50 Best Movie Dream Sequences

Stand By Me (1986)

The Dream Sequence: Gordie has a dream in which he 'remembers' his parents mourning the death of his football star brother and lamenting that it wasn't Gordie who died instead.

What It Probably Means: Gordie, already feeling disassociated from his parents is insecure about being overshadowed by his brother's legacy and living up to the same expectations. Plus, seeing as they are on their way to find a dead body, he just has death on the brain.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010)

The Dream Sequence: Scott fades into a daydream where he finds himself alone in a vast desert and seems utterly hopeless. That is until Ramona skates by saying "You’re not alone. You’re just having some idiotic dream".

What It Probably Means: Scott is hung up on Ramona to such an extent that he feels abandoned without her. But he also knows that this is exactly the kind of mood that she wouldn’t stand for so he needs to pick himself up and do something about his situation.

Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

The Dream Sequence: Jean-Luc Picard has a nightmare in which he relives his assimilation into the cybernetic Borg, which occurred many years before.

What It Probably Means: The filmmakers needed a way to get viewers who hadn’t seen those particular Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes up to speed. That is all

Take Shelter (2011)

The Dream Sequence: Michael Shannon’s troubled teacher dreams of pulling his daughter away from a strange face outside the house. As he grabs her and holds her close, all of the furniture in the room suddenly floats in the air.

What It Probably Means: There’s a storm a-coming, and he needs to protect his family...

Wayne's World 2 (1993)

The Dream Sequence: A “weird, naked Indian” leads Wayne out into the desert to meet Jim Morrison who tells him to put on a concert.

What It Probably Means: Is it a dream or a vision? Either way, it shows that Wayne is feeling directionless in life and needs guidance.

Raising Arizona (1987)

The Dream Sequence: Hi explains a dream in which he describes what happens to various people he has encountered in the film, and he sees himself and Ed as an old couple being visited by their children and grandchildren.

What It Probably Means: He is insecure about the future of his relationship with Ed and, as he says himself: “Was it wishful thinking? Was I just fleeing reality like I know I’m liable to do?”. Well, if it seemed real enough, maybe it’s just the beginning of a plan for the future.

Papillon (1973)

The Dream Sequence: While in solitary imprisonment, Papillon hallucinates a scene in which he is enjoying being honoured at a big street parade, before he finds the road completely empty but for two fellow prisoners. He runs towards them in slow-motion as the whole scene turns upside down and, when he reaches them, he sees that they are both corpses.

What It Probably Means: Stuck in solitary confinement on a remote island, Papillon’s mind is playing tricks on him. The sequence starts out as a fantasy, but it quickly becomes a nightmare as he is faced with mortality, showing concerns about the end of his own life and how it is all out of his control.

Lost Highway (1997)

The Dream Sequence: Fred tells of a dream in which his girlfriend is in his house calling out to him but he can’t find her. When he eventually does, she is lying in bed, and, his from point of view, she is attacked. He then wakes up to find her lying next to him, her face replaced by that of a mysterious man.

What It Probably Means: Fred is afraid of intimacy. He is scared that he can’t live up to his responsibilities in the relationship and be there for his girlfriend when she needs him, and is also afraid that he isn’t quite in control of his actions. And the mysterious man?

That could mean that he is struggling to define his own sexuality. Or maybe he’s just a bit bleary-eyed.

The 'Burbs (1989)

The Dream Sequence: Disturbed by his mysterious neighbours, Ray has a nightmare which sees a chainsaw cut through his house, and then he is strapped down and cooked on a giant barbecue by a hooded cult.

What It Probably Means: He fears the worst about his new neighbours and worries about what will happen if he doesn’t take decisive action. Also, being cooked and presumably then eaten is his subconscious’s way of telling him that he wants a midnight snack.

The Last Temptation Of Christ (1988)

The Dream Sequence: In the most controversial scene of the film, Jesus is saved from dying on the cross by a little girl and goes on to lead a fulfilled life, marrying (more than once) and having children before an elderly Jesus realises that it is better to have died on the cross and save mankind.

He then finds himself back on the cross, as the whole ending was just the last temptation, and the little girl was really Satan.

What It Probably Means: Jesus wanted nothing more to live a normal life and be happy.