Dune (1984)

David Lynch

Running Time: 137 Minutes

Certification: 12a

Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Francesca Annis, Kenneth McMillan, Sting, Patrick Stewart, José Ferrer, Jürgen Prochnow, Brad Dourif, Siân Phillips, Paul Smith, Dean Stockwell, Max von Syndow, Linda Hunt, Freddie Jones, Richard Jordan, Everett McGill, Alicia Witt, Sean Young, Virginia Madsen

With a filmography as unique as David Lynch's, Dune is quite the outlier. The third feature film of his career, Lynch took the reins after Alejandro Jodorowsky's adaptation failed to materialise, only to disown it upon release. The director stated his artistic control was restrained by financiers and producers, denying him final cut privilege, and tense relationship feels clear in the final product.

In the year 10,191, a secret plot is underway to take control of the Spice Melange, the most precious substance in the universe that's only found on the planet Arrakis. Ruling powers manipulate a feud between two powerful dynasties, House Atreides and House Harkonnen, in an effort to maintain a grip on the spice. As the two families clash, Duke Atreides' son Paul (Kyle MacLachlan) finds himself in the middle of an intergalactic war and an ancient prophecy which could forever change the galaxy.

A science-fiction epic can live or die on how realised its universe is, and Lynch doesn't falter here. The costumes and sets exceptionally sell these houses and their inhabitants, while the practical effects and cinematography capture Arrakis in its sand-covered glory, all accompanied by Toto's wonderful soundtrack. The visual effects may not hold-up, yet there's a silly charm to how dated they are, particularly the block rendering of shields.

With such a talented cast assembled, it's unfortunate many don't have the opportunity to showcase their skills. There are bright sparks, such as an ever-reliable Patrick Stewart as Gurney or Kyle MacLachlan selling his role as the son accepting the higher destiny he's thrust into, though they're juxtaposed by questionable choices. A prominent part is Kenneth McMillan's portrayal of Baron Harkonnen, the disgusting antagonist captured in ways too over-the-top to work, while Sting's only memorable for the jarring scene in his pants.

What's most clear is how there's too much story to fit into one film, as evidenced by how many key developments and relationships feel overlooked. Take Duncan Idaho and Thurfir Hawat, two key characters to Paul's training in the novel whose miniscule impact here begs the question why they weren't cut. Instead, the feature seems devoted to hitting key beats from the source material with little interest for their set-up or ramifications. The expository voice-overs feel like intrusive shortcuts to the film making sense, while being largely unnecessary in many scenes.

For anybody curious of this cult-adaptation of Frank Herbert's masterwork, Arrow Video have put out an excellent restoration to whet the appetite before the first part of Denis Villeneuve's adaptation is released. It's not the adaptation this novel deserves, yet there's much to recommend within. Don't fear giving this a try, fear is the mind-killer.


• Brand new 4K restoration from the original camera negative
• 60-page perfect-bound book featuring new writing on the film by Andrew Nette, Christian McCrea and Charlie Brigden, an American Cinematographer interview with sound designer Alan Splet from 1984, excerpts from an interview with the director from Chris Rodley’s book Lynch on Lynch and a Dune Terminology glossary from the original release
• Large fold-out double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dániel Taylor
• Six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproductions
• Limited edition packaging with reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dániel Taylor


• High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray™ presentation
• Original uncompressed stereo audio and DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround audio
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Brand new audio commentary by film historian Paul M. Sammon
• Brand new audio commentary by Mike White of The Projection Booth podcast
• Impressions of Dune, a 2003 documentary on the making of the film, featuring interviews with star Kyle MacLachlan, producer Raffaella de Laurentiis, cinematographer Freddie Francis, editor Antony Gibbs and many others
• Designing Dune, a 2005 featurette looking back at the work of production designer Anthony Masters
• Dune FX, a 2005 featurette exploring the special effects in the film
• Dune Models & Miniatures, a 2005 featurette focusing on the model effects in the film
• Dune Costumes, a 2005 featurette looking at the elaborate costume designs seen in the film
• Eleven deleted scenes from the film, with a 2005 introduction by Raffaella de Laurentiis
• Destination Dune, a 1983 featurette originally produced to promote the film at conventions and publicity events
• Theatrical trailers and TV spots
• Extensive image galleries, including hundreds of still photos


• Beyond Imagination: Merchandising Dune, a brand new featurette exploring the merchandise created to promote the film, featuring toy collector/producer Brian Sillman (The Toys That Made Us)
• Prophecy Fulfilled: Scoring Dune, a brand new featurette on the film’s music score, featuring interviews with Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, Toto keyboardist Steve Porcaro, and film music historian Tim Greiving
• Brand new interview with make-up effects artist Giannetto de Rossi, filmed in 2020
• Archive interview with production coordinator Golda Offenheim, filmed in 2003
• Archive interview with star Paul Smith, filmed in 2008
• Archive interview with make-up effects artist Christopher Tucker

Dune is available on Blu-Ray and 4K through Arrow Video from 30th August