- Adaptation Displacement: The main page is categorized under "Literature." Now look at how many tropes are actually only for the movie.
- Alternative Character Interpretation: Are Duke and Gonzo wacky Counter Culture heroes sticking it to The Man and the squares, or a pair of selfish, irresponsible jerks?
- Anvilicious: In the book and the audio drama, Duke and Gonzo stop at a diner and tell the waitress and the cook that they are looking for The American Dream. The two women give them directions to a disco nitespot of that name. Duke and Gonzo drive there, but find out that it had burned down.
- Applicability: The book has a huge number of different interpretations as to what Hunter S. Thompson was trying to say with it, whether it's supposed to be a comedy, whether it's supposed to be serious, political, or just an exaggeration of things Thompson actually did. The reality is that they are all right, as the whole point of Gonzo journalism is to allow the reader to be put in the same frame of mind as the author, whatever the author was thinking at the time, which in the case of Thompson, a man who was politically astute, had a great sense of humor, and was known for being over the top, you get a book much like him: something equal parts genius, lunatic, and poet.
- Big-Lipped Orangutan Moment:
- Duke's flashbacks.Duke: Let's get down to brass tacks, here... How much for the ape?
- And another flashback which culminates in a men's lavatory with another druggie licking spilled LSD powder off of Duke's sleeve — just as a businessman walks in, notices the spectacle, and walks out.Duke: With a little luck, [the businessman's] life was ruined forever — always thinking that just behind some narrow door in all of his favorite bars, men in red woolen shirts were getting incredible kicks from things he would never know.
- Duke's flashbacks.
- Broken Base: An unusual example in regards to the fact that Terry Gilliam intended for this to happen. When making the film, he wanted it to be seen as both the best movie ever made and the worst movie ever made. Needless to say, it worked.
- Cant Un Hear It: Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro as Rauol Duke and Doctor Gonzo.
- Crosses the Line Twice:
- Duke's plans for Lucy. He was joking, as what he said was mainly to shock and frighten Gonzo into realizing just how much trouble they could get into if they didn't lose her, and fast. It starts out horrible, suggesting that they feed her acid and let cops from the convention downstairs pay money to gang-fuck her. Right about the time he gets to the part about hanging pictures of Jesus all over the room while this is happening, it becomes clear that he's not seriously suggesting any of it.
- Promptly followed by his description of what Lucy is likely to remember, and what she's likely to tell the authorities, about Gonzo.Duke: All right, listen: In a few hours, she'll probably be sane enough to work herself into a towering Jesus-based rage at the hazy recollection of being seduced by some kind of cruel Samoan who fed her liquor and LSD, dragged her to a Vegas hotel room, and then savagely penetrated every orifice in her body with his throbbing, uncircumcised member. (a passing hotel guest gasps in horror)
- Cult Classic: Probably one of the best known examples of these.
- Filk Song: "He who makes a beast out of himself, gets rid of the paaaaiin of beeeeiiing a maaaannn...YEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!"
- Hilarious in Hindsight: In the ruined Flamingo hotel room, a picture of Che Guevara is seen on a wall at one point. Benicio del Toro would later portray him in the two part Che film, 10 years later.
- Speaking of Benicio Del Toro, it's pretty funny knowing that after playing a character constantly drugged out of his mind, he'd eventually play a hitman going after the Mexican drug cartel.
- Memetic Mutation:
- "We can't stop here; this is X country!" with "bat" replaced with anything imaginable ("Flair country", Donkey Kong Country, "Zubat country...")
- The Goddamned Bats.
- The laundry list of drugs in the trunk of the car: "two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half-full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multicolored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers..."
- Usually stops at the screamers and laughers, but sometimes includes, "...a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of beer/Budweiser, 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.
- "Ah, Devil Ether..."
- "I was right in the middle of a fucking reptile zoo! And somebody's been giving booze to these goddamned things!"
- "Please!! Tell me you got the fucking golf shoes!" / "FINISH...the FUCKING...STORY!"
(used interchangeably to mean "get on with it")
- "As your attorney, I advise you to...", usually followed up by some truly objectionable advice.
- "You people voted for Hubert Humphrey! And you killed Jesus!" (usually used as a signifier of faux-righteous fury)
- Amongst the cast, Benicio del Toro saying "You took too much, man, you took too much, too much."
- "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."
- Moral Event Horizon: Dr. Gonzo crossed tons of lines already just by filling his head with the same shit that Duke's been taking, but one thing he does that most people will admit is truly hard to forgive (especially considering it's one of the most serious parts in an otherwise wacky movie) is harass the waitress at the diner shortly before the end of the movie by threatening her at gunpoint just for a pie and stuffing his money in her cleavage before leaving with Duke, leaving her alone to break down. The worst part is he receives no consequences of any kind.
- This Is Your Premise on Drugs: In part because the protagonists are on drugs.
- Values Dissonance: The night before the drug conference, Duke and Gonzo ended up at a restaurant where they ate a cheap meal and "watched four boozed-up cowboy types kick a faggot half to death between the pinball machines." Then they went back to the hotel. People writing nowadays would probably be less casual about witnessing homophobic violence, and definitely wouldn't refer to the victim as a "faggot."
- Vindicated by History: The film was widely panned and ignored by critics when it was released as they called it just some weird road trip. It was also a box office flop (it is not easy to market a film like this). However, it gained a massive cult following. People like it because of the performances of Depp and Del Toro and Gilliam's direction. The movie also completely captures the book's spirit, even though it doesn't copy it exactly.
YMMV / Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas