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Dreams of Flying

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"Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly."
Todd Faber, The Sandman: Fear of Falling

A character is sleeping and has a dream in which they're flying through the air on their own.

Compare I Believe I Can Fly. Contrast Call of the Wild Blue Yonder which is about characters feeling the urge to learn how to fly or to learn how to do something involving flight.

We've all had at least one dream like this in our lives.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The end credits of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War's first season feature Kaguya having a dream where she escapes from a blimp, sprouts wings, and flys alongside the other student council members in WWI era planes. It's actually a representation of the fireworks arc, just with a bunch of fantasy elements thrown in.
  • Jiro Horikoshi in The Wind Rises dreams, both literally and figuratively, of flying. While his short sight prevents him from flying himself, he becomes a successful engineer and designs the famous Mitsubishi A6M 'Zero'.

    Comic Books 
  • An issue of Astro City has Samaritan, who actually can fly, dream of flying—he's so busy due to his Chronic Hero Syndrome that he never has time to actually fly for the enjoyment.
  • Subverted in Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker. Jonas brings up how flying would be more convenient in a dream, but Alan claims there's no way to fly in the Dream World besides spaceships. Especially weird since in real life, actual lucid dreamers can fly in dreams if they set their minds to it.
  • The Sandman:
    • The Sandman (1989):
      • Rose Walker meets Dream in, uh, a dream that involves the two of them flying. She says that she read that dreams about flying are really about sex; Dream wonders what dreams about sex are really about.
      • In "Brief Lives" Dream meets a little girl on a plane who complains to him that she knows how to fly when asleep but forgets how when she wakes up.
    • The spinoff Death: The Time of Your Life opens with Foxglove dreaming that she's flying with mechanical wings before it reveals her tiredness with the celebrity high life.
  • In Miracleman, the first volume of the comic is called "A Dream of Flying" and starts with everyday schlub Mike Moran having a dream of flying. Turns out he's actually remembering.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • In one strip, Calvin, while waiting for the school bus one depressingly cold and rainy Tuesday morning, tells Hobbes about the wonderful flying dream he was having before his mom woke him up.
    • A throwaway panel in one of the Sunday strips has Calvin flying through the air before being awaken by his alarm clock.
  • Little Nemo is occasionally able to fly or levitate in Slumberland, provided he doesn't overthink it. Or at least his bed can.

    Fan Fiction 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The opening narration of Avatar is Jake Sully saying that "When I was lying in the V.A. hospital with a big hole blown through the middle of my life, I started having these dreams of flying." - because as it's then revealed, he got paraplegic while serving the Marines. Jake eventually gets to fulfill those awakened... by riding Giant Flyer things in Pandora!
  • In Brazil, Sam has a recurring flight dream, where he even meets his love interest before he does so in reality.
  • In The Big Lebowski, the Dude has a flying dream after being drugged by Jackie.
  • In Explorers, the protagonist has nightly dreams of flying over a gigantic circuitboard. The circuit design is transmitted psychically by curious aliens, who want humans to come to visit them.
  • In Grand Canyon, Mack has a dream where he flies over Los Angeles at night, over a Hollywood sign altered to read "Hullo Mack", and up to an apartment where his secretary Dee lies naked in bed waiting for him.
  • The old aborigine in The Right Stuff.
    Aborigine: Who are you?
    Gordon "Gordo" Cooper: Me? I'm an... I'm an astronaut.
    Aborigine: Astronaut?
    Gordo: Yeah.
    Aborigine: Well, what you do here, astronaut?
    Gordo: I came up here because a buddy of mine is getting ready to fly overhead, up in outer space. I'll be talking to him on that dish.
    Aborigine: Fly over? You blokes do that too?
    Gordo: You do that yourself?
    Aborigine: Not me, mate. See that old bloke there? He know. He know the moon. He know the star. And he know the Milky Way. He'll give you a hand. He know.
    Gordo: We'll sure need all the help we can get.

  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Bran, a paraplegic young man, often dreams of flying.
  • In The Ink World Trilogy, because his mother took the form of a swift while she was pregnant with him Resa's son dreams of flying like a bird with his mother. The dreams are so realistic he sometimes can't tell them from reality.
  • To prove she's a being, Iona in Halo: Saint's Testimony plays her most beloved dream, which involves flying over an imaginary city, witnessing the evolution of the universe, and finding a woman's face in the sky.
  • In the climax of Protector of the Small: Page Kel so conclusively faces her fear of heights that it no longer paralyzes her, though she doesn't enjoy them. In her dreams after she takes her maid down Balor's Needle, she flies.
  • In Dr. Franklin's Island Semi and Miranda are turned into a manta ray monster and a bird monster, respectively, both animals that propel themselves with wings but kept apart by the different mediums they breathe and move through. At the end of the book Semi recounts a dream, whether an actual dream or just an ardent wish, of flying together with Miranda through an ocean of heavy air, with nothing between them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Heroes:
    • Peter repeatedly dreams about flying. Peter actually has the power to copy the abilities of other empowered people he encounters, and this is an example of him using his mother's prophetic dreaming to see how he will use his brother's flight.
    • When Daphne is dying, Matt uses his telepathy to make her dream that he's flying her to the moon.
  • Reboot (2022): Invoked in "Bewitched". The crew shoots a flying Dream Sequence involving floating rigs and greenscreen that, according to the director, represents Jake wanting to escape his work stress.
    Clay: All I'm hearing is that my nuts are gonna get wrenched.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, "Birthright, Part I", Data has a dream of a raven flying through the halls of the Enterprise. At the end of the episode, he becomes the raven, flying through the Enterprise and off into space before waking up.
  • So Awkward: At the start of one episode, Lily is Asleep in Class (as usual). She notices a lot of weird stuff happening and realises this must be a dream. Matt then says that if this is a dream then he should be able to fly, and promptly flies out the window.
  • In the miniseries Storm of the Century, Linoge traps the children in a flying dream controlled by him. Your Mind Makes It Real comes into play when he threatens to drop them in the dream, which would kill them in real life.
  • In early Smallville, Clark Kent occasionally has this dream. However, he actually can fly in real life (despite being in deep denial about this), and therefore sometimes flies in his sleep.

  • Pink Floyd's "Learning to Fly" is a song from the point of view of an "Earthbound misfit" imagining himself in flight.


  • The music for the bungee flight scene in Saltimbanco is actually titled "Il Sogno di Volare (The Dream of Flying)".

    Video Games 
  • Cloud: You play as a boy who dreams he can fly and manipulate clouds.
  • Discussed in Poker Night 2. Ash wonders aloud why so many people dream about something humans have never experienced - or, for that matter, why some of our most iconic fictional characters (Peter Pan, Superman) can do it. He suggests that it's because humans used to be able to fly millions of years ago, and our brains are trying to remind us how.
    Brock: That's, uh...crazy talk, Williams.
    Ash: Is it? Or is the sanest thing you've ever heard?

  • Referenced in Homestuck, where a Sburb player's "dream body" is naturally able to fly. It's also noted that Tavros Nitram (a big fan of his universe's version of Peter Pan) has fantasized about flying for years. This is one of the reasons why, upon entering Sburb, he spends more time in his dream body than his waking body.
  • In leveL, Cael has recurring nightmares of this sort.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Sarah dreams of being a wizard with the ability to fly.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of the Gummi Bears: "Gummi in a Gilded Cage" begins with Gruffi having a dream about flying through the sky, but when it ends with him falling to the ground, he wakes up and considers it an omen about how they shouldn't complete the Gummi flying machine they were working on.
  • Looney Tunes: A Chuck Jones cartoon, "From A to Zzz" is about a little boy named Ralph Phillips at school daydreaming. The short opens with Ralph imagining himself flying through the air, only for his dream to be interrupted when a bird flies up to him and talks to him in his teacher's voice.


Video Example(s):


Kaguya Dreaming

In the anime's first ending, Kaguya dreams that she has wings and is flying alongside her friends, who are in World War I-era planes.

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