The film stars Kyle MacLachlan in his debut role as Paul Atreides, and includes an ensemble of well-known American, Latin American, and European actors in supporting roles, including Sting, José Ferrer, Francesca Annis, Sian Phillips, Virginia Madsen, Linda Hunt, Patrick Stewart, Max von Sydow, and Jürgen Prochnow, among others. It was filmed at the Churubusco Studios in Mexico City and included a soundtrack by the band Toto. As in the novel, the central plot concerns a young man foretold in prophecy as the "Kwisatz Haderach" who will protect the eponymous desert planet from the malevolent House Harkonnen and save the universe from evil.
After the success of the novel, attempts to adapt Dune for a film began as early as 1971. A lengthy process of what is known in the film industry as development hell followed throughout the 1970s, during which directors such as David Lean, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Ridley Scott were considered. In 1981, David Lynch was hired as director by executive producer Dino De Laurentiis.
The film was not well received by critics and performed poorly at the American box office at the time. Upon its release, director David Lynch distanced himself from the project, stating that pressure from both producers and financiers restrained his artistic control and denied him final cut.
Fans of the Dune series are polarized by the movie; while some praise the film for its scope, others, particularly self-described Dune purists, are critical of the creative liberties taken. In the years since its release the film has become a cult favorite and at least three different versions have been released worldwide.
- Note: The following synopsis refers to the "Theatrical cut" version of the film, which features departures from the original novel.
In the year 10,191 A.G. (After Guild), the known universe, a sprawling feudal intergalactic empire, is ruled by the Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV. In this time, the most precious substance in the universe is the spice melange, which extends life, expands consciousness and is vital to space travel. The powerful Spacing Guild and its Navigators use the orange spice gas to "fold space", that is to travel to any part of the universe without moving.
Four planets draw the attention of the Spacing Guild: Arrakis, a desert planet and only source in the universe of the spice; Caladan, home of House Atreides; Giedi Prime, home of House Harkonnen; and Kaitain, Home of the Emperor Shaddam IV. The Guild, fearing a plot that might jeopardize Spice production, send a third stage Navigator to Kaitain demanding explanations from the Emperor, who confidentially lets the Guild know of his plans to destroy House Atreides. The popularity of Duke Leto Atreides has grown within the Landsraad, and he is suspected to be creating a secret army with a technique involving sound, making him a formidable threat to the Emperor. Shaddam's plan is to give the Atreides control of Arrakis, replacing the Harkonnens, who at an appointed time would launch a sneak attack on the Atreides, eliminating them. Upon being informed of the plot, the Navigator commands the Emperor to kill the Duke's son, Paul Atreides, a young man who dreams prophetic visions of his purpose. The cryptic assassination order draws the attention of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood, as Paul Atreides is part of a centuries long breeding program in the search of the Kwisatz Haderach.
Before departure, Paul is tested by Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam, whom holds a deadly gom jabbar at his throat. Paul is forced to place his hand in a box, which subjects him to excruciating and increasing pain; he passes to Mohiam's satisfaction, withstanding more pain than anyone has before him. Meanwhile, in the industrial world of Giedi Prime, the sadistic Baron Vladimir Harkonnen tells his nephews Glossu Rabban and Feyd-Rautha about his plan to eliminate their centuries long enemies, House Atreides, by manipulating someone very close to the Duke into betraying him.
The Atreides leave Caladan to Arrakis, a mysterious world of vast deserts, filled with gigantic sandworms and populated by the Fremen, mysterious people who have long held a prophecy that a messiah would come to lead them to true freedom. Upon their arrival to Arrakis, Duke Leto is informed by one of his right-hand men, Duncan Idaho, that the Fremen have been largely underestimated; they exist in vast numbers in Arrakis and could prove to be powerful allies. Duke Leto gains the trust of the people of Arrakis, proving to be a charismatic and just leader. But before the Duke can establish an alliance with the Fremen, the Harkonnen launch their attack more quickly than the Atreides expect.
While the Atreides anticipated a trap, they are unable to withstand the large and devastating Harkonnen attack, supported by the Emperor's elite troops, the Sardaukar, and aided by a traitor within House Atreides itself, Doctor Wellington Yueh. Captured, Duke Leto dies in a failed attempt to assassinate the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen using a poison gas capsule planted in his tooth by Dr. Yueh, but his son Paul and his concubine Jessica escape into the deep desert. With Jessica's Bene Gesserit abilities and Paul's developing skills, they manage to join a band of native Fremen. Paul emerges as Muad'Dib, the religious and political leader the Fremen have been waiting for. Paul teaches the Fremen to use the weirding modules and begins targeting mining production of spice. The Emperor is warned by the Spacing Guild of the situation on Arrakis, as the Guild fears that Paul would eventually take the Water of Life. The fears of the Spacing Guild are revealed to Paul in a prophetic dream. Paul drinks the Water of Life and enters a coma that disturbs all Bene Gesserits in the universe, the water of life prompts several visions to Paul. Upon awakening, Paul is transformed and gains control of the sandworms of Arrakis.Upon the Emperor's arrival to Arrakis, Paul launches a final attack against both the Harkonnen and the Emperor. His Fremen warriors, armed with weirding modules and riding sandworms, defeat the Emperor's legions of Sardaukar while Paul's sister Alia kills the Baron Harkonnen with her own Gom jabbar, who floats through a wall breach to be eaten by a sandworm. Paul faces the defeated Emperor, and avenges his family in a duel to the death with Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen. Despite Feyd's attempts to poison him with a paralyzing drug, Paul finds a weakness in Feyd's fighting style and kills him with his crysknife. After making Feyd's organs burst by screaming at his corpse without a weirding module, Paul commands rain to fall on Arrakis, Alia reveals to everyone that he is the Kwisatz Haderach.
In credited order:
- Francesca Annis as Lady Jessica. Prior to Dune, Annis was known in England both in television as well as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. She is known for her roles in Reckless (1998) and as Lady Macbeth in the 1971 film Macbeth.
- Leonardo Cimino as The Baron's Doctor.
- Brad Dourif as Piter de Vries. Dourif is notable for portraying deranged and psychologically unstable characters in many films (most notably One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest) , and does so again in Dune. Dourif also works with director David Lynch two years later, on his film Blue Velvet (1986).
- José Ferrer as Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV. The Puerto Rican actor had starred before as the Turkish Bey in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia, a character that, like the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV, also represents the old Imperial order. The story of T. E. Lawrence shares similarities with the plot of Dune and has been cited as an influence of the novel. Ferrer won an Academy Award prior to performing in Dune.
- Linda Hunt as the Shadout Mapes. Hunt also won an Academy Award prior to performing in Dune. A deleted scene featuring Mapes proving her loyalty to Lady Jessica is featured in the Alan Smithee cut.
- Freddie Jones as Thufir Hawat. Jones, who worked with David Lynch in The Elephant Man, continued his tradition of being a character actor with his portrayal of Thufir Hawat. While in the novel, Hawat chooses to sacrifice himself instead of betraying his Duke, this scene was cut from the film. It is, however, featured as a deleted scene in the Extended Edition DVD; Thufir removes his heart plug and dies in Paul's arms.
- Richard Jordan as Duncan Idaho. Jordan was known for his career both on Broadway as well for a number of secondary roles in film. Genre fans may remember him as Francis in Logan's Run.
- Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Usul Muad'Dib Atreides. This was his film debut. MacLachlan stated that Dune had been his bible ever since he was 14 years old. After Dune, MacLachlan continued to work with David Lynch, in Blue Velvet as well as the Twin Peaks series. MacLachlan was 25 at the time of shooting, while in the novel Paul Atreides is only 15 years old.
- Virginia Madsen as Princess Irulan. Much like Kyle MacLachlan and Alicia Witt, Dune was Madsen's first major role in a mainstream film. She had previously co-starred that same year in the obscure romantic science-fantasy film Electric Dreams.
- Silvana Mangano as Sayyadina Ramallo. Mangano was the wife of producer Dino De Laurentiis.
- Everett McGill as Stilgar, a role for which his muscular 6' 5" build was well suited.
- Kenneth McMillan as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. McMillan's portrayal as the evil Baron is arguably his most famous role; he died in 1989.
- Jack Nance as Captain Iakin Nefud. Nance starred in almost every project by David Lynch until his death in 1996, most notably Eraserhead (1977). Nefud disappears from the film in its climax, and can be only glimpsed at the end with scars in his temples, suggesting he was victim of a lobotomy.
- Siân Phillips as Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam. Phillips was known for numerous television performances in England (most famously as Empress Livia in I, Claudius) and for being Peter O'Toole's wife since 1960.
- Angélica Aragón as Bene Gesserit Sister. Aragón was a well-known telenovela actress.
- Jürgen Prochnow as Duke Leto Atreides. Before Dune, the German actor was already known for his portrayal as the submarine captain in Das Boot as well as his role in the 1983 Michael Mann feature The Keep, in which he co-stars with a dubbed Ian McKellen.
- Paul L. Smith as The Beast Rabban (credited as Paul Smith). Before Dune, Smith had portrayed Bluto in the Robert Altman's live-action adaptation of Popeye.
- Patrick Stewart as Gurney Halleck. Stewart had appeared in the 1981 film Excalibur, and with Siân Phillips in the BBC series I, Claudius. He would go on to be best known as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Much of his part in Dune was left in the editing room, such as his scene of Gurney playing the baliset, which was later restored by the Alan Smithee cut.
- Sting as Feyd-Rautha. English rock musician and songwriter Sting starred as the Machiavellian Feyd-Rautha.
- Dean Stockwell as Doctor Wellington Yueh. Stockwell, who would in the 1990s be known for his role in the television series Quantum Leap, and over a decade later as the antagonistic Cylon 'John Cavell' in the Sci-Fi Channel's Battlestar Galactica; was known at the time for his starring role in the Wim Wenders feature Paris, Texas.
- Max von Sydow as Doctor Kynes. The Swedish actor, better known for his collaborations with filmmaker Ingmar Bergman as well as the titular character in The Exorcist, worked with Dino De Laurentiis in Flash Gordon prior to performing in Dune.
- Alicia Witt as Alia (credited as Alicia Roanne Witt). Dune was Alicia Witt's feature film debut; she was only nine years old at the time.
- Sean Young as Chani. Young's previous film was Blade Runner and stars in Dune as the daughter of Liet-Kynes and the love of Paul Atreides.
- Honorato Magaloni as Otheym (credited as Honorato Magalone)
- Judd Omen as Jamis. In the novel, Jamis challenges Paul to a fight to the death. The Jamis fight was not included in the theatrical cut, although it is included in the Alan Smithee Version.
- Molly Wryn as Harah, Jamis's wife, who is also not included in the theatrical cut.
- David Lynch as a spice worker. Lynch at times had cameos in his works, such as The Elephant Man (1980) and Twin Peaks.
In 1978, producer Dino de Laurentiis bought the rights to Dune following the collapse of Alejandro Jodorowsky's ill-fated attempt to film Dune. By 1981, after a number of unsuccessful attempts to get the project moving, the nine-year deal was expiring. De Laurentiis re-negotiated the rights again and settled the rights for Dune sequels (written and unwritten). Raffaella De Laurentiis, after seeing The Elephant Man, decided that David Lynch should direct the movie. Around that time Lynch was receiving several other offers, including Return of the Jedi, and agreed to direct and write Dune.
David Lynch worked on the script for six months with Eric Bergen and Christopher De Vore, eventually adapting the movie into two scripts. The team split up after this first attempt because of creative differences. Lynch would continue to work on five more different scripts. Shooting of Dune finally started with the 135 page 6th draft of the script on March 30, 1983. With a budget of over 40 million dollars, Dune required 80 sets built upon 16 sound stages and a total crew of 1700. The rough cut of Dune under completion was over four hours in duration without post production effects, but Lynch's intended cut of the movie as reflected in the seventh and last draft of the script was three hours long.
The renowned Swiss surrealist artist, HR Giger, best known for creating the title creature of the film Alien had been selected to design Harkonnen Castle and Giedi Prime, as well as the Sandworm. Many paintings and concept sketches were made, and even interior furniture in the form of a mirror, chairs and a table. (Later mass-produced for commercial sale.) Sadly, Giger's designs were not in the final cut after Lynch became director, who saw them as too well known due to the success of Alien.
However, Universal Pictures and the film financiers expected a standard two-hour cut of the film. To shorten the film, producers Dino De Laurentiis, Raffaella De Laurentiis and director David Lynch removed numerous scenes, filmed new scenes that comprised simplified or concentrated elements of the plot, and added voice over narrations, including a new introduction by Virginia Madsen, into the final cut. Contrary to popular rumors, Lynch made no other version of the movie outside the Theatrical Cut; no longer, three to six hour version ever existed in its complete form.
In the introduction for his 1985 short story collection Eye, Frank Herbert discussed the film's reception, his participation in the production and listed scenes that were shot but cut from the released version. Frank Herbert stated he was satisfied with the end result of the movie, and expressed disappointment that some of the scenes he saw on the rough cuts of Dune were not included in the Theatrical Cut.
Dune's premiere was on December 3, 1984 at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and was released worldwide on December 14. Publicity for Dune was extensive before its release, not only because it was based on a best-selling novel but because it was directed by David Lynch, who had success with Eraserhead and The Elephant Man. Several magazines followed the production, and published articles praising the film before its release, all part of the advertising and merchandising of Dune, which also included a documentary for television as well as items placed in toy stores.
Dune was not the blockbuster science fiction film the filmmakers had hoped; it grossed only $6,025,091 (USD) in its opening weekend and was pulled from theaters after only five weeks. Its total domestic gross was $27.4 million, while its estimated budget was $42 million. Despite a respectable box office gross in Europe and Japan, the film was considered a financial failure. In his review, critic Roger Ebert wrote "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." Ebert added that "The movie's plot will no doubt mean more to people who've read Herbert than to those who are walking in cold," and later named it "the worst movie of the year." Other negative reviews focused on the same issues as well as on the length of the film.
While most critics were negative towards Dune, critic and science fiction writer Harlan Ellison was of a different opinion at the time. In his 1989 book of film criticism Harlan Ellison's Watching, he says that the $42 million production failed because critics were denied screenings at the last minute after several re-schedules, a decision by Universal that, according to Ellison, made the film community feel nervous and negative towards Dune before its release. Ellison eventually became one of the film's few positive reviewers.
More even-handed criticism praised Lynch's noir-baroque approach to the film. Others compare it to Lynch films, such as Eraserhead and assert that in order to watch it, the viewer must first be aware of the Dune universe. In the years since its initial release Dune has become a cult favorite, and has gained more positive reviews from online critics and viewers.
As a result of its commercial and critical failure, Dune's sequels were cancelled. It was reported that David Lynch was working on the screenplay for Dune Messiah  and was hired to direct a second and a third Dune film.
In retrospect, "Lynch admitted he should never have directed Dune,"  and prefers not to discuss it in interviews. Universal has approached him for a possible Director's Cut of the film, but Lynch has rejected every offer.
I started selling out on Dune. Looking back, it's no one's fault but my own. I probably shouldn't have done that picture, but I saw tons and tons of possibilities for things I loved, and this was the structure to do them in. There was so much room to create a world. But I got strong indications from Raffaella and Dino De Laurentiis of what kind of film they expected, and I knew I didn't have final cut. — David Lynch, on Dune
The film makes departures from the novel, most notably in the case of the Weirding Way, which in the novel is a super-martial art form that allows Paul Atreides to move with lightning speed (and is properly termed "prana-bindu training"). In the film it is replaced with "Weirding Modules," sonic weapons that resemble small video cameras and amplify the user's voice into a destructive force. At the time of release, this was controversial among Dune fans. Reportedly, the original technique was left out because it was thought that a pitched combat of Fremen fighting Sardaukar while using the book's Weirding Way would resemble an unsophisticated kung-fu film; additionally, the Weirding Modules provided an opportunity for the use of special effects. This change literalized a moment in the novel in which Paul says his name had become a death-prayer, as the Fremen shout "Muad'dib!" before killing an opponent. In the film, the Fremen actually destroy their enemies by shouting his name, leading Paul to make the remark "my name is a killing word."
- The film grants the Bene Gesserit telepathy, while the novel notes their keen, nearly superhuman awareness.
- In a scene in which Spacing Guild members are responsible for covering up the Guild Navigator's activities, they cannot speak normally, but instead use a translating device, which has the appearance of a vintage radio microphone.
- Iakin Nefud plays a musical instrument which makes horrible squeaking noises
- Hawat is forced to milk a gruesome captive cat daily for the antidote to the residual poison in his body.
- The Harkonnens drink the juices of crushed insects; they also have heart-plugs, sadistic devices that terminate Harkonnen lives by "unplugging" their hearts (in the novel, the heart-plug is a filter to eliminate toxins).
There are several distinctive visual and aesthetic choices made in the film that do not seem directly inspired by Herbert's novel. In the film, the Bene Gesserit women adopt shaven heads when they become Reverend Mothers and the Mentats have enormous eyebrows. The 'thopters (ornithopters) are depicted as wingless, jet- or rocket-propelled aircraft, while the color of the Arrakeen sky is changed from silver to orange.
Perhaps most conspicuously, both Paul and Feyd-Rautha are older in the film than in the novel. There is no mention in the film of the reasons for their mutual hatred, which are explained in detail in the novel. Furthermore, their climactic duel is reduced in both significance and length in the film.
Several characters are excluded from the film adaptation, presumably as a result of time limitations, such as Count Fenring, his Bene Gesserit wife Margot, and several other minor characters. The deaths of characters such as Thufir Hawat (filmed  but omitted from the final cut), Baron Harkonnen, and Rabban were altered or omitted altogether.
The final line in the novel, spoken by Jessica to Chani, is "We who carry the name of concubine - history will call us wives" (in reference to Paul's marriage to and refusal of Irulan), which was filmed but omitted in the final cut. In the final cut of the film, the final lines (spoken by Alia) are "And how can this be? For he is the Kwisatz Haderach!", and are delivered after rain falls on Arrakis.
Some of the novel's central themes were minimized for the adaptation; some do not believe that the political topics such as the "unstable tripod of power" in the novel's universe (Emperor, Landsraad, and Guild) were depicted faithfully, with the Guild having direct influence over the Emperor and view the Landsraad as being almost non-existent, though they are mentioned in the film. The ecological themes were not addressed as they were through the series: the released cuts of the film end with rain falling on Arrakis, apparently at Paul's command. In the novel, this was accomplished decades later, through great efforts by the Fremen and years of terraforming. Additionally, a plot complication is created because rain falling on Arrakis would effectively stop spice production, as in the novel, water is the only thing that poisons worms.
- Dune/Alternate Versions ~ IMDb.com
- Herbert, F. Eye, 1985. ISBN 0-425-08398-5 (US 1st edition) / ISBN 0-7434-3479-X (2001 US reprint)
- Frank Herbert's comments on the Dune film ~ CityofAbsurdity.com
- "David Lynch reveals his battle tactics" ~ CityofAbsurdity.com
- The Dune Collectors Survival Guide ~ Arrakis.co.uk
- Roger Ebert's review of Dune ~ RogerEbert.SunTimes.com
- Dune: Extended Edition review ~ DVDVerdict.com
- Dune: Retrospective, Extrovert magazine
- "Dune: It's name is a Killing Word" ~ ErasingClouds.com
- Dune (1984) ~ RottenTomatoes.com
- Dune (1984) ~ Yahoo! Movies
- "Visionary and dreamer: A surrealist's fantasies" ~ 1984 David Lynch interview ~ DavidLynch.de
- Dune: Retrospective, Extrovert magazine
- Star Wars Origins: Dune ~ spookybug.com
- "Frank Herbert: Lynch movie review" ~ LisaShea.com
- "David Lynch's Dune: What Went Wrong?" ~ StarPort.com
- Dune (1984) review ~ DuneChronicles.org
- Dune (1984) review ~ WorldsGreatestCritic.com
- 1984 ~ 137 minutes
Released worldwide in 1984, it was edited by 37 seconds in the UK to pass PG rating. Though this 137-minute version was not David Lynch's intended cut, it is the only director-approved version and the only official version he ever made of the film for release. It is widely available on both VHS and DVD. In 2006 it was remastered for a special DVD release, and as of late 2006 has been released on HD-DVD with many of the special features seen on other disks.
Alan Smithee Version
- 1988 ~ 189 minutes
The less-seen 189-minute "Alan Smithee" version is a cult favorite on its own. Alan Smithee was a pseudonym used by directors who did not wish to be associated with a film they directed. In this case, Lynch felt that he did not have creative control. Prepared originally for syndicated television (and later seen on basic cable television networks) for a two-night broadcast, it was prepared without either participation or authorization by David Lynch. The missing footage includes a painted montage at the prologue, and several scenes reinserted, including the "little-maker" essence-of-spice scene. The television version was edited in a seemingly haphazard way (for example, certain shots were repeated throughout the film to create the impression that new footage had been added). Lynch objected to these edits and had his name removed from the credits of this print (which were replaced by "Alan Smithee" and "Judas Booth"). This version was initially only released on laserdisc in Japan, but has also been found as a poorly recorded VHS on the bootleg market. It is now available worldwide on DVD.
Channel 2 Version
- 1992 ~ 180 minutes
KTVU, a San Francisco, CA Fox affiliate, pieced together a hybrid edit of the two previous versions for broadcast in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is essentially the television version with all the violence of the theatrical version reincorporated into the film, along with many of the "fabricated" shots objected to by Lynch removed.
An Extended Edition DVD version was released in Europe in November 2005. It includes, among its many extra features, an extended version of the film, credited to Alan Smithee, which is 177 minutes long. The booklet explains that this version was created for an American television channel, and is most likely the aforementioned Channel 2 Version. Neither the video nor the audio was remastered, exhibiting a poor television-like quality. Although the cover states that the soundtrack is in mono sound, it is, in fact, in stereo.
- 2006 ~ 177 minutes
An Extended Edition was released by Universal Home Entertainment in the US on DVD on January 31, 2006. The DVD contains both Lynch's 137-minute theatrical cut and a 177-minute edit of the Alan Smithee television version (the latter being presented for the first time in its original anamorphic aspect ratio). It also features a documentary on the production design and special effects, as well as a supplementary section of outtakes and scenes not included in any previous version of the film, including an alternate ending.
The Workprint Version
- Not released ~ Approximately four hours
An assembly of all footage after the completion of principal photography was shown to the crew in Mexico, as well as to Frank Herbert. Contrary to popular fan rumors, it was by no means the Director's Cut of the film. This workprint version is the basis of such rumors, but there was never a four-hour cut of the movie in its complete form.
- The film inspired the Cryo Interactive video game Dune, which used elements (such as the Weirding Modules) unique to the film. The character of Paul Atreides was designed to look like Kyle MacLachlan, and the CD version of the game included footage of the film.
- American cyber-metal band Fear Factory released their EP "Fear Is the Mindkiller" on April 14, 1993. The title of the record is a quote from "Litany against fear", a fictional incantation from Dune, the science fiction novel written by Frank Herbert.
- On their album Machine Language, the techno-music DJ group Dynamix II's song "Get Out of My Mind" samples a Mohiam/Alia scene from Dune: "Get out of my mind!" "Not until you tell them both who I really am." The drum'n'bass artist Aphrodite opens his song "Spice (Even Spicier)" with a distorted quote from the opening monologue as spoken by Virginia Madsen: "In this time, the most precious substance in the universe is the spice melange. The spice extends life. The spice expands consciousness."
- The Israel-based group Astral Projection also samples Madsen's monologue in the tracks "Dancing Galaxy" and "Ambient Galaxy" on their album Dancing Galaxy.
- On Void Dweller, Techno/Electronic artist Eon samples from the film in songs like "Fear: The Mindkiller" and "Spice."
- The track "Intron.ix" by electronic artist Jega samples the Third Stage Guild Navigator's dialogue with the Emperor.
- "Le dormeur doit se réveiller"("The sleeper will awaken" trans.) by Francophone-Belgian Techno act Pleasure Game (1991) uses samples from the movie.
- Bene Gesserit is an Industrial-gothic Belgian band (active during 90s mostly, mostly on cassette tapes & rare vinyl releases). Bene Gesserit being the name of the all-female sect/coven of seeërs.
- Fatboy Slim's song "Weapon of Choice" contains the lyrics "Walk without rhythm and you won't attract a worm," a line spoken by Paul in the movie.
- Hip-hop/jazz/pop band Rayzd released a hip-hop track called Theme From Dune, which uses Toto's desert theme, along with quotes from and references to, the film, on their 2003 album Fear is the Mind Killer (the album title itself taken from Dune's Litany Against Fear).
- In an episode of Animaniacs, a video copy of Dune is used as a weapon, an exploding 'bomb'.
- In a desert zone in World of Warcraft, players can gather a substance called Silithyst as part of an event. The event is named The Silithys Must Flow, an homage to the famous movie quote. In August 2006 when this event was introduced the Silithyst was spread by huge worms in the sand, though it has since been changed to be expelled from geysers.
- In the song Rotorblade by Juno Reactor, they use a line from the 1984 movie at about 3:47 in the song, "Some thoughts have a certain sound."
- In the song Telepathy by Calxy & Teebee, they use a line from the 1984 movie "Some thoughts have a certain sound."
- Hellectro band Alien Vampires features the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen in the song Control the Universe.
- A Canadian artist by the name of Grimes, released an album called Geidi Primes, with track names such as "Caladan", " Sardaukar Levenbrech", & "Feyd Rautha Dark Heart".
- "To Tame a Land" was written and released on Iron Maiden's Piece of Mind album. This song is a homage to the Dune epic novels.