Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S. Thompson

Critics Consensus

While not the comprehensive profile of the man that his die-hard fans might have hoped for, Gonzo remains an insightful introduction to the life of rebellious writer Hunter S. Thompson and his influences.



Total Count: 97


Audience Score

User Ratings: 41,174
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Movie Info

Alex Gibney (director of (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) turns his attention from corporate scandal to Gonzo journalism with this tribute to the libido-driven, Wild Turkey-swilling writer who never knew the meaning of the word "excess." Comprised largely of never-before-seen archival materials, Gibney's film focuses on the years between 1965 and 1975, when Hunter S. Thompson was truly firing on all cylinders. Rare home movies, audiotapes, and excerpts from unpublished manuscripts combine to paint an affectionate portrait to the wild-eyed father of Gonzo journalism. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S. Thompson

All Critics (97) | Top Critics (31)

  • Gibney's focus on Thompson at his most politically relevant is welcome, but it renders the broader picture less than complete, particularly when it comes to his early life influences.

    Sep 12, 2018 | Full Review…
  • The film's plea that we need Thompson now more than ever is a little misty-eyed: Thompson's day was long gone by the time he put a gun to his head.

    Dec 19, 2008 | Rating: 4/6 | Full Review…

    Dave Calhoun

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Gonzo is much more than a tribute to a maverick and genuine pioneer. It's a lament for the gaping hole that Thompson left behind. The only obvious weakness is Gibney's reluctance to engage fully with Thompson's toxic personal life.

    Dec 19, 2008 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • This documentary about his life by Alex Gibney, though entertaining in many ways, is oddly uninterested in his strengths or otherwise as a writer, the very gift for which Thompson earnestly wished to be known.

    Dec 19, 2008 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Gibney says the film took so much out of him that he limped into the Sundance Festival with a ruptured disc, a green liver and spots in his eyes that will not disappear. I hope he now thinks it worth the trouble. I'm pretty sure watchers will.

    Dec 19, 2008 | Rating: 4/5
  • Gonzo is an excellent reminder that Thompson was more than just a wild man. He was, at least for a time, a first-rate writer who covered his times and helped shape them.

    Oct 30, 2008 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S. Thompson

  • Apr 07, 2013
    Hunter S. Thompson was one of the most eccentric, unique writers in the literary genre. This is a great documentary about the life and legacy of Hunter S. Thompson. The film comprises interviews of people who knew Thompson and they talk about his legacy. I've read some of his work, and it is brilliant, eccentric, and bizarre, but above all original. Brilliantly captured on film, this is a film that not only tells Thompson's story, but takes a look at the time period of which he became famous. Although not a perfect documentary, this is a good enough film that will definitely appeal to his fans. I enjoyed the documentary and it was quite entertaining from start to finish. The interviews are very good and will definitely delight fans of the late author. Hunter S. Thompson was a unique author and an important one at that. This is a fine little film that should be seen. Although it is not for everyone, Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson is a well crafted documentary that is very good and overcomes its flaws due to the fact that it tells such a powerful story about one of the most legendary authors. The film not only focuses on his work, but on his life and his impact on the medium. After watching this film, you realize how important Hunter S. Thompson was. Often bizarre, but constantly entertaining and engaging, this is a well crafted documentary that you should see if you love Thompson's work, then definitely check this film out, you will definitely enjoy it. Hunter S. Thompson was a brilliant writer and an important one at that that made a huge impact on popular culture.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Sep 16, 2010
    I watched this to pump myself up for the Rum Diaries movie coming out this year that will see Johnny Depp Playing Hunter S Thompson again (not to be directed by Terry Gilliam unfortunantly but my hopes are still high.) Really well done portrait of one of the most important anti-establishment figures throughout the 60's and 70's. Didn't spend much time on his early life or career which I would have liked to see more of, but instead took the approach of examining the highlights of his career. An enjoyable watch anyways albeit one that was lacking in new information on the man. Oh well, a must see for those unfamiliar with Hunter S. Thompson.
    Ed Fucking H Super Reviewer
  • Sep 12, 2009
    "Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson" is a lively and insightful documentary about the late great journalist who exploded the myth of objectivity. As Ed Hamell pointed out elsewhere, he injected a bit of rock and roll into journalism and it was never the same since. That just shows you how much Thompson is missed in this day and age with history threatening to repeat with a well-meaning President again on the verge of losing his beloved social programs in favor of an unwinnable war that he has inherited. Considering how much I have read by and and about Thompson, I was surprised how much I learned here, as the documentary focuses on the time from his growing up in Louisville to about the mid-1970's when his popularity was starting to wane, as testified to by friends, colleagues, allies, and one enemy.(Look, I know I should think of Pat Buchanan as Satan but I respect him for showing up here.) My main point of contention is the documentary dismissing Thompson's later life out of hand(I think it's true that he did not expect to live as long as he did) but at least his memorial service/viking funeral is shown. I would like to counter that by saying that it was a period of time when he was still writing. Otherwise, it is quite possible that he was having a lot of fun and enjoying himself on the farm.(Thompson always did look awkward in interviews.) If an artist does not want to make art anymore, then that's up to them. Nothing we can do about it.(And I'm a huge Kate Bush fan by the way.) At the same time, Rolling Stone has much more to be ashamed of, turning from being an underground magazine into a corporate celebrity music magazine. And I am sure that has nothing to do with them not using drugs anymore...
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 27, 2009
    good docu about a journalist who went over the top in an anti establishment kinda way. great viewing
    Sanity Assassin ! Super Reviewer

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