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The Big Lebowski (1998)

R | | Comedy, Crime | 6 March 1998 (USA)
Trailer
0:31 | Trailer
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire of the same name, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it.

Directors:

Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (uncredited)

Writers:

Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Popularity
416 ( 10)

A Guide to the Films of the Coen Brothers

From Blood Simple to the new The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, we take a look at the offbeat stylings of Academy Award-winners Joel and Ethan Coen.

Dude, let's go bowling

Top Rated Movies #180 | 5 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeff Bridges ... The Dude
John Goodman ... Walter Sobchak
Julianne Moore ... Maude Lebowski
Steve Buscemi ... Theodore Donald 'Donny' Kerabatsos
David Huddleston ... The Big Lebowski
Philip Seymour Hoffman ... Brandt
Tara Reid ... Bunny Lebowski
Philip Moon ... Woo, Treehorn Thug
Mark Pellegrino ... Blond Treehorn Thug
Peter Stormare ... Nihilist #1, Uli Kunkel / 'Karl Hungus'
Flea ... Nihilist #2, Kieffer
Torsten Voges ... Nihilist #3, Franz
Jimmie Dale Gilmore Jimmie Dale Gilmore ... Smokey
Jack Kehler ... Marty
John Turturro ... Jesus Quintana
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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 ahmetkozan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Times like these call for a Big Lebowski. 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | German | Hebrew | Spanish

Release Date:

6 March 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Big Lebowski See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,533,844, 8 March 1998

Gross USA:

$18,034,458

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$46,735,469
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When The Dude and Walter are bowling after the botched ransom drop off, Walter says "Eitz chaim hi, Dude, as the ex used to say." This is the first half of a Hebrew verse, which means "It is a tree of life" (the second half of the verse is "lamachazikim ba", which means "to those who take hold of it") and it refers to the Old Testament. See more »

Goofs

Jesus Quintana's wrist brace wasn't made till 1996. 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 ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Big Associate Editor.... Big Dave Diliberto See more »

Alternate Versions

The version which premiered on USA Network in September, 2000 has been severely cut (aside from the usual edits for content). Among the story lines excised are virtually all the scenes involving Jesus Quintana (John Turturro), the private eye from Minnesota (Jon Polito) looking for Bunny Lebowski and the scene where Maud is trying to conceive The Dude's child. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Buba Shel Medina: Episode #2.8 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles
Written by Don Van Vliet (as Don Vliet)
Performed by Don Van Vliet (as Captain Beefheart)
Published by EMI Unart Catalog Inc. (BMI)
Courtesy of Reprise Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The Deadbeat Lebowski
5 October 2005 | by Ricky_Roma__See all my reviews

How can anyone not dig The Dude? In a world where energetic go-getters are idolised and looked up to, it's nice to know that there are fat, indolent, scruffy, pot smoking, beer drinking bums out there taking it easy. Or they would be if people would leave their rugs alone…

The Big Lebowski is a film where the plot is entirely inconsequential; it doesn't matter. It's just a mere device to set The Dude on his way. The joy is in watching him interact with all the weirdos in Los Angeles and in listening to the dialogue – the script is the most quotable since Withnail and I. Therefore it's the perfect film to just sit back and absorb.

Picking a favourite scene in a film that is jam packed with great moments and wonderful lines of dialogue is a near impossibility, but you'd be hard pressed to beat the scene with the Malibu police chief. "I don't like your jerk-off name. I don't like your jerk-off face. I don't like your jerk-off behaviour. And I don't like you…jerk-off." And then to cap it off he throws his mug at The Dude's head. Brilliant! And making it even funnier is the scene that immediately follows it where the taxi driver throws The Dude out of his cab.

But another favourite is Jesus. He only has two scenes but both are hilarious. (I hope the Coens make 'The Passion of the Jesus.') And I love the flashback where you see him knocking on doors to tell his neighbours that he's a pederast. Especially good is the way that a large, bearded man with a dirty shirt answers the door (I always crack up at the breath Jesus takes when he sees the man – I also noticed, for the first time, that Jesus in that flashback is visibly showing in his tight jeans; he's not a small guy).

But then there's the scene where The Dude first meets Maude Lebowski (excellently played by Julianne Moore). "I'm sorry if your stepmother is a nympho, but…" And I also like the little dig at the porno film they're watching: "The plot is ludicrous." But the comment isn't really aimed at the porno film; the film is talking about itself. It knows the plot is nonsensical but it also knows that it doesn't matter – it's best to just let it wash over you.

Mentioning porno has reminded me of Jackie Treehorn. Is there a better visual gag in modern cinema than The Dude scratching a notepad for a message or telephone number only to find a cartoon of a man with a gigantic erection? Well, maybe there is, because even earlier in the film there's the moment where The Dude spends a long time making a homemade device to keep intruders out only for him to forget the fact that his door opens outwards instead of inwards – he nails a bit of wood to the floor, props a chair up to the door handle to keep people out and the very second he walks away, the door opens and the chair comes tumbling down. Pure genius!

And Jackie Treehorn's brainless goons are brilliant too. "You're not dealing with morons here." Oh yes we are. But the film's all the better for it.

But I'm not sure what my favourite line in the film would be – again it's almost impossible to pick just one. But "I still jerk-off manually" would have to be up there, as would virtually every line Walter spews ("The Chinaman is not the issue…"). However, if I was forced (at gunpoint) to choose, I'd have to go with a piece of Dude wisdom: "Fortunately, I'm adhering to a pretty strict, uh, drug regiment to keep my mind, you know, uh, limber." And The Dude's reaction when Maude tells him that she's trying to conceive is magnificent.

Yet another brilliant scene is the Larry scene. Walter and The Dude are trying to get information out of some kid but the kid just stares impassively at them, so Walter destroys his car – or what he thinks is his car. Now at this moment I could quote the real dialogue, but the TV version dialogue is perhaps even better. "Do you see what happens, Larry? Do you see what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps?" It's even better than: "Fun you, melon farmer!"

Then there are the nihilists. "We believe in nothing, Lebowski. Nothing. And tomorrow we come back and we cut off your johnson." But try as they might to intimidate, the only scary thing about the nihilists is the techno music they listen to. Well, that and their obsession with the male member.

But I could quote lines from The Big Lewbowski all day. I just dig the film so much because it puts a goofy grin on my face; its stupidity is remarkably intelligent. Plus, in the end, it's actually quite heartfelt – if the film's about anything, it's about friendship…well, that and smoking pot, drinking beer, bowling and keeping hold of your johnson. Yeah, the world's a better place with The Dude in it.


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