Dune is a 1984 science fiction film written and directed by David Lynch, based on the 1965 Frank Herbert novel of the same name. The film stars Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atreides, and includes an ensemble of well-known American and European actors in supporting roles.
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 titular desert planet from the malevolent House Harkonnen with the aid of native Fremen.
After the success of the novel, attempts to adapt Dune for a film began as early as 1971. A lengthy process of development hell followed throughout the 1970s, during which Arthur P. Jacobs, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Ridley Scott all tried to bring their vision to the screen. 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, although the film has become a cult favorite, and at least three different versions have been released worldwide. In some cuts of the film Lynch’s name is replaced in the credits with the name of a fictional director Alan Smithee, a pseudonym used by directors who wish not to be associated with a film for which they would normally be credited.
Dune premiered in Washington, D.C., on December 3, 1984, at The Kennedy Center and was released worldwide on December 14. Pre-release publicity was extensive, 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.
Dialogue and music from the film have been sampled in various songs. On their album Machine Language, the techno-music DJ group Dynamix II’s song “Get Out of My Mind” samples the Mohiam/Alia scene which features the titular line. Virginia Madsen’s opening monologue is also featured in several songs by artists including Aphrodite, Astral Projection, and MFG. The Christian industrial/dance band Mortal samples from the film in their 1993 album Fathom, including featuring Baron Harkonnen’s line “I’m alive!” in the song “Alive and Awake.” The popular single “Weapon of Choice” by Fatboy Slim features the lyric “Walk without rhythm, and it won’t attract the worm” pulled almost word for word from the film; a phrase spoken by Paul Atreides (Kyle MacLachlan).
The 1990 production of “Spice” by Eon (musician) also contains dialogue from the Baron and Guild Navigators. The retro-swing band Rayzd, on their Dune-inspired album Fear is the Mind Killer, samples the Litany against fear and other audio clips on their song “Your Mind.”
Florida hardcore band Shai Hulud, in addition to their name, frequently reference the film and mythology of Dune in their lyrics and imagery. Sound bites from the film are used in some of their songs, and their backup vocalists are referred to as “The Fremen Warriors.”
The circa 2006 song “The Prophecy” by Israeli Goa-Trance band Astral Projection also features several samples from the movie.
Eon’s song “spice” also contains a sample of “Spice must flow”.