It's hard to find someone who hasn't seen 1984's The NeverEnding Story at least once, if only on cable. It's one of those movies like The Shawshank Redemption that didn't seem like a big deal at the time, but now is as much a part of our childhoods as playing with Legos or shooting people because we knew the courts couldn't prosecute minors.
That's why it's a little disturbing when we look back on that movie with adult eyes and see some of the fucked up lessons we were unknowingly being taught. Lessons like ...
7Stealing is Perfectly Fine if You leave a Note.
The movie starts off with Bastian, an elementary school boy in the "real world," being robbed by three bullies. When they find out that he has no money, they throw him into a dumpster, and when he climbs out, they continue chasing him, presumably to slit his throat and bathe themselves in his sacrificial blood (again, 1980s bullies were hardcore). Bastian gives them the slip by ducking into a book store, where he finds an old man who scolds him for being a child.
"I did 14 years with good behavior because of teases like you."
Bastian is curious about a book that the old man is reading, and he tells him the book is not for him because it's "special." So when the guy gets a phone call and leaves the book unattended, the little bastard nabs the book and jets out the front door. But it's OK because he leaves a note.
So, right off, the questionable morals of this movie start to come into focus. Our hero is never punished for this act (there would be no adventure without it). Remember, that old man didn't run a library. He owns a book store. And judging by the fact that there are no customers, we're guessing that he's not making that great of a living to begin with, so every sale counts. And that's aside from the fact that he was halfway through reading it when this little pecker pulled a smash-n-grab.
"Oh, no. Go ahead. I was only 200 pages in, anyway."
Apparently this takes place in the same universe as role playing games, where if an item is needed to advance your quest, you take that shit.