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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

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An oddball journalist and his psychopathic lawyer travel to Las Vegas for a series of psychedelic escapades.

Director:

Terry Gilliam

Writers:

Hunter S. Thompson (book), Terry Gilliam (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Popularity
1,717 ( 252)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Johnny Depp ... Raoul Duke
Benicio Del Toro ... Dr. Gonzo
Tobey Maguire ... Hitchhiker
Michael Lee Gogin Michael Lee Gogin ... Uniformed Dwarf
Larry Cedar ... Car Rental Agent - Los Angeles
Brian Le Baron Brian Le Baron ... Parking Attendant (as Brian LeBaron)
Katherine Helmond ... Desk Clerk at Mint Hotel
Michael Warwick ... Bell Boy
Craig Bierko ... Lacerda
Tyde Kierney Tyde Kierney ... Reporter
Mark Harmon ... Magazine Reporter
Tim Thomerson ... Hoodlum
Richard Riehle ... Dune Buggy Driver
Ransom Gates Ransom Gates ... Dune Buggy Passenger
Laraine Newman ... Frog-Eyed Woman
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Storyline

The big-screen version of Hunter S. Thompson's seminal psychedelic classic about his road trip across Western America as he and his large Samoan lawyer searched desperately for the "American dream"... they were helped in large part by the huge amount of drugs and alcohol kept in their convertible, The Red Shark. Written by Laurence Mixson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Four Days, Three nights, Two Convertibles, One City See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive extreme drug use and related bizarre behavior, strong language, and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 May 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Angst und Schrecken in Las Vegas See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,335,095, 25 May 1998, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$10,680,275, 6 June 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the check-in scene, towards the beginning of the movie, a man is heard describing a murder, where the victim was decapitated and had their pineal glad removed. In a later scene, Duke consumes adrenichrome, and it is stated that the drug can only be obtained from the pineal glad of the human brain. See more »

Goofs

After Dr. Gonzo takes over driving through the desert in the red convertible during the opening scene, the gear shift for the automatic transmission is all the way up, indicating it to be in PARK. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Raoul Duke: [narrating] We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like:
Raoul Duke: I feel a bit lightheaded. Maybe you should drive.
Raoul Duke: [narrating] Suddenly, there was a terrible roar all around us, and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, and a voice was screaming:
Raoul Duke: Holy Jesus. What are these goddamn animals?
[swatting the air]
Raoul Duke: Huh! Huh! Huh! Fucking pigs.
Dr. Gonzo: Did you ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Ralph Steadman drawings from the book are put in with the credits, along with the Gonzo & Duke in the Red Shark picture that takes up the whole screen at the end. See more »

Connections

References Easy Rider (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Calling All Clowns
(uncredited)
Music by David Lindup
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Don't do drugs, just see this movie- Gilliam's masterpiece, perhaps
19 March 2000 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a psychedelic comedy, but also an astute piece of literature-cum-political science on a period in American history that was just really strange, thus reflected by its creator. It was the pioneer in 'Gonzo journalism' and sent Thompson's star even higher than it had with Hell's Angels. Although it's one of my personal favorite books, it could have been tricky to adapt it- Alex Cox tried and failed- but somehow Terry Gilliam digs into the Thompson psychology, dementia, and off-the-wall humor, while also putting his unmistakable mark on the material. Two sensibilities thus merge, alongside the tremendous performances (underrated, despite the praise from fans) from Depp and Del-Toro. It asks an essential question- how does society end up crossing paths with the outlaws? But there's more than that- much more in fact- but it takes more than one viewing. I remember writing the first time I saw it: "This film is so bizarre you might just want to put down the bong and get high from this movie (after all, the movie contains every single known drug known to man since 1544)."

Granted, it's immediate appeal is that of a midnight movie, the ultimate midnight movie, as a work where the visual style is cranked up to a queue that goes even further than past Gilliam ventures. Distorted, sometimes tilted, widescreen angles, very bright, strange colors via Nicola Pecorini, and a beating soundtrack loaded with everything from Jefferson Airplane to Tom Jones to Bob Dylan to Debbie Reynolds (what kind of rat bastard psychotic would put that on right now, at this moment)! And aside from Depp and Del-Toro, who immerse themselves to the hilt (Depp especially is in a form here comparable to his Pirates movies- you can't see anyone else play the character, and at the same time you almost can't recognize him, a credit to Depp's 'method' style), there's hilarious supporting work from Craig Bierko, Tobey Maguire, Gary Busey, Harry Dean Stanton (Castration!), and Christina Ricci, and even an extremely moving and dangerous scene with Ellen Barkin.

It's not an easy film, to be certain, and it will likely appeal to those who may think 'ah, drugs, I like drugs, must be my kind of movie'. But it's not that simple; it's actually fairly critical of drug use, in an overblown, Fellini-esquire satirical manner (eg Adrenochrome, which is a tiny landmark of gonzo film-making to complement the author), and there really is no point where Gilliam, Thompson or the characters say 'take drugs'. On the other hand, there is also a critical attitude, a refreshing and brilliant one, on authority, like at the DEA convention at the hotel- again, strange times in society. At the same time the film is superb as escapist fun, in the darkest and craziest ways that only a maverick like Gilliam and his people can pull off, it's also got some layers in the substance, of Duke and Gonzo almost as relics from a former era already in 1971. With consistently quotable dialog, excruciating moments of depravity, and some of the most outrageous production design in any film, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is an unlikely cult classic, and in its own delirious fashion a possible definitive work from the director alongside Brazil.


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