I’ve created a list of the top 20 (In my opinion) films about lucid dreaming. Along side each film, I’ll explain a little bit about the plot, and there will be a link to find it online if you’re interested. Enjoy!
Oh, there’s also trailers so you can get a feel for how good the film is!
A lucid classic! Inception shows the story of a group of ‘dream thieves’ who break into people’s minds and plant/steal ideas. It includes multiple ‘layers of dreaming’, shared dreaming, and more! They also use a special type of reality check called a ‘totem’. See my video – Lucid Dreaming Totems. This film also inspired me to write an article about the totem induced lucid dreaming method.
2: The Matrix
This is a film in which the ‘world’ as we know it is not real. Everything is created to give us the illusion that we’re part of something, when in reality something much darker is going on. the main character explores this world and learns to ‘bend the rules’ of the world he previously thought was real.
3: The Good Night
For fans of Sherlock, The Good Night features John! It’s about a man who discovers lucid dreaming when he’s having some trouble in his relationships and waking life. He takes it to extreme measures when he does things like black out his entire room so he sleeps longer, and as the film goes on, he gets more and more attached to the dream world.
4: Vanilla Sky (Tom Cruise)
A great film showing Tom Cruise as he discovers love. He experiences a crossover between the waking and dream life. He gets charged with murder, but did he really do it? Was it in a dream? What’s real…
5: Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
A great film by Jim Carey. He’s shown exploring his mind and memories as they’re being erased by a therapist. He wakes up during the removal process and decides while exploring his mind that he wants to keep some memories. He then battles to stay lucid and aware in his memories while sleeping, so that he can wake up and tell the therapist to stop removing his memories before it’s too late!
6: Anamnesis (Lucid Dreaming Web Series)
I know this isn’t technically a film (yet) it’s definitely worth being on this list. It’s a lucid dreaming web series, showing the journey of someone trying to uncover a ‘truth’ about themselves. It really is great, and I actually had the pleasure of interviewing the team that made it! (Read the Anamnesis interview).
7: Total Recall
One of the more commonly known lucid dreaming movies, this film shows someone who (in the future) decides to implant a memory. They have technology to be able to implant memories of various things in people, and it ‘feels’ like they actually did it. (How very similar to lucidity?!) But all is not well, because the main character is left in a confusing situation where he’s not sure if what he’s experiencing is the memory, of reality!
8: Source Code
SPOILER ALERT – Source code shows someone living inside a memory, and trying to find out more about what they experienced by ‘reliving the memory’.
In this surreal film, someone invents a bit of technology that allows them to control/manipulate peoples minds through their dreams. The main character must fight to get the technology back form the hands of the evil person who stole it!
10: Waking Life
This is like an animated documentary crossed with a fictional film. It’s a great explanation of lucidity and how it all works. It’s beautiful animated, and interesting!
Probably one of my personal faves. This shows someone whop’s in the army, and in the future they find a planet where they need to drill for oil or some other commodity. In order to get this crystal/power source, they must get the local ‘aliens’ to move out of the way. In order to gain their trust and make them move, they develop ‘avatars’ which are like artificial versions of the aliens, and they pilot them remotely from a ‘pod’. As the story goes on, the main character, Jake, grows more attached to the Avatar character and the relationships that are formed.
12: Open Your Eyes
A lucid dreaming short film. It’s not in English, so have a little look around for a version with subtitles, but it’s a great one to watch!
13: The Thirteenth Floor
A thought provoking flick showing the implications of time travel, and projecting yourself back or forwards in time. What happens when you get to the ‘edge of the world’? What’s on the top floor?
An artist kills himself after predicting exactly what would happen in his future. Maybe a slightly darker film compared to the rest of these, but still worth a watch if you’re into this sort of thing!
15: The Cell
A twisted person captures people and holds them in a cell. They’re then mentally tormented and pushed to their limits. The victims get lost in their minds and become insane! Can they be saved?
16: A Nightmare On Elm Street
This was in my first film list, but I feel it should be here again. It’s about nightmares, and how when they’re vivid, they can be VERY scary and realistic. It also shows how someone learns to escape their nightmares. However, all is not good and well, because what happens when she starts losing track of what’s real and what isn’t? There’s no escape!
A very old film, but it’s good! Explores the dream world and discovers the inner workings of his mind! Will he remain sane? What will he discover?
18: Minority Report
Here’s a lucid flick about premonition. For those of you into the idea of dreams that can predict the future, you’ll love this. A small group of people are able to have these types of dreams, and in the far future, the police force uses these 3 people to prevent crime before it even happens. But what happens when their visions start getting mixed up, and what would happen is someone who’s GOING to commit a crime finds out about the vision before they actually do it? Do they change the future? Find out!
No it’s not a typo, the film is called 1408, as in ‘Room 1408’. It shows a man who stays in a hotel room, which is supposedly haunted. He battles for his sanity as things start to go wrong. The door won’t open, then the hoteling turns off and on, then he starts falling over randomly and hurting himself.. Will he jump from the window? Is it a dream?
I remember seeing this years ago, and it was fairly scary! A group of people caught out in the snow discover that an alien species has invaded one of their minds and wants to take over the world. The person who has his mind invaded managed to hide in a portion of his mind while the alien takes over the rest of his personality and character! Very interesting.
The Best Lucid Dreaming Movie?
Personally, I have to say Inception. Maybe because I love Leonardo DiCaprio films, I don’t know. I just think the film beautifully portrays what lucidity feels like, and there’s loads of references in it that lucid dreamers ‘just get’.
Also, what lucid dreaming films on Netflix do you know about? Let us know by commenting on YouTube!