Maybe today would be the day to take a look at the film again: "The Big Lebowski" was released in cinemas exactly 25 years ago. The main character "Dude", played by Jeff Bridges, has long since achieved cult status. No wonder, because we learned a lot from the character.
There are only a few films that achieve cult status. But when they do, idioms, scenes and allusions are burned into the collective memory. For example, when you hear the title "The Big Lebowski", bowling alleys, a carpet or a bag full of linen immediately appear in your mind's eye. It's been exactly 25 years since brothers Ethan and Joel Coen's masterpiece hit theaters on March 6, 1998.
In it, Jeffrey Lebowski aka the "Dude" (Jeff Bridges) is surprised by two thugs in his apartment who mistake him for the millionaire aka "The Big Lebowski" (David Huddleston) whose wife Bunny (Tara Reid) is said to owe someone money . Because they urinated on his favorite carpet, the dude goes in search of the other Lebowski - and his problems begin. The film triggered a wave of excitement and hype surrounding the drink White Russian. But we didn't just learn one cocktail recipe from the Dude.
An important part of the film: bowling. Because it's pretty much the dude's only occupation - he regularly hits the track with his friends, old Vietnam veteran Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) and shy Donny Kerabatsos (Steve Buscemi). If you haven't had much to do with the popular US leisure activity before - you'll be in the picture after this film at the latest. So it's no wonder that some of the most iconic quotes come while bowling. "Smokey, we're not in Vietnam, we're bowling, there are rules," Walter explains to an opponent.
The dude can relax at the bowling alley. Alternatively, he listens to the sounds of a bowling game - on cassette. He can also switch off in the bathtub, preferably with a joint, or with whale songs. This is exactly what the dude's life consists of, who has no ambitions whatsoever - work is a foreign concept to him. Actually, the character wants to be left alone, enjoy his life and have little trouble. This even resulted in a way of life, "Dudeism".
This was developed in 2005 by the journalist Oliver Benjamin and follows the mantra: "Take it easy" (Eng. "Take it easy") and "abide". These are the last words of the character in the film: "The Dude abides". And that is also a pillar of the movement. Simply accepting things that cannot be changed. One does not have to go so far and follow the teachings of Dudeism. But what you can take with you: The dude is satisfied with his life, with himself - regardless of wealth, achievement or status.
"The Big Lebowski" caused a real hype about the White Russian cocktail in the 90s. It's the main character's favorite drink, and he mixes it several times throughout the film. What you need: vodka, coffee liqueur, ice cubes and cream. The Dude uses the product "Half
There are few feature films in which the word "F***" appears as frequently as in "The Big Lebowski". The term is used around 260 times in the 117-minute strip. This is only topped by a few productions - Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" comes up to an unbelievable 506 times. Anyone who believes that some swear words have cheated their way into the film in the affect is wrong. Lead actor Jeff Bridges admitted that there wasn't much improvisation in the dialogue. "It was all on the pages," he explained in an interview with GQ. "Every 'f***' and every 'man'. It had to be in the right place, it was like music."
A carpet plays a central role in "The Big Lebowski". Finally, two thugs break into the dude's apartment and urinate on his favorite rug. The character doesn't let that sit down and goes to his namesake, who is supposed to replace him with the piece. Because: "The carpet made the room really cozy in the first place," the dude muses over and over again. One thing leads to another - and the story takes its course.
Music is not neglected in the film classic. The soundtrack ranges from Bob Dylan's "The Man In Me" to the Spanish version of the Eagles classic "Hotel California" by the Gipsy Kings and "Dead Flowers" by Townes Van Zandt. The Eagles can even be heard again - "Peaceful Easy Feeling" is playing during a taxi ride. However, the Dude is thrown out of the car after telling the driver that he hates the "f***ing Eagles". A band he loves, however: Creedence Clearwater Revival. The songs "Run Through the Jungle" and "Lookin' Out My Back Door" made it into the film. The dude also owns some Creedence music cassettes, which are stolen from his car. Because of the film, the band, which was active from 1967 to 1972, experienced a comeback - suddenly younger people also heard the old songs.
Of course there are also sad moments in the film. In the end, ex-surfer and bowling colleague Donny dies of a heart attack after a fight. Walter and the Dude want to pay their last respects and dump his ashes from a coffee can off a cliff into the sea. Unfortunately, Walter doesn't pay attention to the wind - and her boyfriend's remains end up mostly in Dude's face. But here, too, the character can only be disturbed for a short time before the two - as usual - go bowling.
(This article was first published on Monday, March 06, 2023.)