Nothing Lasts Forever is a science-fiction comedy film directed by Tom Schiller. Shortly before its intended release date of September 1984, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer postponed it; it has never been officially released theatrically or for home media in the United States. The film was uploaded by a fan onto the Internet video website YouTube, but was taken down at the insistence of Turner Entertainment, the current copyright owner. It was eventually broadcast on Warner's cable TV network Turner Classic Movies.
It stars Zach Galligan and Lauren Tom in the lead roles, with a supporting cast including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sam Jaffe and Mort Sahl. John Belushi was to appear in the film, but he died six weeks before production began.
The making of the film, through interviews with Tom Schiller, Lorne Michaels, Zach Galligan, Lauren Tom, Bill Murray and others involved with the film, is chronicled in the book Nothing Lost Forever: The Films of Tom Schiller by Michael Streeter (BearManor Media, 2005).
The film opens to Adam Beckett (Zach Galligan) reluctantly performing as a purported pianist to an audience in New York City. When Beckett gives away that he is using a player piano, the outraged crowd storms the stage and wraps Beckett with the piano rolls. After fleeing to Europe, Adam is accosted on a train by Swedish architect, to whom he explains his stymied dreams of becoming an artist. After encouragement from the architect, Adam resolves to return to America. Upon returning, he discovers that the Port Authority has taken control of New York and is restricting entry into the city.
Upon failing a drawing test at the Port Authority, Adam is forced to work in a menial job under a trigger-happy boss (Dan Aykroyd).
His kindness to a tramp leads him to be taken into an underground network where he discovers that the city's tramps are controlling the destiny of all the cities in the world. They instruct him to travel to the moon on a mission—via a city bus and its conductor (Bill Murray) —to spread peace and find his true love (Lauren Tom).
The film has never been released theatrically or on home media in the United States. However, it has been broadcast on TV networks, on BBC2 in the UK in 1994 as part of the Moviedrome strand, in Germany under the title "Alles ist vergänglich" and on Dutch television network RTL5 in November 1993. Warner Brothers, who now owns the rights to the pre 1986 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film library stated in 2003 and again in February 2006 that the film cannot be released on DVD due to unspecified "legal difficulties". In 2007, another chat was conducted and Warner claimed it was "on the middle burner -- not the front, but not the back." Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd have both agreed to take part in DVD special features, should the film be finally released.
In 2011 the film was leaked onto YouTube.
The film made its American television debut on the cable network Turner Classic Movies on January 4, 2015 as part of their "TCM Underground" programming block.
Murray and Schiller held a screening of the film on April 13, 2004 at the BAM Cinematek in Brooklyn, New York. On September 6, 2005, Murray, Schiller and Zach Galligan attended another screening, this time at Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater. The screening was followed by a Q&A session and a book signing of Nothing Lost Forever: The Films of Tom Schiller. The film was next screened on November 12, 2005 at the St. Louis International Film Festival. On January 28, 2006, Schiller introduced a screening at the Eastman House's Dryden Theatre in Rochester, New York. Schiller was again present for an August 22, 2007 screening at the Cinema Arts Center of Huntington, New York. The film was shown on November 6, 2009 at Olympia's Capitol Theater as part of the opening night of the Olympia Film Festival. On April 1, 2010, it screened in Los Angeles, California at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood as part of the American Cinematheque's acknowledgment of "criminally unknown" films, with Schiller attending and answering questions. On September 27, 2014 Schiller attended a screening of the film, followed by a Q&A at Sunray cinema in Jacksonville, Florida.