Ready to bust out the popcorn and watch some lucid dreaming movies? Need some recommendations? You’re in the right place.
Lucid dreaming may sound like an obscure movie niche but there are actually a fair few lucid dreaming movies (definitely enough to last a weekend long movie marathon.)
When compiling this list of lucid dreaming movies, I’ve tried to provide a brief overview of the film to help you decide what to watch without giving away the entire plot.
Keep reading to discover the top 11 must-see films about lucid dreaming.
Table of Contents
- 11 Must-See Lucid Dreaming Movies
11 Must-See Lucid Dreaming Movies
1. Lucid Dream (2017)
No list of lucid dreaming movies would be complete without the 2017 Korean film, “Lucid Dream.”
Dae-ho is an investigative journalist and single father whose son is abducted. Dae-ho suspects that the abductor is likely a corrupt politician or businessman who is exacting revenge after Dae-ho exposed their corruption.
After several years of searching for his son to no avail, Dae-ho decided to undergo a form of therapy which allows him to relive the day his son was abducted through lucid dreaming.
Through this process he’s able to uncover new memories which help him learn the truth about who abducted his son.
If you enjoy mystery/thriller movies, then Lucid Dream is definitely worth watching.
2. Waking Life (2001)
Waking Life is an animated lucid dreaming film for adults. The movie centers around a young man who finds himself wandering through life in a series of dream like realities.
During these lucid dreams, he engages in philosophical discussions with others, but eventually finds himself in despair at being stuck in a constant dream.
Waking Life is a thought-provoking lucid dreaming movie, – if you’re into animated films (and even if you’re not) you’ll enjoy Waking Life.
3. Vanilla Sky (2001)
Vanilla Sky is a must-watch for anyone who’s interested in lucid dreaming and enjoys psychological thrillers.
The movie centers around David Aames (played by Tom Cruise) a publishing company owner who is in a car accident in which the driver dies and he is left seriously disfigured.
He decided to take part in a procedure in which he’s kept in cryonic suspension, with his mind kept active via lucid dreaming, until technology is developed that could repair his disfigured face.
However, the equipment keeping him in a cryonic, lucid dreaming state doesn’t function correctly and merges elements of his subconscious with his lucid dreaming state. David is forced to decide between staying in his lucid dream state or waking up 150 years laters.
If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers you will enjoy Vanilla Sky.
4. Paprika (2007)
Paprika is Japanese animated lucid dreaming movie that falls under the genre of sci-fi/psychological thriller.
The film centers around a research psychologist, Doctor Atsuko Chiba aka “Paprika” who uses a device during her therapy treatments that allows her to enter the dreams of her patients.
Paprika then starts to use the device illegally outside of the research center, and all chaos ensues.
Paprika features everything from a dream viewing machine named “DC Mini” to giant Japanese dolls, a man-eating robot, a giant humanoid and of course, lucid dreaming.
A must-watch for anyone who enjoys sci-fi and/or Japanese animated films.
5. The Science of Sleep (2006)
The Science of Sleep is an absolute must-watch for anyone interested in lucid dreaming movies.
This French-Italian film centers around Stéphane Miroux (played by Gael García Bernal), a young, shy man who is unable to determine the difference between reality and his frequent lucid dreams.
After the death of his father, he moves to Paris to be closer to his mother and ends up becoming somewhat obsessed with his neighbor, a young woman named Stephanie.
The film then centers around the sometimes confusing plight of separating reality from lucid dreaming.
6. Perfect Blue (1997)
Continuing with the Japanese animated film theme is Perfect Blue.
Perfect Blue centers around Mima Kirigoe, a former Japanese idol who quits music to pursue an acting career.
Mima sheds her perfect image which enrages some of her former fans. People around her start being murdered, she starts to receive terrifying threats, and discovers a creepy website called “Mima’s Room” which details her daily life and inner thoughts.
She then starts to suffer from psychosis and is unable to distinguish between her former “Japanese idol” self and her current self.
Perfect Blue is not as overtly based on lucid dreaming as Paprika, however it does have underlying themes associated with lucid dreams.
7. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is an interesting comedy-drama film that lucid dreaming fans will enjoy.
In the film, Joel Barish (played by Jim Carrey) undergoes a procedure to wipe out all memories of his ex-girlfriend, after discovering she’s gone through the same procedure.
He’s asleep throughout the procedure, however he experiences each memory again as they are erased, which indicates he’s possibly in a lucid dreaming state.
The procedure works to erase his memories from the most recent (and worst) back to the most distant (and happiest.) As he goes through the procedure he starts to realize that doesn’t want to completely forget his ex.
8. What Dreams May Come (1998)
If you’re looking for a tear jerker then look no further than What Dreams May Come. While not completely centered around lucid dreams, the film does explore concepts familiar to those who practice lucid dreaming.
What Dreams May Come centers around a married couple, Chris Nielsen (played by Robin Williams) and Annie Collins (played by Annabella Sciorra.) The couple are happily married with two young children when tragedy strikes and the children are killed in a car accident.
A few years later, Chris is also killed in a car accident, leaving his wife Annie alone. However, he doesn’t realize at first that he is dead and lingers on earth wondering why no-one is interacting with him, while witnessing his wife’s grief over his death.
Unable to deal with her immense grief, Annie commits suicide but because she killed herself, she’s unable to enter heaven. Chris embarks on a journey to save her from hell and is forced to make the decision to stay in hell with his wife for eternity or return to heaven alone.
9. Inception (2010)
Inception is probably one of the best-known lucid dreaming movies and sparked curiosity about lucid dreaming in many people.
This 2010 sci-fi film has many similarities to the Japanese lucid dreaming movie, Paprika.
Inception centers around Dom Cobb (played be Leonardo DiCaprio,) a white collar thief who steals information from organizations by infiltrating the subconscious mind of their employees.
However, in his latest assignment Dom is told that instead of stealing information, this time he is to implant ideas into someone’s subconscious mind through a shared dream-like state.
Inception is somewhat confusing to watch and it’s plot can be difficult to follow. However, if you’re interested in lucid dreaming then Inception is definitely worth watching.
10. Enter the Void (2009)
Enter the Void definitely isn’t for the faint of heart. This lucid dreaming movie is set in Tokyo and follows the story of Oscar, an American drug dealer who lives with his younger sister Linda, who works at a strip club.
After being caught with drugs and surrounded by the police in a bathroom stall, he tries to flush the drugs and then threatens to shoot the police.
The police end up shooting Oscar first, and he then proceeds to exit his body and watch the events unfold from above.
Enter the Void has many dark themes and definitely isn’t the best choice if you’re after some light viewing. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a gritty, lucid dreaming movie then Enter the Void is worth checking out.
11. Donnie Darko (2001)
Donnie Darko is a psychological thriller that centers around Donnie (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), a teenager who meets a strange creature named Frank who wears a scary-looking rabbit costume.
Frank informs Donnie that the world will end in exactly 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. After waking from this strange dream, Donnie finds himself on a golf course. He returns home and discovers that a jet engine has crashed into his bedroom.
Donnie continues to have encounters with Frank, which a psychiatrist believes can be attributed to paranoid schizophrenia.