The NeverEnding Story is undoubtedly one of the most beloved children's films of the '80s. The 1984 adaptation of Michael Ende's book quickly became a cult classic, and was one of several darker fantasy films for kids released around the same time, along with Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal. Many of us also remember it for the Swamp of Sadness scene (RIP Artax), which left us forever traumatized and basically ruined our childhoods. It's time to go back to Fantasia with some fantastical facts that you probably didn't know.
The book's author HATED the movie
Saying that Michael Ende, the author of the original book, was pretty unhappy with the adaptation is an understatement. He felt that the movie wasn't faithful enough to his book. It got so bad that he urged the producers to either scrap the film entirely or to at least change the name of it. When they refused, he filed a lawsuit to try and stop production. You can probably guess how that worked out (spoiler: it didn't).
Atreyu was supposed to look VERY different
In the original book, Atreyu is supposed to have green skin and blue hair. They did try and give Noah Hathaway green skin for the movie, but just weren't able to make it work, as he apparently "looked like a fungi."
There are some unexpected cameos
If you look very closely at the crowd during the first Ivory Tower scene, you'll see some familiar faces...well, silhouettes. Within the shot you can see Yoda, Gumby, Chewbacca, Mickey Mouse, some ewoks, C-3PO, and E.T.
The movie (unsurprisingly) cost A LOT
Nowadays it's not unusual for a major production to cost over $100 million, but that was definitely not the case back in the early 80s when they were making The NeverEnding Story. By today's standards, its roughly 27 million dollar budget may seem downright reasonable, but at the time it was the most expensive film made outside of the U.S. and Russia. It was also the most expensive German film ever made until Cloud Atlas came along.
The Swamp of Sadness was a nightmare to shoot
The scene that was the hardest for us to sit through was also the hardest for them to film. It took them TWO MONTHS to shoot the scene, largely because of how hard it was to train the horse to "drown." However, you'll be happy to know that despite rumors to the contrary, the horse who played Artax survived unscathed (unlike our childhoods). Though that almost wasn't the case for the kid who played Atreyu