Criterion Collection: Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas (Region 1 DVD)

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The Doctor is in the house!!! Oh blessed angels in heaven director Terry Gilliams fantastic film based on the novel by the immortal Hunter S. Thompson. If anyone could interpret the wild ferocious ranting of a gifted journalist completed twisted on mind bending drugs in Las Vegas, it's Mr. Gilliam. This is the special 2-CD Criterion Special Edition version of Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas. Starring Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro. Special features includes: Audio commentary by director Terry Gilliam; Audio commentary by stars Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro and producer Laila Nabulsi; Audio interview with Hunter. Thompson; Deleted scenes with commentary by Terry Gilliam; Storyboards and production designs; Original artwork by famed illustrator Ralph Steadman; "Fear And Loathing on the Road to Hollywood" BBC documentary with Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman; a selection of Hunter S. Thompson's correspondence read on-camera by Johnny Depp; Rare material on Oscar Zeta Acosta; Stills gallery. (1998) Running time: 119 minutes.

Product Details

Movies & TV
18 Feb 2003
Region 1
119 min
Age Restriction
Supply Source


Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Release Year
Comedies / 1970s / Based On A Novel / Drugs / Journalists/Journalism / Las Vegas, Nevada / Motorcycles / Theatrical Release
FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS is a whirlwind of a movie, a wacky, drug-laden story backed by a fist-pumping rock & roll soundtrack featuring everything from Wayne Newton and Tom Jones to Combustible Edison and Dead Kennedys. Journalist Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) heads to Las Vegas to cover a motorcycle race, bringing along his Samoan lawyer, Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro), in this furious adaptation of the book by Hunter S. Thompson. It is 1971, and Duke and Gonzo are on their way to Sin City with a frightened hitchhiker (a nearly unrecognizable Tobey Maguire) and a trunkful of drugs, which they ingest nonstop. Depp is terrific as Duke, Thompson's alter ego, and Del Toro is a riot as the crazy lawyer. To perfect his Thompsonian performance, Depp spent a lot of time with the good doctor, and it paid off in a film that captures the frenetic pace of the counterculture novel. Director Terry Gilliam, a master of complex, bizarre visual imagery, has a field day interpreting the drug-hazed world in which Duke and Gonzo reside. An all-star cast chimes in with wonderfully offbeat bit parts, including Harry Dean Stanton, Gilliam regular Katherine Helmond, Flea, Cameron Diaz, Ellen Barkin, Christina Ricci, Gary Busey, Lyle Lovett, and others.
Theatrical release: May 22, 1998.

Filmed on location in Las Vegas, southern Nevada, and Los Angeles and at Warner Hollywood Studios.

The film was screened at the Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 1998.

Estimated budget: $21 million.

Hunter S. Thompson's book was based on a trip he took with Oscar Zeta Acosta.

Benicio Del Toro gained nearly 40 pounds to play Dr. Gonzo.

Shooting lasted about 50 days.

One of the wardrobe production assistants was Amy Rainbow Gilliam, one of Terry's daughters.

The film includes music by Robert Goulet, Tom Jones, Combustible Edison, Big Brother & the Holding Company, the Lennon Sisters, Elmer Bernstein, Wayne Newton, the Yardbirds, Jefferson Airplane, Three Dog Night, Bob Dylan, the Youngbloods, Ohio Express, Buffalo Springfield, the Rolling Stones, Booker T. & the MGs, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Debbie Reynolds, and Dead Kennedys.

The film's illustrations are by Ralph Steadman, who illustrated the original novel; he is thanked in the credits "for inspiring us all." The shirt that Tobey Maguire wears in the film features a Steadman illustration.

Terry Gilliam took over from writer-director Alex Cox (REPO MAN), who left because of creative differences. Cox said, "With Gilliam directing, we'll see the bats."

Among the people interested in making a film of the book since it first came out were Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, and Ridley Scott.

Johnny Depp spent nearly four months together with Hunter S. Thompson prior to shooting. Depp told a Cannes press conference, "He was generous with his time and his private life. He even let me move into his basement. Become a termite."

At the Cannes press conference Gilliam said, "Number one, FEAR AND LOATHING is not a prodrug film. Anybody who sees this film isn't going to rush out and start to do drugs."

The Plymouth Valiant used in the film actually belonged to Thompson.

Thompson makes a cameo appearance in the film.

When Gilliam took over production from Cox, he and Tony Grisoni wrote a new script in eight days, then revised that in another two days.

Thompson referred to the film as a "lonely trumpet call over a lost battlefield."

At a New York City bookstore in May 1998, Gilliam burned his Writers Guild membership card because of a dispute over crediting Alex Cox and Tod Davies, who wrote the original script, which was not used. An introductory scene cut from the final film featured musician Ray Cooper claiming that the government would have viewers believe that the film was not based on the original screenplay by Gilliam and Grisoni--the one that was published as NOT THE SCREENPLAY.

The name of the rally Duke was sent to cover was the Mint 400 Off Road Rally.

In one bar scene Roger Pratt is paged; Pratt was Gilliam's longtime cinematographer but did not work on FEAR AND LOATHING.
Release Notes
Blu-ray Disc Features:
  • Region [unknown]
Cast & Crew
Terry Gilliam
Tobey Maguire / Christina Ricci / Ellen Barkin / Gary Busey / Benicio Del Toro / Johnny Depp / Cameron Diaz / Lyle Lovett
Alex Cox / Tod Davies / Terry Gilliam / Tony Grisoni
Source Writer
Hunter S. Thompson / Author: Hunter S. Thompson
Patrick Cassavetti / Stephen Nemeth
Director of Photography
Nicola Pecorini
Production Designer
Alex McDowell
Costume Designer
Julie Weiss
Movie Critics
Entertainment Weekly
"...A lucid hallucination. Depp again proves himself our most inventive actor....This movie isn't about drugs, it is drugs..." -- Rating: B+
Troy Patterson (13 Nov 1998, p.82)
New York Times
"...A fidelity to the author's hallucinatory imagery that until now seemed impossible to capture in a film. But here it is in all its splendiferous funhouse terror: the closest sensory approximation of an acid trip ever achieved by a mainstream movie..."
Stephen Holden (22 May 1998, p.E14)
4 stars out of 5 -- "Depp and Del Toro couldn't be more perfect for the roles and throw themselves in without fear or hesitation."
(1 Feb 2010, )
Rolling Stone
"...Fiendish intensity..."
Peter Travers (25 Jun 1998, p.99)
Sight and Sound
"...FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS throws you straight into a demented cinematic 'acid test'..."
Linda Ruth Williams (1 Nov 1998, p.48-9)
Total Film
"[A] shocking, funny and sad tale of idealism's demise en route."
Total Film Staff (1 Jul 2006, p.128)