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Dune (1984)

tomatometer

33

Average Rating: 2.2/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 4

No consensus yet.

audience

68

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 69,498

My Rating

Movie Info

David Lynch wades through dark waters in his adaptation of Frank Herbert's cult science fiction novel. In condensing Herbert's rambling and complex book by eliminating characters and compacting events, Lynch succeeds in rendering the story incomprehensible to those unfamiliar with the novel and making the film look like a sketchy greatest hits collection of the book for Herbert fans. The story takes place in the year 10,191. The universe is governed through a system of feudal rule, presided over

PG-13,

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Mar 16, 1998

MCA Universal Home Video

Watch It Now

Cast

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All Critics (43) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (18) | DVD (35)

Most sci-fi movies offer escape, a holiday from homework, but Dune is as difficult as a final exam. You have to cram for it.

July 18, 2011 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The problem is that the imagery isn't rooted in any story impulse, and so its power dissipates quickly.

July 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (3)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Dune is a huge, hollow, imaginative and cold sci-fi epic.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Lynch's third feature may have been a commercial disaster, but it gets under your skin and is marked by unforgettable images and an extraordinary soundtrack.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This movie is a real mess, an incomprehensible, ugly, unstructured, pointless excursion into the murkier realms of one of the most confusing screenplays of all time.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (16)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Several of the characters in Dune are psychic, which puts them in the unique position of being able to understand what goes on in the movie.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comments (6)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Underrated, especially for devotees of the book. An impressively faithful if necessarily streamlined adaptation, though heavy on industrial-looking art direction and grotesque makeup effects.

March 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Dearest
Movie Dearest

An incoherent, strange, plotless, poorly structured mess that has to be seen to really be believed.

February 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

Critics at the time labeled it "confusing"; I don't see how, considering that you hear what everyone is thinking, all the time, and they repeat their key thoughts constantly so that their actual acting never has to do the job of telling the story.

January 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Topless Robot
Topless Robot

There's not a shred of humor in it, and it's a bleak look at humanity's future. But I was swept into the fantastic world.

July 30, 2012 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

What we get, at best, are enthralling shots. At worst, most scenes seem out of a stilted chamber-drama, with backstory-burdened dialogue and stiff lines. A soporific languor often takes hold. Certain moments just come off as kitschy.

July 24, 2012 Full Review Source: Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

Misconceived, incomprehensible, and only decently executed, Dune is arguably Lynch's weakest film in an otherwise brilliant output.

April 13, 2012 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

It's not for everyone, but if you don't mind the brain-bending confusion of the plot and occasional feeling of '80s high camp, this isn't as bad as its detractors would have it.

July 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Mammoth, unwieldy and completely ahead of its time.

July 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Visually delightful but choppy, confusing, and overloaded with exposition.

July 18, 2011 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Anyone looking for a satisfying and coherent science fiction epic will have to look elsewhere.

April 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Now, in a far less Star Wars saturated landscape, Dune can be viewed as what it is: a brilliant mistake, misguided from the start but still aesthetically satisfying.

April 18, 2010 Full Review Source: PopMatters
PopMatters

The movie is insane; it's textbook Lynch.

July 30, 2007 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com | Comments (2)
eFilmCritic.com

Lynch's most glaring failure.

June 1, 2007 | Comments (4)
ColeSmithey.com

If you think David Lynch is the Kwisatz Haderach, baby, have I got a movie for you.

February 22, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

It's like watching a Reader's Digest synopsis of the novel.

February 11, 2006 Full Review Source: Sci-Fi Movie Page
Sci-Fi Movie Page

Flashy special effects at the time still hold up decently today. Originally, the film was shown theatrically with a hand out that gives you definitions and background information. Before watching the film, it help if you brush up on the Hebert world by

March 14, 2005 | Comment (1)
Entertainment Insiders

Audience Reviews for Dune

[img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon13.gif[/img]
June 25, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Ehhhhhh, its a decent sci-fi story. Its no eraserhead though and docent have the grittiness of blue velvet.
March 5, 2012
paul o.
paul oh

Super Reviewer

A strategically vital mining planet is the subject of a power struggle between duelling Houses that form part of a planet spanning empire in the far future. David Lynch's ambitious stab at bringing Frank Herbert's complex series of novels to the silver screen was something of a heroic failure. Vilified at the time because of its wordy script and erratic fidelity to the source material, Dune is nowhere near as bad as many make it out to be. It has much to commend it; it includes a believable sense of galactic empire, some nice costume design and (for the most part at least) a strong cast all presented with a really nice otherworldly, dreamlike atmosphere. Unfortunately its flaws include poor sets, very dated special effects and some unbelievably hammy performances from the villains of the piece (unsurprisingly, Sting is particularly bad). Add to the fact that some pretty hefty plot points are skimmed over using montage and voice overs and you have a very mixed bag of successes and failures in bringing what (certainly at the time) was probably an unfilmable story. A brave, if flawed attempt that with the right creative team could be ripe for a remake.
October 26, 2011
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

This film is a wonderful mess. David Lynch is a great visionary director that supplies a surreal, disgusting and enthralling movie that is one of my favorites in the sci-fi genre. Great (and frequently over-the-top) acting from some really great actors (Francesca Annis, Kyle MacLachlan, Max von Sydow, Jugen Prochnow and Kenneth McMillan), amazing set and costume design, the special effects should be far better than they are considering the year of release and that we had entered the age of Industrial Light and Magic, but they are still fun to watch. The story is told remarkably and creatively well, though the recuts of the film are nowhere near the same quality or succinctness of the original release. There are several problems I have with the film, especially that the film doesn't explain enough in certain areas. However, that is better than the extended edition which explains too damn much. Great movie-going experience, amazing to see on the big screen and one of David Lynch's more underrated masterworks.
September 27, 2011
Matthew Roe
Matthew Roe

Super Reviewer

    1. Baron Vladimir Harkonnen: I want to spit, once, on your head.
    – Submitted by Donald K (18 months ago)
    1. Duke Leto Atreides: The sleeper must awaken.
    – Submitted by Asri S (2 years ago)
    1. Lady Jessica: A million deaths is not enough for Yueh.
    – Submitted by Asri S (2 years ago)
    1. Stilgar: Usually, we have wormsigns the likes of which even God have never seen.
    – Submitted by Asri S (2 years ago)
    1. Paul Atreides: I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.
    – Submitted by Adrian G (2 years ago)
View all quotes (5)

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