Metascore
46

Mixed or average reviews - based on 10 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 10
  2. Negative: 3 out of 10
  1. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    90
    Wolfgang Petersen's The NeverEnding Story is a marvelously realized flight of pure fantasy.
  2. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    88
    Director Wolfgang Petersen combines the elements into a charming film that is excellent for children and won't put any adults to sleep, either.
  3. Reviewed by: Michael Blowen
    88
    The Neverending Story, Wolfgang Petersen's sophisticated fantasy film, is so wonderfully appropriate to children that it seems to have been made by kids. But there is enough artistic merit in the tale to enchant adults equally. [20 Jul 1984, p.1]
  4. 75
    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.
  5. 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]
  6. 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]
  7. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    40
    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.
  8. 30
    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.
  9. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    20
    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]
  10. The Neverending Story is a graceless, humorless fantasy for children, combining live actors and animated creatures in mostly imaginary settings.
User Score
5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 33 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Jan 31, 2013
    10
    THE NEVERENDING STORY is a feat in fantasy filmmaking, truly one of the most incredible fantasy adventures ever made. The imaginative character designs and enchanting environments bring the world of Fantasia to life in amazing detail. Director Wolfgang Petersen employs an astonishing array of special effects, from life-like puppets to matte paintings and miniatures that meld together to give the film an epic look unlike any other. Although it is based in childhood fantasy, the film touches on many darker tones and twisted villains that, along with its haunting score, often make for a frightening viewing experience for younger audiences. A series of meaningful and memorable characters are introduced to fight the forces of darkness, characters who personify the values of courage (found in the brave warrior Atreyu), wisdom (shown by the ancient one, Morla), and valor (as seen in the self-sacrifice made by The Rockbiter and others). In the face of such heroism, the corruptive creature that is attempting to destroy this whimsical world fares no chance. On top of the High Fantasy elements the film possesses, it also delivers a powerful message against the death of imagination at the hands of apathetic parents and their disenchanted children. By frequently breaking the fourth wall, THE NEVERENDING STORY engages young Bastian as well as the viewing audience to enter the world of Fantasia and participate in the events as they unfold on screen right beside Atreyu and his companions, thereby saving all who live within this realm. THE NEVERENDING STORY holds a special place beside other timeless classics like THE WIZARD OF OZ, THE DARK CRYSTAL, and LABYRINTH. Full Review »
  2. Dec 11, 2013
    6
    I'm not really sure what to think of this movie. Sure, the effects were 80's era, but whatever. The real reason this confused me was that it felt even more like a Jim Henson acid trip than Labyrinth. I couldn't tell if this was fantasy, adventure, drama, or what. The whole sub-plot with the kid having to "rename" the princess? Not needed.

    All in all, this movie was a bit confusing, but a fun 80's classic.

    My last item: That werewolf-dog thing. Oh Jesus. That was the freakin' scariest thing when I first saw this. Dear God.
    Full Review »
  3. Jul 20, 2013
    10
    Amazingly deep actually. A wondrous fantasy that the children in my family got remarkably into. A beautiful and timeless classic as far as we are concerned. Fully recommended! Full Review »