Inception Quotes and Analysis

"You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger darling."


Eames says this to Arthur while Arthur is in the middle of a gunfight in the dream world. Eames then pulls out a grenade launcher and neutralizes the hostile projection in Robert Fischer's dream. The quotation reveals the elastic nature of dream worlds, as well as Eames's light-hearted personality.

"Your subconscious is looking for the dreamer; me. Quick, give me a kiss."


In the second layer of Robert Fischer's dream, Arthur tells Ariadne to kiss him in order to draw attention away from her as the architect. Ariadne is surprised by Arthur's gesture, which fails to divert the attention of the projections in the dream. The humorous exchange also suggests a budding flirtation between Arthur and Ariadne.

"I need to get home. That's all I care about right now."


Cobb's desire to return to the United States is the impetus for the film's plot, given that he only agrees to Saito's inception plan under the condition that he will be able to reunite with his children. Unable to return to his real home, Cobb is forced to content himself with imagined memories of his wife and children.

"What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient... highly contagious. 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."


These are Cobb's first spoken words in the film. Cobb's declaration that an idea is a "resilient parasite" foreshadows the way in which the remembered idea of Mal constantly infiltrates Cobb's mind, parasitically feeding off of his feelings of guilt. It also reflects the way Cobb and his team will attempt to infiltrate the mind of Robert Fischer in order to plant an idea.

"Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange."


Cobb's line reflects Christopher Nolan's desire to capture the paradoxically "real" feeling of dreams. This desire informs the way Nolan represents dream worlds in Inception, which are so similar to reality that characters like Cobb and Ariadne must carry around "totems"—small objects that help their owners distinguish between dreams and reality.

Don't you want to take a leap of faith? Or become an old man, filled with regret, waiting to die alone!


Saito says these words to Cobb in order to convince him to carry out his inception plan. Cobb later reminds Saito of these words while trying to save him from the limbo of Robert Fischer's dream. Living a life free of guilt, with no regrets, is one of the main themes of the film, reflected by the prominent use of "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" by Edith Piaf.

No. No, no. I was disappointed... that you tried.

Maurice Fischer

At the end of the film, Maurice tells his son Robert that he was disappointed in him only for trying to follow in his footsteps. This exchange is the emotional core of the "inception" that Cobb's team is attempting to perform, which convinces Robert to break up his family's empire rather than steward it into the future.

They come to be woken up. The dream has become their reality. Who are you to say otherwise, son?

Old Man

The old man in Yusuf's basement tells Cobb that the permanent dreamers hooked up to dream-sharing technology in his basement are in fact "awake." The ironic statement captures the blurry distinction between reality and dreaming, how easy it is to confuse the latter and the former, and humans' inability to know with certainty whether the external world is an illusion.

That's some subconscious you've got on you, Cobb! She's a real charmer!


An irritated Ariadne says this to Cobb after Mal invades their dream and stabs her. Ariadne is so shaken by the confrontation that she at first seems to repudiate dream-sharing technology on moral grounds, and she continues to have hesitations about the way Cobb in particular uses it to interact with the memory of his dead wife.

I think positive emotion trumps negative emotion every time.


Cobb says this when he and his team are deciding what kind of idea they will need to plant in the depths of Robert Fischer's mind. Cobb believes that the idea must be positive, even inspirational, in order to have the intended effect. The viewer later learns that Cobb knows this because he performed inception on his wife Mal in order to convince her to wake up with him.