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American journalist Hunter S Thompson is a mythical figure, partly by his own design. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is by far his most famous book. The book was published in 1971 and many years later the movie was released in May of 1998. The novel first appeared as a 2 part series in Rolling Stone magazine in 1971 and then officially published as a novel in 1972.
The 1998 movie was produced by famed director Terry Gilliam and starred Johnny Depp as Raoul Duke and Benicio Del Toro as Dr. Gonzo.
Hunter Thompson admitted that while he was writing the book he consumed Chivas Regal, Dunhills, cocaine, orange juice, marijuana, Heineken, huge helpings of food, LSD, Chartreuse, clove cigarettes, gin and watched many pornographic movies!
The book is a wild, drug fueled ride with a focus on brazen drug usage which was very unusual at the time. It also captures what the US was like in the 60’s and 70’s. The book received many negative reviews from the critics due to its rambling plot and drug usage. The book became a very famous book in the 1970’s for American readers and was a classic during that era. The book also featured Ralph Steadman’s unique illustrations which really made the drug-induced nature of the book stand out and helped capture the disjointed narrative.
Today we present some of the most memorable quotes from the book.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Quotes
- “Who are these people, these faces? Where do they come from? They look like caricatures of used car dealers from Dallas, and sweet Jesus, there were a hell of a lot of them at 4:30 on a Sunday morning, still humping the American dream, that vision of the big winner somehow emerging from the last minute pre-dawn chaos of a stale Vegas casino.” — Raul Duke
- “We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a saltshaker half-full of cocaine, and 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.” Raoul Duke
- “As your attorney, I advise you to take a hit out of the little brown bottle in my shaving kit. You won’t need much, just a tiny taste.” -Dr. Gonzo
- Raoul Duke: 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 no one should be asked to handle this trip.
- “Jesus! Did I SAY that? Or just think it? Was I talking? Did they hear me? I glanced over at my attorney, but he seemed oblivious…”―
- “There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda. . . . 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. . . .”
- Raoul Duke: Look, there’s two women f**king a polar bear!
Dr. Gonzo: Don’t tell me these things. Not now man. “I felt like a monster reincarnation of Horatio Alger: A man on the move, and just sick enough to be totally confident.”
- “We are all wired into a survival trip now. No more of the speed that fueled the 60’s. That was the fatal flaw in Tim Leary’s trip. He crashed around America selling “consciousness expansion” without ever giving a thought to the grim meat-hook realities that were lying in wait for all the people who took him seriously… All those pathetically eager acid freaks who thought they could buy Peace and Understanding for three bucks a hit. But their loss and failure is ours too. What Leary took down with him was the central illusion of a whole life-style that he helped create… a generation of permanent cripples, failed seekers, who never understood the essential old-mystic fallacy of the Acid Culture: the desperate assumption that somebody… or at least some force – is tending the light at the end of the tunnel. ” –Raul Duke
- “A little bit of this town goes a very long way. After five days in Vegas you feel like you’ve been here for five years.”
- “History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of “history” it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time—and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.”
― “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.” ―
- “All energy flows according to the whims of the great Magnet. What a fool I was to defy him.” ―
- “The room was very quiet. I walked over to the TV set and turned it on to a dead channel-white noise at maximum decibels, a fine sound for sleeping, a powerful continuous hiss to drown out everything strange.”
- “Every now and then you run up on one of those days when everything’s in vain … a stone bummer from start to finish; and if you know what’s good for you, on days like these you sort of hunker down in a safe corner and watch.”
- “Which is not really a hell of a lot to ask, Lord, because the final incredible truth is that I am not guilty. All I did was take your gibberish seriously… and you see where it got me? My primitive Christian instincts have made me a criminal.” ―
- “What? No. We can’t stop here. This is bat country.” ―
- “But after a while you learn to cope with things like seeing your dead grandmother crawling up your leg with a knife in her teeth. Most acid fanciers can handle this sort of thing.” ―
- “This is the main advantage of ether: it makes you behave like the village drunkard in some early Irish novel… total loss of all basic motor skills: Blurred vision, no balance, numb tongue – severance of all connection between the body and the brain. Which is interesting, because the brain continues to function more or less normally… you can actually watch yourself behaving in the terrible way, but you can’t control it.”
- “There is nothing worse than a man in the throws of an ether bender.”
- “I was asleep when our plane hit the runway, but the jolt brought me instantly awake. I looked out the window and saw the Rocky Mountains. What the fuck was I doing here? I wondered. It made no sense at all. I decided to call my attorney as soon as possible. Have him wire me some money to buy a huge albino Doberman. Denver is a national clearing house for stolen Dobermans; they come from all parts of the country.”
- “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. Probably at the next gas station.”
- “There was absolutely no choice but to cut her adrift and hope her memory was fucked.”
- “I blew the horn a few times, hoping to call up an iguana. Get the buggers moving. They were out there, I knew, in that goddamn sea of cactus–hunkered down, barely breathing, and every one of the stinking little bastards was loaded with deadly poison.”
- “Kill the body and the head will die.”
- “The waitress had the appearance of a very old hooker who had finally found her place in life”
- “How long can we maintain? I wonder. How long before 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..” ―
- “What do you want? Where’s the goddamn ice I ordered? Where’s the booze? There’s a war on, man! People are being killed!” ―
- “We’d be fools not to ride this strange torpedo all the way out to the end.” ―
- “right’ i said. ‘but first, we need the car. and after that, the cocaine. and then the tape recorder, for special music, and some acapulco shirts.” ―
- “Jesus! Did I SAY that? Or just think it? Was I talking? Did they hear me? I glanced over at my attorney, but he seemed oblivious…” ―
- “We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.” —Raoul Duke
- “We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like “I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive….” And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas.”―
- “I agreed. By this time the drink was beginning to cut the acid and my hallucinations were down to a tolerable level. The room service waiter had a vaguely reptilian cast to his features, but I was no longer seeing huge pterodactyls lumbering around the corridors in pools of fresh blood. The only problem now was a gigantic neon sign outside the window, blocking our view of the mountains — millions of colored balls running around a very complicated track, strange symbols & filigree, giving off a loud hum….
“Look outside,” I said.
“There’s a big … machine in the sky, … some kind of electric snake … coming straight at us.”
“Shoot it,” said my attorney.
“Not yet,” I said. “I want to study its habits.”
–Hunter S. Thompson
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Movie Trailer
Here is the official movie trailer – check it out to get a quick flavor of what the book and film are like.
We hope these quotes reminded you of just how crazy this book was! It was a unique piece of American fiction and a classic from the era in which it was written – the 1970’s! If you haven’t read it, check it out or watch the movie! And honestly, probably best if you have a drink or two while watching…it will make more sense!