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The Neverending Story (1984)

tomatometer

81

Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 36
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 7

A magical journey about the power of a young boy's imagination to save a dying fantasy land, The NeverEnding Story remains a much-loved kids adventure.

60

Average Rating: 5.2/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 2

A magical journey about the power of a young boy's imagination to save a dying fantasy land, The NeverEnding Story remains a much-loved kids adventure.

audience

82

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 372,654

My Rating

Movie Info

Wolfgang Petersen adapted Michael Ende's children's story for this charming fantasy film that spawned several sequels. Bastian (Barret Oliver) is dealing with his mother's recent death. His father (Gerald McRaney) is an imperious sort who continually lambastes Bastian for daydreaming and falling behind in school. On top of his father's badgering, he has to contend with a bunch of school bullies waiting for him in the schoolyard. One day he decides to play hooky and walks into a strange

Sep 4, 2001

Warner Home Video

Watch It Now

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All Critics (36) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (7) | DVD (9)

A marvelously realized flight of pure fantasy.

November 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite the sophistication of the source material, the film isn't particularly successful.

November 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A fairytale of the very best kind.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The world of this movie looks like a very particular place, and the art direction involved a lot of imagination.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Neverending Story may have cost a mint to produce, but the result is bargain-basement.

August 30, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Something dark, entrancing and even a little special.

July 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Mania.com
Mania.com

Fantasies as hearty and original as this are rare at the movies.

November 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

The story is a touch simplistic, but Petersen's direction is assured and children will be dazzled by the imaginative effects and stunning sets.

November 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

It pokes along at times and lapses occasionally into dark moments of preachy philosophy, but this is still a charming, amusing and harmless film for kids.

November 15, 2013 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

Here is a little adventure that fed on our uncultivated need to think, and wonder. It gave many of us our first taste of cinematic possibility.

July 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinemaphile.org
Cinemaphile.org

The NeverEnding Story remains a testament to the power of imagination and the type of inventive cinema that was possible in a pre-digital era.

April 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Autopsy
Cinema Autopsy

All in all, The Neverending Story is a silly fantasy movie that often shows its age, but as a kids' movie it still has enough exciting action and you-can-do-it attitude to earn itself a place in a family's DVD collection.

November 26, 2012 Full Review Source: PopMatters
PopMatters

This was sweet and charming at the time but now it just lacks either the comedy or sophistication of kids' fantasy film that we've all become accustomed to.

November 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Only a certified grump could dislike this engaging fantasy that wends its way into the imagination and is a delight on most levels.

November 26, 2012 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

As a testament to the power of books, the often gloomy The Neverending Story comes off as a Reading Rainbow episode covering existentialism.

July 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

It's very hard not to give in to The Neverending Story's heart-in-the-right-place charms amidst an increasingly anti-literate society. [Blu-ray]

May 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

...has enough charm, delight, and wonder going for it to entertain most youngsters, and that's all that matters.

March 3, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis | Comment (1)
Movie Metropolis

Magical storytelling targeted at children still fascinates.

March 14, 2009
Video-Reviewmaster.com

Even better if you never see the sequels.

November 9, 2005
MovieCrypt.com

An enjoyable departure from both Das Boot and Kajagoogoo.

October 1, 2004
New Times

Audience Reviews for The Neverending Story

Nope, I didn't enjoy it. Perhaps in 1984 it was entertaining, but neither the acting nor the special effects were satisfactory. I gave it 2 out of 5 as the story has possibilities.
August 5, 2014
Redlats

Super Reviewer

this film is strange but clever and for the 80s the effects are fantastic to look at, the rockbiter at the beginning is amazing to watch and i still wonder how they do it. This film isn't the best film in the fantasy genre but when you compare it to the second film with the swapped cast and plot holes this film is God
January 5, 2013
michael e.
Michael Edwards

Super Reviewer

The title says it all.
I saw it years ago and didn't think much of it. Gave it another try and it is still mostly a bore.
It's like SId & Marty Kroft meets Jim Henson without all the fun.
April 4, 2011
RCCLBC
Robert C

Super Reviewer

Let me start off by saying that I've never read the source material, and that I never had seen this before. That's right, this was not some film I have a nostalgic attachment to. As a result, I must say that while I can appreciate some of this, it didn't really win me over all that much.

I know it's a fantasy film, but even then, it just seems a little silly, and kind of like the filmmakers automatically assumed you'd have an emotional investment from the start. A good example of this is the swamo scene with Artax. I don't have ice in my veins, but it was hard for me to care about things. It felt shallow and I wasn't really all that moved by what happens.

I like the fact that this is a film made when animatronics and puppetry were king, though. Practical just almost always seems better to me. The film does look good, and the direction is nice, but some of the performances are a little iffy for me, mostly because these aren't exactly the best child actors. They're not terrible though.

Hate me if you want, but I can't help it that this didn't win me over as being some kind of masterpiece. I'm glad I finally saw it, but it's just not really my thing.
March 31, 2011
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

    1. Engywook: To the winch, wench.
    – Submitted by ethan t (2 years ago)
    1. Falkor: Never give up and good luck will find you.
    – Submitted by ethan t (2 years ago)
    1. Falkor: Never give up and good luck will find you.
    – Submitted by Dann M (2 years ago)
    1. Falkor: I like children.
    2. Atreyu: [nervously] For breakfast?
    3. Falkor: [laughs] Never!
    – Submitted by Adrian G (2 years ago)
    1. Koreander: The video arcade is down the street. Here we just sell small rectangular objects. They're called books. They require a little effort on your part, and make no bee-bee-bee-bee-beeps. On your way please.
    – Submitted by Adrian G (2 years ago)
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Foreign Titles

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