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Inception Quotes That Make You Question What You Think You Know

These Inception quotes illustrate what goes on in a dream, the power of an idea, and even provide a little inspiration for moments when you feel like things are spinning out of control.

What on Earth is going on in the movie Inception, and why is it all so confusing? The movie has a complex plot and is one of those movies where you have to really watch it. No putting it on and scrolling on Facebook, because you will miss the important parts. That’s because all the parts in this film are “important.”

The science fiction action film premiered in 2010 and stars Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio plays a professional thief who steals information when he infiltrates the subconscious mind of his marks. He has an opportunity to have his criminal history erased, in exchange for implanting another person’s idea into a target’s subconscious.

That already seems a little complicated, but the film, written and directed by Christopher Nolan takes the plot even further. When asked where the idea for Inception came from, Nolan said it’s based on the notion of “exploring the idea of people sharing a dream space — entering a dream space and sharing a dream. That gives you the ability to access somebody’s unconscious mind. What would that be used and abused for?” Keep reading these Inception quotes and lines to find out just how he put that idea into motion!

Don’t forget to also check out these Sling Blade quotes from the 1996 sleeper hit movie.

Inception movie quotes about dreams and dreamers

1. “You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.” — Eames

2. “They say we only use a fraction of our brain’s true potential. Now, that’s when we’re awake. When we’re asleep, we can do almost anything.” — Cobb

3. “The dreamer can always remember the genesis of the idea.” — Arthur

4. “Dreams feel real while we’re in them. It’s only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange.” — Cobb

5. “That many dreams within dreams is too unstable.” — Yusuf

6. “In the dream state, your conscious defenses are lowered, and it makes your thoughts vulnerable to theft.” — Arthur

7. “Brain function in the dream will be about twenty times to normal. When you enter a dream within that dream, the effect is compounded: it’s three dreams, that’s ten hours times ten.” — Yusuf

8. “Couldn’t somebody have dreamt up a goddamned beach?” — Robert Fischer Jr

9. “I know how to search your mind and find your secrets. I know the tricks and I could teach them to you so that even when you’re asleep your defense is never down. Look, if you want my help, you’re gonna have to be completely open with me. I need to know my way around your thoughts better than your wife, better than your therapist, better than anyone. This is a dream and you have a safe full of secrets and I need to know what’s in that safe. In order for this all to work, you need to completely let me in.” — Cobb

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10. Ariadne: “What’s happening?”

Arthur: “Your subconscious is looking for the dreamer; me. Quick, give me a kiss.”

11. “Look at you. You’re just a shade, a shade of my real wife. How could I capture all your beauty, your complexity, your perfection, your imperfection, in a dream? Yes, you’re the best that I can do. But, I’m sorry, you’re just not good enough.” — Cobb

Best Inception quotes about reality and the subconscious

12. “Think about it, how did we get here?” — Cobb

13. “Building a dream from your memory is the easiest way of losing your grasp on what’s real and what is a dream.” — Cobb

14. “You create the world of the dream. We bring the subject into that dream, and they fill it with their subconscious.” — Cobb

15. “When we wound up on the beach of our own subconscious, we lost sight of what was real.” — Cobb

16. “Admit it: you don’t believe in one reality anymore.” — Mal

17. “She had locked something away, something deep inside her. The truth that she had once known, but… she chose to forget. Limbo became her reality.” — Cobb

18. “She’ll be back. I never seen anyone picked it up that quickly before. Reality is not gonna be enough for her now and when she comes back, when she comes back you gonna have her building mazes.” — Cobb

19. Miles: “Come back to reality, Dom. Please”

Cobb: “Now you listen to me if you jump you’re not going to wake up, remember?”

20. “I specialize in a very specific type of security. Subconscious security.” — Cobb

21. “Do you think you can just build a prison of memories to lock her in? Do you really think that that’s gonna contain her?” — Ariadne

22. “The seed that we planted in this man’s mind may change everything.” — Cobb

23. “It’ll take more than the occasional stuffed animal to convince those children they still have a father.” — Miles

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24. “You mind telling your subconscious to take it easy?” — Ariadne

Inception quotes about ideas, riddles, and imagination

25. “Once an idea has taken hold of the brain, it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed—fully understood—that sticks; right in there somewhere.” — Cobb

26. “An idea is like a virus. Resilient. Highly contagious. And even the smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define or destroy you.” — Cobb

27. “To wake up from that after, after years, after decades… after we’d become old souls thrown back into youth like that… I knew something was wrong with her. She just wouldn’t admit it. Eventually, she told me the truth. She was possessed by an idea, this one, very simple idea, that changed everything. That our world wasn’t real. That she needed to wake up to come back to reality. That, in order to get back home, we had to kill ourselves.” — Cobb

28. “If we are gonna perform Inception then we need imagination.” — Eames

29. “I’ll tell you a riddle. You’re waiting for a train, a train that will take you far away. You know where you hope this train will take you, but you don’t know for sure. But it doesn’t matter. How can it not matter to you where that train will take you?” — Mal

30. Saito: “If you can steal an idea, why can’t you plant one there instead?”

Arthur: “Okay, this is me, planting an idea in your mind. I say: don’t think about elephants. What are you thinking about?”

31. “No idea is simple when you have to plant it in someone else’s mind.” — Cobb

Inspirational Inception quotes for when things seem a little crazy

32. “Downward is the only way forward.” — Cobb

33. “True inspiration is impossible to fake.” — Arthur

34. “Do you want to take a leap of faith or become an old man filled with regret waiting to die alone?” — Saito

35. “I miss you more than I can bear, but we had our time together. I have to let you go.” — Cobb

36. “Give him the kick.” — Arthur

37. Robert Fischer Jr: “I know you were disappointed I couldn’t be you.”

Maurice Fischer: “No, no, no. I was disappointed that you tried.”

38. Cobb: “Inception. Now, before you bother telling me it’s impossible…”

Eames: “No, it’s perfectly possible. It’s just bloody difficult.”

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39. “I think positive emotion trumps negative emotion every time. We all yearn for reconciliation, for catharsis.” — Cobb

These Inception quotes and dialogues will make more sense when you watch the movie

40. “You’re waiting for a train.” — Cobb

41. “I bought the airline. It seemed neater!” — Saito

42. “Now, how can I drop you without gravity?” — Arthur

43. Mal: “You infected my mind!”

Cobb: “I was trying to save you.”

Mal: “You betrayed me, but you can make amends. You can still keep your promise. We can still be together, right here, in the world we built together.”

44. “You’re asking me for Inception. I hope you do understand the gravity of that request.” — Cobb

45. Cobb: “I have it under control.”

Arthur: “I’d hate to see it out of control.”

46. “Are you here to kill me?” — Saito

47. Arthur: “There’s plenty of good thieves.”

Cobb: “We don’t need just a thief, we need a forger!”

48. Miles: “You’re here to corrupt one of my brightest and best.”

Cobb: “You know what I’m offering. You have to let them decide for themselves.”

49. You don’t seem to understand Mr. Saito, the corporation that hired us, we won’t accept failure, we won’t last two days.” — Cobb

50. “Your condescension, as always, is much appreciated, Arthur, thank you.” — Eames

Which of these Inception quotes is your favorite?

While the plot of the movie was confusing, it is really the ending that has been up to debate for over a decade. Was Cobb still dreaming at the end? Many people have tried to explain or speculate about their theories on the ending.

I am not sure there is a definitive answer out there, and I think that was done by design. I will not spoil the ending for you in case you haven’t seen it, but trust me when I say it will leave you with more questions than answers.

The debate about the ending is really about whether the top, Cobb’s totem (an item that each of the crew members used to discern whether they are in the dream world) is actually his real totem. Does any of that matter though? Is Cobb just mentally unstable and the entire movie has been a red herring? We will probably never know, as no one has been in a hurry to confirm it.

Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below. Don’t forget to also mention any other favorite Inception quotes and lines.

Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor
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