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Dune (1984)

A Duke's son leads desert warriors against the galactic emperor and his father's evil nemesis when they assassinate his father and free their desert world from the emperor's rule.



(novel), (screenplay)
863 ( 160)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:


In the far future, a duke and his family are sent by the Emperor to a sand world from which comes a spice that is essential for interstellar travel. The move is designed to destroy the duke and his family, but his son escapes and seeks revenge as he uses the world's ecology as one of his weapons. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A world that holds creation's greatest treasure... and greatest terrors. See more »


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 December 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Duna  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$40,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (special edition) | (extended cut)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


David Lynch (January 13, 2006) : "Dune, I didn't have final cut on. It's the only film I've made where I didn't have. I didn't technically have final cut on The Elephant Man (1980), but Mel Brooks gave it to me, and on Dune the film, I started selling out, even in the script phase, knowing I didn't have final cut, and I sold out, so it was a slow dying-the-death, and a terrible, terrible experience. I don't know how it happened, I trusted that it would work out, but it was very naive and, the wrong move. In those days, the maximum length they figured I could have is two hours and seventeen minutes, and that's what the film is, so they wouldn't lose a screening a day, so once again, it's money talking, and not for the film at all, and so it was like compacted, and it hurt it, it hurt it. There is no other version. There's more stuff, but even that is putrefied." See more »


When Stilgar marks the Fedaykin shoulders with red paint, blood, he says there are 15 of them. Right before Paul takes the water of life, freeze frame and you will see 16 of them. See more »


[first lines]
Princess Irulan: A beginning is a very delicate time. Know then, that it is the year 10191. The known universe is ruled by the Padisha Emperor Shaddam IV, my father. In this time, the most precious substance in the Universe is the spice melange. The spice extends life. The spice expands consciousness. The spice is vital to space travel. The Spacing Guild and its navigators, who the spice has mutated over four-thousand years, use the orange spice gas, which gives them the ability to fold space. That...
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Crazy Credits

This Film Is Dedicated To Federico de Laurentiis See more »


Featured in The Pervert's Guide to Cinema (2006) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Outland Empire
21 October 2012 | by See all my reviews

Say what you will about incoherence, this is more sensuous than any Star Wars. In fact, it is the most expensive 'tripping' ever produced in film - though far from the most satisfying.

It helps to know the book and forget it as you watch this. Not being familiar with the book, you're left with a disjointed tapestry of weird costumes and special effects, some of them impressive, but if you are, and don't have to burden yourself with following the constantly clumsy explanation of the multifaceted Dune universe, you can enjoy this as illustration of a few core ideas.

Herbert's novel was the product of strange and powerful times. The US public was experiencing the Civil Rights upheaval, its short-lived infatuation with Islam and meditation, and the same year as the book came out, LSD had spilled out of some top-secret government labs into the streets and youth culture of San Francisco. The first satellite images of Earth had just been published. The Black Panthers had entered the vernacular.

So all the stuff about prescient visions, mentats and mastering mind, (herbally) expanded consciousness as the tool to the navigation and 'folding' of space, Herbert wrote with one eye on the Jordan Belson, Beatles and Maharishi crowd - the generation between noir and Lucas that for a brief time projected truths into constructed cosmologies.

Herbert was more erudite than most. But he was caught under the same spell - the expectation of a noble jihad of the people and wise lamas from the East coming to teach 'the way'. And you can tell that he was exposed to Eastern thought through Jungians, by his laboriously constructed mythology and (now trite) focus on a Chosen One's journey.

Lynch was a late bloomer in that scene. To my knowledge, he fell in with what was being marketed as 'transcendental meditation' in his AFI years, during filming of Eraserhead. I don't know what they practice behind closed doors - my interest lies with the Chinese model and they seem cultish to me. But, there's no doubt to me that he passed on the Lucas gig, thinking he was going to work on a vision of some power.

The film outright fails because the scope of the book is too big (to think that Hobbit is being stretched into a trilogy these days), and because he lacked the right collaborators and probably the predisposition to make an 'action' Dune.

Now Jodorowsky's Dune would have been something to see, probably as cumbersome about spirituality but much more organic. But, it's worth noting a few interesting things about this, in context of how Lynch would expand in later years.

He zeroes in on the transcendental experience of 'awakening the sleeper'. He does so in an obvious manner. Rambaldi's spiceworms as blossoming desert flowers top his visual meditation. And that all of Herbert's pomp and mythological noise works against him submerging the idea.

Keep in mind the Chinese notion - from the Tao Te Ching - that the 'soft beats the hard', stressed twice in the film even though no one actually fights in the Chinese style. Discard everything that is hard, from the crass Harkonnen to the acting style (mentat Dourif!) to the sophomoric rousing of Fremen rebellion, laser battles and final redemption.

The one part that is soft is at House Atreides, the preparation for Dune. What is there? Familiar dynamics - it is soap opera if you take out the costumes. Premonitions of murder and telepathic wiring with a fabric behind reason. A woman with her box of illusory sensations. A space flight through the doors of perception.

It's heady. None of it really works, because Herbert's synchretic universe is not one of internal martial arts, what we see matters. But does any of it remind you of a David Lynch film you know?

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