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The NeverEnding Story(Die unendliche Geschichte)

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West Germany, United States · 1984
Rated PG · 1h 42m
Director Wolfgang Petersen
Starring Barret Oliver, Gerald McRaney, Chris Eastman, Darryl Cooksey
Genre Drama, Family, Fantasy, Adventure

Bastian is a young, lonely boy whose only escape from the bullies at school is in the pages of a good book, but Bastian's escape becomes far more literal when he is accidentally transported to the magical world of Fantasia, a land in desperate need of a hero.

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What are critics saying?


Empire by

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.


Chicago Reader by Dave Kehr

Despite the sophistication of the source material, this 1984 film isn't particularly successful: Petersen insists on forcing the superficial moral lessons, and the half hour removed from the film by its American distributors leaves it with a harsh, choppy rhythm.


Wall Street Journal by Julie Salamon

This fairy tale is a weirdly enchanting mixture of old-fashioned whimsy and up-to-the-minute special effects. It brings back the early excitement of reading as a child, when the act of turning pages took on a magical quality. [19 Jul 1984, pg.1]


Time by Richard Corliss

A lot of it's real pretty, the colors and creatures and all, but these days, you know, every movie is pretty pretty. I guess the only thing that kept me glued to my seat was the gum somebody'd stuck on the upholstery. [16 July 1984, p.71]


The Globe and Mail (Toronto) by Rick Groen

Petersen seems to be holding back, telling us about the liberating power of the imagination but never really showing us. Of course, to show us would be to spoon feed the audience, thereby blunting the message and defeating the point. [20 Jul 1984, p.E9]


Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

The idea of the story within a story is one of the nice touches in The NeverEnding Story. Another one is the idea of a child's faith being able to change the course of fate. Maybe not since the kids in the audience were asked to save Tinker Bell in Peter Pan has the outcome of a story been left so clearly up to a child's willingness to believe.


The New York Times by Vincent Canby

The Neverending Story is a graceless, humorless fantasy for children, combining live actors and animated creatures in mostly imaginary settings.

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