Critics Consensus

This truncated adaptation of Frank Herbert's sci-fi masterwork is too dry to work as grand entertainment, but David Lynch's flair for the surreal gives it some spice.



Total Count: 47


Audience Score

User Ratings: 70,746
User image

Watch it now

Dune Photos

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 by Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV (José Ferrer), who appears to take his marching orders from something that resembles a talking vagina. In the kingdom are two rival houses -- the House of Atreides and the House of Harkonnen. Each house is trying to gain dominion over the universe, but that dominion can only be gained by the house that controls the Spice, a special substance that permits the folding of time. The Spice is only available on the desert world of Arrakis, or Dune. Shaddam, tired of the feuding between the two houses, permits the Atreides to take over the Spice production on Dune, while secretly working with the Harkonnens to launch a sneak attack on the Atreides and destroy them. The leader of the Atreides is Duke Leto (Jürgen Prochnow), who rules with the help of his concubine Jessica (Francesca Annis) and son Paul (Kyle MacLachlan). The rival Harkonnens are headed by the pus-oozing degenerate Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Kenneth McMillan, in a thoroughly through-the-roof performance) and his two unsavory nephews, Rabban (Paul L. Smith) and Feyd (Sting). When his father is murdered by the Harkonnens, Paul escapes to Dune, where he is greeted by the Fremen (the desert dwellers on Dune who prepare the Spice) as the messiah foretold in Fremen legend. Paul assumes the mantle of messiah and leads the Fremen in a revolt that topples the balance of power in the universe. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi


Francesca Annis
as Lady Jessica
José Ferrer
as Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV
Leonardo Cimino
as The Baron's Doctor
Brad Dourif
as Piter De Vries
Kyle MacLachlan
as Paul Atreides
Patrick Stewart
as Gurney Halleck
as Feyd Rautha
Dean Stockwell
as Dr. Wellington Yueh
Linda Hunt
as Shadout Mapes
Freddie Jones
as Thufir Hawat
Richard Jordan
as Duncan Idaho
Virginia Madsen
as Princess Irulan
Silvana Mangano
as Reverend Mother Ramallo
Kenneth McMillan
as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen
Sian Phillips
as Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam
Jürgen Prochnow
as Duke Leto Atreides
Paul L. Smith
as The Beast Rabban
Max von Sydow
as Dr. Kynes
Danny Corkill
as Honorato Magalone
Judd Omen
as Molly Wyrn
View All

News & Interviews for Dune

Critic Reviews for Dune

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (22)

Audience Reviews for Dune

  • Jun 10, 2017
    Undoubtedly a complete mess (Lynch doesn't handle exposition well, and "Dune" requires a lot of world building) but the movie is filled with unforgettable imagery. One wonders what might have happened if Lynch had an even larger budget and final cut.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 16, 2016
    I loved the books, but the film should have been directed by Ridley Scott. If he did the project, it would have been an excellent move but Lynch who also did Twin Peaks, The Elephant Man, The Straight Story and Inland Empire, never read the book, didn't know the story and he was never interested in science-fiction at the time. So he did it badly. As for an adaptation, it gets a 6.6/10.
    Film C Super Reviewer
  • Sep 30, 2015
    Fantastical, imaginative, cheesy, and grotesque -- Dune is fun movie. The sets, sound, costumes all show the efforts were put in and to good effect. Not everything comes off, though. Many of the props and effects are silly. But that's not such a problem if you are not taking the movie seriously to begin with. It's not another Star Wars (like perhaps it wanted to be), but it is still a good time.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • May 21, 2015
    after eraserhead and the elephant man why would anyone think david lynch was the correct person to direct this film adaptation. Crazy arthouse blockbuster that is all over the place. cult film and ambitious for its time.
    Brendan N Super Reviewer

Dune Quotes

News & Features