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50 Best Movie Dream Sequences

Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle (2004)

The Dream Sequence: Harold passes out and finds himself in an animation in the Land of Burgers, where he shoots a security guard to reach his dream girl Maria. They then make out while he is dressed as Zorro.

What It Probably Means: He wants to be able to make a grand gesture to win over the woman of his dreams. Also, he is very hungry.

Happy Gilmore (1996)

The Dream Sequence: To calm down, Happy goes to his Happy Place, where he sees love interest Virginia in scanty clothing carrying beer, his grandma winning on a slot machine and, for some reason, a cowboy dwarf riding a unicycle.

What It Probably Means: Sex, beer and his grandma having good fortune all make him happy. As do cowboys, dwarves and unicycles.

Eraserhead (1977)

The Dream Sequence: Spencer has a vision in which his own head drops off, revealing a thin stump underneath that resembles his real-life snake-like child. The head falls from the sky and lands on the street, only for a boy to pick it up and take to a pencil factory to be turned into erasers.

What It Probably Means: Frankly, we don’t want to know. Though David Lynch has said the film was about his own fear of fatherhood, so there's probably some of that in there.

Bananas (1971)

The Dream Sequence: Woody Allen’s Fielding Mellish recalls a recurring dream in which he is carried down the road on a crucifix by a group of robed people who then try to park him by the curb, only to find the space taken at the last second by a different group with a different crucifix. This leads to both groups breaking out into a huge fight.

What It Probably Means: Woody Allen’s Jewish roots causing a paranoia complex about being persecuted, not to mention feeling insecure enough to believe that a parking spot can take precedence over his own crucifixion.

Aliens (1986)

The Dream Sequence: Opening the film, Ripley has a nightmare in which she has her very own chestburster poking through...

What It Probably Means: What do you think? The phallic shape of the l’il alien could be representative of Ripley’s own insecurities as a... oh, no wait she’s probably just scared of chestbursting killer creatures.

Waltz With Bashir (2008)

The Dream Sequence: Ari has a recurring nightmare in which he is being hounded by 26 vicious dogs who tear up the streets in their snarling pursuit of him.

What It Probably Means: It’s linked to the guilt he feels for his involvement in the Sabra and Shatila massacre, in which he played a part as a member of the Israeli Defense Forces. He feels like he should be punished for what happened and that the reality of the situation will eventually catch up with him, just like the pack of dogs.

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (2013)

The Dream Sequence: Walter zones out and imagines a lengthy fight with his boss involving a Stretch Armstrong toy, which sees them crash out of an elevator and spill out on to the street, surfing the tarmac in a high-speed chase sequence.

What It Probably Means: Walter is at odds with his boss, but this something else altogether. This emphasises the lack of excitement in Walter’s life and how he longs to be a man of action.

Hidden (2005)

The Dream Sequence: George dreams of a scene in which a young boy chops the head off a rooster, having blood spurt in his eye as a result, all while a younger George looks on. While, the beheaded bird flails on the floor, the boy then approaches slowly with the axe in his hands.

What It Probably Means: This is a flashback to a childhood memory. George feels guilty about making his adopted brother decapitate the chicken in order to get his parents to return him to the orphanage, but he is also concerned that his life is in danger and he wants to have more control and keep things together. Essentially, he wants to make sure he doesn’t lose his own head.

The Cell (2000)

The Dream Sequence: Psychologist Jennifer Lopez literally enters the mind of serial killer Carl Stargher to see all kinds of messed up stuff. Some of the worst comes when she happens upon visual displays of his victims, who are now trussed up and sexualised, a mess of doll faces and steel wires. She then meets the great hulking man himself, who walks down the stairs trailing huge purple curtains behind him.

What It Probably Means: Stargher puts his victims on a pedestal and considers them to be beautiful works of art. Meanwhile, he has a hugely elevated self-opinion, projecting himself as a hulking, muscular figure with a regal quality. Basically, he’s a complete narcissist.

The Exorcist (1973)

The Dream Sequence: Father Karras dreams of a falling necklace and seeing his mother in the street, who turns her back on him as he silently shouts and waves at her. He also dreams a quick flash of Pazuzu.

What It Probably Means: Karras is feeling guilty over leaving his mother alone in hospital as she died. The dream shows that he has to face a lot of inner demons (and one very real one).