The Big Lebowski

dir. Joel Coen

The Big Lebowski

dir. Joel Coen

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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Jeff Bridges became a hero for the ages as one-time idealist, full-time apathetic, devoted bowler and unwilling pseudo-private eye Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski, in Joel and Ethan Coen's most popular and universally beloved film.

No other character in the Coen oeuvre looms as large as one-time idealist, full-time apathetic, devoted bowler, unwilling pseudo-private eye Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski (Jeff Bridges), whose blissful routine of getting baked and going bowling is interrupted when he is mistaken by a posse of rug-pissing thugs for a millionaire of the same name. Egged on by his PTSD-afflicted Vietnam vet bowling buddy Walter Sobchak (John Goodman), The Dude goes to see the "big Lebowski" to receive compensation for his soiled rug, and soon finds himself mixed up with a porn tycoon (Ben Gazzara), an eccentric modern artist (Julianne Moore), a gang of ferret-armed German nihilists, and a mysterious, Stetson-sporting stranger (Sam Elliott). Viewed as something of a disappointment upon its initial release on the heels of the Academy Award–winning triumph of Fargo, The Big Lebowski has since become the Coens' most beloved and universally admired film — not least because of Bridges' immortal performance as The Dude, a Hammett/Chandler private-eye knight-errant for a post-sixties, pre-millenial America, emerging from his pleasant haze of bong smoke and White Russians to declare that, indeed, this aggression will not stand.