Based on the novel by Michael Ende, the mid 1980s became the showcase of one of the most expensive European movies made – The Neverending Story.
Directed and co-written by Wolfgang Petersen, this was the German director’s first English language film.
The story centers around Bastian (Barret Oliver) a quiet boy who loves to read and becomes the target of bullies. Hiding in a bookstore to escape the bullies, he finds the book The Neverending Story, and borrows it, despite the warnings from the bookstore owner.
Bastian reads the story of Fantasia, where The Childlike Empress has fallen ill due to the effects of The Nothing. A young warrior, Atreyu, has come to help the empress, avoiding a werewolf set out to kill him.
But as Bastian reads, he realizes that the Empress and Atreyu can hear his comments and that he may be the key to saving Fantasia and helping the empress.
Made for $27 million in West Germany, The Neverending Story was released in summer 1984. The film’s intricate fantasy world was a huge lure for movie fans, with box office earnings of over $100 million. Although German band Passport did the music for the film, for the North American release, the filmmaker hired Giorgio Moroder to create a unique title soundtrack song.
Using Kajagoogoo lead singer Limahl, the title song of the film hit the top 10 on the Billboard 100, with a matching music video racing up the charts on MTV and MuchMusic.
The film’s fantastical creation became a fave of critics too – and made a lasting impression of the unique world created by Ende and the imagination of young Bastian.