While admiring a rose blooming in the winter, Queen Eleanor of the Kingdom of Tabor pricks her finger on one of its thorns. Three drops of blood fall onto the snow-covered ground, and she wishes for a daughter as white as the snow, with lips as red as the blood, hair as black as a raven's wings and a heart as strong and defiant as the rose. Queen Eleanor gives birth to her daughter Snow White, but then Queen Eleanor falls ill and dies. After her death, Snow White's father King Magnus and his army battle an invading Dark Army of demonic glass soldiers. Upon rescuing their prisoner Ravenna, he becomes enchanted with her beauty and marries her.
In 1887, Transylvanian Doctor Victor Frankenstein brings to life his Monster with the aid of his assistant Igor and Count Dracula. After Dracula betrays and kills Doctor Frankenstein, the Monster escapes to a windmill, which is burned down by a pursuing mob. The mob flees as Dracula and his three brides mourn the loss of the Monster.
In 1799, New York City police constable Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) is facing imprisonment for going against traditional methods and favoring forensic investigation techniques, such as autopsies, considered unorthodox and unimportant at the time. Ichabod submits to deployment with his bag of tools to the Westchester County hamlet of Sleepy Hollow, New York, which has been plagued by a series of brutal slayings in which the victims have been found decapitated: Peter Van Garrett (Martin Landau), a wealthy farmer and landowner; his son Dirk; and the widow Emily Winship. Arriving in Sleepy Hollow, Crane is informed by the town's elders that the killer is not of flesh and blood, but rather an undead headless Hessian mercenary from the American Revolutionary War who rides at night on a massive black steed in search of his missing head.
Il y a fort longtemps, bien avant qu’elle ne tombe sous l’épée de Blanche-Neige, la Reine Ravenna, la méchante belle-mère de Blanche-Neige, avait dû assister, sans mot dire, à la trahison amoureuse qui avait contraint sa sœur Freya, la Reine de Glaces, à quitter leur royaume, le cœur brisé. Celle que l’on appelait Freya, la jeune reine des glaces, à cause de son habilité à geler n’importe quel adversaire, s’employa alors à lever une armée de guerriers impitoyables, au fond d’un palais glacé.
In 1846, a barber named Benjamin Barker arrives in London, accompanied by sailor Anthony Hope ("No Place Like London"). Fifteen years earlier, he had been falsely convicted and sentenced to penal transportation from London by the corrupt Judge Turpin, who had lusted after Barker's wife Lucy ("The Barber and His Wife"). Barker adopts the alias "Sweeney Todd" and returns to his old Fleet Street shop, situated above Mrs. Nellie Lovett's meat pie shop ("The Worst Pies in London"). From her, he learns that Turpin raped Lucy, who then poisoned herself with arsenic. The couple's daughter, Johanna, is now Turpin's ward, and, like her mother before her, the object of Turpin's lust ("Poor Thing"). Todd vows revenge, and re-opens his barber shop after Mrs. Lovett returns his straight razors to him ("My Friends"). While roaming London, Anthony becomes enamored of Johanna, but is caught by Turpin and driven away by his corrupt associate, Beadle Bamford ("Green Finch and Linnet Bird", "Alms! Alms!", "Johanna").
The story focuses on Scottish writer J. M. Barrie, his platonic relationship with Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, and his close friendship with her sons named George, Jack, Peter, and Michael, who inspire the classic play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Never Grew Up.
Wilhelm Grimm (Matt Damon) and Jakob Grimm (Heath Ledger) arrive in French-occupied Germany during the early 1800s. They go to Karlstadt to rid the town of a witch's ghost. After killing the "ghost", it is revealed that the Brothers Grimm have actually set up a fake witch to trick the town. Afterwards, as they are celebrating, Italian torturer Mercurio Cavaldi (Peter Stormare) takes them to the French General Delatombe (Jonathan Pryce). Delatombe forces them to solve a mystery: The girls of the small village of Marbaden are disappearing, and the villagers are convinced that supernatural beings are responsible. The Grimms are charged with finding who is responsible, and they soon discover that it is the work of a real supernatural force: a beautiful, yet evil, 500-year-old Thuringian Queen (Monica Bellucci) stealing young girls to restore her own beauty. Will and Jake have a complicated relationship; Jake is the smaller, younger, more sensitive one that Will feels he needs to protect. Will is often very hard on Jake (dating all the way back to their childhood, when Jake spent their money that was to be used for medicine for their dying sister on "magic beans") and orders him around. Will is somewhat of a womanizer and wants to make money, whereas Jake is more interested in fairy tales and adventures. Jake feels that Will doesn't care about or believe in him; but Will is just frustrated about the way Jake acts so spontaneously, making it hard for Will to protect him.
Doctor Parnassus' (Plummer) theatre troupe, which includes sleight of hand expert Anton (Garfield), confidant Percy (Troyer), and Parnassus' daughter Valentina (Cole), performs outside a London pub. A drunk (Richard Riddell) barges onstage and crashes through a stage mirror, where his face changes (Bruce Crawford), and he enters a journey of imagination that culminates in a choice between a torturous-looking twelve-step program and going to a pub. He enters the pub, but it explodes; in the real world, Parnassus says he has lost another one to Mr. Nick (Waits).
Mortimer "Mo" Folchart (Brendan Fraser) and his wife Teresa "Resa" Folchart (Sienna Guillory) are reading the fairy tale "Little Red Riding Hood" to their baby daughter Meggie. As Mo reads the story, a red velvet hood appears as a narrator (Roger Allam) explains that people known as "Silver Tongues" are born with the gift that whenever they read a story out loud, the story becomes real.
An elderly woman tells her granddaughter a bedtime story of where snow comes from, by telling her the story of a young man named Edward who has scissors for hands. As the creation of an old Inventor, Edward was a human-like boy who had everything except for hands. The Inventor suffered a fatal heart attack and died before he could give real hands to Edward.
Jack Lucas (Bridges), a selfish, misanthropic shock jock, becomes suicidally despondent after his insensitive on-air comments inadvertently prompt an unstable caller to commit a mass murder-suicide at a popular Manhattan restaurant. Three years later, Jack is working with his girlfriend Anne (Ruehl) in a video store in a mostly drunken, depressed state. One night while on a bender, he attempts suicide. Before he can do so, he is mistaken for a homeless person and is attacked and nearly set on fire by thugs. He is rescued by Parry (Williams), a deluded homeless man who is on a mission to find the Holy Grail, and tries to convince Jack to help him. Jack is initially reluctant, but comes to feel responsible for Parry when he learns that the man's condition is a result of witnessing his wife's horrific murder at the hands of Jack's psychotic caller. Parry is also continually haunted by a hallucinatory red knight, who terrifies him.
Bastian Balthazar Bux (Barret Oliver), a shy and friendless bibliophile child, hides in a bookstore, interrupting the grumpy bookseller, Mr. Coreander (Thomas Hill). Bastian asks about one of the books he sees, but Mr. Coreander advises against it; despite which, Bastian seizes the book, leaving a note promising to return it, and hides in the school's attic to read. The book describes the world of Fantasia threatened by a force called "The Nothing"; where the Childlike Empress (Tami Stronach) who rules over Fantasia has fallen ill, and has summoned Atreyu (Noah Hathaway) to discover the cure. Atreyu is therefore given the AURYN. As Atreyu sets out, the Nothing summons Gmork (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer), a werewolf, to kill Atreyu.
Bastian Bux (Jonathan Brandis) is having troubles at home: his father Barney's (John Wesley Shipp) busy workload is keeping him from consoling Bastian's fear of heights. As such, he then heads to an old bookstore where he again meets Mr. Koreander (Thomas Hill), who proceeds to help find a book on courage. While waiting, Bastian rediscovers the Neverending Story's book, and is shocked to see its words disappear off its pages. Deciding to take the book instead, Bastian returns home and finds himself able to claim AURYN right off the book's cover while hearing the Childlike Empress (Alexandra Johnes) summon him to Fantasia.
The story focuses on the Grimm brothers, Wilhelm (Laurence Harvey) and Jacob (Karlheinz Böhm), and is biographical and fantastical at the same time. They are working to finish a history for a local Duke (Oscar Homolka), though Wilhelm is more interested in collecting fairy tales and often spends their money to hear them from locals. Tales such as "The Dancing Princess" and "The Cobbler and the Elves" are integrated into the main plot. One of the tales is told as an experiment to three children in a book store to see if publishing a collection of fairytales has any merit. Another tale, "The Singing Bone", is told by an old woman (Martita Hunt) in the forest who tells stories to children, while the uninvited Wilhelm secretly listens through an open window. The culmination of this tale involves a jeweled dragon and features the most involved usage of the film's special effects.