When a writing assignment lands journalist Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and sidekick Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) in Las Vegas, they decide to make it the ultimate business trip. But before long, business is forgotten and trip has become the key word. Fueled by a suitcase full of mind-bending pharmaceuticals, Duke and Gonzo set off on a fast and furious ride through nonstop neon, surreal surroundings and a crew of the craziest characters ever (including cameo appearances by Cameron Diaz, Christina Ricci, Gary Busey and many others). But no matter where misadventure leads them, Duke and Gonzo discover that sometimes going too far is the only way to go. Capturing the insane madness of Hunter S. Thompson's literary classic was the challenge that director Terry Gilliam (12 Monkeys) openly embraced. Critics hailed it as: "Mindblowing. Bizarre. Outrageous. Wild." Buy the ticket. Take the ride!

  • 1 hr 58 minRHDSD
  • May 22, 1998
  • Drama

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Cast & Crew

  • Benicio Del ToroActor

    Benicio Del Toro emerged in the mid-1990s as one of the most watchable and charismatic character actors to come along in years. A favorite of film buffs, Del Toro gained mainstream public attention as the conflicted but basically honest Mexican policeman in Steven Soderbergh's Traffic (2000). Benicio was born on February 19, 1967 in San Germán, Puerto Rico, the son of lawyer parents Fausta Genoveva Sanchez Rivera and Gustavo Adolfo Del Toro Bermudez. His mother died when he was young, and his father moved the family to a farm in Pennsylvania. A basketball player with an interest in acting, he decided to follow the family way and study business at the University of California in San Diego. A class in acting resulted in his being bitten by the acting bug, and he subsequently dropped out and began studying with legendary acting teacher Stella Adler in Los Angeles and at the Circle in the Square Acting School in New York City. Telling his parents that he was taking courses in business, Del Toro hid his new studies from his family for a little while. During the late 1980s, he made several television appearances, most notably in an episode of Miami Vice (1984) and in the NBC miniseries Drug Wars: The Camarena Story (1990). Del Toro's big-screen career got off to a slower start, however--his first role was Duke the Dog-Faced Boy in Big Top Pee-wee (1988). However, things looked better when he landed the role of Dario, the vicious henchman in the James Bond film Licence to Kill (1989). Surprising his co-stars at age 21, Del Toro was the youngest actor ever to portray a Bond villain. However, the potential break was spoiled as the picture turned out to be one of the most disappointing Bond films ever; this was lost amid bigger summer competition. Benicio gave creditable performances in many overlooked films for the next several years, such as The Indian Runner (1991), Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992) and Money for Nothing (1993). His roles in Fearless (1993) and China Moon (1994) gained him more critical notices, and 1995 proved to be the first "Year of Benicio" as he gave a memorable performance in Swimming with Sharks (1994) before taking critics and film buffs by storm as the mumbling, mysterious gangster in The Usual Suspects (1995), directed by Bryan Singer. Del Toro won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor for the role in the Oscar-winning film. Staying true to his independent roots, he next gave a charismatic turn as cold-blooded gangster Gaspare Spoglia in The Funeral (1996) directed by Abel Ferrara. He also appeared as Benny Dalmau in Basquiat (1996), directed by artist friend Julian Schnabel. That year also marked his first truly commercial film, as he played cocky Spanish baseball star Juan Primo in The Fan (1996), which starred Robert De Niro. Del Toro took his first leading man role in Excess Baggage (1997), starring and produced by Alicia Silverstone. Hand-picked by Silverstone, Del Toro's performance was pretty much the only thing critics praised about the film, and showed the level of consciousness he was beginning to have in the minds of film fans. He took a leading role with his good friend Johnny Depp in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), co-written and directed by the legendary Terry Gilliam. Gaining 40 pounds for the role of Dr. Gonzo, the drug-addicted lawyer to sportswriter Raoul Duke, Benicio immersed himself totally in the role. Using his method acting training so far as to burn himself with cigarettes for a scene, this was a trying time for Del Toro. The harsh critical reviews proved tough on him, as he felt he had given his all for the role and been dismissed. Many saw the crazed, psychotic performance as a confirmation of the rumors and overall weirdness that people seemed to place on Del Toro. Taking a short break after the ordeal, 2000 proved to be the second "Year of Benicio". He first appeared in The Way of the Gun (2000), directed by friend and writer Christopher McQuarrie. Then he went to work for actor's director Steven Soderbergh in Traffic (2000). A complex and graphic film, this nonetheless became a widespread success and Oscar winner. His role as conflicted Mexican policeman Javier Rodriguez functions as the movie's real heart amid an all-star ensemble cast, and many praised this as the year's best performance, a sentiment validated by a Screen Actor's Guild Award for "Best Actor". He also gave a notable performance in Snatch (2000) directed by Guy Ritchie, which was released several weeks later, and The Pledge (2001) directed by Sean Penn. Possessing sleepy good looks reminiscent of James Dean or Marlon Brando, Del Toro has often jokingly been referred to as the "Spanish Brad Pitt". With his newfound celebrity, Del Toro has become a sort of heartthrob, being voted one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" as well as "Most Eligible Bachelors." A favorite of film fans for years for his diverse and "cool guy" gangster roles, he has become a mainstream favorite, respected for his acting skills and choices. So far very careful in his projects and who he works with, Del Toro can boast an impressive resume of films alongside some of the most influential and talented people in the film business.
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  • Cameron DiazActor

    A tall, strikingly attractive blue-eyed natural blonde, Cameron Diaz was born in 1972 in San Diego, the daughter of a Cuban-American father and a German mother. Self described as "adventurous, independent and a tough kid," Cameron left home at 16 and for the next 5 years lived in such varied locales as Japan, Australia, Mexico, Morocco, and Paris. Returning to California at the age of 21, she was working as a model when she auditioned for a big part in The Mask (1994). To her amazement and despite having no previous acting experience, she was cast as the female lead in the film opposite Jim Carrey. Over the next 3 years, she honed her acting skills in such low budget independent films as The Last Supper (1995); Feeling Minnesota (1996); and Head Above Water (1996). She returned to main stream films in My Best Friend's Wedding (1997), in which she held her own against veteran actress Julia Roberts. She earned full fledged star status in 1998 for her performance in the box office smash There's Something About Mary (1998). With her name near the top on virtually every list of Hollyood's sexiest actresses, and firmly established as one of filmdom's hottest properties and most sought after actresses, Cameron Diaz appears to possess everything necessary to become one of the super stars of the new century.
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  • Christina RicciActor

    Precocious, outspoken child-teen starlet of the 1990s, Christina Ricci was born in 1980 in Santa Monica, California, the youngest of four children of Sarah (Murdoch), a realtor, and Ralph Ricci, a lawyer and therapist. She is of Italian (from her paternal grandfather), Irish, and Scots-Irish descent. She made her screen debut at the age of 9 in Mermaids (1990), in which she worked with Winona Ryder and Cher. Her breakthrough adult role was in The Ice Storm (1997), in which she plays a nymphet who skillfully seduces two brothers. She worked with Johnny Depp and Casper Van Dien in the Tim Burton film Sleepy Hollow (1999).
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  • Craig BierkoActor

  • Ellen BarkinActor

    Offbeat, unconventionally pretty, and utterly mesmerizing, Ellen Barkin was born in 1954 in the Bronx, New York, to Evelyn (Rozin), a hospital administrator, and Sol Barkin, a chemical salesman. Her parents were both from Russian Jewish families. Raised in the South Bronx and Queens, New York area, she wanted to be an actress as early as her teens and was eventually accepted into Manhattan's High School of the Performing Arts. Barkin then attended Hunter College and received her degree after double majoring in history and drama. At one point she wanted to teach ancient history, but instead turned her thoughts back to her first love: acting. Barkin then continued her education at New York's Actor's Studio. Fearful of the auditioning process, she studied acting for seven years before finally landing her first audition. While continuing her studies, she worked as a waitress at the avant-garde Ocean Club. Performing off-Broadway in such plays "Shout Across the River" (1979), "Extremities" (1983), "Fool for Love" (1984) and "Eden Court" (1985), she was applauded across the board for her first film lead in Diner (1982) opposite Mickey Rourke and Daniel Stern, and pursued sexy tough-cookie status thereafter with such quirky roles in The Big Easy (1986) starring Dennis Quaid and Siesta (1987) with Irish actor Gabriel Byrne, whom she married in 1987 and separated from in 1993 after producing a son and daughter. She and Byrne divorced in 1999. With trademark squinting eyes and slightly off-kilter facial features, Barkin continued the fascination of her seamy/steamy girl-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks status most notably opposite Al Pacino in the thriller Sea of Love (1989). In addition, she was well cast as Robert De Niro's abused wife in This Boy's Life (1993), and portrayed "Calamity Jane" in Wild Bill (1995) with earnest. Other impressionable offbeat projects included roles in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999) and Mercy (2000). On TV, she was well-cast in the mini-movie Clinton and Nadine (1988) and won an Emmy award for her gripping performance in Before Women Had Wings (1997) opposite Oprah Winfrey as another abused wife who, in this case, turns her violent anger on her own daughters. In 2000, Barkin married billionaire Ronald O. Perelman, eleven years her senior and chairman of the Revlon company, and put her career relatively on hold, appearing sporadically in edgy films like She Hate Me (2004) and Palindromes (2004). Barkin and Perelman went through an acrimonious divorce in 2006. Just prior to her divorce in late 2005, Barkin ventured into independent film production with Applehead Pictures, a company she set up with her brother George Barkin, who is a scriptwriter and former editor-in-chief of National Lampoon and High Times, and former Independent Film Channel executive Caroline Kaplan. In her first major acting appearance since her divorce from Perelman, Barkin co-starred in Ocean's Thirteen (2007) with George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt and former co-star Pacino. She followed up Ocean's with a supporting role in Antoine Fuqua's Brooklyn's Finest (2009), Happy Tears (2009) with Parker Posey and Demi Moore, and Twelve (2010). Recently, Barkin has produced features, including Letters to Juliet (2010) and Another Happy Day (2011) (she also starred in the latter project). On the small screen, she appeared in an episode of Modern Family (2009) and her new NBC show, The New Normal (2012), got a sneak peek during the Olympics. She lives with her two teenage children in Manhattan.
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  • FleaActor