DVD 119 mins IMDB 7.3 (29,736 votes)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - The Criterion Collection
Universal (1998)
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Comedy, Drama
USA  /  English

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
Mark Harmon Magazine Reporter
Katherine Helmond Reservations Clerk
Michael Jeter L. Ron Bumquist
Tobey Maguire Hitchhiker
Christina Ricci Lucy
Penn Jillette Carnie Talker
Lyle Lovett Road Person
Flea Musician
Laraine Newman Frog-Eyed Woman

Director Terry Gilliam
Producer Patrick Cassavetti; Laila Nabulsi; Stephen Nemeth
Writer Hunter S. Thompson; Terry Gilliam; Alex Cox; Tod Davies; Tony Grisoni
Cinematography Nicola Pecorini
Musician Ray Cooper; John Lennon; Paul McCartney
User Credit 1 Lesley Walker
User Credit 2 Julie Weiss

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. — Bhob Stewart

Edition Details
Barcode 715515013222
Region Region 1
Chapters 22
Release Date 2/18/2003
Packaging Custom Case
Screen Ratio Widescreen 2.35:1 Color (Anamorphic)
Subtitles English
Audio Tracks ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Stereo
Layers Single Side, Dual Layer
No. of Disks/Tapes 2

Disc 1: Disc One
Three Audio Commentary Tracks:
  • Director Terry Gilliam
  • Stars Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Torro and Producer Laila Nabulsi
  • Author Hunter S. Thompson
    Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Terry Gilliam

    Disc Two
    Collection of Storyboards and Production Designs
    Stills Gallery
    A Selection of Hunter S. Thompson's Correspondence, Read on Camera by Johnny Depp
    Hunter Goes to Hollywood: A Short Documentary Video by Filmmaker Wayne Ewing
    A Look at the Controversy over the Screenwriting Credit
    Rare Materials on Oscar Zeta Acosta, the Inspiration for Dr. Gonzo
    Collection of Original Artwork by Illustrator Ralph Steadman
    Excerpt from 1996 Fear and Loathing Audio CD with Marty Chaykin, Jim Jarmusch and Harry Dean Stanton
    Fear and Loathing on the Road to Hollywood: A 1978 BBC Documentary with Thompson and Steadman
    Plus: A Booklet Featuring an Essay by Critic J. Hoberman and Two Pieces by Thompson
  • Personal Details
    Purchase Date 4/17/2005
    User Lookup 1 DVD Copy
    User Text 2 Give us your brain for two hours and you will never be the same again.....(Icelandic)
    Links All Movie Guide
    DVD Empire
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    Trivia: Gary Busey (Highway Patrolman) improvised the "Give me a kiss" line. The producers and Hunter S. Thompson were initially horrified by it, but Terry Gilliam thought it was funny, and left it in the final cut. Thompson said that after a few more viewings, he found the line quite funny. (more)

    Goofs: Audio/visual unsynchronized: When Duke is trying to calm Gonzo down with the mace, Dr. Gonzo screams and whines, but his mouth is closed (more)

    Quotes: Raoul Duke: The store was closed, but the salesman said he could wait if we hurry. But we were delayed en route when a stingray in front of us killed a pedestrian. (more)

    Awards: 1 win & 1 nomination (more)