15 Movies Like Dune You Must See

Based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 classic namesake novel, ‘Dune’ is a complex sci-fi space-opera movie. It follows Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) as he comes to terms with his messianic destiny following the demise of his father, Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac). As enemies close in on Paul, he and his late father’s Bene Gesserit concubine Lady Jessica seek refuge with the Fremen, the natives of the planet of Arrakis, from where a precious drug known as “Spice” or “melange” is harvested. If you have watched ‘Dune’ and loved it, here is a list of recommendations for you.

15. The Green Knight (2021)

Directed by David Lowery, ‘The Green Knight‘ presents a distinctively mystical and fantastical world, drawing parallels with the grandeur and otherworldly essence of ‘Dune.’ Based on the Arthurian legend, the film follows Sir Gawain’s quest, offering a unique blend of medieval fantasy and existential themes. While ‘Dune’ explores political intrigue on distant planets, ‘The Green Knight’ jumps into similar waters of chivalry and morality within the enchanted realms. Dev Patel leads the cast, delivering a compelling performance alongside Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, and Ralph Ineson. Both films captivate audiences with their immersive storytelling and visual brilliance, albeit in different realms of fantasy.

14. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

‘Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind,’ directed by Hayao Miyazaki, shares thematic similarities with ‘Dune’ in its exploration of environmental themes and the interconnectedness of all living things. Adapted from Miyazaki’s own manga, the film is set in a post-apocalyptic world where a toxic jungle threatens humanity. The protagonist, Princess Nausicaä, navigates the complex relationships between humans and nature, echoing the ecological concerns found in ‘Dune.’ The film’s original voice cast features Sumi Shimamoto, Gorō Naya, and Yōji Matsuda,  contributing to the enchanting narrative that combines environmentalism, adventure, and Miyazaki’s signature visual storytelling.

13. John Carter (2012)

‘John Carter,’ directed by Andrew Stanton, brings to life the swashbuckling adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ iconic character. This action-packed sci-fi film follows John Carter, a Civil War veteran mysteriously transported to Mars, where he becomes embroiled in an ancient conflict. Despite facing challenges in its adaptation, the movie captures the essence of Burroughs’ imaginative world. Both ‘John Carter’ and ‘Dune’ share a common thread in their roots as classic science fiction literature. While ‘Dune’ is based on Frank Herbert’s groundbreaking novel, ‘John Carter’ pays homage to Burroughs’ timeless tales of extraterrestrial intrigue and heroism.

12. Jodorowsky’s Dune (2014)

In the documentary ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune,’ director Frank Pavich delves into the ambitious and unrealized vision of filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky to adapt Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’ into a cinematic masterpiece. Through interviews and archival footage, the film explores Jodorowsky’s unique approach, which involved assembling a dream team of artists and envisioning a transcendental cinematic experience. While ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’ is a documentary and ‘Dune’ itself is a sprawling sci-fi epic, they are connected by the shared theme of visionary storytelling. Both works reflect the challenges and triumphs of translating complex narratives to the screen, offering insights into the creative process and the quest for artistic excellence.

11. Serenity (2005)

Directed by Joss Whedon, ‘Serenity’ ventures into a space-western setting, following Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) and his eclectic crew as they navigate a lawless galaxy. While distinct in narrative, ‘Serenity’ shares quite a few thematic parallels with ‘Dune’ beyond the surface level. Both movies explore the challenges of navigating complex societies on the fringes of falling apart and descending. ‘Serenity’ weaves together elements of rebellion and autonomy as the crew confronts oppressive forces. Much like ‘Dune,’ it intertwines political intrigue with character-driven storytelling, making it a captivating addition to the space-fantasy genre that explores the dynamics of power, survival, and freedom in the vastness of the cosmos.

10. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

In Luc Besson’s sci-fi spectacle, ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,’ stars Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne embark on an intergalactic adventure. Exploring a universe teeming with diverse species and cultures, the film mirrors ‘Dune’ in its epic scale and intricate world-building. The narrative unfolds in Alpha, a colossal space station where various species converge, fostering a delicate balance of diplomacy and intrigue. Both ‘Valerian’ and ‘Dune’ capture the essence of expansive and visually stunning universes, immersing audiences in tales of cosmic proportions, with intricate political landscapes and characters navigating the complexities of their fantastical realms.

9. Mortal Engines (2018)

Directed by Christian Rivers, ‘Mortal Engines’ is a dystopian steampunk adventure featuring Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan, and Hugo Weaving. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where cities are mobile behemoths, the story revolves around Hester Shaw’s quest for revenge against Thaddeus Valentine, unraveling secrets that could alter the fate of their world. Drawing parallels with ‘Dune,’ ‘Mortal Engines’ delves into a meticulously crafted universe with intricate politics, power dynamics, and a sense of destiny driving its characters. Both films captivate audiences with their expansive and imaginative storytelling, exploring the consequences of power, destiny, and the consequences of navigating complex, fantastical realms.

8. Jupiter Ascending (2015)

Directed by Lana and Lilly Wachowski, ‘Jupiter Ascending’ is a visually dazzling space opera featuring Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, and Sean Bean. The plot follows Jupiter Jones, a seemingly ordinary woman who discovers her genetic destiny entwined with a powerful intergalactic family seeking control over Earth. Much like ‘Dune,’ this film ventures into a vast and intricate universe, exploring themes of destiny, power struggles, and the cosmic ties that bind individuals to grandiose destinies. Both films share a penchant for expansive world-building, extravagant visuals, and the exploration of protagonists navigating complex cosmic landscapes.

7. Flash Gordon (1980)

The live-action cinematic adaptation of Alex Raymond’s namesake King Features comic strip, ‘Flash Gordon’ is a space-opera film brimming with action, humor, and romance. The story follows the eponymous character, a New York Jets football player, who ends up on Planet Mongo because of a series of unusual events and discovers that the planet’s ruler, Emperor Ming the Merciless, has declared war on Earth. Now, Gordon must stop Ming’s evil plans with the help of fellow Earthlings Dale Arden and Hans Zarkov; Ming’s daughter Princess Aura; and Prince Barin, the sovereign of the Kingdom of Arboria. In both ‘Dune’ and ‘Flash Gordon,’ an extremely powerful and dangerous emperor serves as an antagonist.

6. The Fifth Element (1997)

Directed by the master sci-fi director Luc Besson, ‘The Fifth Element’ is predominantly set in 2263. An entity ominously known as the Great Evil approaches Earth. The only weapon capable of defeating the Great Evil is made up of four classical elements, represented by four stones. The fifth element, a young girl whose remains are kept in a sarcophagus, is recreated through biotechnology from the severed hand of the original. While escaping her creators, this cloned girl, Leeloo, runs into Korben Dallas. And their extraordinary journey together begins. Both ‘The Fifth Element’ and ‘Dune’ have intricate world-building, complex characters, and undeniable philosophical aspects.

5. Stargate (1994)

Like ‘Dune,’ ‘Stargate’ explores the concept of faith. In 1928, Catherine Langford’s father discovered cover stones inscribed with hieroglyphics and a stargate in Giza, Egypt. In 1994, Egyptologist and linguist Daniel Jackson travels to Planet Abydos through the Stargate with Colonel Jonathan J. “Jack” O’Neil and his unit. They discover that the planet is controlled by the alien who was worshiped as the god Ra in ancient Egypt. Now, with the help of the locals, Daniel and Jack must bring the tyrannical rule of Ra to an end before it’s too late.

4. The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)

‘The Chronicles of Riddick’ is the second entry in the film series of the same name, preceded by the 2000 sci-fi action-horror film ’Pitch Black.’ It follows the antihero Riddick, a member of the Furyan race, as he encounters the Necromongers, a fanatic group of people who believe that the existence of life doesn’t align with the rules that govern the universe.

They travel from planet to planet, either converting or killing their inhabitants. Riddick draws the Necromonger leader’s — Lord Marshal — attention due to his race because it was prophesied that a Furyan would kill Lord Marshal. The House of Harkonnen in ‘Dune’ shares their ruthless attributes with the Necromongers.

3. Ender’s Game (2013)

As with ‘Dune,’ ‘Ender Game’ is a space-opera sci-fi film based on the first entry in a classic and popular book series (written by Orson Scott Card). The film takes place in the distant future, where humanity is locked in a war with an alien race called the Formics. Cadet Andrew “Ender” Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) enrolls in the Battle School, hoping to become a fleet commander and join the war effort.

2. Avatar (2009)

One of the biggest box-offices successes of all time, James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ takes place on the planet Pandora, where humanity has become embroiled in a conflict with the native sentient species, called the Na’vi, over a valuable material called Unobtainium. Jake Sully, a paraplegic former Marine, comes to Pandora after his identical twin brother dies to pilot the latter’s Na’Vi-human hybrid avatar. He eventually falls in love with Neytiri, the daughter of the Na’vi chieftain, and decides to fight alongside the natives against the aggressors. In both ‘Dune’ and ‘Avatar,’ a precious resource is at the center of the conflict.

1. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)

‘Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope’ or simply ‘Star Wars’ is a quintessential space opera film. Luke Skywalker, a moisture farmer from the desert planet Tatooine, embarks on a grand adventure alongside Princess Leia, smuggler Han Solo, and Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi to defeat the Galactic Empire and end the reign of the Emperor Darth Sidious and his student, Darth Vader. Both ‘Dune’ and ‘Star Wars’ use the traditional messianic tropes to introduce their respective heroes.

Read More: Best Space Movies