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The Big Lebowski (1998)

tomatometer

80

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Reviews Counted: 86
Fresh: 69 | Rotten: 17

Typically stunning visuals and sharp dialogue from the Coen Brothers, brought to life with strong performances from Goodman and Bridges.

64

Average Rating: 6.2/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 5

Typically stunning visuals and sharp dialogue from the Coen Brothers, brought to life with strong performances from Goodman and Bridges.

audience

94

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 348,518

My Rating

Movie Info

The plot of this Raymond Chandler-esque comedy crime caper from the Coen Brothers (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen) pivots around a case of mistaken identity complicated by extortion, double-crosses, deception, embezzlement, sex, pot, and gallons of White Russians (made with fresh cream, please). In 1991, unemployed '60s refugee Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) grooves into his laid-back Los Angeles lifestyle. One of the laziest men in LA, he enjoys hanging with his bowling buddies, pompous

R,

Comedy

,

Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Oct 27, 1998

Gramercy Pictures

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All Critics (86) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (69) | Rotten (17) | DVD (38)

Adds up to considerably less than the sum of its often scintillating parts.

November 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety | Comments (24)
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The result is a lot of laughs and a feeling of awe toward the craftsmanship involved. I doubt that there'll be anything else like it the rest of this year.

April 27, 2007 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Far from being shallow pastiche, it's actually about something: what it means to be a man, to be a friend, and to be a 'hero' for a particular time and place.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A typical Coen brothers film is like no film you've ever seen.

April 25, 2003 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As tempting as it is to completely dismiss The Big Lebowski, it's hard to do because the Coens are able to create wickedly funny eccentrics and possess the ability to energize certain actors to inhabit them completely.

February 14, 2001 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Comments (12)
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Big Lebowski is a mess. But what a glorious, wonderfully-entertaining mess it is.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: ReelViews
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

On one hand, it has many layers, but on the other hand, it's just about a dude who wants his rug back.

September 4, 2013 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

A very funny and twisted comedy...

June 10, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Enormously entertaining!

August 4, 2012 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

...yet another in a long line of promising yet disappointing comedies from Joel and Ethan Coen...

February 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews | Comments (9)
Reel Film Reviews

One of the funniest, coolest, most absurd cult films ever made, and one of the best from the dynamic duo - Joel and Ethan Coen.

January 29, 2012 Full Review Source: IGN DVD
IGN DVD

It's essential.

August 31, 2011 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

It's the whole proud, embarrassing sociopolitical, cultural heap of American history-and the American Century in particular-in two fleet, funny hours. [Blu-ray]

August 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

The Coens concoct an absurdist Chandler-esque mystery, drop in a couple hilarious dream fantasies, and even bring in a drawling Sam Elliot to narrate this tall tale like a western myth.

August 21, 2011 Full Review Source: MSN.com
MSN.com

[VIDEO] You'd never guess that the movie is loosely based on Raymond Chandler's detective novel "The Big Sleep."

July 23, 2011 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

I'm not a fan of the Coen Brothers, but this is an entertaining enough diversion.

June 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

A wild ride for adults only.

December 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

To what do we owe the pleasure of the Coen Brothers' new joie de vivre and love for their fellow man?

August 21, 2009 Full Review Source: City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul

Stylish and wickedly funny black comedy illuminated by a great performance from Jeff Bridges, and loaded with all the Coen brothers' trademark wit and flair.

May 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

As with Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski gives us a protagonist whose dopey innocence seems to be his only protection from the real world.

November 17, 2007
KPBS.org

If it's all supposed to be in fun, why does it feel so much like an insult?

November 7, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide | Comments (38)
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Bridges does more with his deflated body language than many comedians can manage by chewing the furniture.

July 23, 2007 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

If nothing else, the Dude speaks for me when appraises the music of the Eagles.

July 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC) | Comments (4)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for The Big Lebowski

A cult phenomenon that seems to only get better with age, the Coen Brothers' absolutely hilarious comedy The Big Lebowski should keep winning fans over as it gets seen and rewatched by newbies and fans all over the world. Jeff Bridges' iconic performance as "The Dude" is one of his all time best, while John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore, and John Tuturro as Jesus provide laugh after laugh after laugh. The film noir influenced plot is just the backdrop to the antics that The Dude and his bowling buddies are up to as they try to solve a kidnapping mystery involving a millionnaire named Jeff Lebowski and his young wife.
The Big Lebowski is classic Coen Brothers. It isn't quite a masterpiece like Fargo or No Country for Old Men. but it is a worthy film to the hype that has surrounded it over the past decade.
April 27, 2013
MovieGeek13

Super Reviewer

The Coen Bros. hot off their mega hit Fargo, created this off beat, yet off times brilliant piece where the actual storyline, while interesting enough on its own, is a mere backdrop to a much more meaningful dialog about.... Well, just about everything. That the Coen Bros. can pull this off with humor and pathos combined is the true mark of their expert storytelling, harkening back to their wonderful debut effort "Blood Simple".

There are similarities to "Blood Simple" in the storyline, but here the story is merely a jumping off point where the Bros. expand and amaze; riffing on everything from anger management, war (Vietnam in particular), and the rise of the entire slacker mentality, so wonderfully portrayed by Jeff Bridges as "the Dude".

From the beginning where you get a scripted voice over that sounds like a country version of a Chandler Noir book, as the visuals show a tumbleweed blown by the Santa Ana winds from the desert to the City of Angels, and then out to sea, all while the song Tumbling Tumbleweed plays in the background, you have all the roadmap you really need. The Dude embodies that tumbleweed, as does the script which reminds us that a simple act leads to other acts that snowball on top of one another creating a bizarre, hilarious, and yet believable mountain of incidents, where the only unbelievable parts are the characters of the bit players - from the Nihlist gang to Julianne Moore's hilarious portrayal as the Big Lebowski's daughter; all played for laughs.

But at the film's core you have Bridges and his bowling partner, a Vietnam vet with anger issues portrayed by John Goodman. The two are the solid core, and yet there are so many wonderful little pearls from the supporting cast - from the aforementioned role by Moore, to the fussy man servant portrayed by Phillip Seymore Hoffman, to an insane turn by John Turturro as the wacky bowling competitor Jesus (pronounced Jesus, not Heyzoos). Also in the mix is Steve Buschemi as the literal third wheel of the Dude's bowling team.

The film includes some bizarre and oft times hilarious bits of imagination that occur while the Dude is knocked unconscious (which happens frequently). Included in those bits of subconscious meanderings is a terrific bit where the Dude, who has just been drugged, imagines himself in the middle of a porno film that includes a dance number with Moore as a Valkarie with bowling balls as her breast plate - as the Kenny Rogers and the First Edition performance of "Seeing What Condition My Condition Was In" plays in the background. If the idea of a porno film couched around bowling seems odd to you - well of course it is - and yet it works wonderfully well; especially since the film expounds a kind of zen of bowling motif throughout.

And really, that last bit is all you really need to know about the film - offbeat, to be certain, and yet, at least for me, this all fit together into a wonderfully well thought out film where, unlike so many current films, the oddness has a meaning and a purpose - and isn't merely weird for weird's sake.
October 1, 2012
maxthesax
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

Sometimes great minds do think alike. Brothers Joel and Ethan Coen can be defined by absolutely nothing but pure brilliance. By just scratching the surface in an analysis of their creative methods, we discover that the two of them are responsible for Fargo, a film that disproved anybody and everybody who ever doubted the feasibility of a comedic thriller; O Brother, Where Art Thou?, an even more anomalous picture that twisted the plot from Homer's solemn epic poem The Odyssey, into an absurd, Southernized, Great Depression-set escapade; and True Grit, one of very few remakes that is applauded far more than the original 1969 work, perhaps due to an adventurous wit John Wayne could never have dreamed of delivering. I dare say that of what I've seen out of their filmography, The Big Lebowski is surprisingly lacking in both invention and innovation; I might go even further and express that more creativity can be excavated from its massive cultural impact, i.e. the inception and expansion of "Dudeism" by its many, many cult followers. Is it lacking in humor? No, not at all. Of course black comedies such as Fargo are easily more "cinepsychologically" identifiable, but when the massively side splitting chortles received in that film are weighed out beside those among The Big Lebowski, the scale evens out pretty smoothly...man.

The less you know about the film, the more priceless entertainment you'll likely draw from the initial viewing. That's not a phrase I'd so much as expect myself to employ for something in the absurd caliber of The Big Lebowski, but it's an awfully bona fide statement. To reveal just a few more events that occur in the story's thirty-minute setup would make the effect of the eventuating climax seem predictable, slapdash, and simply boring. The Dude himself is what makes the story so hilarious, when nothing else does. He speaks like a seventh-grade jock trying to incorporate challenging vocabulary into his everyday speech. I suppose I should reveal just one more tidbit from the setup: Quoth the Dude, "Let me explain something to you. Um, I am not 'Mr. Lebowski'. You're Mr. Lebowski. I'm the Dude. So that's what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing." We are given the same misleading opening narration, on top of that, that made films like This Is Spinal Tap and the more recent Kung Fu Panda even more memorable (but contrary to the latter example, this is not a family movie). We are led to expect a film that sings the praises and triumphs of some sort of legendary victor that anyone in the film's universe has heard of. We're mislead so far, with first-person viewpoints that simply cannot be described by words like "oddball" or "psychedelic", we have to wonder if the narrating character was the Coens' former choice to preface a mockumentary glamorizing African poverty.

read the rest at themoviefreakblog.com, man
September 1, 2012
spielberg00

Super Reviewer

    1. Walter Sobchak: Shut the fuck up, Donny!
    – Submitted by Victor T (4 months ago)
    1. Donny: Shut the fuck up, Donny!
    – Submitted by Victor T (4 months ago)
    1. The Dude: It really tied the room together.
    – Submitted by Farzam M (4 months ago)
    1. Walter Sobchak: Is this your homework, Larry?
    – Submitted by Jesse H (4 months ago)
    1. The Dude: Who the fuck are the Knutsens?
    – Submitted by Michel D (8 months ago)
    1. The Dude: Yeah,well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.
    – Submitted by Keith J (11 months ago)
View all quotes (152)

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