Dune the Movie (80's)

Just asking - I vaguely recall seeing one scene of this - is it really as bad as everyone says?!

1 Like

It had both extremes. Awful while occasionally brilliant.


It isn’t bad. It has it’s “what were they thinking moments” but it does tell a difficult story in a fairly coherent way.


If you haven’t read the book a lot of it will seem all WTF. Visually it is pretty awesome and it does do a fair job of putting that novel on screen but only works if you already know some of the background from reading it.


Who says its bad? Its amazing!!


I love it for its audacious craziness. It’s a lot of fun, has fantastic production design, and the actors look like they’re having a blast being ridiculous; Kenneth McMillan as Baron Harkonnen and Brad Dourif as Piter, especially. This is a movie that gave people glossaries as handouts when it debuted.


Totally agree. However, needs MOAR! (you know what I mean. It definitely could have been 5 separate films)

Casting decisions alone were off the charts aside from maybe Sting, but I think he did it well. Brad Dourif, Linda Hunt, Freddie Jones, Silvana Mangano, Everett McGill, Jurgen Prochnow, Paul L. Smith, Patrick Stewart, Dean Stockwell, Max von Sydow, and fucking Kenneth McMillan as the baron? It’s a casting director’s wet dream.


Whadaya talking about? Golden underoos Sting is best Sting.


Not to mention what is still some of my favorite costume and set design ever. It really looks amazing, IMO. So stylized and detailed.

Where it suffered was the usual literary adaptation problem of trying to distill a big, complex novel to something like feature-film length. So some found its story incomprehensible, and script stilted. I loved it. Even having seen it in the cinema, it was immediately apparent that it polarized people. Those who were exhilarated that something so ambitious and interesting happened, and those who were asking “WTF did I just watch?” It was the movie which inspired me to read the novels afterward, and I didn’t find it at all confusing.

I’d call it a flawed masterpiece, of sorts.


I like it. Flawed films are often my favourite.

As others have said, Dune doesn’t fit into a film’s length. Been a long time since I watched it, but I thought there was too much cut out, especially towards the end.

I’d have thought the miniseries format would be better for an adaptation. I never saw the one from the early 2000s though.

That said, I enjoyed the documentary about Jodorowski’s adaptation, but I’m not sure I’d have wanted to see what he wanted to make.


The 2000 Dune had it’s own massive flaws. Where '80s Dune filmed out it a desert, with 2000 Dune it seemed all the desert scenes were done on a small sound stage with a single truck load of sand.

The producers of 2000 Dune also seem to have missed how fear of computer technology was a foundation of Dune’s galactic civilization, and how that fear led to the mentats and splintered-off factions of humanity. Instead they stuck in at least a couple obvious instances of computer-based technology.


I remember sitting outside the multiplex at junior-high age, waiting for my parents to exit Blade Runner (the kids saw something else). It was so interesting to see everyone exit the theater with that same “WTF did I just watch?” look on their faces. They all looked so defeated.


Weird. I think I loved it because it was not much like other sci-fi / space opera movies I had seen. But I suspect that many hated it for precisely the same reason.

But it was a fairly high-profile production at the time, with lots of ads and behind-the-scenes stuff on television, so I am surprised that so many didn’t know what to expect.

1 Like

It was pretty horrible, though it was the effort to condense the book into a normal movie length that made it so choppy and jarring. Nice sets, good cast, and cool costumes still can’t fix a confused, struggling plot that hops through bits of a book without ever really telling any coherent story. I read the book before I saw it and remember having a sense of pity for anyone who saw it without having read the book since without that context you’d have no idea what the Hell was happening. It was bad enough that David Lynch didn’t put his name in the credits, despite writing and directing. Also it was a crap rendition of the book.

Also, some of the worst bits of the movie weren’t from the book.

Like the “Weirding Module” sonic weapons. (“His name is a killing word!!!”) Used by Lynch to replace the Bene Gesserit martial arts, because he didn’t want “Kung-Fu on sand dunes”.


To be clear, his name is absolutely in the credits of the standard version released in theaters and on video. He only removed his name from the TV version, which was re-edited without his permission.


Seriously this movie has everything. Mostly-nude Sting, Kyle MacLachlan being stoic, Patrick Stewart looking exactly the same as he does today, the best special effects and music the 80’s could offer.

I love every minute of it.


And pugs.
Can’t forget the pugs!


Y’know, the funny thing is, the people I know who loathe it with a burning passion are people who’ve read the book. They get angry about the weirding modules, the bits cut out, and the wacky Lynchian stuff stuck in. As someone who hasn’t read it, I think I can enjoy it more for it just being surreal sci-fi opulence.

It kind of makes me glad that Jodorowsky didn’t get to make his version; he’s proud of the fact that he never read the book, and wrote his script based on someone else’s description of the plot.


I didn’t mind the weirding modules, so it was a cinematic shortcut, you do that in movies cause moves are not books. I was too stunned by the visuals to care one way or the other about quibbles of book vs. movie.
I heard at the time that while Frank Herbert was a bit disappointed about how the story was adapted to film he was very happy with the look of the film.