This article is from the rec.arts.sf.movies FAQ, by Evelyn C. Leeper firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
As Jerry Boyajian explains (hopefully for the last time [but of course
There is *no* "director's cut" of DUNE of *any* length. The existence
of one is a complete myth. Perhaps when Lynch was cutting the film
originally, there existed such a cut, but if it isn't long gone by now,
it's most likely an untimed work print and not in any sort of releasable
*IF* David Lynch were inclined, and *IF* Dino DeLaurentiis were inclined
(and *IF* his organization wasn't bankrupt), and *IF* the scrap footage
is sitting in a vault somewhere, Lynch could probably reconstruct his
original cut, but all three (or four) of those are mighty big "ifs".
No such cut exists on video, no such cut exists in any final film print.
[There is also no truth to the rumor that there was a European version
that was 4 hours long.]
There exists only one version of the film that's longer than the
original theatrical release, and that was the expanded version made for
television syndication, and it's maybe 50 minutes longer than the
original. But it certainly can't be claimed to be a "director's cut"
because not only did Lynch not get involved in cutting it, he
disapproved of it so thoroughly that he had his name removed as both
writer and director.
I have a large number of film reference books, both genre-specific and
general. I follow a number of film and video magazines, and so forth.
I've heard and read detailed descriptions of different cuts of various
films including BLADE RUNNER, BRAZIL, LEGEND, HIGHLANDER, et alia. I've
read and heard first-hand descriptions by people I know of such longer
versions, or I've seen listings for them as import laserdiscs. But I've
never heard nor read of any definite, substantiated, unquestionable
existence of a version of DUNE, either in commercial release or floating
around in collectors' hands, that is longer than the 190-minute TV
As a matter of fact, the *only* place I've even heard *rumors* of such a
cut of DUNE has been here on Usenet. [One says his rumor is of a
4-hour cut.] I've heard other rumors (via people asking about it, as
did the person who started this thread) of 5-hour versions, 7-hour
versions, 9-hour versions, and in one case, someone reported hearing
about a 15-hour version! [Herbert did apparently mention in an interview
that the first draft of the screenplay ran about 14 hours, so that may be
the source of this mis-information.]
They are mythical. And until their existence is documented, and not just
a rumor that's floating around the net, I will stand by that statement.