Dream sequence  

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"The dream sequence in The Science of Sleep in which Stéphane's hands become giant was inspired by a recurring nightmare director Michel Gondry frequently had as a child. Gondry had previously incorporated aspects of this dream into the music video for the Foo Fighters' 1997 single "Everlong"."--Sholem Stein

"Several scenes of Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) have entered pop culture, the most famous of which is a fantasy sequence in which Phoebe Cates exits a pool and removes her bright red bikini top in slow motion to the beat of The Cars' "Moving in Stereo." --Sholem Stein

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A dream sequence is a technique used in storytelling, particularly in television and film, to set apart a brief interlude from the main story. The interlude may consist of a flashback, a fantasy, a vision, a dream, or some other element. It is normally apart in time or space from the main story, or contrary to the continuity of the main story. Many writers and critics look down on dream sequences as a cheap way to explain a character's motives without actually integrating them into the plot, especially when it is used as an ending, wherein the main character wakes up and realises that everything that had happened was all a dream. This is usually considered an anticlimactic and ineffective way to wrap up a story or to explain previous improbable situations.

Audio or visual elements, such as distinctive music or coloration, are frequently used to signify the beginning and end of a dream sequence.


  • Dream Sequence music video for Child of Glass turns out to be a crazy dream.
  • That's So Raven episode "Don't Have a Cow" is, except for a few brief moments, Raven's vision.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "Rock-a-Bye-Ed" is Johnny's nightmare.
  • The 8th season of Dallas is written off entirely as a dream.
  • Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett deals a lot about dreams, including one instance when the main character Tiffany Aching remarks on how the cliché ending of "she woke up and it was all a dream" is the worst ending for any story.
  • The Gorillaz music video for Dare turns out to be bassist Murdoc's crazy dream.
  • On the sixth season of Married... with Children, an episode entitled Al Bundy, Shoe Dick mirrored Dallas' elimination of storylines via a dream. In real life, Katey Sagal (Peg Bundy) had gotten pregnant and it was written into the series. Ms. Sagal later had a miscarriage, and to write all of the baby events out of the show, that entire season up to that point was made a dream by Al Bundy.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Restless" comprised primarily of the four main characters' dreams. The writers used this episode heavily as a means of multi-layered foreshadowing of elements to be introduced in the series, such as the arrival of Dawn and the deterioration and eventual death of Buffy's mom.
  • Almost all of the "House, M.D." episode "No Reason" was a hallucination or dream of the lead character, Gregory House after he was shot at the beginning of the episode. Within the dream, House realises that he is imagining some of the events, but like the audience, he is unaware to what extent until the end of the episode.
  • The music video for the Foo Fighters song Everlong fades in and out of a man (portrayed as Dave Grohl)'s various dreams.

See also

dream literature

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