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An ostracized young boy named Bastian who loves to read steals a magical book which claims to have No Ending. In it is the story of an otherworldly Magical Native American boy named Atreyu on a quest to save a Magical Land from vanishing. As Bastian reads more and more of the story, he finds that the book seems to be aware of him. Eventually, it is revealed that the magical land within the book is actually another dimension encompassing all of human imagination, and only a human with creative ideas can save it.

Michael Ende's novel The Neverending Story spawned three movies. The first one was very well received (except by, among others, Ende himself, who sued unsuccessfully to have the name changed because he disliked it so much and had his name taken out of the writing credits), the second less so, and the third is deeply unpopular. The first movie was based on the first half of the book and the second (rather more loosely) on the second half, while the third was not based on it at all apart from having the Old Man of Wandering Mountain show up.

  • The Neverending Story (1984)
  • The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter (1991)
  • The Neverending Story III: Escape from Fantasia (1995)

The movies provide examples of:

  Rockbiter: They look like good, strong hands, don't they?

 Atreyu: What is the Nothing?

Gmork: It's the emptiness that's left. It's like a despair, destroying this world. And I have been trying to help it.

Atreyu: But why?

Gmork: Because people who have no hopes are easy to control. And whoever has control has the power.

  • Heroic BSOD: Rock Biter.
  • Idiot Ball: Bastian seems to be clutching the idiot ball for dear life in the sequel, in for no other reason is how easily he's manipulated by the villain. You'd think he'd be less inclined to make wishes, particularly for such reasons, when the self-professed villain and her bird-boy lackey (who he should be able to notice is working for the villain) both keep insisting he make wishes. Not only that, he accepts magical (possibly boobytrapped) gifts from her and despite knowing and having far more reason to trust Atreyu than her, for some reason continues act like Atreyu is some kind of idiot when he insists the villain shouldn't be trusted.
  • Informed Ability: Atreyu, despite being described as a great warrior in the first film and even killing the monster with a shard of rock, is easily murdered by Bastian in the 2nd.
  • Jerk Jock: Slip (played by Jack Black) in the third movie.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: In the third movie, Bastian asks a perfectly reasonable question, "Why can't I just wish the problem was solved?" the empress says no, because the characters lost would not be returned. Bastian then asks "Why can't I just wish them back?" the empress simply responds with "No." Bastian has to go through the entire movie premise just because the empress just didn't feel like it.
  • Loads and Loads of Roles: In the first movie, Oppenheimer is not only Falkor, but also Gmork, Rockbiter and the narrator.
  • Magic Librarian: Mr. Koreander is depicted this way in the second and third films.
  • Narrator: The first film suddenly sprouts a narrator only at the very, very end. It would be all too easy to construct a lofty critical reason for this, such as, "It's to emphasize thematically that the real story is only beginning etc..." but in all likelihood it was just because of earlier scenes being cut or a sloppy mistake in the film's writing or editing.
  • No Fourth Wall: The Childlike Empress explicitly tells that others have been following Bastian through his experiences, like he had been following Atreyu.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Literally.
  • Only the Worthy May Pass: Double Subversion - Atreyu isn't worthy to make it past the sphinxes, but makes it through anyway.
    • Averted in the book: the Gnomic studying the gates can find no discernible pattern as to who passes the Sphinxes and who gets caught by the riddle-beams.
      • According to Occam's Razor, the Sphinxes might simply be judging whoever can haul ass the quickest.
  • Pals with Jesus: In the movie Bastian got to ride Falcor in the real world to chase some bullies.
  • "Reading Is Cool" Aesop
  • Shaky POV Cam: Gmork was shot in this style.
  • Stuffed Into a Trashcan: Dumpsters are trashcans too.
  • Swiss Army Tears: The second movie ending.
  • That's No Moon: Morla is originally perceived by Atreyu as a hill of some sort.
  • Totally Radical: The third movie has Nicole saying that Bastian's hairstyle is so "Un".
  • Villainous BSOD: Xayide meets her demise when Bastian wishes she had a heart. Considering all the destruction and pain she'd caused, it's little wonder this did her in.
  • We All Live in America: At least the original German versions of the movies (let alone the books) base the story in Germany. How come Bastian's hometown does nothing to not look like a US city then?
    • Stargate City: It's not a US city; the movies were filmed in Vancouver.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: This is more like, "Who Named Their Mother Moon Child?"
    • The live action series Tales from the Neverending Story goes with the "Moon Child was inspired by Bastian's mother's name" idea from the movie (despite being yet another Alternate Continuity), but clarifies that his mom's actual name was Selene (after the Greek moon goddess).
  • Wishplosion: The end of the second movie.
  • World-Healing Wave
  • You Would Do the Same For Me
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