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10 Best Movies Like Dune to Watch Next


Dune is one of the most exceptional sci-fi films ever made, successfully merging a captivating storyline, impressive acting, an engrossing musical score, and stylish effects to create an outstanding work of science fiction. Adapted from Frank Hebert’s book series, the story was transformed by director Denis Villeneuve into a grand cinematic achievement. Adapting an epic like Dune is challenging, but Villeneuve did an amazing job delivering a mind-blowing sci-fi flick that not only enthralled audiences but gained praise and recognition from critics and awards institutions across the industry, particularly the Oscars.




Released in 2021, Villeneuve’s Dune unfolds in a distant future where noble families control planets, and the most valuable item is Spice. The story follows as Paul Artreides finds himself embroiled in intense political intrigue and betrayals that are reminiscent of the power struggles in Game of Thrones. Timothee Chalamet leads an ensemble cast that includes Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Dave Bautista, and other talented actors. The much-anticipated Dune: Part Two is slated for release in 2024. In the meantime, here are ten other films like it that you can enjoy while awaiting its arrival.

Update February 27, 2024: In honor of Dune: Part Two opening in theaters, this article has been updated with even more great films to watch if you enjoyed Dune.

Dune

Release Date
October 22, 2021

Main Genre
Sci-Fi



Interstellar (2014)

interstellar

Interstellar

Release Date
November 5, 2014

Main Genre
Sci-Fi

Runtime
2h 49m

Directed by the highly acclaimed Christopher Nolan, Interstellar follows a NASA pilot and his crew, who are tasked with finding a new planet for humans to live on after humanity’s survival is endangered by famine. The crew faces various challenges while making sacrifices for the greater good of humanity.

How It’s Like Dune

Both Interstellar and Dune are gorgeous-looking films, ones that truly capture the awe-inspiring scope of the cosmos. Praised by both critics and audiences, these films showcase visual brilliance, intriguing narratives, immersive world-building, and talented casts that fill out these incredible worlds. Interstellar, praised for its ambition and emotional depth, shares with Dune an incomparable epic scale, immersive sound design, and grand visuals that elevate the overall viewing experience. Stream on Paramount+ and Prime Video.


Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Yet another jaw-dropping sci-fi movie from Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049 follows Officer K (Ryan Gosling), who works for the LAPD, hunting down and retiring older model replicants. However, a routine assignment leads him to a discovery that has the potential to unravel society and bring him face-to-face with the elusive Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford).


How It’s Like Dune

Like Dune, Blade Runner 2049 is a notable entry in the sci-fi genre, known for its complex narrative and visual excellence. Both directed by Villeneuve, these films showcase his commitment to creating immersive cinematic experiences. Blade Runner 2049, in particular, is characterized by its dark urban feel, detective elements, and exploration of complex themes like identity and artificial intelligence. Despite arriving 45 years after the original Ridley Scott film, Villeneuve’s film maintains its quality and remains a brilliantly crafted film, earning its place among the best sequels of all time. Stream on Max

Avatar (2009)

avatar

Avatar

Release Date
December 18, 2009

Runtime
162

Avatar is the highest-grossing film of all time, so there is a chance this is one you’ve seen before, but if you haven’t in a long time, the film has a lot in common with Dune. The film follows Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a marine who arrives on the planet Pandora and partakes in the Avatar program, putting his consciousness into the body of a native of the planet to get closer to the native population, the Na’vi. Jake Sully, a visitor to this planet, falling in love with Netiri is similar to Paul falling for Chani in Dune.


Why It’s Like Dune

Much of Dune is about exploring the planet of Arrakis and informing the audience of its culture, wildlife, and customs. Avatar does much of that, but with Pandora, a nice, rich, lush green jungle planet that contrasts nicely with the golden sands of Arrakis. Dune was a massive IMAX spectacle, while Avatar rejuvenated 3D moviegoing. Both Avatar and Dune are massive sci-fi epics, and while Avatar seems to be influenced by the Dune novel, the Dune film clearly draws inspiration from Avatar as a film. Stream on Disney+.

Ex Machina (2015)

ex machina

Ex Machina

Release Date
January 16, 2015

Runtime
108


Under the direction of Alex Garland, Ex Machina revolves around a young programmer invited to a secluded estate, where he learns that he’s part of an experiment that involves artificial intelligence. Although both films may differ in terms of setting, narrative framework, and the specific science fiction scope they explore, they offer intriguing glimpses into the future.

How It’s Like Dune

Ex Machina is a unique, disturbing, and bizarre story that raises questions about what it means to be human. With less emphasis on action and a departure from the typical sci-fi structure, it captivates those drawn to movies with twists, tension, and psychological thrills. Beyond its surface theme of artificial intelligence, Ex Machina is about power and manipulation, which are themes explored on a larger scale in Dune. Stream on Max

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Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Based on the real-life of T.E. Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia stars Peter O’Toole as T.E. Lawrence and follows his experiences in the Ottoman provinces of Hejaz and Greater Syria during World War 1. The similarities between Lawrence of Arabia and Dune are obvious, as Villeneuve has cited the films as a major influence on how he approached Dune.

How It’s Like Dune

The film features vast desert vistas with a massive cinematic scope that is demanding to be seen on the biggest screen possible. Storywise, the two have a lot of overlap as well. Just as Paul unites the Fremen of Arrakis to fight against their oppressors, Lawrence also brings the Arab peoples together against the Ottoman Empire. Both heroes find themselves grappling with the questions of identity and their roles within larger conflicts. Thus, for those seeking desert tales akin to Dune but without the sci-fi elements, Lawrence of Arabia serves as a great alternative. Stream on the Criterion Channel and Tubi.


Children of Men (2006)

children of men

Children of Men

Release Date
September 19, 2006

Cast
Juan Gabriel Yacuzzi , Mishal Husain , Rob Curling , Jon Chevalier , Rita Davies , Kim Fenton

Runtime
109

Set in a bleak future where humanity’s infertility has led to the extinction of new births, the dystopian movie, Children of Men follows the journey of an activist through a merciless landscape on a mission to protect a woman who miraculously falls pregnant. Directed by Alfonso Cuaron, it is an adaptation of a P.D. James novel of the same name.

How It’s Like Dune

Both Dune and Children of Men are gorgeous-looking sci-fi films helmed by visionary filmmakers. Both also have a real sense of tactile reality to them, as they embody the lived-in future that George Lucas pioneered with Star Wars. Children of Men is on the surface a much bleaker film than Dune, yet it is a hopefully one about how humanity can, and will be saved. If you want another thoughtful, well-shot, and morally complex sci-fi film after Dune, then check out Children of Men. Stream on Starz


Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

George Miller’s post-apocalyptic action film, Mad Max: Fury Road, is set in a world where resources are scarce, and society has collapsed into a chaotic and violent wasteland. At the core of the stories are Max Rockatansy (Tom Hardy) and Furiosa (Charlize Theron), who join forces to escape the tyrannical warlord Immortan and his oppressive regime.


How It’s Like Dune

Like most dystopian tales, both Dune and Fury Road mirror themes of resource scarcity, oppressive regimes, and survival in harsh environments. Fury Road, in particular, manages to be intense in every scene. Tailored for large screens, both films offer an immersive viewing experience, featuring intriguing films set in desert-like wastelands and great action sequences. Both films are critically praised sci-fi films in barren desert worlds with rich thematic worldbuilding that also received a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards and were big hits in the technical categories at the Oscars in their respective years. Stream on Max

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John Carter (2012)


Lost in one world, found in another. That was the tagline for John Carter, an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ semifinal sci-fi novel, Princess of Mars. The story follows the titular character, played by Taylor Kitsch, a soldier during the Civil War who finds himself transported to the plans of Mars (known to the locals of the planet of Barsooom). While many sci-fi films like Star Wars and Avatar owe a great deal to the Dune novel, Dune itself is building off the foundation laid forth by Burroughs Barsoom’s books. John Carter scratches the surfaces of what the books would get to, but it also features a deep dive into alien cultures, psychedelic sci-fi concepts, and incredible visuals.

Why It’s Like Dune

The film John Carter is certainly more a pulp sci-fi film in terms of aesthetics and tone compared to Dune‘s hard sci-fi, but both films are big swings on seminal works of sci-fi literature. John Carter did not pay off, as it was one of the biggest box office flops of all time, while Dune managed to impress critics and audiences alike to warrant a sequel. John Carter is a great watch for anyone who wants to see what another potential sci-fi epic franchise could have been. Stream on Disney+.


Eternals (2021)

eternals

Eternals

Release Date
November 5, 2021

Runtime
2hr 36min

Eternals is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and explores the titular team, a race of alien robots who have been watching over humanity for 5,000 years. Yet after one of the group is murdered, they reunite after years apart and discover the dark secret behind their creation and their role in the cosmos. They now must decide to defy their creators and save Earth or allow the planet to die for the long-term goal of the universe.


How It’s Like Dune

Released just three weeks after Dune, Eternals got unfairly roped into a competition with the film as many used the mixed reaction to the MCU sci-fi epic as a way to prop up Dune while also getting a lot of frustration out about Marvel movies. Yet Dune and Eternals had a lot in common, and both had more in common than people wanted to give them credit for. Both were sci-fi epics helmed by two visionary filmmakers who looked to adapt very esoteric and out-there concepts into a big blockbuster. Where Dune favored massive wide shots to show the scope of Arakis, Eternals favored more intimate close-ups of characters. Dune was about humans looking at the hostile nature of an alien world, and Eternals was about aliens looking at the beauties of Earth. These two films complement one another. Stream on Disney+

Arrival (2016)

Arrival

Arrival

Release Date
November 10, 2016

Main Genre
Sci-Fi

Runtime
116


Arrival follows linguistics professor Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams), who is recruited by the U.S. military to help communicate with aliens who have landed in different locations around the world. As Louise delves into deciphering their language, she discovers that the alien’s language is, in fact, time and gives her visions of the future.

How It’s Like Dune

Arrival is yet another thoughtful and intellectually engaging work of science fiction to see after watching Dune and is also from the brilliant mind of Villeneuve. His impact is evident in the meticulously crafted plot and the breathtaking cinematography, which has become his trademark as a director. Like Dune, this film is unpredictable and will keep many glued to their screens, eager to see how things turn out eventually. Not focused on action, this sci-fi film takes a different route by focusing on the importance of language and communication. Arrival showed that Villeneuve was one of the best sci-fi directors working today and stood as one of the best movies of the 2010s. Stream on Paramount+ and FuboTV.


Watch the trailer for Dune: Part Two below.



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