The NeverEnding Story

Movie review by
Lori Silberman Brauner, Common Sense Media
The NeverEnding Story Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Boy bibliophile becomes part of fantasy tale.
  • PG
  • 1984
  • 94 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 34 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 35 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Encourages the love of reading.

Positive Messages

Stresses the power of a child's imagination and the importance of hope. Empathy is a major theme.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While the adventure begins when the main character opens a forbidden book, he acts bravely to save an endangered world and the Empress.

Violence & Scariness

Some scenes will frighten young children, including a bloody clash toward the film's end and a faceless "Nothing" that sets out to destroy the land of Fantasia. Plus a steamrolling monster, bullies throw a child into a dumpster, and a beloved horse is sucked into a swamp.

Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while the overall message of The NeverEnding Story, which encourages children to become lovers of books, is a positive one, the scary adventures that take place in the film will scare very young children. The faceless "Nothing" sets out to destroy the land of Fantasia, and while the hero of the film has no weapons (at least until the story's end), he does engage in a bloody clash with one of the Nothing's emissaries. Other potentially upsetting incidents involve a steamrolling monster, bullies throwing a child into a Dumpster, and a beloved horse being sucked into a swamp.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byhonestreviewererin November 22, 2019

not good for kids!

this movie messed with me for so long after watching it when I was around 8-9 and I had nightmares for quite a while. Have not watched it since and still often... Continue reading
Adult Written byWendi2345 March 26, 2009
Think twice before seeing with a group of children:
The scene with the Sphinx shows the Sphinx's naked breasts, which caused my group of 4th & 5th... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byOod April 6, 2013

Dear God, make it stop!

This is the worst movie I have ever seen. I would give it zero stars if I could. However, other than disturbingly bad acting, this is a completely tame film for... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old February 27, 2015



What's the story?

THE NEVER ENDING STORY centers on young Bastian Bux (Barret Oliver), who escapes his troubled life in a dusty old bookstore. The store owner tells him not to look at the book The NeverEnding Story, but Bastian does anyway. He becomes engrossed in the story, in which boy warrior Atreyu (Noah Hathaway) seeks to save the land of Fantasia from becoming destroyed by a mythical force known as the Nothing. Atreyu also is charged with finding a cure for a dying girl known as the Childlike Empress. On his adventure, he meets a bumbling elderly scientist, a flying dragon, and a swamp monster, among other characters. After a near-deadly clash with one of the Nothing's servants, a wolf-like creature who informs Atreyu that the loss of hope is the worst offense of all, the warrior fears all of Fantasia to be destroyed. In the end, a young girl that literally draws Bastian into the book, calling for a child's imagination to save the empire from destruction.

Is it any good?

Both children and adults will enjoy this film for its special effects, beautiful scenery, and colorful characters. Most of all, The NeverEnding Story's message of daring to dream and soaring to new heights through books is a powerful one that kids of any age can relate to.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether a fantasy tale like The NeverEnding Story can be compelling without being scary.

  • Families can also discuss the value of reading books, and how they can almost transport someone into another world. In the movie, that fantasy becomes a reality -- a distinction parents may wish to point out.

  • They may also discuss a lesson from Bastian's father, who warns the young boy not to become overly caught up with his imagination. Are there times when kids' heads should indeed be in the clouds?

  • How do the characters in The NeverEnding Story demonstrate empathy? Why is this an important character strength?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

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