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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
1,189 ( 116)
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:

Buy the ticket, take the ride. 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

During the initial development hell to get the film made, Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando were originally considered for the roles of Duke and Gonzo, and Nicholson was attached, but he, and Brando, both grew too old. Afterward, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi were considered for the duo, but that fell apart when Belushi died. John Malkovich was later considered for the role of Duke, but he too grew too old. At one point, John Cusack was almost cast, but then Hunter S. Thompson met Johnny Depp, and was convinced no one else could play him. Cusack had previously directed the play version of "Fear and Loathing", with his brother playing Duke. See more »

Goofs

After Duke pulls off to the side of the road and starts swatting at the bats he's hallucinating, the camera crane and a reflection of a crew member can be seen on the car; the dirt kinda obscures this from view. 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 The Blues Brothers (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Time Is Tight
Written by Steve Cropper, Donald Dunn (as Donald "Duck" Dunn), Al Jackson Jr. (as Al Jackson), Booker T. Jones
Published by Irving Music, Inc.
Performed by Booker T. & the M.G.s (as Booker T. & The MGs)
Courtesy of Stax Records/Fantasy Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

pointlessness is the point
30 July 2003 | by vincent-27See all my reviews

For all those of you who decry this movie for being pointless and lacking soul, that was the point! This is an excellent movie, a true adaptation of the book, nothing more and nothing less. It is an unflinching look at the sickening excesses of a consumption based culture of America during the early 1970's, who's vacuous heart resides in Las Vegas, a symbol of greed and debauchery. The pointlessness of the movie is a metaphor for the pointless pursuit of personal gratification and greed, the true heart of the "American Dream".

If you put aside the usual assumptions about a movie, i.e. that you are supposed to care about the characters, that their needs to conflict and resolution etc, then you will enjoy it much better. This movie is a magical ride and actually works on many levels, not only as testimony to the horrors of excessive drug use, and the tacky, ugly view of the worst parts of America, but also to the failed 60's generation, a generation that thought that "somebody somewhere is guarding the light at the end of the tunnel". Drug use is simply a way of escaping your present reality, and all the drugged out zeroes of the sixties were truly lost if they thought that enlightenment and peace could come from a hit of acid. This movie takes Timothy Leary's supposition of "freeing your mind" to it's ultimate conclusion and the conclusion is that you are not actually freeing your mind, but destroying it.

Of course this movie is also fun to watch the incredible performances by Johnny Depp and Benitio Del Torro, both of whom I barely even recognized in their roles (Depp with a shaven head and the bloated Del Torro who gained 40 pounds for his portrayal of "Dr. Gonzo"). Del Torro has one scene in particular (the bathtub scene) which is both disgusting and very disturbing. Apparently his performance was so convincing that he had a hard time getting work after this film because everyone was convinced that he was wasted on the set. The truth is that he's just a damn fine actor who didn't hold back for one second, which is exactly what the film called for. Also the scene of Johnny Depp squealing like a banshee after imbibing some adrenocrome and Del Torro freaking out behind him is unforgettable.

The directing itself is fast paced with offseting angles a lot of wide angle lenses. Gilliam has a style which is unmistakable, it's like walking around inside of a Dali painting, everything is distorted and stretched to create a strong sense of surrealism. Yet his approach is much less offensive than Oliver Stone, who desperately throws every single filming trick at you repeatedly until you are pummeled into submission. Wow, look he switch to 8 mm, then black and white, now it's slow mo all in 3 seconds!

Anyway, I digress. This is a fine movie, don't watch it stoned, you'll get more out of it, repeated viewings are recommended. I also recommend getting the criterion DVD version, which has commentary by Gilliam, Depp, del Torro and Hunter S. Thompson himself!


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