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Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

67 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Oscar® winning director Alex Gibney presents a probing look into the uncanny life of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson inventor of gonzo journalism and author of the landmark Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Accompanied by an iconic soundtrack, this fast moving, wildly entertaining film addresses the major touchstones in Thompson s life from his intense and ill fated relationship with the Hell s Angels to his deep involvement in Senator George McGovern s 1972 presidential election.

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary with director Alex Gibney
  • Hunter Stories
  • Deleted Interviews from Jimmy Carter, Jann Wenner, Gary Hart, Pat Buchanan and more
  • A Fond Farewell: Audio Recordings of Johnny Depp, Jack Nicholson, Bill Murray
  • A Final Farewell: Additional Images from Hunter's Funeral
  • Hunter S. Thompson Photo Gallery
  • Hunter S. Thompson Tribute Photo Gallery
  • Additional Home Movies and Audio Recordings
  • Ralph Steadman Gallery; Gun Commercial; The Arsenal: An Inventory of Hunter's Fire Arms
  • Manuscripts
  • Memorabilia

Product Details

  • Actors: Johnny Depp, Hunter S. Thompson
  • Directors: Alex Gibney
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 18, 2008
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,986 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Mark Turner on November 18, 2008
Format: DVD
On February 20, 2005, the end of an era was blown out not with a whisper but with a bang. Dr. Hunter S. Thompson chose that day to end his own life by committing suicide with one of the many guns he owned. It was a loss for a generation that grew up reading him in Rolling Stone Magazine, a loss for fans and a loss for journalism.

While two films (WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM and FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS) were made about his life, it is only now that Hunter reaches the screen in his own words, in his own actions via the newly released documentary GONZO: THE LIFE AND WORK OF DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON. And what a treat it is to see and hear him speak for himself.

The film looks back at the entire life of this maverick that changed the face of journalism by making it not just about looking at issues from the outside in, but from the inside out. Gonzo journalism often placed the writer into the scene of what was being written about since that writer was actually there. Gonzo journalists write as participants as opposed to voyeurs. And Hunter was a definite participant.

The film begins with his youth covering the usual biopic necessities of what possibly made him choose the direction he did. But it moves forward to his youth when he chose to be a writer and pursue that dream. Not only did he pursue it, he got involved in it.

The first break Hunter found was when he commingled with the motorcycle gang the Hells Angels to find out just what they were all about. The pieces he put together on the gang were wrapped up into a book titled HELLS ANGELS that was considered the quintessential source of information on gangs. A falling out with the gang led to Hunter's moving on to another topic.
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Format: DVD
"Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson" is an overview of the life and passions of Hunter S. Thompson, inventor of "gonzo" journalism and iconic hero of liberalism -at least for those liberals who didn't mind all the guns. Through interviews with an impressive variety of Thompson's friends and associates, narration by Johnny Depp, and archival footage of Thompson himself, director Alex Gibney takes us through Thompson's life, concentrating on his career and image. The story starts in earnest in 1965, when Thompson was "imbedded" with the Hell's Angels for over a year, his first exercise in participatory journalism and the subject of his first book, "Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs" (1966).

That's followed by Thompson's experience of the 1968 Democratic Convention, his bid for Sheriff of Aspen on a pro-marijuana platform in 1970, the story behind "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", and his work for "Rolling Stone" magazine, including his coverage of the McGovern-Nixon presidential campaign, which became "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail `72", and finally his suicide in 2005. The film doesn't attempt to be a comprehensive biography. Thompson's years in the Air Force are not even mentioned, for example. I was pleasantly surprised by the array of people who consented to be interviewed: his first wife Sondi Wright (Sandy Thompson at the time), Tom Wolfe, former President Jimmy Carter, George McGovern and Pat Buchanan, "Rolling Stone" co-founder Jan Wenner, Jimmy Buffett, Thompson's frequent collaborator the artist Ralph Steadman, among others.

Alex Gibney is conventional in his approach to his unconventional subject. He doesn't criticize Thompson as much as he might or glorify him as much as fans sometimes do.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Tome Raider VINE VOICE on December 4, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I've been intrigued by HST ever since I was a kid growing up in Evergreen, Colorado in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Word of the "Freak Ticket" and its mighty and outrageous leader made its way over the mountains from Aspen and astonished all of us. His audacity echoed in those mountains (and still does to this day). I also recall perusing those famous issues of Rolling Stone at the Walgreen's magazine counter where HST told-tale of all his intrepid investigations, and where sinister evil seemed to lurk around every dark corner. And my appreciation for his unique approach to things has grown as I've matured. I see him as a patriot, and as a courageous one at that. It takes courage to tell the truth about things--or something close to the truth, but conveyed in a very interesting way--especially when there are lots of powerful forces out there praying for your demise, and maybe even plotting it.

I haven't read everything HST wrote, but I've read most of it, and I've read a biography or two as well. I was delighted when I heard about this documentary, and I rented it off of Netflix the moment it was listed. And, yes, I'll probably end up buying it for my library of 1960's retrospectives. I'm absolutely fascinated by everything that happened in the US--and the world as well--between 1965 and 1975. It was an amazingly vital and dynamic period of our history, and will probably never again be matched during my life or the life of my children. HST was a major player in several of those realms from that period.

But, on the whole, this documentary seemed a little flat to me. I was vaguely confused from time to time. It seemed lacking in continuity.
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