The Neverending Story



      Foolish boy. Don't you know anything about Fantasia? It's the world of human fantasy.

               Every part,  every creature of it, is a piece of the dreams and hopes of mankind.

                      Therefore, it has no boundaries.


A boy named Bastian (Barret Oliver) is accosted by bullies on his way to school. He hides in a bookstore, interrupting the grumpy bookseller, Mr. Koreander (Thomas Hill). Bastian asks about one of the books he sees, but Mr. Koreander warns him it is "not safe." Nevertheless, Bastian steals the book and races towards school. He then hides in the school's attic to begin reading "The Neverending Story."

The book describes the fantasy world of Fantasia which is being threatened by a force called "The Nothing," a void of darkness that consumes everything. The creatures of Fantasia have gathered to plead for help from the Childlike Empress of Fantasia, but her attendant (Moses Gunn) reveals to the assembled crowd that she has fallen deathly ill due to the Nothing. She has summoned a warrior from the Plains People, Atreyu (Noah Hathaway), to help put an end to the Nothing. Atreyu is revealed to be a boy about Bastian's age. He is given a magical medallion called the Auryn to use as a guide. As Atreyu sets off on his quest, the Nothing summons Gmork (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer), a vicious wolf-like creature, to kill Atreyu.

Atreyu heads to the deadly Swamps of Sadness to see the ancient Morla, the wisest being in all of Fantasia. His horse, Artax, is overcome by the sadness of the swamps and sinks into the mud, forcing Atreyu to continue on foot. Morla cannot help Atreyu, but directs him to the Southern Oracle, which is 10,000 miles away. In the real world, the school bell rings and the school quickly empties, but Bastian remains in the attic and continues to read.

While trudging through the swamp with Gmork on his tail, a despairing Atreyu finally falls under the swamp's spell and begins to sink, when a luckdragon named Falkor (also voiced by Alan Oppenheimer) saves him and takes him most of the way to the Southern Oracle. Two old gnomes named Engywook (Sydney Bromley) and Urgl (Patricia Hayes) tend to Atreyu's injuries and give him advice to pass the gates that guard the Oracle. Atreyu is able to pass the first gate of the Sphinxes' gaze and reaches the Magic Mirror Gate. As he approaches it, the image of the Gate is shown to reveal a child that matches Bastian's description. Bastian throws the book away in disbelief, but cautiously begins reading it again, wondering if the people of Fantasia really know him.

Atreyu passes through the Gate and meets the Oracle. The Oracle tells him that the only way to stop the Nothing is for the Empress to be given a new name by a human child. Atreyu is nearly consumed by the Nothing, and loses the Auryn. He encounters Gmork, who explains that Fantasia is humanity's hopes and dreams, but that the Nothing, representing apathy and despair, eats away at it. The monster attacks, but Atreyu manages to kill it. Weak from his wounds and with the Nothing beginning to consume the area, Atreyu nearly gives up hope. Falkor arrives, having found the Auryn, and rescues Atreyu.

Atreyu wakes on Falkor's back to find only pockets of Fantasia remain floating in a void. With the Auryn's guidance, they manage to find the Empress' home, the Ivory Tower, which still stands. They fly towards it, and Atreyu sadly reports his loss to the Empress (Tami Stronach), having failed to find a human child. But the Empress reveals that he in fact succeeded: the quest Atreyu went on was the only way to get in touch with a human child, and he is listening to their conversation at that very moment. Bastian realizes the book is talking specifically about him, and that he has a name for the Empress. As the Nothing begins to consume the Ivory Tower, the Empress pleads for Bastian to say her new name. Bastian races to the attic window, shouts "Moonchild!", and strong wind blows through the now empty attic.

Bastian finds himself face to face with the Empress, who reveals that the Nothing has consumed all but one grain of sand from Fantasia. However, Bastian's wishes and imagination can help to restore the world to its former glory. The more wishes he makes, the more it will be restored. Bastian makes his first wish, and is instantly riding Falkor through the skies. All the characters who died or were taken by the Nothing have returned, including Atreyu riding happily on Artax. Bastian then whispers one more wish to Falkor. In the real world, the bullies that chased Bastian the previous day suddenly find themselves chased by Bastian and Falkor. Bastian and Falkor soar triumphantly off into the sky, and a narrator reveals that Bastian made many more wishes and had many amazing adventures.



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Directed by Wolfgang Petersen
Produced by Bernd Eichinger
Dieter Geissler
Written by Michael Ende (novel)
Wolfgang Petersen
Herman Weigel
Starring Noah Hathaway
Barret Oliver
Tami Stronach
Moses Gunn
Thomas Hill
Music by Klaus Doldinger
Giorgio Moroder
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s) July 20, 1984
Running time 94 minutes
Language English
Budget US$27,000,000