Lilian Gribble

Written by Lilian Gribble

Modified & Updated: 05 Mar 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Welcome movie buffs and dreamers alike! Get ready to delve into the enchanting world of “What Dreams May Come,” a captivating film that will take you on a journey through love, loss, and the power of the human spirit. Directed by Vincent Ward, this extraordinary masterpiece from 1998 stars the legendary Robin Williams and Annabella Sciorra in lead roles.

“What Dreams May Come” is a visual treasure that pushes the boundaries of imagination and explores the realms beyond our mortal world. With stunning visual effects and a thought-provoking storyline, the film delves into the concept of the afterlife and the profound impact of love that transcends even death.

In this article, we will uncover 49 fascinating facts about “What Dreams May Come,” from behind-the-scenes trivia to the film’s profound themes. So grab some popcorn, sit back, and let’s embark on this cinematic adventure together!

Key Takeaways:

  • “What Dreams May Come” is a visually stunning movie that explores love, loss, and the afterlife, leaving viewers contemplating the mysteries of existence and the enduring power of love.
  • The film’s emotional depth and thought-provoking themes challenge traditional beliefs about the afterlife, offering a unique and introspective cinematic experience that resonates with audiences.
Table of Contents

The movie “What Dreams May Come” was released in 1998.

Directed by Vincent Ward, this film explores the themes of love, death, and the afterlife.

The screenplay was adapted from the novel of the same name by Richard Matheson.

Matheson’s novel was published in 1978 and served as the basis for the film’s storyline.

The movie stars Robin Williams in the lead role.

Williams delivers a powerful performance as Chris Nielsen, a man who embarks on a journey through the afterlife to rescue his wife.

The role of Chris Nielsen’s wife, Annie, is played by Annabella Sciorra.

Sciorra brings emotional depth to her character, portraying a woman dealing with the loss of her husband.

“What Dreams May Come” features stunning visual effects.

The film utilizes innovative special effects to create unique and surreal landscapes in the afterlife.

The movie explores the concept of heaven and hell.

It delves into the idea that one’s state of mind and beliefs can shape their experiences in the afterlife.

The film received mixed reviews from critics.

While some praised its visuals and thought-provoking themes, others found it to be overly sentimental.

“What Dreams May Come” won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

The film’s stunning visual effects were recognized and celebrated by the industry.

The movie’s soundtrack was composed by Michael Kamen.

Kamen’s score adds depth and emotion to the film, enhancing the overall viewing experience.

The movie was primarily filmed in several locations, including New Zealand and Switzerland.

The picturesque landscapes serve as the backdrop for the stunning visuals of the afterlife.

“What Dreams May Come” explores the power of love and its ability to transcend even death.

The film portrays the deep bond between Chris and Annie, showcasing the strength of their connection.

The movie tackles deep philosophical questions about the nature of existence and the afterlife.

It prompts viewers to think about their own beliefs and contemplate the mysteries of life and death.

“What Dreams May Come” deals with themes of guilt, redemption, and forgiveness.

Chris must confront his past actions and make amends in order to find peace in the afterlife.

The film’s title is derived from a line in William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet.”

Hamlet’s soliloquy mentions “what dreams may come” after death, alluding to the movie’s exploration of the afterlife.

The movie’s cinematography creates a visually stunning and ethereal atmosphere.

The use of color and lighting adds to the otherworldly feel of the film.

The movie’s release was delayed due to production issues and changes in the script.

These delays contributed to the film’s mixed reception upon its eventual release.

The story takes viewers on a journey through various realms of the afterlife.

From idyllic landscapes to darker, more tormenting realms, the movie offers a diverse exploration of the afterlife.

Robin Williams’ performance in “What Dreams May Come” is considered one of his most powerful dramatic roles.

Williams showcases his versatility as an actor, transitioning seamlessly between comedic and dramatic roles throughout his career.

The movie’s storyline raises questions about the nature of reality and perception.

It challenges viewers to question what is real and what is a mere construct of the mind.

“What Dreams May Come” includes elements of fantasy and surrealism.

The blending of reality and fantasy adds to the film’s dreamlike quality.

The movie’s tagline is “After life, there is more. The end is just the beginning.”

This tagline encapsulates the film’s exploration of the afterlife and the idea that death is not the end.

The film’s production design is visually striking, with each realm of the afterlife having its own distinct look and feel.

The attention to detail in the production design enhances the overall immersive experience of the film.

The movie explores the concept of reincarnation.

It suggests that souls can be reborn and have multiple lives in different forms.

“What Dreams May Come” delves into the idea of personal choice and the consequences of one’s actions.

Chris must face the repercussions of his past decisions and learn from them in order to find peace.

The film’s emotional intensity and thought-provoking themes resonate with audiences, sparking deep discussions and interpretations.

Viewers are often left contemplating the film’s messages long after watching it.

“What Dreams May Come” challenges traditional beliefs about heaven and hell, presenting a more nuanced and subjective interpretation of the afterlife.

The film encourages viewers to question and explore their own beliefs about life after death.

The movie’s exploration of mental health and the impact of loss on the human psyche adds depth to its narrative.

It highlights the importance of seeking help and finding solace in times of emotional distress.

“What Dreams May Come” features powerful and poignant moments that tug at the heartstrings.

The emotional journey of the characters resonates with viewers on a deep level.

The film’s philosophical undertones and existential musings make it a thought-provoking cinematic experience.

It prompts viewers to reflect on their own existence and the meaning they find in life.

“What Dreams May Come” explores the concept of sacrifice and the lengths one would go to for love.

Chris’s journey through the afterlife is driven by his love for his wife, compelling him to face both physical and emotional challenges.

The movie’s ethereal visuals and hauntingly beautiful cinematography transport viewers to another realm.

The breathtaking landscapes and imagery contribute to the film’s overall sensory experience.

The film raises questions about the nature of faith and the existence of a higher power.

It explores different perspectives on spirituality and presents a multi-faceted portrayal of the afterlife.

“What Dreams May Come” received nominations for Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, and Best Makeup at the Academy Awards.

The film’s visual and technical aspects were recognized and appreciated by the industry.

Robin Williams’ portrayal of Chris Nielsen is often regarded as one of his most emotionally charged performances.

He brings vulnerability and depth to the character, capturing the complexities of grief and love.

The film’s exploration of the afterlife draws inspiration from various religious and philosophical beliefs.

It incorporates elements from Christianity, Buddhism, and other spiritual traditions.

“What Dreams May Come” challenges traditional narrative structures and unfolds as a nonlinear and introspective journey.

This unconventional storytelling creates a sense of mystery and allows for a deeper exploration of the characters’ inner worlds.

The movie’s costume design reflects the different realms of the afterlife, with vibrant colors and intricate details.

The costumes help to visually distinguish between the various realms and enhance the overall visual spectacle of the film.

The film’s exploration of grief and loss resonates with audiences who have experienced similar emotions.

It offers a sense of catharsis and understanding for those who may be navigating their own personal challenges.

“What Dreams May Come” received praise for its touching depiction of love and the enduring bond between soulmates.

The film celebrates the power of love to transcend time and space.

The movie’s script underwent multiple revisions before its final version.

This process allowed for the refinement of the film’s themes and characters.

“What Dreams May Come” stands as a testament to the power of cinema to explore complex and existential topics.

The film pushes boundaries and prompts viewers to contemplate their own mortality and the meaning of life.

The movie’s title reflects its exploration of dreams and the possibilities they may hold.

It suggests that dreams can offer glimpses into the unknown and the afterlife.

The film’s message that love can conquer all resonates deeply with audiences.

It reminds viewers of the eternal power of love, even in the face of adversity.

“What Dreams May Come” utilizes symbolism and metaphor to convey its deeper themes.

The visuals and narrative elements work together to create a rich and layered storytelling experience.

The movie’s release contributed to a resurgence of interest in the works of Richard Matheson.

Matheson’s novel gained renewed attention, and his other works were sought out by fans of the film.

“What Dreams May Come” was praised for its sensitive portrayal of mental health struggles and the importance of seeking support.

The film handles these topics with empathy and compassion.

The movie’s exploration of the complexity of human emotions and the human experience adds depth and authenticity to its storytelling.

It reminds viewers of the intricacies of life and the emotions that shape our existence.

“What Dreams May Come” leaves room for interpretation, allowing viewers to find their own meaning within the film.

The open-ended nature of the film invites reflection and introspection.

The movie’s enduring popularity speaks to its ability to resonate with audiences across generations.

It continues to be discussed and appreciated for its emotional impact and thought-provoking storytelling.


What Dreams May Come is a captivating and thought-provoking movie that portrays the complexities of love, loss, and the afterlife. With its stunning visual effects, stellar performances, and profound exploration of existential themes, the film has earned its place as a cult classic.

The film takes viewers on an emotional journey as it delves into the depths of the human psyche, questioning the nature of reality and the power of the human spirit. Through its beautifully crafted scenes and poignant storytelling, What Dreams May Come leaves a lasting impression, provoking introspection about life’s purpose and the enduring power of love.

With its powerful message and striking visuals, What Dreams May Come is a movie that challenges viewers to contemplate the mysteries of life, death, and what lies beyond.


Q: What is the main premise of What Dreams May Come?

A: The movie explores the journey of a man who navigates the afterlife in search of his deceased wife, battling his own internal demons and confronting the universal questions of life, death, and the power of love.

Q: Who directed What Dreams May Come?

A: The movie was directed by Vincent Ward, known for his visually stunning and emotionally evocative storytelling.

Q: Who stars in What Dreams May Come?

A: The movie features an exceptional cast including Robin Williams, Annabella Sciorra, and Cuba Gooding Jr., who deliver powerful performances that bring the characters to life.

Q: How was the visual effects in What Dreams May Come achieved?

A: The film utilized groundbreaking visual effects to create mesmerizing and surreal landscapes, combining practical sets, miniatures, matte paintings, and computer-generated imagery to bring the afterlife to life.

Q: What are some of the major themes explored in the movie?

A: The movie delves into themes such as the power of love, the exploration of the afterlife, the existence of heaven and hell, the complexity of human emotions, and the concepts of redemption and sacrifice.

Q: Is What Dreams May Come a philosophical film?

A: Yes, the film delves into existential questions and philosophical ideas, challenging viewers to ponder the nature of reality, the meaning of life, and the interconnectedness of love and the human spirit.

Q: Is What Dreams May Come suitable for all audiences?

A: While the movie deals with heavy themes and contains some intense scenes, it offers a profound and thought-provoking experience for mature audiences who appreciate deep storytelling and emotional journeys.

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