The novel's popularity gave rise to attempted cinematic adaptations; directors Martin Scorsese and Oliver Stone each unsuccessfully attempted to film a version of the novel. In the course of these attempts, Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando were considered for the roles of Duke and Dr. Gonzo but the production stalled and the actors aged beyond the characters. Afterwards, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi were considered, but Belushi's death ended that plan. Art Linson's 1980 film Where the Buffalo Roam starring Bill Murray and Peter Boyle is based on a number of Thompson's stories, including Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
In 1989, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was almost made by director Terry Gilliam when he was given a script by illustrator Ralph Steadman. Gilliam, however, felt that the script "didn't capture the story properly". In 1995, Gilliam received a different script he felt worth realising; his 1998 film features Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro as "Raoul Duke" and "Dr Gonzo", respectively; however, criticism was mixed and the film was a box office failure. It has since developed a cult following due in large part to its release on DVD, including a Special Edition released by The Criterion Collection.