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General Information

Poster for What Dreams May Come
  • Directed by

    Vincent Ward

  • Screenplay by

    Ronald Bass

  • Music Composed by

    Michael Kamen

  • Theatrical Release Date

    October 2, 1998

  • Blu-ray release date

    May 3, 2011 (Pre-order)

  • DVD Release Date

    May 25, 1999
    March 4, 2003 (Special Edition) (Order)

  • Production Companies

    Interscope Communications, Polygram Filmed Entertainment, Metafilmics

  • Distribution Company

    Polygram Filmed Entertainment

Main Cast

  • Robin Williams

    Christopher James Nielsen

  • Annabella Sciorra

    Annie Nielsen

  • Max von Sydow

    The Tracker

  • Cuba Gooding, Jr.

    Albert Lewis


Four years after the tragic death of their two children in a car accident, Dr. Chris Nielsen is estranged from his wife, Annie, a painter who finds solace in deep and mystical expressionist landscapes. When flustered Annie calls him for support, he rushes out to help and is killed in a road accident. His ghost is greeted by an old mentor, Albert, who leads him in Ghost-of-Christmas-Past-style to Annie's side. But when Chris realizes that his adherence to the corporeal world is torture to himself and the living Annie, he breaks free of his earthly bonds and dives into the visual smorgasbord that is the afterlife. There he splashes though clods and gobs of technicolor paint in breathtaking landscapes suggested to him by Annie's paintings. From there, to grandiose Romanesque cities of flying children, Chris and his old dog are met by a gorgeous stewardess, who reveals herself as a nearly forgotten face from his past. As Chris reconciles with his children in a world where imagination is his palette, in the real world Annie becomes sicker and sicker, and finally enters the afterlife herself. Due to the myriad rules of the Other Side, she is unable to join Chris or her children, and Chris begins a fight for his future with his soul mate.



  • Chris Nielsen

    I need Annie.

  • Albert

    That'll change in time.

  • Chris Nielsen

    Oh, come on, Einstein! Time's not on my watch anymore. Time does not exist here. And wherever it went, it's not going to make me need Annie any less.

  • Chris Nielsen

    A whole human life is just a heartbeat here in Heaven. Then we'll all be together forever.

  • Albert

    So what is the "me?"

  • Chris Nielsen

    My brain, I suppose.

  • Albert

    Your brain? Your brain is a body part. Like your fingernails or your heart. Why is that the part that's you?

  • Chris Nielsen

    Because I have sort of a voice in my head, the part of me that thinks, that feels, that is aware that I exist at all.

  • Albert

    So if you're aware you exist, then you do. That's why you're still here.

  • Chris Nielsen

    Boy, I screwed up. I'm in dog Heaven.

  • Chris Nielsen

    I found you in hell. Don't you think I could find you in Jersey?

  • Albert

    Thought is real. Physical is the illusion. Ironic, huh? Drink your coffee.

  • Chris Nielsen

    Needs milk.

  • Albert

    Don't push your luck.

  • Chris Nielsen

    That's when I realized I'm part of the problem. Not because I remind you. But because I couldn't join you. So I left you alone. Don't give up, okay?

  • Chris Nielsen

    Is that a kind of occupational hazard of soul mates? One's not much without the other?

  • Annie Nielsen

    Whoever you are, whatever you are, do you think you can take him from me?!

  • Chris Nielsen

    Sorry, babe. There're some things I have to say. I only have a few moments left. I'm sorry for all the things I'll never give you. I'll never buy you another meatball sub with extra sauce. And always the big one. I'll never make you smile. I just wanted us to be old together. As two old farts laughing at each other as our bodies fell apart. Together at the end, by that lake in your painting. That was our heaven, see? There's lots of things to miss. Books... naps... kisses... and fights. Oh God, we had some great ones! Thank you for those. Thank you for every kindness. Thank you for our children. For the first time I saw them. Thank you for being someone I was always proud to be with. For your guts, for your sweetness. For how you always looked, for how I always wanted to touch you. God, you were my life. I apologize for every time I ever failed you. Especially this one...

  • Chris Nielsen

    There's a man Ian never got to know, the man he was growing up to be. He's a good-looking clear-eyed fella... about 25. I can see him. He's the type of guy men want to be around, because he has integrity, you know? He has character. You can't fake that. And he's a guy women want to be around, too. Because there's tenderness in him... respect... and loyalty, and courage. And women respond to that. Makes him a terrific husband, this guy. I see him as a father. That's where he really shines. See, when he looks in his kid's eyes and that kid knows that his dad really, really sees him... he sees who he is. Then that child knows that he is an amazing person. He's quite a guy... that I'll never get to meet. I wish I had.

  • Chris Nielsen

    If I was going through fucking hell, I'd only want one person in the whole goddamn world by my side.

  • The Tracker

    You called your son Albert. Who is that?

  • Chris Nielsen

    First doctor I interned under. He was like a father to me.

  • The Tracker

    Ah. His words were gold. A brilliant mind. Do you recall what he practiced before he turned to pediatrics?

  • Chris Nielsen


  • The Tracker

    ...psychiatry. Yeah. And he always was a slow reader. But these... used to be rimless, and the rest of me... used to be black.

  • Annie Nielsen

    Can I sit here?

  • Chris Nielsen

    Actually, no. Two years ago, I reserved this specific area.

  • Annie Nielsen

    What if I say please?

  • Chris Nielsen

    That's the one exception.

  • Chris Nielsen

    What's true in our minds is true, whether some people know it or not.

  • Chris Nielsen

    What some folks call impossible, is just stuff they haven't seen before.

  • Albert

    You don't understand.

  • Chris Nielsen

    It's not about understanding... it's about not giving up!

  • Chris Nielsen

    I forgive you.

  • Annie Nielsen

    For killing my children and my sweet husband?

  • Chris Nielsen

    For being so wonderful a guy would choose hell over heaven just to hang around you.



After life there is more.

The end is just the beginning.

Filming Info

  • Dates

    June 23, 1997 - unknown

  • Locations

    San Francisco, CA
    Oakland, CA
    Piedmont, CA
    San Jose, CA
    Treasure Island, CA
    Angel Falls, Estado Bolivar, Venezuela
    Alameda, CA
    Blackfoot Indian Reservation, MT
    Glacier National Park, MT
    Niagara Falls, NY
    San Rafael, CA (St. Vincent's Church)

International Release Dates

  • Australia

    October 15, 1998

  • Italy
    Switzerland (Italian)

    November 20, 1998

  • Germany

    November 26, 1998

  • Austria
    Switzerland (German)

    November 27, 1998

  • South Korea

    November 28, 1998

  • France

    December 2, 1998

  • Singapore

    December 3, 1998

  • Portugal

    December 4, 1998

  • Switzerland (French)

    December 9, 1998

  • Iceland

    December 11, 1998

  • Belgium

    December 16, 1998

  • Argentina

    December 17, 1998

  • Brazil

    December 25, 1998

  • UK

    December 26, 1998

  • Thailand

    December 30, 1998

  • Philippines

    January 27, 1999

  • Bulgaria

    February 26, 1999

  • Colombia

    March 19, 1999 (premiere)
    March 26, 1999

  • Czech Republic

    March 25, 1999

  • Estonia

    April 2, 1999

  • Denmark

    April 16, 1999

  • Poland

    April 23, 1999

  • Finland

    May 14, 1999

  • Japan

    June 5, 1999

  • Hungary

    October 28, 1999

  • Greece

    February 20, 2007 (DVD premiere)

International Titles

  • France / Canada (French)

    Au-delà de nos rêves

  • Austria / Germany

    Hinter dem Horizont

  • Argentina / Spain

    Más allá de los sueños

  • Italy

    Al di là dei sogni

  • Brazil

    Amor Além da Vida

  • Turkey

    Askin gücü

  • Hungary

    Csodás álmok jönnek

  • Sweden

    Drömmarnas värld

  • Poland

    Miedzy pieklem a niebem

  • Romania

    O iubire fara sfârsit

  • Portugal

    Para Além do Horizonte


This title is available on:

DVD Extra Features

  • Audio Commentary by director Vincent Ward
  • About the Visual Effects
  • "Making of" Featurette
  • Alternate Ending
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • Photo Gallery
  • Biographies and Filmographies
  • Production Information

Box Office

  • Budget


  • Gross

    $55,382,927 (USA)
    $16,000,000 (international)
    $71,382,927 (total)

  • Opening Weekend

    $4,266,463 (2,526 theaters)

  • Widest Release

    2,531 theaters

  • Rentals



  • Academy Awards

    Won - 1999 - Best Visual Effects
    Nom - 1999 - Best Set Decoration

  • Blockbuster Entertainment Award

    Won - 1999 - Favorite Supporting Actor (Cuba Gooding Jr.)

  • Golden Satellite

    Won - 1999 - Best Visual Effects

  • Image Award

    Nom - 1999 - Outstanding Supporting Actor (Cuba Gooding Jr.)

  • International Monitor

    Won - 1999 - Best Electronic Visual Effects

  • Society of Motion Picture & TV Art Directors

    Won - 1999 - Excellence in Production Design

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