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The Big Lebowski (1998)

R | | Comedy, Crime | 6 March 1998 (USA)
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"The Dude" Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it.

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, (uncredited)

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392 ( 14)
Top Rated Movies #152 | 4 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Woo, Treehorn Thug
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Nihilist #1, Uli Kunkel / 'Karl Hungus'
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Nihilist #2, Kieffer
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Nihilist #3, Franz
Jimmie Dale Gilmore ...
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Marty
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Storyline

When "The Dude" Lebowski is mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, two thugs urinate on his rug to coerce him into paying a debt he knows nothing about. While attempting to gain recompense for the ruined rug from his wealthy counterpart, he accepts a one-time job with high pay-off. He enlists the help of his bowling buddy, Walter, a gun-toting Jewish-convert with anger issues. Deception leads to more trouble, and it soon seems that everyone from porn empire tycoons to nihilists want something from The Dude. Written by J. Lake

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Her life was in their hands. Now her toe is in the mail. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive strong language, drug content, sexuality and brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

| | |

Release Date:

6 March 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Big Lebowski  »

Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,533,844 (USA) (6 March 1998)

Gross:

$17,439,163 (USA) (29 May 1998)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For the film's look, the Coens wanted to avoid the usual retro 1960s clichés like lava lamps, Day-Glo posters, and Grateful Dead music and for it to be "consistent with the whole bowling thing, we wanted to keep the movie pretty bright and poppy", Joel said in an interview. For example, the star motif featured predominantly throughout the film, started with the film's production designer Richard Heinrichs' design for the bowling alley. According to Joel Coen, he "came up with the idea of just laying free-form neon stars on top of it and doing a similar free-form star thing on the interior". This carried over to the film's dream sequences. "Both dream sequences involve star patterns and are about lines radiating to a point. In the first dream sequence, the Dude gets knocked out and you see stars and they all coalesce into the overhead nightscape of L.A. The second dream sequence is an astral environment with a backdrop of stars", remembers Heinrichs. For Jackie Treehorn's Malibu beach house, he was inspired by late 1950s and early 1960s bachelor pad furniture. See more »

Goofs

The Dude holds up his right hand to show he has no wedding ring. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
The Stranger: [voiceover] Way out west there was this fella... fella I wanna tell ya about. Fella by the name of Jeff Lebowski. At least that was the handle his loving parents gave him, but he never had much use for it himself. Mr. Lebowski, he called himself "The Dude". Now, "Dude" - that's a name no one would self-apply where I come from. But then there was a lot about the Dude that didn't make a whole lot of sense. And a lot about where he lived, likewise. But then again, maybe that's why I ...
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Crazy Credits

Left Behind ... Margareth Hayes See more »

Connections

Referenced in No Smoking in the Waiting Area (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Glück das mir verblieb
from the Opera "Die tote Stadt"
Written and Conducted by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Performed by Ilona Steingruber, Anton Dermota and the Austrian State Radio Orchestra
Used by permission of European American Music Distributors Corporation, Agent for Schott Musik International
Courtesy of Cambria Master Recordings
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Simply Beautiful
16 October 2004 | by See all my reviews

It's a travesty that most critics only read The Big Lebowski at its most superficial level and called it a modern take on a Raymond Chandler potboiler. I simply can't begin to perceive how one could sit down in front of this cinematic pop-poetry, as it plates gold on the silver screen, and not feel so incredibly alive. The dream sequence Busbee Berkley musical numbers are unique and awe-inspiring; the humor is rich, subtle, and clever in the way it satirizes politically correct arrogance; the free-flowing story avoids (even pokes fun at) nonessentials like plot points and pay-offs. But what really makes this film such a masterpiece, such a panacea, is the incredible humanism, the care that the Coen brothers put in developing The Dude (Jeff Bridges), Walter (John Goodman), Donnie (Steve Buscemi-tremendously endearing), and Brandt (magnificently played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman). Looking at the films use of Sam Elliott to play The Stranger, who constantly rambles about the many wonders of The Dude (among other things), it is clear that the film is an ode to a Dudist way of life. And in a time where so many film promise that they have the answer to the worlds problems and end up as slick, stylistic show-off films, what more could one ask for than a good-hearted film like this? Not to mention the performance by Jeff Bridges, which ranks among the best performances of the nineties; he has a relaxed slouch, a goofy smile, an enthusiastic dance, and his buttons can only be pushed by Walter, who John Goodman plays with charm and fury. The Coen brothers have always been considered 'cold' filmmakers, but there is nothing here but warmth and humanity (as is the case with the Coens' Fargo). What we have here is one of the greatest achievements in modern cinema and if you can't see that, grab a White Russian, hit the bowling ally, and find your inner-Dude as soon as possible.


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