Majestic facts about the nostalgic classic, ‘The Neverending Story’ (20 Photos)
The movie that probably gave you magical nightmares as a kid is now a bonafide cult classic, so revisit Fantasia this morning with these awesome facts and spend the rest of the day wishing you could have been Bastian.
During the first Ivory Tower scene when the group of Fantasians are gathered together, if you look very closely you will see characters such as Yoda, Mickey Mouse, Chewbacca, C3PO, The Ewoks, ET and Gumby.
Michael Ende, the author of the book, really, really hated the film. He was quoted as describing it as “that revolting movie” and demanded that his name be taken off the credits.
Ende really hated the Sphinx statues Atreyu encounters. He said, “The Sphinxes are quite one of the biggest embarrassments of the film. They are full-bosomed strippers who sit there in the desert.”
There were two Falkor, the Luck Dragon, models built; one had a head weighing over 200 pounds. There was also steel from an actual airplane involved in making him.
It also took 25 people to puppeteer him. Director Wolfgang Peterson said, “One person was responsible for operating Falkor’s nose, one for eyebrows, one for the upper lip, and one for the lower lip.”
Noah Hathaway, the actor who played Atreyu, had a horse-riding accident right before shooting began and spent 2 months in the hospital due to crushed vertebra. A horse actually fell on top of him.
When asked about working with such a young cast in an interview with SciFiNow, special effects director Brian Johnson said “Barret Oliver (Bastian) was an absolute gem” and Tami Stronach (the Childlike Empress) “was fine … Noah Hathaway (Atreyu) was a bit of a pain in the arse, frankly. It was very difficult for Wolfgang to get anything out of him. Barret Oliver delivered all the time, he was just brilliant, absolutely brilliant.”
There are two sides to every story, of course. And Noah Hathaway remembers things a bit differently. In a recent interview with The News Tribune, the actor—now 43 years old—says that Petersen, whose English was limited, was a perfectionist who sometimes required up to 40 takes before he was satisfied with a single scene.
Although it’s pretty questionable in the film, the name Bastian yells out, according to the book, is “Moonchild”.
The scenes in the Swamps of Sadness took two months to film. The entire movie took an entire year to shoot.
…at $130,000 a day.
At the time, it was the most expensive film production made in German history. It cost $25 million to make in 1984, which would equal about $60 million today.
The original, German theatrical release of the film has a much more serious-looking intro, with credits over black. You can see a comparison of the two releases
Atreyu was originally supposed to have green skin, like in the book. His character was a member of a tribe called the “Greenskins,” who hunted purple buffalo.
Want to make your inner-child scream with joy? You can actually ride on Falkor at Falkorat Bavaria Filmstadt in Munich, Germany.
The movie was filmed in Germany during the hottest summer it had in 25 years. It was so hot one of the statues of the Ivory Tower actually melted.
One person, actor Alan Oppenheimer, actually provided the voice of Falkor, Rockbiter, G’mork (the wolf), and the narrator. He’s also known for being the voice of Skeletor.
Tami Stronach, who played the Childlike Empress, lost two teeth before filming and had to wear fake teeth, aka flippers for the shoot. In the beginning, they gave her a lisp.
Because of the limitations of special effects in the 1980s, two scenes from the book that were written into the script had to be removed. The first was the real introduction of Falkor, during which Atreyu helps him escape from a shape-shifting monster known as Ygramul the Many. In the film, Falkor appears out of the clouds when Atreyu is near death in the Swamp of Sadness, and in the next scene, they are on the mountain where the gnomes Engywook and Urgl live.
The other cut scene found Falkor and Atreyu caught in a fight between four Wind Giants. Instead, the scene was edited to be a brush with The Nothing, where Atreyu falls off of Falkor and comes to on a beach.
Steven Spielberg was given Auryn (Atreyu’s necklace) by director Wolfgang Peterson as a thank-you present for helping out with the film. Peterson gave Spielberg credit for editing it to make it more appealing to Americans.