Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Motion Pictures (Communication)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Anthony Allegro

Second Committee Member

William Rothman

Third Committee Member

J. Tomas Lopez


The type of commentary a narrative is able to make is fully dependent on the type of narrator who is relating it. The visual elements present in a film are the true narrational forces which guide it. The presence of the camera, the use of lighting, the architecture, and the objects present in the film each have their own meaning. These elements come together to make a greater commentary than the dialogue. How these meanings interact with each other is what defines what type of narrator is present in the film. By analyzing what type of narrator is relating the story it is possible to examine what commentary the film is able to make. Mike Nichols? 1967 film The Graduate and Terry Gilliam?s 1998 film adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson?s 1971 literary work Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas make commentaries that act as bookends for the ideals of the youth culture during the late 1960?s. Where as The Graduate is condemning the shining emptiness of 1967 suburban California society which its narrator inhabits, Fear and Loathing?s narrator is depicting the twisted abomination which grew within the emptiness of that society during those four years. The fact that Gilliam?s adaptation came 27 years after the source material was created allows for an even more specific translation of Thompson?s message. The Graduate is looking towards the unknown future where as Fear and Loathing is look backwards at the results. The Graduate is commenting on the current situation and looking forwards where as Fear and Loathing is looking backwards to see what has happened in the interim. It is this difference that forces the type of narration and the visual style employed by the films to be diametrically opposed.


Mike Nichols; Narrational Theory; Terry Gilliam; Visual Theory; Hunter S Thompson