A BOY WHO NEEDS A FRIEND FINDS A WORLD THAT NEEDS A HERO IN A LAND BEYOND IMAGINATION!
A bullied 12-year-old boy (Barret Oliver) starts reading a mysterious book and finds a connection between himself and the magical land of Fantasia that’s threatened by a dark force. Wolfgang Petersen’s first English-language project is an adventure film for young audiences, done with a high budget and in an American style. Author Michael Ende wasn’t too thrilled with the results, but it’s likable and magnificent, with creative visual effects and creatures (such as a stone-eating giant). The two boys in the leads were adored by girls all over the world, and the title song (performed by Limahl) became an iconic 1980s hit.
1984-West Germany-Britain. 92 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Bernd Eichinger, Dieter Geissler, Bernd Schaefers. Directed by Wolfgang Petersen. Screenplay: Wolfgang Petersen, Herman Weigel. Novel: Michael Ende. Music: Klaus Doldinger. Song: ”The Neverending Story” (Giorgio Moroder, Keith Forsey). Cast: Noah Hathaway (Atreyu), Barret Oliver (Bastian Balthazar Bux), Tami Stronach (The Childlike Empress), Moses Gunn, Patricia Hayes, Sydney Bromley… Gerald McRaney.
Trivia: German title: Die unendliche Geschichte. Followed by two sequels, starting with The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter (1990), and two TV series, one animated (1995) and one live-action, Tales from the NeverEnding Story (2001-2002).
Last word: “Everyone thinks that I was riding all the puppets and there was some kind of puppet party going on, but no. Because everything’s done in pieces, I saw [Falcor’s] head in one studio in front of a green screen. Then I saw his body somewhere else. I saw him being operated with puppeteers but they didn’t really let us ride the puppets. […] I wanted to watch the mechanics of how things were being done, so they let me just sit quietly on the side. One of my favorite things to do was watch the puppeteers.” (Stronach, SlashFilm)