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The Neverending Story Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 10

    out of 100

    The New York Times 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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  • 20

    out of 100

    Time 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]

  • 70

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal 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]

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times 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.

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  • 90

    out of 100


    Wolfgang Petersen's The NeverEnding Story is a marvelously realized flight of pure fantasy.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 8+

Boy bibliophile becomes part of fantasy tale.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while the overall message of this movie, 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.

  • Families can talk about whether a fantasy tale 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?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true2

    Educational value: Encourages the love of reading.

  • message true1

    Messages: Stresses the power of a child's imagination and the importance of having hope.

  • rolemodels true1

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

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence and 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.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Not applicable

  • language false0

    Language: Not applicable

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not applicable