor. A narrator states that Bastian had many more wishes and adventures, and adds: "but that's another story".


  • The theatrical and VHS releases have the WB logo with the Warner Communications byline, the opening title being horizontal, and the closing  Big \\' logo.  In the DVD and Blu Ray releases, all of it was replaced by the WB logo with the TimeWarner byline, the opening title being vertical, and the closing shield logo.


Main article: List of The Neverending Story characters*Barret Oliver as Bastian Balthazar Bux.


This film adaptation only covered the first half of the book. The majority of the movie was filmed in Germany, except for Barret Oliver's scenes, which were shot in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and the beach where Atreyue falls, which was filmed at Monsul Beach in Almería (Spain). It was Germany's highest budgeted film of the time.


The film score of The NeverEnding Story was composed by Klaus Doldinger of the German jazz group Passport. The theme song of the North American release of the film was composed by Giorgio Moroder with lyrics by Keith Forsey, and performed by Limahl (lead singer of Kajagoogoo) and Beth Anderson. This song, along with other "techno-pop" treatments to the soundtrack, are not present in the German version of the film, which features Doldinger's orchestral score exclusively.

The theme song performed by Limahl was released as a single in 1984, it peaked at No. 4 on the UK singles chart, No. 6 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, and No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100. The American theme song has been covered by The Birthday MassacreCreamyDragonlandKenji Haga, and New Found Glory. The song has also been covered by Norwegian synthpop group Echo Image on their 2001 maxi-single Skulk and by German techno group Scooter on their 2007 album Jumping All Over the World.

In 1994 Italian house music group Club House released the song Nowhere Land (featuring Carl), which combines the melody of the tune Bastian's Happy Flight with original lyrics.

An official soundtrack album was released featuring Doldinger's score and Moroder's theme tune (Moroder also rescored several scenes for the version released outside Germany).[4] The track listing (Doldinger is responsible for everything from track 6 onwards) is as follows:

In Germany an album featuring Klaus Doldinger's score was released.


Critical response[edit]Edit

The film has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 81% based on reviews from 37 critics.[5] Metacritic gives the film a score of 46/100 based on reviews from 10 critics.[6]

Film critic Roger Ebert gave it three out of four stars and praised its visual effects, saying that "an entirely new world has been created" because of them,[7] a comment echoed byVariety.[1] Joshua Tyler of CinemaBlend referred to it as "One of a scant few true Fantasy masterpieces".[5]

Vincent Canby panned the film as a "graceless, humorless fantasy for children" in a 1984 The New York Times review. Canby's criticism charged that parts of the movie "sounded like 'The Pre-Teenager's Guide to Existentialism'". He further criticized the "tacky" special effects, and that the construction of the dragon looked like "an impractical bathmat."[8]

Box office[edit]Edit

The film performed very well at the box office, grossing $100 million worldwide against a production budget of DM 60 million (approximately $27 million at the time). Almost five million people went to watch it in Germany, a number rarely achieved by German productions, resulting in a gross of about $20 million domestically. It also grossed a similar amount in the United States; only a modest sum in the American market, which director Wolfgang Peterson ascribed to the film's European sensibilities.[9]


This film won two awards in 1984 and three in 1985

  • 1984 won the Bambi Award for: National film
  • 1984 won the Golden Screen Award
  • 1985 won the Saturn Award for: Best Performance by a Young Actor
  • 1985 won the Brazilian Film Award for: Best Production
  • 1985 won the Film Award in Gold for: Best Production Design


This film was nominated for three awards in 1985

Home media[edit]Edit


The film was released by Warner Bros. on digital LaserDisc with a digital stereo soundtrack in 1985.


The Region 1 DVD was first released in 2001 by Warner Bros, containing only the North American release of the film. The only audio option is a 2.0 stereo mix in either English or Spanish. The theatrical trailer is the lone extra feature presented.

There is also a quite lavish 2003 European version, which is a 2-disc special edition with packaging shaped like the book from the film and containing both the North American and German releases of the film. Various extras, such as a 45-minute documentary, music video, and galleries, are presented on the second disc.[10] However, there is no English audio for the German version of the film. This edition is currently out of print. The standard 1-disc edition is also available for the Region 2 market.

A Dutch import has also appeared on the Internet in various places, which only contains the North American release of the film but also includes a remastered DTS surround track, which is not found in either the German or the Region 1 release.

Also, in 2008, Czech and Slovak language DVD versions appeared in Czech Republic and Slovakia.


The first Blu-ray release was a region-free Dutch edition on March 24, 2007.

On March 2, 2010, Warner released a Region A Blu-ray edition of the film. The disc includes a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, which marks the first time a 5.1 surround track has been included in a US home video version of the film. No special features or theatrical trailer are included.[11]

On October 7, 2014, a 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray was released, which duplicates the DTS surround track of its predecessor. Originally described as a "newly" remastered version of the film, Warner released a statement indicating that "the only remastered version is The NeverEnding Story II", while not elaborating further on this current US release.[12] The 30th Anniversary Edition contains the original theatrical trailer, a commentary track by director Wolfgang Petersen, documentaries and interviews from both 1984 and 2014, and a German-language/English-subtitled feature detailing the digital restoration process of the film.


The film has since been an inspiration in popular culture.


  • The American metal band Atreyu derived their name from the character of Atreyu.
  • The American rock band Bayside have used quotes from the film as titles of their songs. Examples include "They look like strong hands" and "They're not horses, they're unicorns".
  • American comedy rock band The Aquabats wrote a song inspired by the film called "Luck Dragon Lady", and live performances of the song are accompanied by a large Falkor puppet.[13]
  • The melody of Palma's Overworld theme from SEGA's Phantasy Star[14] RPG has resemblances to Limahl's Never Ending Story.[15]
  • The American rock band from Austin, TX They Look Like Good Strong Hands also derived their name from the film. They wrote a song inspired by the film called "RIP Artax"

Similar story[edit]Edit

  • CLAMP's Magic Knight Rayearth also had a childlike Empress (named "Émeraude", French for Emerald), who also contacted an outsider to save her fantasy style country. The story was patterned to resemble a RPG; an actual RPG version of it was later on released for the SEGA Saturn.
  • Hudson-SEGA's Sonic Shuffle for the SEGA Dreamcast pretty much followed the same theme as the NeverEnding Story and Magic Knight Rayearth, with its Maginary, an entire world created by the imagination of its goddess, Illumina. But the game also used contemporary elements, such as from CLAMP's Card Captor Sakura and the upcoming (back then) SEGA of America's Sonic Adventure 2's theme of Duality.

Warner Bros planned adaptation of the novel[edit]Edit

In 2009, it was reported that Warner BrosThe Kennedy/Marshall Company, and Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way were in the early stages of creating another adaptation of Michael Ende's novel. They intend to "examine the more nuanced details of the book" rather than remake the original film by Wolfgang Petersen.[16]

In 2011, producer Kathleen Kennedy said that problems securing the rights to the story may mean a second adaptation is "not meant to be."[17]

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.