I recall a movie I watched more than 10 years ago with this scene in it:

A young and an old man are observing a far away gate through a telescope. The younger one is going to pass the gate and the older one is explaining about the gate to him.

The gate is guarded by two statues. A person is seen trying to pass the gate.

The old man explains if the person who's passing the gate has fear or doubt, the eyes of the statues gradually open and when the eyes are fully opened they shoot a beam of light to the person killing them. The person they are watching is killed.

He continues explanation: But if the person doesn't show any signs of fear or doubt they can pass unharmed (the eyes remain closed).

The younger one then goes to the gate and passes unharmed.

  • 2
    FWIW, ChatGPT instantly provided a detailed answer to this question. Commented Jun 19 at 0:31
  • 5
    @MichaelLorton a correct one or merely a detailed one?
    – Helena
    Commented Jun 19 at 15:58
  • @Helena — it answered with Neverending Story, which is also the movie named in the accepted answer here. Commented Jun 20 at 14:03

1 Answer 1


That is almost certainly The Neverending Story (1984).

The old man is Engywook the Gnome, who made it his life's work to study the Southern Oracle (the thing the statues - Sphinxes - are guarding). The younger person is one of the protagonists, Atreju, who is on a quest and seeks the Oracle's advice to save his world from certain destruction.

This should be the clip you remember.

Given that this is a story about the power of imagination, having it fed to you as a movie is a bit quaint, though, so I recommend to read the novel ;-)

  • 1
    Thank you. That's it! But why did the gnome have chemical solutions on his telescope set?! Commented Jun 17 at 10:28
  • 8
    Engywook and his wife Urgl brew potions that amongst other things they use to heal Atreju and the dragon Falkor, although why they would have to brew them on the telescope is beyond me. Commented Jun 17 at 11:25
  • "from certain destruction" or "the Nothing"
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Jun 18 at 12:56
  • 4
    +1 for the suggestion to read the book.
    – Boldewyn
    Commented Jun 18 at 14:24
  • @EtackSxchange Because it looks awesome and it's a fantasy world. :-) Commented Jun 18 at 20:54

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