The Big Lebowski
The Big Lebowski is a 1998 British-American crime comedy film written, produced, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. It stars Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski, a Los Angeles slacker and avid bowler. He is assaulted as a result of mistaken identity, after which The Dude learns that a millionaire also named Jeffrey Lebowski was the intended victim. The millionaire Lebowski’s trophy wife is kidnapped, and he commissions The Dude to deliver the ransom to secure her release; but the plan goes awry when the Dude’s friend Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) schemes to keep the ransom money. Julianne Moore and Steve Buscemi also star, with David Huddleston, John Turturro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Elliott, Tara Reid, David Thewlis and Flea appearing in supporting roles.
The film is loosely inspired by the work of Raymond Chandler. Joel Coen stated: “We wanted to do a Chandler kind of story – how it moves episodically, and deals with the characters trying to unravel a mystery, as well as having a hopelessly complex plot that’s ultimately unimportant.” The original score was composed by Carter Burwell, a longtime collaborator of the Coen brothers.
The Big Lebowski was a disappointment at the U.S. box office and received mixed reviews at the time of its release. Over time, however, reviews have become largely positive, and the film has become a cult favorite, noted for its idiosyncratic characters, dream sequences, unconventional dialogue, and eclectic soundtrack. In 2014, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. A spin-off based on John Turturro’s character, titled Going Places, was filmed in 2017, with Turturro also acting as writer and director.