Movies About Dreams: 15+ Films That Explore The Subconscious Mind - Endless Popcorn

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When it comes to dreaming, there’s no shortage of movies to explore the topic. Whether it’s the surreal and fantastical worlds that dreams can take us to or the ways in which they can reflect our innermost desires and fears, movies offer a unique way of exploring this mysterious part of our lives. If you’re looking for some great movies about dreams, here are our best recommendations to get you started.

1.  Inception

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Inception Movie Description

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a skilled thief whose ability to enter people’s dreams and extract information has made him a valuable asset for corporate espionage.

However, this talent has also cost him everything he loves. Cobb is given a chance to redeem himself when he is offered an impossible task: planting an idea in someone’s mind. If successful, it would be the perfect crime. However, Cobb’s enemies are always one step ahead of him.

2.  Waking Life

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Waking Life Movie Description

Wiley Wiggins experiences a series of encounters and observations in a world that may or may not be reality. This idea that we exist in a state between waking and dreaming, where anything is possible, can lead us to question which one is real.

Are we sleepwalking through our lives or are our dreams actually more real than what we experience when we’re awake?

3.  Open Your Eyes

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Open Your Eyes Movie Description

Cesar (Eduardo Noriega) was a young, successful man with everything he could ever want–until a car accident left his face disfigured and sent him to prison.

There, he is forced to confront the psychological mystery that has been haunting him since the accident.

4.  A Nightmare on Elm Street

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A Nightmare On Elm Street Movie Description

Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) begins to suspect that a dark secret kept by her and her friends’ parents may be the key to unraveling the mystery of Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund).

Can Nancy and her boyfriend Glen (Johnny Depp) solve the puzzle before Krueger claims more lives?

5.  Arizona Dream

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Arizona Dream Movie Description

Axel (Johnny Depp) is pulled into the car business when his cousin asks him to come to Arizona and help out at their Uncle Leo’s (Jerry Lewis) wedding.

Axel quickly learns the ropes of selling Cadillacs but also finds himself falling for Elaine (Faye Dunaway), an eccentric woman with a stepdaughter named Grace (Lili Taylor). As their lives intersect, they all must deal with romance, dreams, and loss.

6.  Requiem for a Dream

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Requiem For A Dream Movie Description

Sara Goldfarb is a lonely widow who is determined to appear on a TV game show. In order to qualify, she starts a dangerous diet regimen that has detrimental effects on her mental and physical health.

Meanwhile, her son Harry is aimless and struggling to connect with other people. The two are linked by their shared desire for happiness and connection, which ultimately leads to disaster.

7.  What Dreams May Come

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What Dreams May Come Movie Description

The afterlife is a beautiful and wondrous place, full of potential for whatever we can imagine. For Chris Nielsen (Robin Williams), that includes his wife Annie (Annabella Sciorra) and their children.

However, when Annie commits suicide and is sent to hell, Chris ignores the warnings of his spirit guide Albert (Cuba Gooding Jr.), and ventures there to save her. He quickly finds that rescuing Annie is more difficult than he’d imagined.

8.  Before I Wake

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Before I Wake Movie Description

Mark and Jessie are foster parents to 8-year-old Cody. Cody is scared to fall asleep because of his nightmares, and Jessie assumes it’s just a natural child’s fear. However, the couple is startled when their dead biological son suddenly appears in front of them in their living room.

They’re even more surprised when Cody explains that his dreams can become real – but so can his nightmares. Mark and Jessie must now uncover the truth behind Cody’s mysterious ability before he harms them all with his imagination.

9.  Horse Girl

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Horse Girl Movie Description

A young woman who loves horses and supernatural crime shows begins to have surreal dreams that affect her perception of reality.

10.  Source Code

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Source Code Movie Description

Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal), a helicopter pilot, is part of a top-secret military operation that allows him to experience the last few minutes in the life of another person.

The purpose of this mission is to learn the identity of a commuter-train bomber and prevent a similar catastrophe. With each tragedy that Stevens witnesses, he becomes more certain that he holds the power to prevent it, as long as time doesn’t run out.

11.  Alice in Wonderland

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Alice In Wonderland Movie Description

Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska), now a teenager, visits the magical Underland once again in search of her lost memories.

She quickly reunites with old friends like the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and the Cheshire Cat and learns that it is her destiny to overthrow the Red Queen’s (Helena Bonham Carter) reign of terror.

12.  The Babadook

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The Babadook Movie Description

After her husband’s death, a single mother struggles to help her son overcome his fear of the monster lurking in their house.

However, she soon realizes that there is something very sinister going on in their home.

13.  The Cell

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The Cell Movie Description

Catherine Deane is a psychologist who has been experimenting with a radical new therapy.

Through a new transcendental science, she can experience what is happening in another person’s unconscious mind. She soon uses this ability to journey into the mind of a serial killer in order to save his final, trapped victim.

14.  8½

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8 1/2 Movie Description

Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni), a troubled Italian filmmaker, is struggling with creative stasis as he attempts to get a new movie off the ground.

The director’s work and personal life begin to overwhelm him so he escapes into his thoughts where he focuses on past and present relationships. As Anselmi tries to make sense of it all, he finds his production becoming more based on his own life experiences.

15.  Total Recall

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Total Recall Movie Description

Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a construction worker who visits the company Rekall in order to experience the thrill of colonizing Mars without having to travel there.

However, during the procedure, something goes wrong and he discovers that his entire life is actually a false memory implanted by someone else. The people who implanted it in his head now want him dead.

16.  Eyes Wide Shut

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Eyes Wide Shut Movie Description

Dr. Bill Hartford’s (Tom Cruise) wife, Alice (Nicole Kidman), admits to having sexual fantasies about a man she recently met. Not long after, Bill becomes obsessed with having a sexual encounter.

After some deep digging, he uncovers an underground sex club and decides to attend one of their meetings. He soon realizes that this environment is way out of his league.

5 More Movies About Dreams (Honorable Mentions)

The world of cinema has always been fascinated with the concept of dreams and the subconscious mind, and as such, many movies explore this theme in various ways. While our top picks in the article have highlighted some of the most well-known and impactful films on the subject, many others deserve recognition for their unique approach to this intriguing topic.

So if you have watched through all our top picks, make sure you check out our honorable mentions movies about dreams and add them to your watchlist!

  • Slumberland (2022)
  • Last Night In Soho (2021)
  • Take Shelter (2011)
  • Mulholland Drive (2001)
  • The Wizard of Oz (1939)

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