User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 147 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 18 out of 147
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  1. Aug 20, 2012
    10
    An audio-visual Masterpiece. It shows the devastating consequences of drug abuse mixed with brillant acting. This movie is greatly underrated and I guess some people voting it down don't understand it.
  2. Nov 6, 2010
    10
    Truly a masterpiece. I appreciate the extreme divisiveness of opinions about the film, but simply don't understand it. Faithful adaptation, and nearly perfect film.
  3. BrianW.
    Jul 5, 2004
    8
    The point to watching this movie is not to watch it on ones own terms. It is not a "film" in the sense of most film. It is something different, something out of control and visually assaulting. It destroys rationality and disturbs its viewers to the point where it is near-appalling. There is a story, but it is so addled that there need not even be one. This is why so many acclaimed movie The point to watching this movie is not to watch it on ones own terms. It is not a "film" in the sense of most film. It is something different, something out of control and visually assaulting. It destroys rationality and disturbs its viewers to the point where it is near-appalling. There is a story, but it is so addled that there need not even be one. This is why so many acclaimed movie reviewers describe it as "shapeless" or a narrative without "trajectory" -- in the world of linear (and even non-linear) stories, something this nonsensical is hard to swallow, let alone understand. It is perhaps the only movie that is purposefully confusing, in a way that evokes not only the futility and insanity of drug use but of the feeling of the 60s. What starts out as a lighthearted, funny adventure quickly degenerates into a sordid, disgusting affair. The images assault the viewer, leaving no time for breathing room; no scenes of sanity to grapple with the meaning of it all. It's like a Jackson Pollock painting on film spread over two hours. It's obstensively a disturbing film, yes, but without a internal morality as can found in such classics as Taxi Driver or A Clockwork Orange - small bits of intelligent prose bubble up like flashes of insight through the haze of this celluloid drug but none so pervasive as to try to tie the film together with a moral anchor. This, though, is what the movie is about. To find a moral center, to fix the narrative with a message, would perhaps make this movie much more accessable; but it would rob it of what primarily IS the central message, that drugs lead nobody to any kind of real central message. After first seeing the film Hunter Thompson, who wrote the novel, described it as not only a "masterpiece" but as an "eerie trumpet over a lost battlefield." This is, primarily, what it is. It is a movie that takes us through the 60s, as it progressed, through the eyes of the 60s and, in a parallel way, it takes us through the stages of a drug user through the eyes of one. What starts off with a roar - the engine of the cherry red convertable blasting along the parched backdrop of Nevada - and eases into a funny, wild-eyed drug movie slowly begins to go sour as time progresses. In much the same way the acid generation kicked off in the mid-sixties with a great deal of naivete and innocence, we see the effects of the drug but they are silly effects, simple distortions that are often hilarious - in other words, nothing to be taken seriously. After about twenty minutes though one gets the feeling that all is not well and although our narrator and his attorney seem so lost in the trip that the looming prospects of dissapointment and dissillusionment seem like vague spectres with no real backing we, the viewers, see it forming on the horizon like the dust cloud from the motorcycle race the narrator is covering. Slowly these spectres begin to mount, as the trip becomes more uncontrollable - just as it became in 1968 when the summer of love hit its high point. The confusion begins to set in at a horrible pace, and people scramble for the exits just as Raoul Duke does after his stint covering the Mint 400, only to be driven back the demons the drugs have created. The demons take the form of a terrified hitchhiker, an abused girl and other things that, early on in the trip, seemed like innocent fun. Finally, while the trip peaks it reaches a breaking point. For Duke there is only so much excess that can be exercised before it all comes crashing down, for America there was only so much acid. The final drug montage can be compared to the fatal Rolling Stones show in which a handful of men were stabbed. The beggining of the end. When it passes we are left sifting through the ashes, finally able to see clearly all the horrible things that have transpired - still clouded by the fog of drug. So yes the movie is heavy. Yes it is confused and yes it is hard to watch. It is also so like real life, so grounded in experience that were it appealing and light-hearted it would be all gloss and no substance. Instead it opts to take the road that will turn-off almost all viewers, who are content only to watch movies as they know movies, never willing to see one for what it is: An experience, a time out of time, much like the decade it mourns and celebrates. Luckily though, it is also a very funny movie. Johnny Depp is so deeply characterized (and it has been said so dead-on perfect) as Thompson (or Duke, if one prefers) that his mannuerisms transfix us. Benicio Del Toro is beyond vulgar, pushing the limits of outrageousness as he vomits, abuses and dopes his way to Vegas, to LA, and then back to Vegas. These are not pleasant people, they are not going to be redempted and they will not attempt to make sense of this strange trip. The behavior offends, but it also amuses. This is pure Gonzo journalism in the truest sense - a base account of the sights, sounds and sensory experiences of one of the wildest trips ever taken. There is method to the madness, the madness is simply laid on so thick that it must be peeled back in layers for the method to make itself clear. Gilliam is at top-form, proving once again to be an auter of the visual medium. Every scene in the film is so chock full of images, juxtapositions, strange behavior and background action that each time one watches the movie more becomes apparant. It is a visual assault, it attacks the viewer until one is on the verge of sensory overload and then it recedes with a whimper -- the force of the drugs themselves too much for even our brave narrator to handle. All in all, Fear and Loathing is quite an accomplished piece of art -- just very heavily misunderstood. Perhaps if people would simply let the movie surround them and take them over, without worrying about trying to fit it into a form or a standard, the intelligence and importance of it would be recognized. It is not a film for everyone, but for those who can do that it is a film far apart from any other ever made. Expand
  4. [Anonymous]
    Dec 6, 2004
    9
    Cleary a number of critics and other reviewers have never seen the world through hallucingenic eyes. The first time I watched this movie I had not either. I watched it up until the "lounge lizards" scene as a sophomore in high school, before I really knew anything about drugs. I had no opinion of drug use one way or the other, but the fact is if you've never tripped, this movie is Cleary a number of critics and other reviewers have never seen the world through hallucingenic eyes. The first time I watched this movie I had not either. I watched it up until the "lounge lizards" scene as a sophomore in high school, before I really knew anything about drugs. I had no opinion of drug use one way or the other, but the fact is if you've never tripped, this movie is not for you. I had to turn it off because it is disturbing and confusing--but so is tripping on mushrooms or acid. Once you've had that experience, you can focus more on the film's central message and ignore the puking, anti-social behavior and idiosyncratic compulsions of hallucinogenic drug use. Watching the film is a lot like a trip: it's not always funny, not always happy and it can be pretty scary at times, but if you put in enough mental effort to at least try and make some sense of it, you WILL be rewarded in the end. Depending on your openmindedness, your reward may be a valuable discovery of the world or yourself, or just another nightmare that haunts those who missed the point. I've not yet read the book, but I have it on my "on deck" shelf. Expand
  5. AsierR.
    Apr 5, 2004
    10
    Do they know what's all about? Marvellous and dark trip to the heart of an american dream.
  6. LukeH.
    Mar 1, 2008
    10
    This is a very good film the reviews do not do it justice. It is not a stoner film it is a unique, funny, provocative and disturbing view of America, and with Terry Gilliam unique directorial vision it's a powerhouse film.
  7. JoshL.
    Apr 6, 2008
    8
    An excellent movie IMHO, but I'm really not here to discuss this. I love this film and I really could not care less what some others have said about it. I would, however, like to point out the fact that whenever someone makes a spelling or grammatical error that supports the movie they are insulted by being called "druggies that can't tie their own shoelaces". Pity. And Mark B., An excellent movie IMHO, but I'm really not here to discuss this. I love this film and I really could not care less what some others have said about it. I would, however, like to point out the fact that whenever someone makes a spelling or grammatical error that supports the movie they are insulted by being called "druggies that can't tie their own shoelaces". Pity. And Mark B., I find it rather interesting that you caught marvellous, but failed to catch such atrocities as "congrajulations" and "unphathomable". Really, top notch work. Expand
  8. Buzz
    May 3, 2008
    10
    I love this movie. It's funny and provoking and I can imagine, it's just what Mr. Thompson had in mind when he was writing his novel.
  9. BigSally
    Mar 9, 2005
    7
    This movie is just so damn fun. Completely bizarre humour, consistently amusing dialouge, and killer visuals. Sure, the plot goes nowhere, the characters are one dimensional, but who cares when you can't stop laughing?
  10. benji
    Aug 16, 2005
    10
    Just brilliant, one of the best movies of all time!
  11. EMSullivan
    Aug 24, 2005
    8
    Unique, addictive movie that isn't quite for everyone. The first half shines with great performances and oddball humor. The second half doesn't quite have the same qualities and might leave people feeling rather uneasy, but it does have it's moments. Mark B. seems like the kind of person who would stand to argue that there's only one way to spell "color."
  12. GraemeS.
    Jun 26, 2007
    10
    An amazing film. Incredible acting, suitably psychedelic visuals and, surprisingly, hilarious and profound all at the same time.
  13. M_elleSchulz
    Aug 24, 2007
    9
    I am not a drug addict, in fact, at 35, I have never once partook in any unprescribed narcotic. I am not a fan of drunks, in fact I tend to leave parties early to avoid them. A huge fan of Depp (this is his best ever, if not most popular, performance) and of Hunter Thompson (an irrepressible writer of modern literature), I felt I was adeptly escorted into a world of excess and depravity I I am not a drug addict, in fact, at 35, I have never once partook in any unprescribed narcotic. I am not a fan of drunks, in fact I tend to leave parties early to avoid them. A huge fan of Depp (this is his best ever, if not most popular, performance) and of Hunter Thompson (an irrepressible writer of modern literature), I felt I was adeptly escorted into a world of excess and depravity I could never, in my sobriety, have entered on my own. Depp animates Thompson's paranoid and hilariously caustic commentary on the socially acceptable 'swine' and their equally, if acceptable, excesses. I bought the ticket, and LOVED the ride! Expand
  14. MichaelC.
    Mar 4, 2008
    10
    Hunter S Thompson's stunning book is marvelously captured on screen. A great performance by Johnny Depp. A great commentary on American life, past, present and future.
  15. ChrisJ.
    Jul 15, 2004
    10
    All i have to say about this movie is that it is genius by far my favourite movie in every way.
  16. Johno
    Dec 10, 2005
    7
    Could never match the book, what that would be be impossible. Terrys' baby is vastly under appreciated. (I'd better check my spellings now since a schoolteacher below believes that the only way have a valuable opinion is be able to spell. Whatever - weren't you at the police convention in Vegas in 1971?)
  17. MarkS.
    Dec 13, 2008
    10
    Pure quality, a perfect intimidation of the great doctor!
  18. Aug 19, 2010
    9
    Based off my favorite book, directed by one of my favorite directors, starring on of my favorite actors, what could go wrong? Very little! The film is incredibly faithful to the book and in my opinion one of the great underrated movies. Word of advice, if your planning on watching the film READ THE BOOK FIRST.
  19. Aug 27, 2010
    8
    A surprisingly accurate adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's odyssey of self-revelation, self-destruction and the American Dream. In fact, I'd say the movie is better than the book because Gilliam's visuals gives a sensory overload that really packs the in(s)anity into form. Thankfully, the hilarious antics of Depp and del Toro really follow suit.
  20. Jul 4, 2012
    8
    This film is EXTREMELY underrated on this metascore thing. But not surpirsing-people usually really like this movie or are incredibily irritated with it. Obviously the visuals take you by surprising which will add to your experience or make you ill. Additionally, the dialog is a bit disjointed. But the two elements together define this film. Definite cult classic.
  21. Mar 26, 2012
    10
    One of my favorite crazy movies to watch. It's so entertaining and Johnny Depp does a great job capturing his role in this movie. This movie will always be one of my favorites.
  22. Jun 25, 2015
    8
    Well then, that was a movie. Aside from the fact that it's one of the weirdest and trippiest movies I've ever seen, I found it entertaining and funny.
  23. Santa
    Feb 3, 2010
    10
    Two genius: Thompson and Gilliam = Master-piece !!!
  24. PeterS.
    Jan 27, 2007
    10
    Spinning visuals and disoriented dialogue.
  25. NinjaMafia
    Apr 4, 2004
    10
    This is one of the best comedies I have ever seen. Fear and Loathing brings together everything that one should have from a comedy. Hilarious moments, good storyline, and some deeper underlining message. The storyline to Fear and Loathing is pretty basic, Hunter S. Thompson and his attorney go to Las Vegas to work on a story about a race. However, they pack up a briefcase full of all This is one of the best comedies I have ever seen. Fear and Loathing brings together everything that one should have from a comedy. Hilarious moments, good storyline, and some deeper underlining message. The storyline to Fear and Loathing is pretty basic, Hunter S. Thompson and his attorney go to Las Vegas to work on a story about a race. However, they pack up a briefcase full of all kinds of drugs. When they finally get to Las Vegas, their work seems unimportant, the only thing they care to find out about is the American Dream. Thus begins a madcap tippy adventure into the drug world. The storyline really keeps you into the movie while throwing around the message of days gone by here and there. The comedy is great. From bat country to lizard people, this is all hilarious. Believe me, you will get it once you see the movie. Plus, Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro play some of their best roles. Depp really takes home the gold with his perfect portrayal on Thompson, who mind you is very real. Depp even went so far as to spend a few months with Hunter just to get down his personality, and it paid off big time. That's not to say Del Toro isn't equally magnificent. He even gained some weight just to make his character a bit more disgusting. Fear and Loathing takes you into the ultimate ride and is currently on my top ten favorite movies of all time list. Expand
  26. ChrisW
    Jan 4, 2006
    9
    Man, this is a genious movie based on a genious book written by a genious author, hard to believe not very many people can actually understand his work. Rest in piece Hunter.
  27. Eon
    Oct 25, 2006
    10
    One of those few movies that deserve a 100 out of 100, and this, of course makes it one of the most underrated movies of Metacritic. I really think it had something to do with the fact, that Drug War is the best-selling war nowadays ( those of you who didn't get it - this movie makes fun of your life style, maybe that is why you hated it so much, I mean, it must really hurt too look One of those few movies that deserve a 100 out of 100, and this, of course makes it one of the most underrated movies of Metacritic. I really think it had something to do with the fact, that Drug War is the best-selling war nowadays ( those of you who didn't get it - this movie makes fun of your life style, maybe that is why you hated it so much, I mean, it must really hurt too look inside damaged self). Overall - a kind of masterpiece, that is really RARELY made. Expand
  28. BlakeJ.
    Mar 11, 2007
    9
    I love it. It holds a special place in my heart. I was won over in the first 10 minutes...right after Johnny looks around all glazed eyed and says "We can't stop here...this is bat country!" A precursor to druggie movies as we know them.
  29. SamA.
    Dec 20, 2008
    10
    A brilliant capsule of what Gonzo is all about to the new Thomsonite. Beautifully disgusting, lovable, hate-fueled and terrifying all at the same time.
  30. LukeS
    Oct 11, 2009
    10
    This movie is nothing less than a work of art, and in my opinion is Johnny Depp's best film, no questions asked. I find it discouraging that many critics failed to grasp the true aim of this movie, which is not to explore drug use (in which case it actually would suck), but rather to explore the shift in the American culture and spirit that was taking place at the time. Great movie, This movie is nothing less than a work of art, and in my opinion is Johnny Depp's best film, no questions asked. I find it discouraging that many critics failed to grasp the true aim of this movie, which is not to explore drug use (in which case it actually would suck), but rather to explore the shift in the American culture and spirit that was taking place at the time. Great movie, and GREAT acting by both leads. Expand
  31. YogaP.
    Apr 27, 2009
    7
    This is not a pretty movie; it's often unfunny; it's very frightening and fairly accurately portrays the dementia and paranoia that can come from drug abuse. (Yes, I've know people that crazy.) I don't know if this is really a movie you like; you just want to watch it two or three times a year to see what you missed the last time. This might be great to show to kids if This is not a pretty movie; it's often unfunny; it's very frightening and fairly accurately portrays the dementia and paranoia that can come from drug abuse. (Yes, I've know people that crazy.) I don't know if this is really a movie you like; you just want to watch it two or three times a year to see what you missed the last time. This might be great to show to kids if you want them to avoid drugs: Honey, you want to behave like that? I feel about this the way I often feel about David Lynch films: Not sure II really like them much but compelled to watch them again. Expand
  32. SlingS.
    Dec 23, 2006
    10
    First off i would not recommend watching this while under the influence of any serious drugs (the dinosaur blood orgy comes to mind but there are other scenes as well). um, phenomenal book I'd read it first. best ever reflection on what the American dream really amounts to. if you are a religious republican voter you will hate this film, which is why i love it.
  33. PatrickJ.
    Jun 15, 2008
    10
    A masterpiece. A stunning combination of visually pleasing effects that bring to life the hilarious anarchist antics of a genius subculture outlaw.
  34. Nov 14, 2011
    10
    A masterpiece, simply the epitome of excellent acting by Johnny Depp who lived with the character he portrays for a period of time, just to ensure a competent imitation of him.
  35. Jul 31, 2012
    10
    Meaningful, thoughtful, and excellently crafted. Movies like this help us explore ourselves and reality we create. This one additionally make this in a very entertaining way. If only You can keep up with the movie... Just like with Natural Born Killers it's best to watch it couple times.
  36. Oct 18, 2014
    8
    It's pretty hard to describe the movie since it mostly consists of drug hallucinogenic adventures of two guys, but yeah, the movie is great. Terry Gilliam could capture and show the sense of madness and surrealism here. A must-watch!
  37. Aug 13, 2014
    8
    Funny, psychedelic, sometimes a mess, but interesting enough to keep you in this weird trip through the movie. Hard to watch, but nevertheless, one of the movies you just have to give it a try. and in the end there are two possible outcomes: you either love it or you hate it.
  38. Feb 3, 2014
    10
    simply amazing. watched so many times and it still gives me joy. i suspect only ones that dont like it, are the ones that are 100% against drug use. and to those i say, it clearly shows the bad side of bad trips that are results of overuse as well, and in no way glorifies it after all. movie has a massive points on many levels, just not all can spot them apparently.
Metascore
41

Mixed or average reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 19
  2. Negative: 7 out of 19
  1. Reviewed by: David Sterritt
    50
    Gilliam's visual style has never been more energetic or inventive, and nobody could be attracted to dope after this portrait of drug abuse as a hallucinatory quagmire.
  2. The movie is a true folly, yet there's no denying that Gilliam has gotten some of the hallucinogenic madness of Thompson's novel on screen.
  3. Reviewed by: Ron Wells
    100
    Does for psychedelics what "Boogie Nights" does for cocaine; displaying in graphical detail the ultimate failure of drugs as an escape route.