Is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas on Netflix?


The simple answer is currently no. But it’s available as a DVD.

Based on the (reputedly) true story of Hunter S. Thompson’s psychedelic road trip around Western America, this seminal classic was brought to the big screen in 1998 by director Terry Gilliam. Gilliam cut his young teeth as the surreal cartoonist for Monty Python and went on to direct some magnificent movies.

Loyal fans will be familiar with Twelve Monkeys, The Fisher King, Brazil, Time Bandits and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Frankly, when you put Johnny Depp and Benizio Del Toro together and then feed them drugs, you can expect the unexpected. Well not really feed them drugs; they just acted as if they were. The performances are excellent and, unusually for a movie, true to the book. Not everyone gets it. In the good old days, both Depp and Del Toro engaged in character acting rather than stereotyping and this is as good an example of both of their work as you’ll get.

A Terry Gilliam movie is rarely easy to watch because he asks you to think. Is he glorifying drugs? That’s for you to decide. But the movie got a very obscure nod from the Simpsons and that can’t be bad. I guess we should stress that our message is and will always remain “DON’T DO DRUGS”.

Interestingly, after a couple of false starts and delays, it was Thompson who insisted that Terry Gilliam make the movie. Because of friction between the production companies, the movie was filmed in some chaos and with a, er, flexible budget. As Gilliam said: “We start out at full speed and it’s WOOOO! The drug kicks in and you’re on speed! Whoah! You get the buzz – it’s crazy, it’s outrageous, the carpet’s moving and everybody’s laughing and having a great time. But then, ever so slowly, the walls start closing in and it’s like you’re never going to get out of this fucking place. It’s an ugly nightmare and there’s no escape.”

And, by the way, the idea that the movie is pointless is entirely the point.

Tim Colman

Tim is a writer for What's on Netflix. His specialism is the older movies and TV series showing on Netflix.