Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1990s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Adapting Hunter S Thompson’s category-defying book was always going to be a challenging experiment – even for the seemingly fearless maverick director Terry Gilliam (who replaced Alex Cox in pre-production).

Ostensibly a warped record of Thompson’s bid to cover the Mint 400 motorcycle race for Rolling Stone magazine, this is more an acid-addled, amphetamine-fuelled search for the American Dream.

Thompson’s distinctive prose survives nearly intact, but, although Johnny Depp brings an amusingly effective twitchy energy to the role of Hunter’s alter ego, sports journalist Raoul Duke – heading towards Las Vegas accompanied by his Samoan attorney, Dr Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro), and a suitcase full of drugs – this brave film falls just short of capturing the book’s errant vibrancy.


The pace is a bit too fast to fully allow the audience to clamber on board, so one can only watch in bemused admiration as it zooms past.

Raoul Duke
Johnny Depp
Dr Gonzo
Benicio Del Toro
Tobey Maguire
North Star waitress
Ellen Barkin
Highway patrolman
Gary Busey
Christina Ricci
Magazine reporter
Mark Harmon
Blonde TV reporter
Cameron Diaz
Road person
Lyle Lovett

Terry Gilliam