The Big Lebowski (1998)



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

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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 security-store owner Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) and mild-mannered ex-surfer Donny (Steve Buscemi). However, the Dude's life takes an alternate route the afternoon two goons break into his threadbare Venice, California, bungalow, rough him up, and urinate on his living room rug. Why? Because Jackie Treehorn (Ben Gazzara) is owed money by the wife of a certain Jeff Lebowski. However, the goons grabbed the wrong Jeff Lebowski. With the right info, they would have invaded the home of philanthropic Pasadena millionaire Jeffrey Lebowski (David Huddleston). The Dude looks up his wealthy namesake, manages to get a replacement for his rug, and meets the millionaire's sexy young wife Bunny (Tara Reid). Later, Jeffrey ("The Big") Lebowski calls in the Dude to deliver a $1 million ransom for the return of his kidnapped wife. Fine -- except that Walter intrudes and botches the ransom drop. As events unravel, the Dude gets caught up in the schemes of Lebowski's daughter, erotic artist Maude (Julianne Moore), encounters both cops and bad guys, and drifts through an elaborate bowling fantasy sequence titled Gutterballs. The soundtrack includes Bob Dylan, Yma Sumac, Moondog, Captain Beefheart, and the Sons of the Pioneers. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi
R (For pervasive strong language, drug content, sexuality and brief violence)
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Gramercy Pictures

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Jeff Bridges
as The Dude
John Goodman
as Walter Sobchak
Julianne Moore
as Maude Lebowski
Peter Stormare
as Nihilist
David Huddleston
as The Big Lebowski
as Nihilist
Leon Russom
as Malibu Police Chief
Sam Elliott
as The Stranger
Tara Reid
as Bunny Lebowski
John Turturro
as Jesus Quintana
David Thewlis
as Knox Harrington
Ben Gazzara
as Jackie Treehorn
Torsten Voges
as Franz--Nihilist
Philip Moon
as Treehorn Thug
Mark Pellegrino
as Treehorn Thug
Jack Kehler
as Dude's Landlord
James G. Hoosier
as Quintana's Partner
Carlos León
as Maude's Thug
Terrance Burton
as Maude's Thug
Richard Gant
as Older Cop
Christian Clemenson
as Younger Cop
Dom Irrera
as Tony the Chauffeur
Gerard L'Heureux
as Lebowski's Chauffeur
Lu Elrod
as Coffee Shop Waitress
Michael Gomez
as Auto Circus Cop
Peter Siragusa
as Gary the Bartender
Mary Bugin
as Arthur Digby Sellers
Jesse Flanagan
as Little Larry Sellers
Luis Colina
as Corvette Owner
Ajgie Kirkland
as Cab Driver
Jon Polito
as Private Snoop
Aimee Mann
as Nihilist Woman
Jerry Haleva
as Saddam
Jennifer Lamb
as Pancake Waitress
Warren David Keith
as Funeral Director
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News & Interviews for The Big Lebowski

Critic Reviews for The Big Lebowski

All Critics (88) | Top Critics (15)

[The Coens] rummaged through political and personal history for the underpinnings of this Los Angeles caper, from 1998, sending up, with rueful astonishment, the American way of war.

Full Review… | October 11, 2015
New Yorker
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | November 7, 2007
Top 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.

Full Review… | April 26, 2007
New York Observer
Top 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.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | April 25, 2003
Globe and Mail
Top 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.

Full Review… | February 13, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Big Lebowski

Visually tasteful and fluid chemistry and performances for a Coen Brothers' cult film. The Big Lebowski is a simple story that requires no over-analyzing to delve into its narrative and concept. It's effective, humorous and overall a wacky classic. 4/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

The "Dude", another specimen in the Coen gallery of fascinating, eccentric characters, easily wins our sympathy thanks especially to Jeff Bridges, who is wonderful and shines together with John Goodman in a very funny and engaging story.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


A hilarious movie featuring Jeff Bridges in an iconic role as a lazy, unemployed stoner who gets himself mixed up in a dangerous situation. This movie has so many good actors and interesting characters, although I would've personally liked to see more of Tuturro's and Elliot's. Some of the characters are just flat out weird (like Julianne Moore's) and belong in another movie, because they don't really bring anything of importance to this one. Bridges and Goodman are a formidable team, and are reason alone to see this thing.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

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