Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

( 57 )

Overview

Terry Gilliam Brazil, Twelve Monkeys, The Fisher King directed this colorful, stylized, pseudo-psychedelic $21-million adaptation of the 1971 Hunter S. Thompson classic, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey into the Heart of the American Dream, about stoned sportswriter Raoul Duke, Thompson's alter ego, on a wild drug-crazed road trip, a paranoid plummet into the belly of the beast, with his pal, lawyer Oscar Zeta Acosta. Originally serialized in Rolling Stone November 1971, the book catapulted ...
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Overview

Terry Gilliam Brazil, Twelve Monkeys, The Fisher King directed this colorful, stylized, pseudo-psychedelic $21-million adaptation of the 1971 Hunter S. Thompson classic, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey into the Heart of the American Dream, about stoned sportswriter Raoul Duke, Thompson's alter ego, on a wild drug-crazed road trip, a paranoid plummet into the belly of the beast, with his pal, lawyer Oscar Zeta Acosta. Originally serialized in Rolling Stone November 1971, the book catapulted Thompson headfirst toward the Kerouac-Mailer-Capote pantheon and jump-started the entire movement of "gonzo journalism." Carrying a suitcase of drugs, Raoul Duke Johnny Depp with shaved pate and his attorney Dr. Gonzo Benicio Del Toro drive a red convertible across the Mojave from L.A. to Vegas, where Duke has an assignment to cover the Mint 400 desert motorcycle race. As the drugs kick in, Duke ventures into voiceover, filling in the blank spots and narrative gaps. "This is not a good town for psychedelic drugs," says Duke, but even so, they consume vast quantities, eventually escalating to ether. Duke notes that with ether "you can actually watch yourself behaving this terrible way, but you can't control it." The two trash their hotel room, and Gonzo goes back to L.A. Thinking the hotel room holocaust will lead to an arrest, Duke begins a drive back to L.A., but after an odd encounter with a highway patrolman Gary Busey and a telephone conversation with Gonzo, he returns to Vegas to cover the District Attorney Convention on Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs in the glitzy Flamingo Hotel. This time the drugged-out duo trash their Flamingo room. The crazed carnival atmosphere segues into a carney casino, Bazooko's Circus, where a barker Penn Jillette spiels amid aerialists, clowns, and a rotating carousel bar. Gonzo worries over runaway teen Lucy Christina Ricci, who paints portraits of Barbra Streisand. Soon the hallucinations begin: Duke sees Gonzo transmogrify into a demon with breasts on its back, and an acid vision of a Vegas bar features large legit lounge lizards courtesy of monster makeup man Rob Bottin. Flashbacks depicting Duke's intro to the drug scene jump back to love-Haight relationships in San Francisco's Summer of Love. Cameos and guest stars include Mark Harmon, Cameron Diaz, Flea, Lyle Lovett, Harry Dean Stanton, Ellen Barkin, Tobey Maguire, and Hunter S. Thompson himself. The film features a Geffen Records soundtrack mixing rock of the period with Vegas lounge tunes. Over the years, various script adaptations came and went as did numerous talents; people connected with past efforts to film Thompson's book include Martin Scorsese, Jack Nicholson, Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, and writer-director Alex Cox. Shown in competition at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Matthew Tobey
Just as it seemed impossible to make a cinematic adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's words from the classic 1971 account of post-1960s America, it's quite a task describing such a visual film in text. It simply has to be seen to be believed and understood. And that is one of the film's biggest successes, turning the words into images -- original, vivid, unforgettable images that pull the viewer into the movie whether they get it or not, whether it's a dream, a drug trip, or a warped recollection of the past. But Terry Gilliam's brilliant visual style would be wasted if not for the incredible performances of Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro. Both play their characters with the eyes of strangers in a strange land, despite the fact that they are in their home country. Judged by many to be pointless and even boring, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is, as the original book was, a reflection of an unsettling, unpredictable time. It's lack of a concrete traditional story arc may turn some off, but for those who can look beyond that, it is hilarious, scary, manic, and poignant, a film that is pure anarchic entertainment as much as it is compelling insight.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/15/1999
  • UPC: 096898365734
  • Original Release: 1998
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Johnny Depp Raoul Duke
Benicio Del Toro Dr. Gonzo
Craig Bierko Lacerda
Ellen Barkin North Star Waitress
Gary Busey Highway Patrolman
Cameron Diaz Blonde TV Reporter
Flea Musician
Mark Harmon Magazine Reporter
Katherine Helmond Reservations Clerk
Michael Jeter L. Ron Bumquist
Penn Jillette Carnie Talker
Lyle Lovett Road Person
Tobey Maguire Hitchiker
Christina Ricci Lucy
Harry Dean Stanton Judge
Tim Thomerson Hoodlum
Richard Riehle
Technical Credits
Terry Gilliam Director, Screenwriter
Steve Arnold Art Director
Rob Bottin Special Effects
Harold Bronson Executive Producer
Patrick Cassavetti Producer
Lynn Christopher Set Decoration/Design
Alex Cox Screenwriter
Tod Davies Screenwriter
Richard Foos Executive Producer
Chris Gorak Art Director
Tony Grisoni Screenwriter
Nancy Haigh Set Decoration/Design
Kent Houston Special Effects Supervisor
John Jergens Associate Producer
Alex McDowell Production Designer
Jay Meagher Sound/Sound Designer
Laila Nabulsi Producer
Stephen Nemeth Producer
Philip A. Patterson Asst. Director
Nicola Pecorini Cinematographer
Elliot Lewis Rosenblatt Co-producer
Margery Simkin Casting
Lesley Walker Editor
Julie Weiss Costumes/Costume Designer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 57 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(38)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 57 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Absolutely amazing and funny!!!

    I loved this movie! It's one that not everyone is going to like, but if you get it and don't mind the surreal, psychadelic trip - your going to love it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Some people got it...

    This is with out a doubt one of the funniest movies of the nineties. Depp and Del Toro work great together, the soundtrack was excellent, the whole thing was great. Alot of people said they didn't like this movie, well, it's not for everyone. Along with Gilliam's other films the Fisher King, Brazil, etc. it has a very surreal aspect to it (the sequence at the circus sticks out). But if you can stand the surrealness and the f- bombs and the sometimes increadibly dark humor, you'll love it. Highly Recomended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2013

    Tremendous depiction of a life everlasting. RIP Hunter.

    Tremendous depiction of a life everlasting. RIP Hunter.

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  • Posted March 8, 2013

    . Nathan James Mikesell DRUGS! DRUGS! Aparently this book was t

    .

    Nathan James Mikesell
    DRUGS! DRUGS! Aparently this book was the American dream in the 60's, I wouldn’t know I’m 18. For a brief description its about two men one a news reporter the other his lawyer. Their journey begins with a road trip to Vegas too cover a news story about a desert race, really nothing to do with the whole story. On the way there and in Vegas they do a countless number of drugs and a abundance amount of alcohol. Its just about how the drugs feel and not being sober for a few weeks.

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  • Posted November 21, 2012

    ┬┐He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a

    “He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.”
    Our story begins with two friendship locked men that decide to make a weekend in Las Vegas into a savage journey that will turn your stomach and curdle your mind. A lawyer (Benicio Del Toro) and a journalist (Johnny Depp) ravage through the desert in search of themselves or anything similar. Our opening scene takes place in the front seat of a radical red Plymouth driving down an open road somewhere in the middle of the Nevadan desert. Our tenacious duo are one toke over the line from powerful narcotics that they recently procured. “Bats!” screams Depp while stopping for a hitch hiker (Toby Maguire), “We can’t stop here, this is bat country!” It is at this precise moment that our story foreshadows its evil underside and numerous hidden meanings. Based on actual events and the exquisite writings of Hunter S. Thomson’s (played by Depp) accounts from his trip to Las Vegas to cover a 400 mile motorcycle race through the desert. Hunter and his trusted attorney Oscar Acosta (Played by Toro) emerge into the glamour of Las Vegas with the grace of an enraged bull. Armed with Hawaiian shirts, drugs, a typewriter, and a gun, our two antagonists are prepared for a weekend of beastly exuberance across the state of Nevada. Movie enthusiasts and beloved fans of Hunter will both be troubled and curious to find the true meanings of this story that can only be described as “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”
    Fear and Loathing uses a lost weekend in Las Vegas as a metaphor for America’s season in hell; Vietnam. During the time period that these events occurred, the Vietnam War was the spotlight of every major media blockade around the world. When media constantly report on sinister events, such as war, the brainwashed mind that watches and listens becomes increasingly pessimistic towards themselves and others. So how can we escape this dark torment form media influence? In the words of Hunter, “The mind and body must be subjected to extreme stimulus by means of drugs and music.” Thomson provides an air of freedom for our suffocated minds with his norm breaking activities. For many, this story is simply a reinforcing agreement of the effect of drugs on the mind; not a reservoir of hidden undertones of wisdom and unbearable logic. Reporting for his national journal, Sports Illustrated, Thompson files a postmortem on the 60s counterculture by recording the events of his brain.

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  • Posted July 19, 2012

    The movie is great and the special features (esp the commentary)

    The movie is great and the special features (esp the commentary) makes this a must for any HST fan. Makes for a terrific gift.

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  • Posted December 26, 2011

    No Fear

    Based on the book and article by the same name, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the movie has been described by the author Hunter S. Thompson as a ¿a vile epitaph for the Drug Culture of the Sixties.¿
    On the surface it may be classified as two individuals on a wild drug trip, but deeper I believe it does delve into the eroding of the American dream. This venture into what became known as ¿Gonzo¿ journalism has masterfully been brought to life by actor Johnny Depp who not only transforms into Thompson but also adds his own colorful quirks to relieve this writers journey into the abyss.
    Benicio Del Toro as Dr. Gonzo, the affable attorney Oscar Acosta who provides the counter to Raul Duke¿s character and pushes the envelope to the extreme that event makes Hunter seem sane.
    A mix of reality meets fiction, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a cult classic from an age that viewing from today¿s perception seems a whole lot simpler and saner than today¿s world.
    Cameos by a few other well known stars like Carmen Diaz, Bill Murray, and Gary Busey to name a few, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a wildly wicked peek into the American psyche. It reaffirms the old maxim that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Depp as Hunter S. Thompson

    "God's original prototype, too weird to live, too rare to die."

    Depp does a fantastic job of imitating Hunter S. Thompson.... almost too perfect.... right down to his voice and style of smoking. This director brings Thompson's Gonzo journalism brilliantly to the screen. Scary at times, hilarious at others... and some of the most memorable quotes. This film must be watched multiple times, and I promise it only gets better.

    And if you're really in a movie watching mood, I would also recommend "Where The Buffalo Roam" with Bill Murray portraying Hunter, as Depp does in this film. Also check out "Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride" and "Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson." These documentaries give you a great background to Thompson, and probably a greater appreciation and understanding for this film.

    Brilliant, insane, drug-induced good time!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I love this movie

    This movie has been one of my favorites for a long time. It keeps me entertained and is easy to just relax and watch.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    American dream

    This book was a great insight into the drug influenced culture of the 70's. In the book, Hunter S. thompson traveling along with his samoan attorney, set out to las Vegas in hopes to find the AMerican dream. Hunter S. thompson stated that this book was a failed attempt at gonzo journlism, but many disagree. It was a great book non-theless, and definately a must read.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    This is a good movie but I recommend you also give the book a read.

    This movie is a visual trip. A good interpretation of the book!

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    A savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream

    What do you get when you put two overly outgoing drug induced lunatics into a city that never sleeps nor gives a darn? You get an instant American classic, a new favorite book and a five out of five stars for the verdict. The book is about a journalists named Duke who decides to take a routine work trip and turn it into a life altering, drug exploiting, experience that he would never forget. In one part of the text the main character Duke and his companion and attorney, Dr. Gonzo, are speeding at a hundred mph toward Vegas when all of the sudden, the driver Duke, starts screaming at the top of his lungs about a treble roar in the sky. You later learn that all he was seeing were huge black bats in the sky...this was induced by his decision to take a healthy amount of LSD prior to stepping behind the wheel. After making past the death bats and into the city of Vegas, Duke and Dr. Gonzo proceed to take more drugs and have even more unbelievable experiences in the city of lights and entertainment. There wasn't really an aspect of this book that I did no enjoy. The writing is easy to read, and Thompson's writing style paints great pictures in your mind. The in text pictures drawn by Ralph Steadman also help you to perceive the story in the nitty gritty way that Thompson intended. I also really enjoyed the ups and downs of this book, at one point one of the main characters is plotting a homicide, and the next second his intent has changed from homicide to suicide through electric shock. The message of this story is a bit foggy, it balances somewhere between don't do drugs and do as many drugs as you can get your hands on . Overall I give this book two thumbs up, five out of five stars, and ten out of ten smiley faces, it truly is a captivating story, of "A savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream."

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    We Were Somewhere Around Barstow, When The Drugs Began To Take Hold...

    Within minutes you are shot out of a cannon and into the world of infamous Gonzo creator and Journalist Hunter S. Thompson as Raoul Duke, a man on a mission to hunt down the American Dream in one of the craziest cities in the world; Las Vegas, all the while covering a story for sports magazine. Thompson is by far my personal favorite writer, his language, his flow, his thoughts, his antics, his brutal and charming personality, everything he seems to touch is gold in my mind, even though majority of his work was typed up within minutes on assortments of various substances. I feel like Thompson touched a part of American Culture that hadn't been uncovered til he hit the map. He does follow the ranks of earlier author/artists such as Hemmingway, Fitzgerald, Kerouac, Burroughs, etc. But he came in a special time in not just our country, but the world, the 1960s. Even though Fear and Loathing came out in 1971, you still feel the presence of the 60s mindset and counterculture. A time of Fighting for Freedom, Fighting against Intolerance, Standing up for Civil Rights and so much more. This story though is definitely a Romper of a Riot. SO enough about the story which we all should know by now, especially if you're that interested in the film, cause the book should always be read before viewing the film. This film is also my personal favorite, for everything that is involved within the feature, from the cast to the crew to the story to Hunter himself. Johnny Depp is in his best role yet, like Bill Murray before him (Where The Buffalo Roam) Depp imerges himself deeply into the mind of Thompson, Depp even lived in Thompson's basement called the Dungeon for up to 2 months just to get ahold of who Thompson was and how he acts. Depp definitely pulls it off with this feature like he usually does with every Biopic feature he stars in. Benicio Del Toro takes on the role of Chicano Lawyer Oscar Acosta aka Dr. Gonzo. His performance is just as shining as Depp's, gaining weight and turning himself loose like a wild beast breaking out of its cage. Del Toro said in the commentary that after this film came out it was hard for him to receive roles for other projects cause Casting agents were afraid he'd be too crazy like his character. Terry Gilliam of Monty Python directs this film and who better to direct than one of the creators of Monty Python, in my mind, it's a match made in heaven. Gilliam's style goes hand in hand with craziness this story involves and he proves why he is the most eccentric director going then and today. All in all this story took years in the making to get filmed, everybody from Jack Nicholson to John Belushi were up for the roles, but how could this story have been made the way its supposed to be intended. I'm glad that it took so long, cause it wouldn't have been as great as it is now. Everything about this film is perfection and is the perfect film for any occasion. Even though critics slammed the film, it's become one of the biggest Cult Films in history and continues its journey throughout the years. Since Hunter's death, I think the film is more relevant and proves why Thompson was such an original and a Bad-Ass as well. So Turn on, Tune in and Hold on...this ride will whip you around into a frenzy of multiple sorts.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Get Your Facts Straight!

    Raoul Duke is not Dr. Thompsons alter ego. He is Dr. Gonzo hence the name Gonzo journalism. I have a large amount of adoration for Dr. HST.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

    possibly the most underated comedy of the last ten years.this movie is irreverent fun that doesn't take a stoner to enjoy. p.s. Bencio del toro was not in reservoir dogs,Gaz(:

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

    This is a classic movie. I suggest you see it. Oh yeah, Gaz, Benecio del toro wasn't in resevoir dogs you retard.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    one of the most surreal films ever made

    fear and loathing in las vegas was one of the most surreal movies i've ever seen. terry gilliam does a brilliant job in adaptating and directing thompson's book. the way the camera is at times in a slant and the halluncinations gives the viewer an interesting look at an acid trip. i applaud depp and del toro for breathing life in these off beat characters. watch for cameos.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    OMG Funny

    I did'nt know this movie was going to be about drugs, and usually when people do drugs its not funny, but I thought it was harlious! And it doesn't matter anyway beacuse I love Johnny Depp! * You need to see this movie *

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Filming the Unfilmable

    Well...Considering how many other directors & screenwriters have taken a crack at adapting Hunter Thompson's original book, and how it's long been considered ''unfilmable''..along with other masterpieces of Western writing such as ''Catch-22'' & ''Naked Lunch''..well, we've seen the attempts at those, and the simple fact is that those books(and similar highly subjective writing experiments)are so literary, so visionary and so stylized that a producer could hand this type of project to 10 different directors, and you'd get 10 considerably different movies. I suppose Terry Gilliam was as well qualified to film it as anyone else..I could see Aronofsky, Proyas or Oliver Stone just as easily, but I'm not a producer..anyway, any complaints are fairly trivial: half of the fun of the book was the bickering and bantering between Thompson and Acosta, and del Torres' accent and slurred delivery are so heavy that you can't understand much of his dialogue; there are chunks of Thompson's synapse-curdling narration that I wish could have been worked into the film; but, all in all, still a perfectly valid adaptation, since you can't please everybody. The ''Lounge Lizard'' and first ''Hitch Hiker'' sequences are particularly well done..I'm considering buying the expanded Criterion version when it becomes available. Buy it in any version you can get, but brace yourself-it's a scatological, confrontational, frequently deliberately unpleasant movie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    If you like Good Movies you'll like this one

    ''We were around Barstow when the drugs began to kick in''. This is immense and astonishing movie. Johnny Depp did an incredible job with impersonating Hunter S. Thompson as he goes on a ''job to a dirt bike race''. He only takes a red convertable, his Lawyer Dr. Gonzon, a few hawaiian shirts and a suitcase full of drugs that will make thins trip a trip to never foret.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 57 Customer Reviews