The atomic structure and lattice dynamics of epitaxial BeTe(001) thin films are derived from surface x-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy. On the Te-rich BeTe(001) surface [1 (1) over bar0]-oriented Te dimers are identified. They cause a (2 X 1) superstructure and induce a pronounced buckling in the underlying Te layer. The Be-rich surface exhibits a (4 X 1) periodicity with alternating Te dimers and Te-Be-Te trimers. A vibration eigenfrequency of 165 cm(-1) is observed for the Te-rich surface, while eigenmodes at 157 and 188 cm(-1) are found for the Be-rich surface. The experimentally derived atomic geometry and the vibration modes are in very good agreement with the results of density functional theory calculations.