Director: Cameron Crowe
Writter: Alejandro Amenábar (film Abre Los Ojos) and Mateo Gil (film Abre Los Ojos)
Tom Plays: David Aames
Status: ON DVD


During the week he turns 33, NYC magazine publisher David Aames, a
playboy who has strange dreams, spends a night of passion with Julie, "a friend
he sometimes sleeps with," and a night with Sofia, a witty, knowing dancer with
a Spanish accent – a night with intimations of love. David is charming, rich (his
mother’s Monet, "Vanilla Sky" is in his bedroom), and feckless: he inherited the
magazines and his minority partners want him out. Jump ahead: he’s in jail,
wearing a prosthetic mask, talking to a sympathetic psychologist to get at the
truth behind a death. Who has died? How? And who’s Ellie? Popping up often on TV
is Benny, a dog who survived for months frozen in ice


Photos | Videos | Official Website


Continuity: During the party, when David and Julie are upstairs in his bedroom kissing, Julie’s head is tilted to her left when shot from in front of her, but tilted to her right when she is shot from behind.

Continuity: During the party at David’s house, Julie’s hair is parted to the left, and later, it is parted to the right, while still at the party.

Factual errors: In the closing credits, there is a credit for The Who’s performance of “Baba O’Riley” from the documentary The Kids Are Alright. Actually, the short clip of The Who (seen during the montage in the final scene of the film) is footage of their performance of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” from the same film.

Crew or equipment visible: When David and Brian are almost hit by the Mack truck, we can clearly see the camera and camera operator (wearing a hat) in David’s side window.

Crew or equipment visible: When David awakes after sleeping in the street, the camera and equipment are reflected in the street puddles.

Continuity: When David pulls up to his office early on, there are cars parked in front of and behind him. In the next shot, from the side, those cars have disappeared.

Revealing mistakes: In the Times Square sequence, in the far background you can see pedestrians standing watching the filming of the movie.

Crew or equipment visible: When Brian tells David that the “new guy is shit” and then he says to David, “I love you, period,” you can hear the crew laugh at this in the background.

Continuity: When Sofia is holding the present for David at the party. She gives it to David, then she is seen holding it in the next shot and then gives it to David again.

Continuity: When Sofia is looking at the drawing that David made for her, we see her right hand move across the picture as she starts speaking. In the following shot her right hand is holding the picture.

Continuity: Toward the end of the scene when Brian confronts David, saying, “Hit me, but don’t ever hit a girl!” In the shots of Brian, snow is falling. When it cuts back to David, no snow is to be seen. Cameron notes in the director’s commentary that this mistake was caught in post, but they excused it because this is one movie where it might actually make sense.

Crew or equipment visible: In the beginning scene when David wakes up and is getting out of his bed (before finding NYC completely empty), a crewmember is reflected in his TV screen.

Continuity: When David goes to see Sofia for the first time after the accident, her ponytail is hanging in front of her shoulder. In the very next shot, it’s hanging down her back.

Continuity: When Julie comes back, her strap is off and then on again.

Crew or equipment visible: At the end of the movie when David is standing in the entrance hall of the LR building you can see the camera team reflecting in the windows on his left.

Continuity: In the car crash scene: one shot (from inside the car) shows the car about to hit the wall, and then it switches to an exterior shot of the car, and it’s halfway between the bridge and the wall.

Crew or equipment visible: When David is having his ‘erased’ memories explained to him in the elevator by Edmund Ventura, he his told he battled the board for control of the company. This is accompanied by a shot of the board around a table. The TV at the end of the table reflects camera crew as the shot pans.

Revealing mistakes: Obvious stunt double when David runs to jump off the building.


[last lines to Sofia] David: Do you remember what you told me once? That every passing minute is a another chance to turn it all around.
Sofía: I’ll find you again.
David: I’ll see you in another life… when we are both cats.

David: He never watched television, and yet his biggest magazine is still the TV Digest.

David: Even in my dreams, I’m an idiot who knows he’s about to wake up to reality.

David: My dreams are a cruel joke. They taunt me. Even in my dreams I’m an idiot… who knows he’s about to wake up to reality. If I could only avoid sleep. But I can’t. I try to tell myself what to dream. I try to dream that I am flying. Something free. It never works…

[first lines] Sofía: [in Spanish] Open your eyes.
Sofía: [in English] Open your eyes. Open your eyes. Open your eyes. Open your eyes. Open you…
[David wakes up and pushes the snooze button on his alarm]

[last lines] The Future: [voice] Relax, David. Open your eyes.

David: And to what do I owe this pleasure?
Sofía: The pleasure of Sofia Serrano.

Sofía: What about you? What’s your nickname?
David: Citizen Dildo.
Sofía: Hmm. You are not staying over.

Thomas Tipp: But I say this with complete love. Claim your life. Learn to be an asshole. Don’t…
David: Two’s enough.
Thomas Tipp: Forgive me. But I still believe in this family, David, even if it’s only you.

David: See, I’ve got this little problem. I’ve got a stalker.
Sofía: It doesn’t sound life threatening.
David: But I need a cover. I need for you to pretend we’re having a scintillating conversation, and you are wildly entertained.
[Both laugh] David: I know it’s tough.
Sofía: I’ll improvise.

David: Thomas Tipp was right; people will read again.

David: Is it me?

David: No. Tell me now.
Sofía: I’ll tell you later.
David: If something’s wrong please tell me now.

David: Say everything now, now, now, now.

David: Look at us. I’m frozen and you’re dead, and I love you.
Sofía: It’s a problem.
David: I lost you when I got in that car. I’m sorry.

Brian: You’re rich and women love you, and I’m from Ohio and I’m drunk. Can I tell you the truth?
David: Everybody does.
Brian: I dig her, and I’ve never said this to you before about any girl. But she could be, could be, could be, could be the girl of my fucking dreams.
David: You’re not from Ohio.
Brian: I know.

David: You’re not blind. You’re drinking Jack Daniels, and when you drink Jack, you start in with that… Frank Sinatra, she shot me down, give me a cigarette, “King of Sad” thing.
Brian: That I do. Give me a cigarette.

David: My father wrote about this in his book. Chapter 1… Page 1… Paragraph 1: What is the answer to 99 out of 100 questions?… Money.

David: The little things… there’s nothing bigger, is there?

David: Where’s Sofia? WHERE IS SHE?
Julie: I AM SOFIA.

David: Doc, once you’ve been driven off a bridge at 80 miles an hour, somehow you don’t invite happiness in without a full body search.

David: I wanna wake up! Tech support! It’s a nightmare! Tech support! Tech support!

David: These? These are more than headaches. These are steel plates slicing through my every thought.

[Sofía is taking David’s mask off] David: How bad is it?
Sofía: …Well… your ears are in the right place… And the rest of it… is not bad at all. It’s perfect!

David: I want to live a real life… I don’t want to dream any longer.

Dr. Curtis McCabe: You do understand that our time is limited, don’t you?
David: If I talk… you’ll just think I’m crazy.
Dr. Curtis McCabe: With all the possible respect I can offer a man wearing a latex mask and spouting conspiracy theories, David, believe me, you’ve crossed that bridge.

Dr. Curtis McCabe: And you didn’t immediately wanna sleep with her?
David: Well, you know, I’m a pleasure delayer.

[David receives his facial prosthetic] Dr. Pomeranz: It’s a helpful unit.
David: Good. Because for a minute there, I thought we were talking about
[shouts] David: a fucking mask!
Dr. Pomeranz: It’s only a mask… if you treat it that way.
David: Oh, no. It’s great. This completely takes care of Hallowe’en. But what about the other 364 days of the year?


David: I like your life.
Sofía: Well, it’s mine and you can’t have it!

Julie: If I wasn’t me, I’d buy my album.
David: You know, if you can reach one person.

David: Somebody died. It was me.

Brian: We almost died, man… And do you know what I saw?
David: What?
Brian: Your all life flashing in front of me…
David: And how was it?
Brian: Almost worth dying for…

David: [looking at himself in the mirror] Guy in Bathroom: Dude, fix your fucking face.
[friend laughs] David: [starts laughing]


Kurt Russell agreed to do the film without reading the script.

The title Vanilla Sky was considered for Cameron Crowe’s previous movie, Almost Famous. The original title for Almost Famous was actually “Untitled”, however Dreamworks would not allow this, so Cameron Crowe titled the bootleg edition of Almost Famous on DVD “Untitled”.

The scene with Tom Cruise alone in Times Square is not computer enhanced. The production was given unprecedented permission to shut down Times Square for one Sunday. At the time, the news ticker was providing updates on the Bush-Gore election. To avoid dating the film, Crowe got permission to change the NASDAQ sign in post-production.

Penélope Cruz also starred in Open Your Eyes, of which this film is a remake.

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of director Cameron Crowe’s all time favorite films and is prominently featured in Vanilla Sky. Also, at the beginning of Almost Famous, Crowe’s previous work, William Miller and his mother are having a discussion about Atticus Finch, the protagonist of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Cameron Crowe says that there are 428 references to pop culture made in the film – 429 if you include one made in error.

Early in the film, David’s car’s inspection sticker reads “2/30/01”.

The sticker on David’s car reads 2/30/01, a fictional date. On the commentary, Cameron Crowe says that it was an accident, although it lead to one of the different interpretations of the story.

Studio executives wanted Cameron Crowe to use special effects to remove shots of the World Trade Center after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. Crowe didn’t remove them, and they appear in several shots of New York.

The photo on the magazine cover that the editor keeps asking David’s opinion on, (white letters or yellow letters) is of Izabella Miko, taken from the “Girls of Coyote Ugly” issue of Maxim.

Cameo: [Steven Spielberg] A guest at David’s birthday party (wearing a Pre-Crime cap from Minority Report. (Spielberg and Cruise were preparing to begin filming “Minority Report” at that time)

The song “I Fall Apart” on the soundtrack is credited to ‘Julianna Gianni’ – the name of Cameron Diaz’s character – and is actually performed by Diaz.

In David’s bedroom, there is a poster for Jules and Jim, a French movie in which the climactic scene involves the female star driving a car with her and her lover off a bridge. Other connections to Jules and Jim in Vanilla Sky include the brief freeze-frames interspersed in the love scene between Penélope Cruz and Tom Cruise (a technique made famous by François Truffaut’s direction of Jules and Jim) and the fact that the plot centers around two men in love with the same woman. David also has a poster for Breathless, for which Truffaut wrote the story.

During David’s birthday party, someone comments on a guitar in a glass case. They state “Danny Bramson gave it to him for his birthday last year”. Danny Bramson is the music supervisor for this film.

The Monet painting which gives the film its title and which is seen during David’s birthday party is the Seine at Argenteuil, 1873.

In the scenes with McCabe interviewing David in the prison cell, the word DREAM can be seen written backwards on a blackboard in the background.

During the pop culture montage scene towards the end of the movie a picture of Nancy Wilson from Heart (and Cameron Crowe’s wife) can be seen.

In the series of still frames at the end of the film, for one frame you see Billy Crudup as Russell Hammond, from Cameron Crowe’s previous film, Almost Famous.

During the pop culture montage scene towards the end of the movie, a picture of Cameron Crowe’s sister leaving home (curlers and all) is seen. This event is shown in Almost Famous.

During the pop culture montage at the end of the film, there is a quick shot of a picture of Patrick Fugit and Kate Hudson that was taken from Cameron Crowe’s previous film, Almost Famous.

Tara Lipinski was auditioning for a part in The Banger Sisters when she stopped by the set. Crowe saw her and offered her a cameo in the movie. She improvised a scene with Cameron Diaz. She had to stand on a box to get closer to Diaz’s height since Lipinski is 5’1″ and Diaz is 5’9″. The scene didn’t make the US version but can still be seen in the international versions of the movie.

During the quick montage of stills at the very end of the film, one of the shots (which lasts for only one frame) is of Dr. Pomerantz, David Aames’s plastic surgeon (played by Armand Schultz), flipping the bird at the camera.

The name of Kurt Russell’s character, McCabe, was inspired by Nancy Wilson’s first solo album, “Live at McCabe’s Guitar Shop”. ‘Nancy Wilson’ is the wife of Cameron Crowe.

A short scene of Björk’s video “Big Time Sensuality” can be seen in the movie in a vision sequence Tom Cruise has.

The large portrait of David’s “father”, seen at the party is actually a portrait of the contemporary artist Robert Rauschenberg.

David Aames’ birthday is 22 September 1968.

The song at the end (on the roof of the skyscraper) is called “Njósnavélin” (a.k.a. “The Nothing Song”) by the Icelandic band Sigur Rós. During the series of random still frames at the end of the film, one of these is an over-exposed picture of the band Sigur Rós.

Cameron Crowe and Tom Cruise both tried to persuade legendary director Billy Wilder to make an appearance in the film, but he declined.

Sofia’s line, “I’ll tell you in another life, when we are both cats” was a phrase actually uttered spontaneously in a moment of frustration by Penélope Cruz to Cameron Crowe.

Michael Keaton, Harrison Ford, and Alec Baldwin were all considered for the role of Dr. Curtis McCabe.

According to Cameron Crowe’s commentary, there are 4 different interpretations of the ending.

#1 is that tech support is telling the truth, that 150 years have passed since David Aames killed himself, and that everything after his passing out on the sidewalk was a dream.

#2 is the entire movie was a dream, as evidenced by the sticker on David’s car that reads ‘2/30/01′.

#3 is the idea that the movie takes place with David’s Coma.

#4 is Cameron Crowe’s own idea, that it is the novel that Brian was working on.

In the opening Times Square dream sequence, the brief video seen on one of the building monitors shows a man rushing a judge on the bench, and being pulled away by two men. This is a portion of an episode of the Twilight Zone episode “Shadow Play”, where Dennis Weaver’s character knows that he’s in a dream, that none of what’s happening is real, and that none of the people in the dream really exist.

When David is arrested, the plaque on his photo lineup reads “W85N 494 T85 4R51M 253OM5 1 N978TM1R5?” Some elementary code-breaking reveals “WHEN DID THE DREAM BECOME A NIGHTMARE?”. There are two other coded messages (mentioned on Crowe’s commentary) on the 3D X-Ray of David Aames’ skull. To the lower left of the skull it reads “4ON0TW1K589MUP” = “Do not wake him up.” To the lower right there is the message, “PL: 51S1NT 4R51MS”, or “Pleasant Dreams”.

Cameron Crowe featured “number stations” (the infamous short-wave radio stations that transmit coded messages) from the CD set The Conet Project in the film.