In a discussion thread on reddit, one post claimed that Frank Herbert liked David Lynch's adaptation of his novel (until then I was under the impression Herbert never lived to see it, but I digress)- does anyone know if there is any truth to this supposition?

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    Just for the record: Lynch's Dune was released in December 1984. Herbert passed away in February 1986. Sep 12, 2021 at 1:45

2 Answers 2


This does seem to be the case. Quoting from a 1984 People magazine article (web archive copy):

It's rare to find an author who feels that a director hasn't massacred his work, but after seeing a rough cut of Dune, Herbert is pleased. "They've got it. It begins as Dune does. And I hear my dialogue all the way through. There are some interpretations and liberties, but you're gonna come out knowing you've seen Dune." His reaction to the rock singer Sting, who plays the villainous Feyd-Raucha, "Ah, he can act!" As for those infamous sandworms, created by John (Star Wars) Dykstra and Carlo (E.T.) Rambaldi, Herbert was impressed: "They're realistic and scary. These are no Japanese monsters rising out from the deep to eat Kyoto."

(Emphasis added)

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    Actually I saw it on TV and I thought it was good. I saw a newer attempt (can't remember who made it), and it was much worse (less mystical IMHO). Interestingly today I read that the original version from Lynch was something like 5 hours long. I'd like to see the "uncut" version...
    – U. Windl
    Sep 12, 2021 at 0:07
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    @U.Windl: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dune_(1984_film)#Editing "Contrary to rumor, Lynch made no other version besides the theatrical cut. A television version was aired in 1988 in two parts totaling 186 minutes; it replaced Madsen's opening monologue with a much longer description of the setting that used concept art stills. Lynch disavowed this version and had his name removed from the credits."
    – Greg Askew
    Sep 12, 2021 at 13:27
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    I have never understood the hatred that the 1984 Dune receives. If you removed the random bits of David Lych weirdness e.g. Harkonnen heart plug thing etc. it is a very faithful adaptation of the book with good effects for the time.
    – jwezorek
    Sep 12, 2021 at 19:39
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    @jwezorek I think that played a big part; a lot of the visual style things didn't go over very well (not just all of the Harkonnens and Giedi Prime, but the ornithopters weren't popular either), but people also got hung up on "weirding modules" instead of "weirding way."
    – DavidW
    Sep 12, 2021 at 19:43
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    @jwezorek Dune has grown on me - when I first watched the film all the gross out violence & body fluids was a turnoff for me & likely other viewers as well. Some of the special effects were a little cheesy. The whispering voice overs were a little odd and distracting as well. Also, it's not exactly an uplifting, feel good sci-fi film like Star Wars & others in the genre. It's very dark and violent Still, Dune had awesome sets & costumes, cool creature effects, and a fantastic music score by Toto IMO.
    – RobertF
    Sep 12, 2021 at 21:03

Herbert addresses this at some length in the introduction to his 1985 short story collection Eye. His feelings were mixed, but overall positive, I'd say.

The hype machine grinded into action, telling people to expect the complete Dune. My efforts were enlisted. I joined in wholeheartedly because I enjoyed the film even as cut and I told it as I saw it: What reached the screen is a visual feast that begins as Dune begins and you hear my dialogue all through it.


Was it a success or a failure as a movie? I'm the wrong person to ask. Like me, Dune movie audiences, fans and newcomers, wanted more. They would have returned many times to see that "more." What they saw was true to my book, even though most of it stayed on the cutting room floor. Dune fans could supply the missing scenes in imagination but they still longed for those scenes.

  • You'd think an author would know it's "ground", not "grinded".
    – OrangeDog
    Sep 11, 2021 at 11:16
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    Dunno, grinded into action sounds more poetic - sometimes imagery overcomes technical correctness
    – HorusKol
    Sep 11, 2021 at 13:37
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    @OrangeDog: grinded is non-standard, but not by any means wrong — and an author is especially likely to have the guts to go with their own preference, irregardless of the grammar police. As Raymond Chandler wrote — “When I split an infinitive, God damn it, I split it so it will stay split.”
    – PLL
    Sep 12, 2021 at 0:32
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    @PLL Did you do the same with that "irregardless"? Just triggering the grammar police? :D merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/…
    – user144238
    Sep 12, 2021 at 6:49
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    @PLL I personally feel that irregardless has its place, regardless of general opinion to the contrary. Odds are that one such place is not the above. Fortunatel, or alas, my personal opinion counts for about zilch on such matters. Being an antipodean further decreases any merit it may not or may have. [ :-) ] - RM in far off NZ. Sep 12, 2021 at 22:53

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