Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (film)

1998 film by Terry Gilliam

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a 1998 film about an oddball journalist and his psychopathic lawyer travel who to Las Vegas for a series of psychedelic escapades.

Directed by Terry Gilliam Screenplay by Terry Gilliam, based on the semi-autobiographical book by Hunter S. Thompson.
Four Days, Three nights, Two Convertibles, One City.taglines
See also: Quotes from the novel

Raoul DukeEdit

  • [Responding to Waitress] Madame, sir, baby, child, whatever...
  • A drug person can learn to cope with things like seeing their dead grandmother crawling up their leg with a knife in her teeth, but nobody should be asked to handle this trip. Bazooko's Circus is what the whole hep world would be doing every Saturday night if the Nazis had won the war. This was the Sixth Reich.
  • How long could we maintain? I wondered. How long until one of us starts raving and jabbering at this boy? What will he think then? This same lonely desert was the last known home of the Manson family; will he make that grim connection when my attorney starts screaming about bats and huge manta rays coming down on the car? If so, well, we'll just have to cut his head off and bury him somewhere, 'cause it goes without saying that we can't turn him loose. He'd report us at once to some kind of outback Nazi law enforcement agency and they'll run us down like dogs. Jesus, did I say that? Or just think it? Was I talking? Did they hear me?
  • I was right in the middle of a fucking reptile zoo! And somebody was giving booze to these god damn things! It wont be long now, before they tear us to shreds.
  • Jesus! Bad waves of paranoia, madness, fear and loathing, intolerable vibrations in this place. Get out! The weasels were closing in. I could smell the ugly brutes.
  • We had two bags of grass, 75 pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a saltshaker half-full of cocaine, a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers... Also, a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of beer, a pint of raw ether, and two dozen amyls. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can. The only thing that really worried me was the ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge, and I knew we'd get into that rotten stuff pretty soon.
  • Don't go near that elevator - that's just what they want us to do... trap us in a steel box and take us down to the basement.
  • My attorney had never caught on to the notion espoused by some former drug users that you can get a lot higher without drugs than with them. And neither have I, for that matter.
  • Psychedelics are almost irrelevant in a town where you can wander in a casino any time in the day or night and witness the crucifixion of a gorilla.
  • There was no sense in blowing everything away for the sake of some violent ape I'd never even met.
  • There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die. (This quote, while used in the movie, is not actually from the book. It was actually written by Thompson much later in "The Banshee Screams for Buffalo Meat.")
  • Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a main era... The kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something, maybe not, in the long run. But no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time in the world. Whatever it meant. There was madness in any direction, at any hour. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. And that, I think, was the handle - that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting - on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark - that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.
  • There was only one road back to L.A., U.S. interstate 15. Just a flat-out high speed burn through Baker, and Barstow, and Berdoo. Then on to the Hollywood freeway straight into frantic oblivion. Safety... obscurity... just another freak in the freak kingdom. We'd gone in search of the American dream, it had been a lame fuck around. A waste of time. There was no point in looking back. Fuck no, not today, thank you kindly. My heart was filled with joy. I felt like a monster reincarnation of Horatio Alger, a man on the move, and just sick enough to be totally confident. The bolded lines are from the film version.
  • Everything was automatic. I could sit in the red-leather driver's seat and make every inch of the car jump, by touching the proper buttons. It was a wonderful machine: Ten grand worth of gimmicks and big-priced Special Effects. The rear-windows leaped up with a touch, like frogs in a dynamite pond. The white canvas top ran up and down like a roller-coaster. The dashboard was full of esoteric lights & dials & meters that I would never understand — but there was no doubt in my mind I was in a superior machine.
  • Few people understand the psychology of dealing with a highway traffic cop. Your normal speeder will panic and immediately pull over to the side. This is wrong. It arouses contempt in the cop-heart. Make the bastard chase you. He will follow.
  • Ah, devil ether. It makes you behave like the village drunkard in some early Irish novel. Total loss of all basic motor function. Blurred vision, no balance, numb tongue. The mind recoils in horror, unable to communicate with the spinal column. Which is interesting because you can actually watch yourself behaving in this terrible way, but you can't control it.
  • With a bit of luck, his life was ruined forever. Always thinking just behind some narrow door in all of his favorite bars, men in red woolen shirts are getting incredible kicks from things he'll never know.
  • [points skyward] Oh, you evil bastard! This your work. You better take care of me, Lord, 'cause if you don't you'll have me on your hands!
  • 1965. The great San Francisco acid wave. I recall one night in a place called the Matrix. There I was. [does a double take, seeing the real Hunter S. Thompson sitting nearby (doppelganger)] Mother of God, there I am! Holy fuck! Uh...clearly I was a victim of the drug explosion - a natural street freak, just eating whatever came by.

Dr. GonzoEdit

  • It's ok, he's just admiring the shape of your skull!
  • And when it comes to that fantastic note... when the rabbit bites his own head off, I want you to throw that fucking radio into the tub with me.
  • Hey honkies. You folks wanna buy some heroin ? Goddamnit, I'm serious. All I'm trying to sell you is some pure fucking smack! This is the real stuff! You won't get hooked. I just got back from Vietnam.
  • As your attorney, I advise you to take a hit out of the little brown bottle in my shaving kit.


Narrator: 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.
Narrator: Suddenly, there was a terrible roar all around us, and the sky was full with what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, and a voice was screaming:
Narrator and Raoul Duke (simultaneously): Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn animals?!
Dr. Gonzo: Did you say something?
Raoul Duke: Hm? Never mind. It's your turn to drive.
Narrator: No point in mentioning these bats, I thought. Poor bastard will see them soon enough.

[driving past a hitch-hiker in the middle of the desert]
Gonzo: Let's give that boy a ride!
Duke: What? No! We can't stop here! This is bat country!

[Duke and Gonzo have just picked up a hitch-hiker]
Duke: There's one thing you should probably understand. CAN YOU HEAR ME? GOOD! I want you to have all the background. [gets in the backseat] This is a very ominous assignment - with overtones of extreme personal danger. I'm a Doctor of Journalism, man! This is important, goddamnit! This is a true story!...
[Gonzo panics and swerves the car]
Narrator: Our vibrations were getting nasty. But why? Was there no communication in this car? Had we deteriorated to the level of dumb beasts?
[Duke puts an arm around the hitch-hiker]
Duke: I want you to understand that this man at the wheel is my attorney. He's not just some dingbat I found on the strip, man. He's a foreigner. I think he's probably Samoan. But doesn't matter though, does it? Are you prejudiced?
Hitchhiker: Hell no.
Duke: I didn't think so. Because in spite of his race, this man is extremely valuable to me. Oh shit! I forgot about the beer! You want some?
Hitchhiker: No.
Duke: How 'bout some ether?
Hitchhiker: What?
Duke: Nevermind. Alright, let's get right to the heart of this thing.

Gonzo: [After cocaine blows away in the wind] Did you see what GOD just did to us man!
Duke: God didn't do that, you did! You're a fucking narcotics agent, I knew it. That was our cocaine you fucking pig, scum [swats at him with fly swatter] Pig, swine, whore!
Gonzo: [Pointing (previously shown to be empty) gun at Duke] Better be careful. Plenty of vultures out here, they'll pick your bones clean by morning.
Duke: You fucking whore...
Gonzo: (holding up some acid) He he heeee, here's your half of the sunshine acid. Eat it.
Duke: Yeah, all right sure. How long do I have?
Gonzo: As your attorney I advise you to drive at top speed and it'll be a Goddamn miracle if we get there before you turn into some kind of wild animal. Are you ready for that? Checking into a Las Vegas hotel under a phony name with the intent to commit capital fraud on a head full of acid? I sure hope so...

Narrator: The name rang a bell, but I couldn't concentrate. Terrible things were happening all around us. [sees the floor get flooded with blood]
Duke: Put on some golf shoes! Otherwise we'll never make it out of this place alive. Impossible to walk in this muck. No footing at all!

Duke: Hey, there's two women fucking a polar bear.
Dr. Gonzo: Don't tell me those things. Not now, man.

Duke: Let's cut down to the brass tacks here... How much for the ape?
Ape's Owner: How much you got?

Gonzo: We won't make the nut unless we have unlimited credit.
Duke: Jesus Christ, we will, man. You Samoans are all the same. You have no faith in the essential decency of the white man's culture.

Hippie: What's the trouble?
Duke: Well, all this white stuff on my sleeve is LSD!

Gonzo: AHH! Medicine, medicine!
Duke: Huh? Oh, medicine! Watch out, this man has a bad heart, angina pectoris, but don't worry we have a cure. (cracks open an amyl) Ok, big wiff, big wiff, sunny boy! [Gonzo inhales the amyl] Much better...
Duke: Ahh, now for the doctor [he inhales the amyl]... eeeeeeeee... Ahh!
Gonzo : What the-? What the fuck are we doin out here in the middle of the desert? Somebody call the police, we need help, we need help, we need help [Slams the horn] Ah ha, ah ha, ah haha!

Car Salesman: Listen. You fellows haven't been drinking? Have you?
Duke: No. Not me. We're responsible people. [Drives away with screeching tyres]
Car Salesman: Goddamn it! You got my pen! Goddamn hippies!

[Duke and Gonzo are covering the DA'S convention on marijuana, with keynote speaker L. Ron Bumquist]
L. Ron Bumquist: The easiest way to do this is for each of us to try to imagine what is going on inside the possessed mind of a drug addict. [holds up a joint] The dope fiend refers to the butt of a marijuana cigarette as a "roach". He does so because it resembles a cockroach.
Gonzo: What the fuck these people are talking about? You gotta be crazy on acid to think a joint looks like a goddamn cockroach.
Bumquist: You will notice that I have distinguished four distinct types of being in the cannabis and marijuana society. They are "cool", "groovy", "hip" and "square". Seldom, if ever, does one aspire to be "square".
Gonzo: This is a fucking nightmare, man.
Bumquist: If he can figure out what is "happening", he can rise one notch to become "hip", and if he can convince himself to approve of what is "happening", he can become "groovy". [ominously] Groovy! And then he raise himself to the rank of "cool". He can become one of those... "cool guys".
D.A.: Dr. Bumquist, do you think the anthropologist Margaret Mead's strange behavior of late can be explained by a private marijuana addiction?
Duke: Good question!
Bumquist: I'm not really sure I can answer that. But what I can tell you is that if Margaret Mead, at her age, smoked grass...she'd have one hell of a trip! [laughs hysterically; the seated DA's follow suit]


  • Four Days, Three nights, Two Convertibles, One City.
  • Buy the ticket, take the ride.


External linksEdit