Parent reviews for The NeverEnding Story

Common Sense says

Boy bibliophile becomes part of fantasy tale.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 39 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 37 reviews
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 think about this and am too scared to watch it again haha. Not for young kids at all.
Adult Written bypetra_ste April 11, 2019

Fine adaptation of Ende’s classic

As a huge fan of Michael Ende’s novel I have a special fondness for this adaptation, which features a great atmosphere, lovely sets and practical effects. I love the message, which is a celebration of storytelling, books and imagination - although the movie omits the second half of the novel, which was essentially a warning against going too deep down the rabbit hole and devoting too much time to fantasy worlds neglecting your real life... thorny stuff which the movie cut and the mediocre sequels studiously avoided.

The movie has some fairly complex themes and unsettling moments, both realistic (the protagonist is bullied, steals a book, temporarily escapes from home, has lost his mother and is implied to have a difficult relationship with an emotionally distant father) and fantastic (a magical world threatened by a mysterious entity which erases people and places), with sad moments (like the death of an animal companion in a quicksand) and creepy creatures, including a huge malevolent wolf which would no doubt haunt the nightmares of any preschooler. Love this movie but I believe parents should save it for kids who are at least 8 or 9.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
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 graders to "hoot & holler" with delight.

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Parent of a 6 and 9-year-old Written byKfo December 7, 2014

Beware upsetting moments

Watched with 9 and 6 year old daughters. Usually 9 yr old is not scared of much but has just had two nights of bad dreams about the Panther like servant of the Nothing. They seemed to enjoy it at the time but I guess it's only afterwards you see what sticks. Personally I found the horse drowning in the swamp pretty startling....

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byiiFreyja1 August 26, 2020

Good movie

It's a decent movie, very old but still a good watch if your kids aren't sheltered. There are breasts on the sphinx but that shouldn't bother anybody because a) it's historically realistic regarding the Greeks and b) breasts are not always meant to be sexualized. In this case, they are not sexualized at all. It is your own belief on what breasts are that make you think the scene is sexual in nature. There is a lot of hidden symbolism in this movie, such as when Atreyu is going to walk through the gates, the eyes of the sphinx opened very quickly for the Knight who had all talk and no confidence in himself. Whereas the eyes opened slowly for Atreyu, indicating his doubt was creeping in rather than having a true self-doubt from the start. Messages like this are spread across the entire movie, and it's enjoyable once you catch them.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 7 and 10-year-old Written byL D Family October 7, 2010

Scary Story

This film was much more dark in theme (and atmosphere) than expected. Beware!

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written bygrayhammy August 20, 2020

Scarier than the U certificate suggests

It's scarier than the U certificate suggests. It's more the threat to the young children in the film, which my children identified as the same age as them, that scared them.

As for the Sphinx breasts – I really don't understand why so many parents are mentioning that. Are you prudish Americans?

My British kids didn't bat an eyelid at all. What's with the American obsession with breasts?!
Adult Written byGinger-Snaps May 29, 2020

Fun and Imaginative Family Film

My son loves this movie and has watched it without any issues since he was about 5. His cousin is more fearful and was frightened by the scenes with the wolf and she is 7 so I think it really depends on the child and their level of comfort and fear, you will know your child. I love that this film encourages the world of imagination and the importance of finding your own path and following your dreams, even if others think you are different for doing so. It's a great lesson for kids.

I do want to say that I am shocked by the reviews that mention the breasts on the sphinx. These are not sexual. They are statues. Does this mean the same people would not take their child to a museum, or to a European country (the streets of Florence are filled with naked statues), or a European beach for that matter (where many women opt to sunbathe topless). I promise that walking around the Louvre will not expose your child to inappropriate sexiness!

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Parent Written byMatadors25 June 1, 2019

Not my Cup of Tea

I watched this when I was younger and now that I have kids I had forgotten the Sphinx at the gates show their breasts.

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Parent Written bygruntso November 13, 2017

Not what I remembered - keep looking for something else to watch.

First of all, let me start by saying that as kid I loved this movie. In watching this movie with my kids (9-12), I was able to see it for what it is. The acting is terrible, the effects just don't hold up to what the kids are used to, and the story isn't good enough to overcome the acting and effects. My 12yr old was able to pick apart the story (for example: if the horse is sad and drowning, then why isn't the boy drowning, as he was sad at the loss of his horse?). My 8/9yr old was more engaged, however the wolf at the end was a bit too scary for him. I think I would suggest you keep looking.
Parent of a 5-year-old Written byRflagg024 October 27, 2019

Watch out for the “green eyed fox”

I didn’t even remember this character, but The Nothing’s emissary is a green eyed wolf that speaks to Atreyu in a raspy voice. It scared the poop out of my 5 year old and now he sees the “green eyed fox” in every dark corner and closet. He can’t brush his teeth without me turning the light on for him. I wish I had waited to share this gem with him. I remember watching it when I was five, but don’t let your own upbringing taint your vision of their childhood. Judge appropriately and give your kids some room before they see this one.
Adult Written byyimakim July 7, 2021

Absolutely Disturbing

I remember watching this at around 8 years old. I didnt know a movie could do this much damage to a child. The overall message may seem good, but there are many dark and spiritually distubring symbols and themes throughout this entire movie. I remember stuggling with nightmares for 2 years after this. My sister at that time was about 3 years old and she still remembers some disturbing scenes, including the horse drowning one. The effects this horrible movie had on children are detrimental. Please, I beg of you to never your kids watch this movie. It may seem harmless but afterwards you will realize that it wasnt good for your kids.
Parent of a 6-year-old Written byNaomin March 5, 2010
Yikes. I couldn't sit through this. My daughter seems to be engrossed with it but the mawkish acting, the shreiks of "nooooo!" against the fantasy world's many unfair turn of events, outdated visual effects, and large clumsy puppetry had me running for the kitchen and my dishes to be washed. I guess there's a message going on over there, but there's no way I'm going to sit through it to find out what it is!
Parent of a 6-year-old Written byJoi C. September 1, 2016

Great for young boys!

I had hoped he would love it...was afraid that it would have some scenes that I had forgotten about. Thanks to, I was able to prepare him for the horse scene. I helped him get through the scene and move forward. It was smooth sailing after that point. He LOVED it. He told me it was better than Jumanji. :)

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 8-year-old Written byMeegan71 November 28, 2015

Fun fantasy with dated effects

My 8-year-old son really enjoyed this movie, and it held my attention enough that I wasn't dual-screening (which often happens when we're watching kids movies). My son would like to say that the movie is "for ages 7+, because it's not that scary," and that some children may be sad when the horse dies in a swamp. I appreciated the enphasis on reading as a major plot focus, and he enjoyed the danger - like when the sphinxes shot lasers out of their eyes.
Parent of a 5-year-old Written byREL April 3, 2012

Lloyd Review

My daughter who is 9 did not like the movie because of the scary parts which included the wolf for the Nothing, and the horse being sucked into the swamp, she found it really sad. My son who is 5 3/4 said that it was a blast!

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Parent Written by80sgreenblog August 12, 2011

A movie about a book, that's based on a book,about the very book that the book is based on.

In the top ten of best movies ever made. This movie glorifies reading and turns every book into an adventure you'll never forget. It shows true friendship, and that sometimes life is hard and unfair (Example: the swamp scenes.) It also shows that we have to get up and do something, and not wait on others. Outstanding movie score. "Never ending" shows the main characters with great courage,even when it is hard to do so.Lastly the movie deals with justified payback, which is rightly deserved. (Hence the ending scene.) A powerful movie not just for the young, but the young at heart. I at 32 yrs of age still like to watch this movie on a rainy day with my kids.

This title contains:

Positive role models
Parent of a 7-year-old Written byBooskiboo August 15, 2021
It was kind of violent at the end. it was sad when Artax died. You should really read the book because when you watch the movie you don’t get to see Sebastians adventures in Fantasia. what I liked about the movie was the costumes are good the prop book never ending story was good I really liked the child like empress and other than that it was very very good

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byWellWatchedMovi... July 21, 2021

I Suggest Age 9+

I think it was six or seven when I first watched this movie, and while I loved it, some scenes did scare me. (Warning - the below contains spoilers for the movie).

When Bastion (the boy) first begins reading the story, and it starts describing the forest, the loud noise made me jump because it was unexpected (even now I still jump). The Nothing can also be pretty scary, with it's sharp teeth and attempts to kill several characters.

Going to sleep, I didn't have any nightmares (that I recall) after first watching this movie, though I was always a little scared of the dark after watching it (thanks to the Nothing). Please note, however, that I was only scared of the dark for a short time after watching the movie.

I suggest age 9+ for watching The Never Ending Story alone, and 8 with parents, but then, all kids are different. Some 9 year olds might be scared of the movie, some may not.
Adult Written bylythic July 18, 2021

Teaches important lessons

In today's dearth of creative children's content, rewatching this classic with my own kids really reminded me of what we are missing in today's kids entertainment.

The moral about the importance of imagination is excellent as that is what we need to help kids become tomorrow's innovators. The lessons about loss and grief and not giving up in the face of adversity are also very important.

Our 4 and 6 year olds loved it, neither were scared or had nightmares. The 4 year old however needed the plot explained to him at times.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models