The Big Lebowski is a 1998 black comedy crime film written, produced, and directed by the Coen Brothers. 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, then 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; the plan goes awry when the Dude’s friend Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) schemes to keep the ransom money.
The Big Lebowski received mixed reviews at the time of its release. Over time, reviews have become largely positive, and the film has become a cult favorite, noted for its eccentric characters, comedic dream sequences, idiosyncratic dialogue, and eclectic soundtrack. In 2014, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
Entertainment Weekly ranked it 8th on their Funniest Movies of the Past 25 Years list. The film was also ranked No. 34 on their list of “The Top 50 Cult Films”.The Dude was ranked No. 14 in their “The 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years” poll. Empire magazine ranked Walter Sobchak No. 49 and the Dude No. 7 in their “The 100 Greatest Movie Characters” poll.
Dudeism, an online religion devoted largely to spreading the philosophy and lifestyle of the film’s main character, was founded in 2005.