The Big Lebowski (1998) Review:

Gotta keep bowling, bowling, bowling.

Do not be disturbed, he is merely exchanging long protein strings.
Do not be disturbed, he is merely exchanging long protein strings.

Directors: Joel and Ethan Coen

Runtime: 117 minutes

Cast: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, David Huddleston, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tara Reid, et al…

Plot (taken from IMDb): “The Dude” Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it.

The Big Lebowski is a film that grows on you, it’s the kind of film that was made to be endlessly quoted and ultimately, made to be a cult film – perhaps the cult film to end all cult films. It’s a strange, almost nothing movie in that the plot doesn’t really happen, but it is a film full of charm, character and humour.

It’s strange that a film about a layabout, “a man of his time” who enjoys nothing more than a White Russian beverage while bowling could be so endearing. However, this is a film that succeeds on its script and actors, which could be down to the team behind it – the Coen brothers.

Guns and bowling don't mix.
Guns and bowling don’t mix.

This is a film where if it were directed by anybody else, it would fall flat – they wouldn’t have understood the characters. And character is what The Big Lebowski is all about. Jeff Bridges is brilliant as The Dude, and John Goodman is just as good as his best friend Walter – in fact, all the cast plays the film perfectly. There is such a good rapport with all the actors that you know the Coen brothers are who to thank.

I won’t go into details of the plot, but I will focus on other areas of the movie. The Big Lebowski is very funny consistently, from the Nihilists to just the simple things of Philip Seymour Hoffman calling Jeff Bridges “Dude”. There is a plethora of memorable lines and moments within this goldmine of quotes, just waiting for you to discover them.

But The Big Lebowski is not just funny or finely acted – it also has fantastic cinematography and moments only the Coen brothers could’ve conceived. The mixture of the Coen brothers with Roger Deakins crafted great visuals to accompany the comedy – it looks great.

That's just like, a dream, man.
That’s just like, a dream, man.

However, it is not all great – the plot, while cool in its own regard for being largely about a man trying to get a replacement rug to “really tie the room together” doesn’t really come to anything and there are a few times where it seems more like a collection of sketches. A few scenes introduce characters that don’t add anything to the story, despite letting us get to know them. Despite this, we get a great payoff with the ending, and while some things may seem pointless (needlessly adding length to the film), they will make you laugh and add to the overall “nothing” air of the movie.


The Big Lebowski is a great comedy, with many, many quotable lines backed up by a wonderful cinematography and acting from all concerned. Don’t expect a plot that is overly meaningful or engrossing – because this is a film entirely about the characters.

Of course, this is just my opinion, man.



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