10 Great Movies to Watch if You Liked ‘Dune: Part Two’

Frank Herbert‘s acclaimed science fiction novel Dune was once considered so dense and epic that it would be completely « unadaptable » by Hollywood. Beloved cult filmmaker David Lynch had a miserable making his 1984 adaptation, but science fiction auteur Denis Villeneuve succeeded in crafting a much richer, bolder, and more emotional version of the material. Villeuenuve’s 2021 Dune film was a massive critical and cultural success, and the follow-up, Dune: Part Two, is one of the rare science fiction sequels that surpass its predecessor in every way.



By spending more time focusing on Paul Atreides’ burden, expanding the exploration of the Empire’s politics, and delivering some of the grandest action sequences in recent memory, Dune: Part Two is both an intimate character study and an epic of Biblical proportions. The film evokes similarities with many acclaimed epic, fantasy, and sci-fi films, owing a great debt to the many wonderous epics that came before. Fans who are on a Dune: Part Two high and are looking for other similar stories would do well to check these sci-fi movies out. They share similar themes and will provide the same thought-provoking thrills as Villeneuve’s masterpiece.

10 ‘Forbidden Planet’ (1956)

Director: Fred M. Wilcox

Image via Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Fans of Dune: Part Two who enjoyed the mix of fantasy, theology, and technological mechanism may appreciate the 1956 sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet. Loosely based on William Shakespeare‘s The Tempest, Forbidden Planet tells a similar story about the burden of interplanetary travel and the inherently corruptive nature of power.

Herbert’s novel has persisted within popular culture for decades, and similarly, many of the best science fiction films of the 1950s are just as relevant today as they were during their initial release. While its production design and groundbreaking visual effects were largely influential upon the genre as a whole, Forbidden Planet still looks and feels like a modern sci-fi movie. The strong analysis of the inherent unreliability of artificial intelligence makes Forbidden Planet an even more relevant film today, as it speaks to the irreplaceable creativity of human invention.

Forbidden Planet
Release Date
March 23, 1956

Walter Pidgeon , Anne Francis , Leslie Nielsen , Warren Stevens , Jack Kelly , Richard Anderson


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9 ‘Ben-Hur’ (1959)

Director: William Wyler

Judah Ben-Hur and Messala share a drink in 1959's 'Ben Hur'
Image via Loews, Inc.

While there is certainly a strong element of both fantasy and science fiction within Dune: Part Two, Villeneuve’s sequel goes deeper into the Biblical metaphors within the source material’ Paul struggles with being deemed a prophet by the Fremen, as he fears that he will not be able to live up to his destiny. Those who appreciated the Biblical undertones of Dune: Part Two are well-suited to check out the William Wyler classic Ben-Hur, which remains one of the greatest religious epics ever made.

Like Dune: Part Two, Ben-Hur is a story about a divided family, as the brothers Judah (Charlton Heston) and Quintus Arrius (Jack Hawkins) are forced to turn against each other. While neither film is short, Ben-Hur is just as epic in scope, featuring stunning action sequences that haven’t aged a day. The film won a record-breaking eleven prizes at the Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, something Villeneuve’s sci-fi will also attempt to replicate in 2025.

Ben-Hur Movie Poster

Release Date
November 18, 1959
Charlton Heston , Jack Hawkins , Haya Harareet , Stephen Boyd , Hugh Griffith , Martha Scott

212 minutes

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8 ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ (1962)

Director: David Lean

T.S. Lawrence raising a dagger in the desert in Lawrence of Arabia
Image via Columbia Pictures

Among the best qualities of Dune: Part Two is how Villeneuve captures the oppressive nature of the Arrakis desert- The challenging terrain makes it difficult for Paul to develop his relationship with Chani (Zendaya) and lead the Fremen in their revolution against House Harkonnen. There is no better desert movie than Lawrence of Arabia, a 1962 historical epic from director David Lean that tracked the mission by T.E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) to unite Turkish tribes to fight against German forces during World War I.

Both Lawrence of Arabia and Dune: Part Two examine what defines a good leader. As Lawrence questions whether he is the right person to lead a military campaign of such importance, he must deal with his inner struggles and rise to the challenge ahead of him. Lawrence of Arabia is a masterpiece that won seven Academy Awards, including the top prizes of Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for O’Toole. The film remains fresh, striking, and visually inspiring, qualities that also characterize most of Villeneuve’s movies.

Lawrence Of Arabia Movie Poster

Lawrence of Arabia
Release Date
December 11, 1962
Peter O’Toole , Alec Guinness , Anthony Quinn , Jack Hawkins , Omar Sharif , Jose Ferrer

227 minutes

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7 ‘Fantastic Planet’ (1973)

Director: René Laloux

The Draag and Om together in Fantastic Planet.
Image via Argos Films

Villenueve’s first Dune film won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for its highly advanced attention to detail, crafting the vastness of the alien planets and specific mechanics of the Atreides technology. Fans of Dune’s visual splendor should check out the brilliant animated science fiction film Fantastic Planet, a baffling offbeat arthouse epic about the development of the human race in the near future. The film is equally dazzling in how it captures idiosyncratic creatures and their unique cultural society.

In addition to its messianic and spiritual undertones, Dune: Part Two is also a deeply psychological film that analyzes patterns in human behavior and their repercussions in matters of fate, faith, and purpose. Similarly, Fantastic Planet finds a curious manner in which to dissect humanity’s predilections, forcing the viewer to contemplate the ramifications of their own experience. It’s a must-see for any fan of offbeat sci-fi stories, especially those who appreciate challenging and existential narratives.


Fantastic Planet (1973)
Release Date
December 6, 1973

Jean Valmont , Mark Gruner , Hal Smith , Barry Bostwick

71 minutes

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6 ‘Stalker’ (1979)

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky

A man standing on a cloud-like surface in Stalker - 1979
Image via Mosfilm

While Herbert’s Dune series had a longstanding influence on the genre as a whole, Andrei Tarkovsy‘s 1979 masterpiece Stalker is often regarded as the most influential sci-fi movie ever made. Like Dune: Part Two, Stalker has a rather daunting length, but its 161-minute run time flies by as the viewers are immersed in a delicate ethical thriller that forces morally dubious characters to make challenging decisions.

Both films succeed in taking bold, existential concepts and grounding them in more relatable character stories. Like Dune: Part Two, Stalker proves that a slow pace is not a bad thing, as it gives the viewer more time to experience the elaborate worldbuilding. The film is certainly demanding but just as rewarding to those willing to operate under its direction. Even for those who fail to form an emotional connection with the characters, Stalker is so aesthetically unique that it’s worth viewing for the visual spectacle that Tarkovsky creates.

Stalker poster

Release Date
May 25, 1979

Alexander Kaidanovsky

162 minutes

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5 ‘Cloud Atlas’ (2012)

Directors: Tom Twyker, Lana Wachowski, Lily Wachowski

Zachry holding a young girl at the woods in the film Cloud Atlas
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

The success of Dune: Part Two certainly indicates that audiences are in search of large-scale, ambitious science fiction films that feel completely immersive. While it was certainly divisive among both viewers and audiences upon its initial release, Cloud Atlasis easily one of the most ambitious sci-fi films ever made. Based on the acclaimed novel by David Mitchell, the film by The Matrix directors Anna and Lily Wachowski and the Run Lola Run auteur Tom Twyker can’t be faulted for not having bold intentions.

Cloud Atlas spans the entire course of human history, examining how key events in certain timelines influence decisions made by the future of humanity. It’s a rare case in which time skips are utilized appropriately, giving viewers just enough time to empathize with the new set of characters introduced in each segment of the film. Few films can compare to Cloud Atlas’ sheer scope and ambition; it’s a film that defies conventions and explanations, a true, daring work of sci-fi excellence that gets better with every rewatch.

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4 ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ (2014)

Director: Doug Liman

Major William Cage in a combat suit looking to the distance in a battlefield in Edge of Tomorrow
Image via Warner Bros.

The spiritual undertones and ethical questions it provokes will certainly spark a lively debate among both critics and fans, but Dune: Part Two is also a thrilling war film with a keen eye for the importance of strategy and political alliances. In addition to being a creative spin on the time travel formula established in classics like Groundhog Day, the underrated Edge of Tomorrow has one of the best depictions of war in sci-fi cinema.

The presence of trench warfare in the context of an interplanetary conflict makes the material much more interesting than it would have been otherwise. Both Dune: Part Two and Edge of Tomorrow succeed because of their vulnerable protagonists, as having a relatable character is essential to making a fun adventure movie. In what felt like he was cast against type, Tom Cruise plays the cowardly William Cage in Edge of Tomorrow, a character who is reluctant to accept his destiny as a hero. Like Paul, William comes into his own, although with far less success than the supposed Kwisatz Haderach.

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3 ‘Blade Runner 2049’ (2017)

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Officer K (Ryan Gosling) explores the ruins of California in 'Blade Runner 2049'
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

The wave of critical support that Dune: Part Two has already received should not come as a surprise, as it is not the first time that Villenueve helmed a highly-anticipated sequel to a beloved science fiction classic. While Ridley Scott‘s original Blade Runner from 1982 is a seamless blend of futurism and neo-noir, Blade Runner 2049 is a bolder and more ambitious sequel that tops its predecessor in every way. The film’s stunning aesthetics earned it Academy Awards for Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects.

Blade Runner 2049 proves that the best sequels are those that deepen the audience’s understanding of the characters. New information learned about the past of Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard recontextualizes his entire role in the franchise by showing the ethical dilemma he faces. 2049 makes the 1982 classic seem richer and more relevant, honoring its predecessor while still daring to go beyond its established parameters. Villeneuve once again proves that even the most visually dazzling sci-fi films require a touch of humanity.

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2 ‘Annihilation’ (2018)

Director: Alex Garland

Lena checking the inside of an alligator's mouth in 'Annihilation'
Image via Paramount Pictures

While it’s often associated with the adventure genre due to its traditional « hero’s journey » narrative, Dune: Part Two is unafraid to lean into the scariest aspects of science fiction. Alex Garland‘s thoroughly underrated 2018 film Annihilationmerges sci-fi and horror in an inventive way that isn’t afraid to get genuinely surrealist as it reaches its conclusion.

Like Dune: Part Two, Annihilation features a strong undercurrent of tension that doesn’t allow the viewer to catch their breath due to the constant barrage of frightening imagery. Both movies are impressive in how they adapt acclaimed yet notoriously unyielding novels, as bringing to life beloved source material is no easy task for any filmmaker. While Jeff VanderMeer‘s novel of the same name is acclaimed in its own right, Garland’s version of Annihilation makes tactful and necessary changes to the original text that make it a more immersive film.


Release Date
February 22, 2018

115 minutes

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1 ‘Ad Astra’ (2019)

Director: James Gray

An astronaut surrounded by a beautiful landscape in Ad Strada
Image via 20th Century Studios

Sci-fi is often a great medium to explore parental relationships, and James Gray’sAd Astra uses the space opera genre to tell a powerful story about the deteriorating relationship between a father and son. Similarly, Dune: Part Two deals with political intrigue, destiny, and the economy of greed, but it’s also a deeply powerful character study about a broken family; Paul’s loss of his father, Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac), hangs over him throughout the story.

Brad Pitt gives an incredible performance as astronaut Roy McBride, who travels across space to reunite with his lost father Clifford (Tommy Lee Jones). An epic adventure that is worthy of the big screen, Ad Astra is as imaginative and exciting as sci-fi can get. Quiet, reflexive, and powerful, the film is a slow build toward a harrowing conclusion, maintaining a sense of dread throughout. While it was unfortunately slept on by main viewers during its initial release, time has been kind to Ad Astra, hopefully encouraging more viewers to check out this underrated gem.

Ad Astra
Release Date
September 17, 2019


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