The 10 Best Dream Movies

"A Candy-Colored Clown They Call The Sandman..."
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Un Chien Andalou (1929 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí present seventeen minutes of bizarre, surreal imagery. (16 mins.)
Director: Louis Bunuel
“ Here it is, the infamous silent film that aimed to represent psyche in its barest form, "Un Chien Andalou" is the mad concoction of Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí, the two masters of surrealism (and it was unfortunately their only film collaboration together). The title doesn't make sense, the images don't make sense, there is no plot, and to top it off the film begins with a close up scene in which a not-so-unsuspecting lady gets her eye slit open. Buñuel and Dalí apparently got the idea for the film after sharing the inanity of each other's dreams which each other and deciding that they would take the bits and pieces they remembered and compilate them into a short film. Sure, the film only has a 16 minute running time but it was absolutely groundbreaking for the time and served as the framework for every cinematic dream sequence to come. As far as remaining true to the often nonsensical and fantastic nature of the mind, this little film has never been topped - but then again, how could you top the images of ants crawling out of a man's hand or a man dragging pianos with dead, rotting donkeys on top? Psychoanalyze that. ” - ryancarroll88
Waking Life (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A man shuffles through a dream meeting various people and discussing the meanings and purposes of the universe. (99 mins.)
“ A dream documentary? That might be the best way to explain "Waking Life," a trip into a young man's mind to venture what a dream really represents to the individual and how dreams correspond to the reality that we perceive. The film was made using the technique of rotoscoping, giving it its strange, disorienting proportions while still having the appearance of something that is ingrained into reality. Most of the movie consists of the main protagonist wandering his own thought-space, striking up conversations with random people he encounters. The topics of discussion range from the paradoxical nature of free will to the search for the meaning of life. Most of these discussions are held with real-life philosophers and experts of the field (making it technically a documentary). It's a feast for the eyes and brain and it might even convince you to get that minor in Philosophy you were always thinking about. ” - ryancarroll88
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home. (102 mins.)
Director: Victor Fleming
“ Perhaps the most classically remembered use of an extended dream sequence in cinema is "The Wizard of Oz," and it's honestly likely because it is the most magical and fun. Dorothy's dream plays out like an allegory of her life, but like most dreams, things are twisted and blown out of proportion - the grouchy Miss Almira is now the evil Wicked Witch of the West, and the bamboozling Professor Marvel who read Dorothy's fortune is now the fraudulent and deceptive Wizard of Oz. The jump from sepia-toned black-and-white reality to the technicolor dream world is a great use of the medium to show how bright and animated dreams can be, but Dorothy's final revelation that there's "no place like home" is the film's ultimate message - you don't need to escape to dreams to fulfill your heart's desire - it's often there all along. ” - ryancarroll88
The Mirror (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A dying man in his forties remembers his past. His childhood, his mother, the war, personal moments and things that tell of the recent history of all the Russian nation. (108 mins.)
“ This movie, like many others, including Fellini's "8 1/2" and Resnais' "Last Year at Marienbad," is never explicitly stated to be a dream, but flows as a dream-like state, like a novel written as a stream of consciousness would. I chose Tarkovsky "The Mirror" over others because it has the most personal flair, taking flashes from the director's own past, weaving timelines through each other, portraying life not as one long thins string, but a decorated pleat. I see this movie as the dreams of a dying artist, an old man panning for meaning from the substance of experiences, only to be thrust back to the same insecurities of chilhood. Good thing Tarkosvky was such a great artist. ” - ryancarroll88
Inception (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
A thief, who steals corporate secrets through use of dream-sharing technology, is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a CEO. (148 mins.)
“ The real world of "Inception" is never well established, but it never needs to be - the only thing we know as an audience is that a top-notch group of dream-delvers must convince a man to break apart his father's company without knowing he was forced to do so; in other words, they have to plant the seed in his subconscious. The plan they create to accomplish this is completely insane - it is literally a dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream scenario, wherein each realm of his psyche they push him both to come to terms with his father and himself. The real treat is the distortion of time (time in dreams is much longer than in actuality, and it grows exponentially longer the further into the subconscious you go), out of this world action sequences, and the invasion of the team's composed dream with the unstable memories of one team-members dead wife, who wants to steal him for the dream world. ” - ryancarroll88
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A New York City doctor, who is married to an art curator, pushes himself on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife admits that she once almost cheated on him. (159 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
“ Kubrick's final feature, his most sinful cerebral drama, deals with the crisis of a couple dealing with the temptation of infidelity. The film works on two levels, the first with Bill and his real encounters of seduction and provocation with a multitude of women, and Alice, who is at home with their daughter, but is plagued with lust for a sailor she only met once, but fantasizes about constantly in her dreams. The film unfolds these parallel states together, equating them with each other, suggesting that a couple must be faithful in both mind and body to remain devoted. And what's the best way to reaffirm that devotion? A little of the ol' in-out in-out. ” - ryancarroll88
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A surreal, virtually plotless series of dreams centered around six middle-class people and their consistently interrupted attempts to have a meal together. (102 mins.)
Director: Luis Bunuel
“ Buñuel, probably the best surrealist director in history, had a vicious sense of humor, and it's never more apparent than in "Discreet Charm." The movie is about a group of bourgeois friends who have gathered to eat but find that no matter how hard they attempt to do so, they cannot. At first it's due to simple things, such as making reservations on the wrong night or being out of food, but the hindrances become increasingly absurd - the French military invades in one scene, and in another the guests find that the living room is nothing more than a stage for the audience (us) to watch them. Buñuel uses this constant interruption to peel back the refined exterior of the bourgeois, revealing them as nothing more than immoral savages when robbed of their petty rituals. The ultimate farce of the movie is on itself, though, when it is revealed that the movie is all the dream of one guest who just happened to be hungry in his sleep. ” - ryancarroll88
Paprika (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
When a machine that allows therapists to enter their patients' dreams is stolen, all Hell breaks loose. Only a young female therapist, Paprika, can stop it. (90 mins.)
Director: Satoshi Kon
“ In the realm of anime, Kon is the king of psychological suspense, and with "Paprika" he delves directly into the world of dreams. The movie is based around dream therapy, in which the main character, Dr. Atsuko, uses a device called the "DC Mini" to enter peoples dreams as her alter-ego 'Paprika' and analyze them as a psychiatrist would to cure mental ailments. Things go awry when the DC Minis are stolen and the thieves use the devices to invade peoples' dreams and cause them to commit suicide, go insane or do their bidding. As the movie progresses, the distinction between dreams and reality becomes increasingly blurred, and the climax is one beautiful clusterfuck to behold. ” - ryancarroll88
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. While the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won't lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep. (91 mins.)
Director: Wes Craven
“ Wes Craven might be best known now for consistently shitting on the already floundering horror genre, but it's important not to overlook his gem of a slasher flick, "A Nightmare on Elm Street" for giving us something truly original - Freddy Krueger, a character who can kill you in your dreams. What Craven really did was put a playful shift on the genre - scary movies are made to give you nightmares, but here it's the nightmares themselves that he scares us with. ” - ryancarroll88
Dreams (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A collection of tales based upon the actual dreams of director Akira Kurosawa. (119 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
“ 'Dreams' is an appropriate enough title to start off this list, and it really is all in the title. Kurosawa's film consists of eight separate vignettes, each based off of a dream that he had at some point in his life. The stories range from a young boy mourning the loss of his peach orchard, which are enchanted back to life by mysterious dolls, to a nightmare about a family withering away in a nuclear holocaust. The colors and cinematography are beautiful, and Kurosawa plays out every scenario with poignant care. ” - ryancarroll88