5 best movies like 'Dune'

"Dune: Part Two" review
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

When it comes to sci-fi epics, it doesn’t get bigger than "Dune." This galaxy-spanning saga, once thought to be unfilmable, has been masterfully brought to life by director Denis Villeneuve in 2021’s Oscar-winning film "Dune" and 2024’s "Dune: Part Two."

While news of a third film in the series has been widely whispered, it has not been confirmed yet, despite director Villeneuve saying in 2021 that he “always saw” his "Dune" movie series as a trilogy and would like to adapt "Dune: Messiah" sometime in the future as its conclusion. 

While fans eagerly wait to hear if Villeneuve will get the chance to continue this saga, here are some films that Dune fans might enjoy in the meantime. From an old-school desert epic to new visions of what the near and far-flung future may look like, here are five movies to check out if you loved Dune. 


Directed by "Dune’s" Dennis Villeneuve, this tense sci-fi thriller tells the story of linguist Louise Banks, who is tasked with communicating with aliens who have arrived on Earth. As she works to unravel the mysteries of the alien language, she discovers that the alien’s mode of communication actually transcends the human perception of time. As she begins to piece together the language, her understanding of it gives her the power to see the long-reaching effects of key choices that she will make in the future.  

Like "Dune," "Arrival" is a thought-provoking film that blends science fiction with elements of linguistics and philosophy, inviting the viewer to challenge their own notions of the nature of time and free will. Like "Dune’s" spice, the language of the aliens in "Arrival" unlocks a dormant psychic ability in humans, which radically changes the future with severe consequences. 

Though the film’s themes are very heavy, Villeneuve’s deft direction keeps the action going, and viewers will find themselves immersed in a captivating narrative that seamlessly intertwines suspense and intellectual exploration.

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'Blade Runner' and 'Blade Runner 2049'

If you dig "Dune’s" philosophical vibes about the nature of humanity and how wealth and power structures could influence the destiny of humanity across the galaxy, "Blade Runner" and its sequel, "Blade Runner 2049," should be right up your alley. 

The original "Blade Runner," released in 1982, follows Rick Deckard after he's tasked with finding and killing synthetic humans, known as replicants, who have been bio-engineered by the powerful Tyrell Corporation to work on space colonies. However, Deckard learns that these replicants have powerful emotions, and he is challenged to interrogate the true motivations of the powerful Tyrell company as well as his own beliefs about what exactly constitutes humanity in the 21st century.  

The sequel, "Blade Runner 2049," picks up 30 years after the events of the original film, and follows Officer K, who is investigating the mysterious disappearance of Rick Deckard as well as the Wallace company’s efforts to engineer replicant reproduction to expand interstellar colonization. Fans of "Dune" may take a particular interest in the sequel as it was directed by Denis Villeneuve over two years in 2016-2017, shortly before he began work on the first "Dune" film.

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'Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind'

One of the big reasons why the story of "Dune" continues to resonate with audiences more than 60 years after the book’s initial release in 1965 is because of its heavy environmental themes, which still influence literature and films today. The original "Dune" novel has often been cited as a key influence for Hayao Miyazaki’s first original anime film, "Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind."

This anime film is set on a post-apocalyptic Earth thousands of years in the future and tells the story of Nausicaä, the teenage princess of the Valley of the Wind who fights to defend a jungle habitat from being exterminated by the kingdom of Tolmekia. While this habitat is toxic to humans, it is home to thousands of bug-like creatures, who Nausicaä believes must be protected at all costs. The thought-provoking film was a massive hit in Japan, becoming the springboard from which the famed Studio Ghibli was launched. 

Though "Dune" specifically delves into the dangers of resource exploitation and ecological imbalance, "Nausicaä" focuses on the potential for healing and co-existence between humans and nature, taking a more optimistic view. However, neither film shies away from the destructive power of war, and the extreme consequences of ignoring the environment. 

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'Mad Max: Fury Road'

Another film set in the far future, "Mad Max, Fury Road" takes place in a dystopian future where resources are scarce, and society has fully collapsed with humanity’s last survivors forming factions under various warlords. The film follows Imperator Furiosa, who finds herself going up against the warlord Immortan Joe, who keeps an iron grip on his community by controlling the water supply. 

Much like "Dune," "Mad Max: Fury Road" presents an unforgiving world where resources are scarce and oppressive regimes control vital resources and subjugate the population. In "Dune," the Harkonnens rule Arrakis with an iron fist, while Immortan Joe controls water in "Fury Road," and both stories feature inspiring tales of subjugated people fighting against oppressive forces, putting their lives on the line in the name of liberation.

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'Lawrence of Arabia'

Though most films on this list firmly fall into the sci-fi genre, "Dune" fans might also enjoy the epic historical drama Lawrence of Arabia. This film draws on the real-life story of T.E. Lawrence, a British officer who helped lead the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

Lawrence is initially assigned to assess the progress of the Arab revolt led by Prince Faisal against the Ottoman Turks. However, Lawrence quickly becomes sympathetic to the Arab cause and gradually becomes a leader within the Arab forces due to his strategic brilliance, knowledge of the desert, and ability to unite the disparate Arab tribes. 

The film explores the complex dynamics of war, identity, and colonialism, and fans of "Dune" will notice parallels between the stories of Paul Atreides and T.E. Lawrence, who both lead rebellions against oppressive forces against a complex cultural backdrop. While one film takes place in the past and the other in the far-flung future, they both speak to an endless cycle of subjugation and the eternal quest for true liberation and freedom. 

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Amanda Kondolojy

Amanda Kondolojy is an entertainment journalist based in Florida with over 15 years of experience covering film, TV, theme parks and more. When not in front of a screen you can find her reading something at the beach (usually by Neil Gaiman, Grady Hendrix or Brandon Sanderson) or dancing around the kitchen to her favorite showtunes.