The Mind-Bending Inception Trivia Quiz


By: Monica Lee

7 Min Quiz

Image: The Movie DB

About This Quiz

Infiltrating the subconscious. Planting and stealing information. Which is a dream and which is reality? Recall it all with this mind-bending trivia quiz.

What actor portrays Dominick ”Dom” Cobb, the man who can’t come home to see his children?

Dominick "Dom" Cobb can’t see his children because he is accused of killing his wife. The moment he comes home, he will be arrested. Dom is played by Leonardo DiCaprio, an award-winning actor with a career spanning over 25 years in television and film.


What actor portrays Arthur, Cobb’s partner who manages and researches the missions?

Cobb's partner, Arthur, is portrayed by Gordon-Levitt. The actor compared Arthur to the producer of Cobb's art, "the one saying, 'Okay, you have your vision; now I'm going to figure out how to make all the nuts and bolts work so you can do your thing.'"


What is the name of the actress who portrays Cobb’s deceased wife?

Marion Cotillard portrays Dom’s dead wife. She is a manifestation of Dom's guilt about the real cause of Mal's suicide. He is unable to control these projections of her, challenging his abilities as an extractor. Marion Cotillard is a French actress, singer-songwriter, musician, environmentalist and spokesperson for Greenpeace. She became one of only six actors to receive multiple Academy Award nominations for foreign-language performances.


Why is the weightlessness a problem for Arthur when they are in the hotel?

Without gravity, Arthur cannot provide a “kick” to the sleeping team members. He ends up floating them into the elevator and rigging the elevator with explosives to create gravity. Although the film has numerous and extensive surreal effect sequences, most of the special effects were created through practical methods, not through the use of computer generated imagery. This includes the Penrose stairs, rotating hallway, mountain avalanche, and zero gravity sequences.


What is the name of the Japanese businessman who hires Cobb and team?

Ken Watanabe portrays Mr. Saito, a Japanese businessman who employs Cobb for the team's mission. Nolan, the screenwriter of Inception, wrote the role with Watanabe in mind, as he wanted to work with him again after Batman Begins. Ken Watanabe is a Japanese actor, but to English-speaking audiences, he is known for playing tragic hero characters, such as General Tadamichi Kuribayashi in Letters from Iwo Jima and Lord Katsumoto Moritsugu in The Last Samurai, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He has also received a Tony nomination for the King and I.


Why does Cobb’s team need a new architect?

Nash, the architect, made the carpeting out of polyester, not wool. When the client, Mr. Saito, a Japanese businessman, falls to the carpeting he realizes he is not in his secret apartment, he is in a dream. The mission blows up in the team’s face. Nash gets tortured by Saito’s people to tell them where Cobb is hiding. Then Saito’s men give Nash to Cobol Engineering, who paid for the failed mission.


What is the name of the character who is an avant-garde pharmacologist?

Helping those who want to go into a deeper sleep, Yusuf is an avant-garde pharmacologist who deals with clients who want to be off the grid. Yusuf is portrayed by Dileep Rao, who is best known for his work in Sam Raimi's horror film, Drag Me to Hell, James Cameron's science fiction film, Avatar, and Inception. Co-producer Jordan Goldberg cast Rao because "they didn’t want the character to seem like some kind of drug dealer," and that Rao was cast for being "funny, interesting and obviously smart."


What does Yusuf have in the basement of his pharmacy?

There are rows of people connected intravenously to a dream drug and sedative that allows them to be in a dream state for 4 hours or in Level 1 for 40 hours. The overseer says they prefer their dream world to reality, and now their dreams are their reality. Did you know that "Yusuf" is the Arabic form of "Joseph," the Biblical figure who had the gift of interpreting dreams? He was sold by his jealous brothers into slavery. Through his gift of dream interpretation, he helped Pharaoh to prepare for the disaster of the "seven lean years" and was rewarded as a result. The same story is also told in the Quran.


When they wake in the bullet train and Arthur talks to Cobb, what is Arthur referring to? Arthur: “And you, what the hell was all that?” Cobb: “I have it under control.”

Arthur is mad because Cobb can’t control Mal’s appearance in his dreams. In this one, they are trying to get into Mr. Saito’s mind and get his corporate secrets, when Mal shows up. Mal shoots Arthur in the foot to get Cobb to put down his gun. During production, details of the film's plot were kept secret. Christopher Nolan, who wrote the script, described it as a contemporary sci-fi action thriller "set within the architecture of the mind."


What actress plays Ariadne, a graduate student?

Ariadne is a graduate student of architecture who is recruited to construct the various dreamscapes, which are described as mazes. Ariadne is portrayed by Ellen Page, best known for starring in Juno, for which she received nominations for an Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress.


What is the test Cobb gives Ariadne before he even will speak with her about the job?

Cobb gave Ariadne the task of creating a maze in two minutes that takes one minute to solve. Ariadne, in Greek mythology, was the daughter of King Minos of Crete and his queen, Pasiphaë. She aided Theseus in overcoming the Minotaur by giving him a ball of red fleece thread that she was spinning, so that he could find his way out of the Minotaur's labyrinth or maze.


Why is Cobb telling this to Ariadne: “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 is explaining how exciting it is to be an architect and so Ariadne starts experimenting within Cobb’s dreams. She creates a bridge while they walk. Then she slides mirrored doors to block the passageway and explodes the mirror with her hand. Did you know the "Penrose stairs" (with a woman perpetually picking up papers) is a lithograph print by the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher? The print is usually called "Ascending and Descending" or "The Infinite Staircase," and it was first printed in March 1960.


What is Cobb’s totem?

Dom Cobb's totem is a spinning tractricoid top that originally belonged to Mal. Should he spin the top and it topples over, he is awake; if it continues to spin, then he is still dreaming. Arthur's totem is a weighted red die and Ariadne’s is a chess piece. Did you know it took ten years for Christopher Nolan to write the screenplay for this movie? With its many layers and symbolism, one can see why.


The team’s target is an heir to a business empire. What is the name of the character?

Cillian Murphy portrays Robert Michael Fischer, "… a petulant child who's in need of a lot of attention from his father, he has everything he could ever want materially, but he's deeply lacking emotionally," as described by Murphy. Cillian Murphy also researched the sons of Rupert Murdoch, "to add to that the idea of living in the shadow of someone so immensely powerful." Murphy is an Irish actor of stage and screen and has been in numerous films, including Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and 28 Days Later. He also starred as a transgender woman in Breakfast on Pluto, for which he received a Golden Glove nomination. He has also won the Drama Desk Award for his role, Misterman.


Tom Hardy plays a character who uses his ability to impersonate others inside their dream world. What is the name of his character?

Eames is referred to as a fence but his specialty is forgery, more accurately identity theft. Eames uses his ability to impersonate others inside the dream world, to manipulate Fischer. Tom Hardy, an English actor, screenwriter, and producer, portrays Eames and worked again with Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He also portrayed Bane in the superhero film, The Dark Knight Rises, "Mad" Max Rockatansky in the post-apocalyptic film, Mad Max: Fury Road, and both Kray twins in the crime thriller, Legend.


They need 10 hours to complete the mission. Where do they get 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep for the team and target?

They get their 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep on a Sydney to Los Angeles flight. It’s the flight that Robert Michael Fischer needs to take to attend his father’s funeral. Mr. Saito ensures that Robert Fischer will not be able to take his private jet, due to engine problems.


What is the name of Robert Fischer's godfather and fellow executive at the Fischers' company?

Peter Browning acts as a surrogate father to Robert who calls the character Uncle Peter. Peter Browning is played by Tom Berenger, a Primetime Emmy Award winner and nominated for the Academy Award for his portrayal of Staff Sergeant Bob Barnes in Platoon. He is also known for playing Jake Taylor in the Major League films and Thomas Beckett in the Sniper film. He also starred in Looking for Mr. Goodbar, The Dogs of War, The Big Chill, Eddie and the Cruisers, Betrayed, The Field, Gettysburg, The Substitute, One Man's Hero, Training Day, and Inception.


What is the name of the dying founder of a business empire?

Maurice Fischer has spent time building his business, but not time with his son, who craves his attention. Pete Postlethwaite portrays Maurice Fisher. Postlethwaite is well known for starring in Alien 3 and In the Name of the Father, for which he received an Academy Award. He also starred in The Usual Suspects, Brassed Off, Romeo + Juliet, Amistad, The Shipping News, The Constant Gardener, The Age of Stupid, and Inception.


Who plays Cobb’s father-in-law and college professor?

Michael Caine portrays Professor Stephen Miles, Cobb's mentor and father-in-law. He is also Ariadne's college professor, who recommends her to Cobb’s team. Michael Caine is one of only two actors nominated for an Academy Award for acting in every decade from the 1960s to 2000s.


What is a “kick”?

Whether it’s pulling the rug or chair out from under you, falling into water, or dying in a dream, a “kick” will work through all levels. It kicks you out of your current dream. Yusuf made sure his sedative left the inner ear unaffected for this reason.


Who does Eames impersonate to get Robert Fischer to confide in him?

Eames impersonates Uncle Peter by studying Peter Browning’s mannerisms, his background, and his physical presence. Robert’s mind fills in the rest. Here is something interesting to note: If you take the first letters of the main characters' names - Dom, Robert, Eames, Arthur, Mal, and Saito - they spell "Dreams." If you add Peter, Ariadne, and Yusuf, the whole makes "Dreams Pay," which is what they do for a mind thief.


Why does Mr. Saito demand to come on the inception mission?

Saito realizes the only way to know if the outcome is successful, is to see it for himself. A planted idea might not come to fruition instantly. Did you know that to make the story easier to follow, television broadcasts in Japan show which level of the dream a specific scene takes place in, on the screen?


How is the entire team able to share the same dream?

According to the story, a machine was developed to train soldiers for combat when under a dream state. If they die, they just wake up. The device is called the Portable Automated Somnacin IntraVenous device, or PASIV device for short. The dreamer is always the first to be attached to the device. The device injects Somnacin into the circulatory system of the subjects, then the compound enters the brain and the transfer of dream data occurs.


What happens at each level of dreams?

Cobb explains that time expands in this way: “It's a week the first level down. Six months the second level down, and... the third level...” Ariadne: “ ten years!” In the film, Dom Cobb's main objective is to get home. Dom is the word for 'home' in most Slavic languages (e.g., Russian and Bulgarian), derived from the Latin word "Domus."


Why is it raining so much on level one?

Yusuf should have gone to the bathroom before taking this long trip into three different levels of dreams. The rain occurs because Yusuf needs to go to the bathroom, due to drinking too much champagne before they went under. As of 2015, this is the last movie shot on film, not digitally, to win an Academy Award for Best Cinematography; all the winners since have been shot digitally.


Who gets shot in the first level?

Mr. Saito is shot in the first level. But at each deeper dream level he feels less pain. Did you notice that in the city scene on the first level of the dream with Fischer, the state motto on the license plates of the cars reads, "The Alternate State"?


How does Cobb trick Robert Michael into letting Cobb enter Robert’s dream?

On level two, in the hotel, Cobb has Robert believing that Cobb is head of security for inception and that Robert is dreaming. Cobb helps him remember that Robert is actually being held hostage, and that his Uncle has betrayed him. They are going into his Uncle Peter’s mind to find out what his uncle knows and why he betrayed Robert, but it’s actually Robert’s mind they are going into.


Why do they need a 747 jet?

Arthur tell the team that in a 747, the pilot is up top, and the first-class cabin is in the nose, so no one would walk through. But one would have to buy out the entire cabin -- and the first-class flight attendant. That’s when Saito pipes up and says: “I bought the airline.” Everybody turns and stares at him. Saito just shrugs and says, “It seemed neater.” This scene helped portray how powerful and wealthy Saito is, making the promise of Cobb’s ability to go home, real.


What does the music through the headphones do for the team members?

The music alerts them that the kick is coming so they can make sure they have completed their mission, because their time in the dream state will end soon. The last name of Leo DiCaprio’s character, Cobb, references Henry N. Cobb, an American architect notable for designing skyscrapers. The world Cobb and Mal made in Limbo consists mostly of skyscrapers.


Which of these lines are from the riddle that is spoken throughout the movie?

Cobb and Mal repeat this riddle time and again to each other. The answer to the riddle is, “You’ll be together.” Christopher Nolan, the screenwriter and director, is very symbolic with the names of his characters. For instance, Marion Cotillard's character is named Mal, which is short for Malorie, a name derived from the French word "malheur," meaning misfortune or unhappiness. The shorter version, "mal," means wrong/bad or evil (when a noun) in French, as well as some other Latin-based languages.


Who is saying this to Cobb? “The truth that at any minute, you might bring a freight train through the wall. The truth that Mal is bursting through your subconscious. And the truth that as we go deeper into Fischer, we're also going deeper into you. And... I'm not sure we're gonna like what we find.”

This is why Cobb has hired Ariadne. Cobb cannot be an architect because Mal will know where he and the team are hiding in the maze or dreamscape and will expose them. Mal is in every level of dream consciousness for Cobb. Kate Winslet was approached for the role of Mal, but turned it down, citing that she couldn't see herself as the character.


What will Robert Fisher find in the snowy compound in his dream?

Robert Fisher will find the Will and a pinwheel he dreams his father has saved. The revelation that his father is disappointed that Robert is trying to emulate him, implants the idea to break up the corporation and be his own man. Just as Cillian Murphy's character was named Robert Fischer as a tribute to champion chess player Bobby Fischer, his father's (Pete Postlethwaite) character is named Maurice Fischer as an homage to artist M.C. Escher (full name Maurits Cornelis Escher), whose art was clearly an inspiration for many of the special effects in the film.


How was the film received?

There is no doubt that the fans loved it. On a budget of $160 million, it earned $825.5 million. As for the critics, on Rotten Tomatoes the film has 86% positive reviews, based on reviews from 331 critics. In 2016, Inception was voted the 51st best film of the 21st Century by the BBC, as picked by 177 film critics from around the world.


On which of these favorite film lists did Inception earn the number-one spot?

Inception was listed on many critics' top ten lists. The movie appeared in the number-one spot on seven different favorite film lists. Besides the above, it was listed as one of the top three by Rolling Stone, Associated Press, The New York Times, and The Village Voice, to name a few.


Which prestigious award did the film receive, from those honoring science fiction or fantasy films?

Inception won the two highest honors for a science fiction or fantasy film: the 2011 Bradbury Award for best dramatic production and the 2011 Hugo Award for best dramatic presentation, long form. Inception is one of the top 50 highest-grossing films of all time.


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