Undefended: The Five Greatest Dream Sequences.

This week, writers made lists of the five greatest dream sequences in motion picture history. Here is what they returned:

Joshua Gibbs


1. The judgment of Papillon in Papillon

2. Ariadne’s instruction in Inception

3. Briony’s novel in Atonement

4. Rob responds to Ray in a variety of ways in High Fidelity

5. The world’s most difficult math problem in Rushmore


Joshua Stevenson

1. H.I. McDunnough’s vision of his family at the end of Raising Arizona

2. The collage of memory that results from the incompetent erasure of Joel Barish’s memories in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

3. Lloyd Christmas’s fantasy in Dumb and Dumber

4. Mike Birbiglia’s “evading a missile” dream in Sleepwalk With Me


5. Alan Partridge taking the gun and saving the day in Alpha Papa


Brian Murnion

1. The handless clocks in “Wild Strawberries”

3. Cooper in the red curtains in “Twin Peaks”


3. Salvador Dali directed sequence in “Spellbound”

4. The many dreams of Guido in “8 1/2”

5. Cesar wakes up to an empty city in “Open Your Eyes”


Thomas Banks


1.The Wizard of Oz. More or less the whole film.

2-5.Do they matter, comparatively?


Joseph Gross

1. John Ferguson’s dream in Vertigo


2. Moses’ hieroglyphics nightmare in Prince of Egypt

3. Rent Boy’s withdrawal dreams in Trainspotting

4. Frank’s Holy Crusader dream in Super

5. The Dude’s dream in The Big Lebowski


Sean Johnson

1. “Probably the hardest geometry equation in the world” – Rushmore


2. Unicorn – Blade Runner

3. Alexandria’s post-surgery surgery dream – The Fall

4. Guido trapped in the car as everyone looks on/flying away – 8 1/2

5. Hotel fight scene – Inception

Remy Wilkins

1. The Apocalyptic Dream, Stalker (Tarkovsky,1979)

2. Birth, The Tree of Life (Malick, 2011)


3. How Dreams Are Prepared, The Science of Sleep (Gondry, 2006)

4. Sheriff Bell’s Dreams, No Country for Old Men (Coen Bros, 2007)

5. Alexander’s Dreams, Fanny and Alexander (Bergman, 1983)

James Banks

1. Officer Dormer’s dream of blood-stained fabric in Insomnia

2. Harry’s second dream of the pier in Requiem for a Dream

Roman Polanski_Macbeth 1971


3. Macbeth’s hallucigin-induced dream in Roman Polanski’s adaptation of Macbeth

4. Professor Borg’s dream in the opening of Wild Strawberries

5. Abby’s dream of her ex-husband coming back from the dead in Blood Simple

Joshua Gibbs

Joshua Gibbs teaches great books, collects records and jogs to work. He and his wife have two children, both of whom have seven names. He tweets at @joshgibbs and blogs for the CiRCE Institute.

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