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The Big Lebowski Movie

The Big Lebowski Movie

“The Big Lebowski” movie is one of the few, which has become a classic cult movie attracting a huge number of followers around the world. Movie fans created Leboswki festivals and established Dudeism religion. Do you know, that some people played inspirational role for The Big Lebowski movie characters and some events really took place in real life?

“The Big Lebowski” is a 1998 comedy film directed by Coen brothers about unemployed Los Angeles slacker and bowler, who is referred to as “The Dude”. Despite that movie had some negative reviews and revenue wasn’t sky rocking ”The Big Lebowski” has become a cult classic movie and people are quoting dialogue from the film to each other.

The Dude’s Legacy

Lebowski Fest - 2nd Annual Poster

Lebowski Fest - 2nd Annual Poster

An annual festival, “The Lebowski Fest”, began in Louisville, Kentucky, United States in 2002 with 150 fans showing up, and has since expanded to several other cities. The Festival’s main event each year is a night of unlimited bowling with various contests including costume, trivia, hardest- and farthest-traveled contests. Various celebrities from the film have even attended some of the events, including Jeff Bridges (actor who played Dude role) who attended the Los Angeles event.

Jeff Bridges at Lebowski Fest

Jeff Bridges at Lebowski Fest

The organizers of Lebowski Fest: Bill Green, Scott Shuffitt, Ben Peskoe, and Will Russell have also published the book “I’m a Lebowski, You’re a Lebowski: Life, The Big Lebowski, and What Have You”

The British equivalent, inspired by Lebowski Fest, is known as “The Dude Abides” and is held in London.

Inspiration Characters

The Dude is mostly inspired by Jeff Dowd who had been a member of the Seattle Seven, liked to drink White Russians, and was known as “The Dude”.

Jeff Dowd

Jeff Dowd

The Dude was also partly based on a friend of the Coen brothers, Peter Exline, a Vietnam War veteran who lived in a dump of an apartment and was proud of a little rug that “tied the room together”.

Peter Exline & Larry Sellers at Lebowski Fest 2007

Peter Exline (left) & Larry Sellers at Lebowski Fest 2007

Peter Exline told Coen brothers all kinds of stories from his own life, including ones about Lewis Abernathy (one of the inspirations for Walter) – a fellow Vietnam vet who later became a private investigator and “helped him track down and confront a high school kid who stole his car”. As in the film, Exline’s car was impounded by the Los Angeles Police Department and Lewis Abernathy found an “8th grader’s homework under the passenger seat.”

Lewis Abernathy worked as a private detective and for 14 years, he exposed himself to all kind of low-life scum. He once got hit in the face with a coffee mug by a police officer in Malibu who told him “Get out of my beach community Abernathy!”. The Cohen brothers borrowed several real-life examples from Abernathy’s crime fighting days.

Lewis Abernathy

Lewis Abernathy

Dudeism Religion

Dudeism is a religion whose primary objective is to promote a philosophy and lifestyle represented by the character of “the Dude” in “The Big Lebowski” movie.

This religion was founded in 2005 by Oliver Benjamin (Los Angeles, California) and Chiang Mai (Thailand). Dudeism’s official organizational name is “The Church of the Latter-Day Dude”. As of February 2011 over 100,000 “Dudeist Priests” had been ordained via the church.

Dudeism advocates and encourages the practice of “going with the flow” and “taking it easy” in the face of life’s difficulties, believing that this is the only way to live in harmony with our inner nature and the challenges of interacting with other people.

Few Other Interesting Facts

In the original script, the Dude’s car was a Chrysler LeBaron, as Dowd once owned, but that car was not big enough to fit John Goodman so the Coens changed it to a Ford Torino.

In preparation for his role, Bridges met Dowd but actually “drew on myself a lot from back in the Sixties and Seventies. I lived in a little place like that and did drugs, although I think I was a little more creative than the Dude.” The actor went into his own closet with the film’s wardrobe person and picked out clothes that he had thought the Dude might wear. He wore his character’s clothes home because most of them were his own. The actor also adopted the same physicality as Dowd, including the slouching and his ample belly.

Originally, Goodman wanted a different kind of beard for Walter but the Coen brothers insisted on the “Gladiator” or what they called the “Chin Strap” and he thought it would go well with his flat-top haircut.

Hot Quotes from “The Big Lebowski”

Walter Sobchak: That’s right, Dude, they peed on your f….ing rug.

The Dude: I could be just sitting at home with pee stains on my rug.

Dude’s reply to Walter’s plan: That’s a great plan, Walter. That’s f…kin’ ingenious, if I understand it correctly. It’s a Swiss f…kin’ watch.

Walter Sobchak: F…king Germans. Nothing changes. F…king Nazis.
Donny: They were Nazis, Dude?
Walter Sobchak: Oh, come on Donny, they were threatening castration! Are we gonna split hairs here? Am I wrong?

Donny: Are these the Nazis, Walter?
Walter Sobchak: No, Donny, these men are nihilists. There’s nothing to be afraid of.

Walter Sobchak: F…k it, Dude, let’s go bowling.

The Stranger: There’s just one thing, Dude.
The Dude: And what’s that?
The Stranger: Do you have to use so many cuss words?
The Dude: What the f…k you talking about?
The Stranger: Okay, Dude. Have it your way.

The Dude: This is a very complicated case, Maude. You know, a lotta ins, a lotta outs, a lotta what-have-yous. And, uh, a lotta strands to keep in my head, man. Lotta strands in old Duder’s head. Fortunately, I’m adhering to a pretty strict, uh, drug regimen to keep my mind, you know, uh, limber.

Maude Lebowski: Do you like sex, Mr. Lebowski?
The Dude: ‘Scuse me?
Maude Lebowski: Sex. The physical act of love. Coitus. Do you like it?
The Dude: I was talking about my rug.
Maude Lebowski: You’re not interested in sex?
The Dude: You mean coitus?

Walter Sobchak: Am I wrong?
The Dude: No you’re not wrong.
Walter Sobchak: Am I wrong?
The Dude: You’re not wrong Walter. You’re just an asshole.
Walter Sobchak: Okay then.

Younger Cop: And was there anything of value in the car?
The Dude: Oh, uh, yeah, uh… a tape deck, some Creedence tapes, and there was a, uh… uh, my briefcase.
Younger Cop: [expectant pause] In the briefcase?
The Dude: Uh, uh, papers, um, just papers, uh, you know, uh, my papers, business papers.
Younger Cop: And what do you do, sir?
The Dude: I’m unemployed.

The Big Lebowski: What makes a man, Mr. Lebowski?
The Dude: Dude.
The Big Lebowski: Huh?
The Dude: Uhh… I don’t know sir.
The Big Lebowski: Is it being prepared to do the right thing, whatever the cost? Isn’t that what makes a man?
The Dude: Hmmm… Sure, that and a pair of testicles.

References

Wiki – “The Big Lebowski” movie
Wiki – Dudeism Religion
Wiki Lebowski Fest
Lebowski Fest – Official Site
IMDBb The Big Lebowski movie
IMDBb – Quotes from The Big Lebowki
Nazli Prisk post about inspirational character for Walter Sobchak

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