10 of the Greatest Movies Never Made

jodorowsky dune

Dune | City Film (II)

A multitude of interesting films miss out on getting made every year for a variety of reasons, but there are some that stand out from the rest because the thought of “what if” is simply too fascinating to dismiss. But in many cases, the studios’ decision to pass on a project can’t be entirely criticized — some of the following projects are flat out bizarre and could just as easily be a financial disaster as a hit. Still, it would be amazing to see any of the following 10 projects realized, even if they sound pretty crazy.

1. Dune — directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky

Often hailed as one of the greatest missed opportunities in film history, the story of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s attempted adaptation of Dune was recently chronicled in the acclaimed documentary, Jodorowsky’s Dune.

The acclaimed director pursued the film throughout the 1970s and assembled a dream team of creative forces that would later go on to make some of the most influential films of the era. The team included: H.R. Giger, who would later create the iconic designs of Ridley Scott’s Alien; Jean Giraud (Moebius), who provided storyboards and designs and was later involved with Alien, Tron, and The Fifth Element, among others; and Dan O’Bannon, who was set to head the film’s special effects and later moved on to Alien after Dune lost its financing.

To call Jodorowsky’s Dune an insane project almost seems like an understatement. Aside from the key creative forces already mentioned, Jodorowsky was also planning to collaborate with actors Salvador DalíOrson WellesGloria SwansonDavid CarradineGeraldine ChaplinAlain DelonHervé Villechaize, and Mick Jagger. If all of this wasn’t enough, the soundtrack was also set to be provided by Pink Floyd at the height of the band’s powers.

But in all honesty, it’s a film that probably seems way more incredible to think about than to actually see on-screen. Financiers would later seem to come to the same conclusion amid reports that Jodorowsky’s Dune film could run 10 or more hours long. They pulled the plug on the filmmaking team, leading the key creative figures to move on to other projects.

The film would ultimately end up in the hands of a young David Lynch and subsequently became a critical and financial failure, although the film has notably achieved cult classic status in recent years.

Now, as recently announced on Twitter by Frank Herbert’s son Brian Herbert, director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) has been tapped to helm a new series of Dune films. [Update, 2/2/17: Added announcement about new ‘Dune’ films.] 

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