The Big Lebowski

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The Big Lebowski is a movie about The Dude, a slacker living in California. It stars Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buschemi, and Tara Reid. It was written and directed by the Coen brothers.

Movie influences[edit]

It's a Wonderful Life[edit]

  • Desk scene similar to It's a Wonderful Life with Potter behind the imposing desk.

Life with Mikey[edit]

  • Desk scene also similar to Life with Mikey with David Huddleston playing character behind the desk.

Batman (tv series)[edit]

The nihilists say,"No funny stuff!" In Batman the tv series Mr. Freeze says, "No monkey business!" in a similar accent.

The Wizard of Oz[edit]

  • Bunny = Dorothy
  • Alternatively the Dude can be viewed as the Dorothy character
  • Dude, Walter, and Donnny are lion, scarecrow, and tin man
  • Coen brothers admit to being inspired by the Wizard of Oz.
  • The Big Lebowski and the Wizard both present an imposing fascade.

Road House[edit]

  • Fight scenes
  • Ben Gazzara (criminal boss in both movies) Brad Wesley / Jackie Treehorn
  • Sam Elliot
  • The Dudes hair is similar to Sam Elliot's. At one point he ties his bangs back in a similar style with a clip. Elliot used an elastic band.
  • Brad Wesley has a young blonde friend who resembles Bunny Lebowski

Cutter's Way[edit]

  • Jeff Bridges character Richard Bone is a slacker/underemployed
  • Best friend Alex Cutter is an emotionally unstable Vietnam veteran
  • Story revolves around the murder of a 17 year old girl similar to Bunny.
  • Murder theory originates with Bone who is somewhat uncertain and tentative, but it is embraced by Cutter, similar to the kidnapping theory in Big Lebowski
  • Alex gets called an asshole
  • Alex and Walter both express strong political opinions
  • Alex damages someone's car on the street, then the enraged homeowner arrives and attacks his car.
  • Alex's disregard for the police mirrors Walter's after the Smokey incident
  • Bridges' car breaks down while he is driving down a narrow street. He realizes he is being followed by another car.
  • Alex likes to wave a gun around
  • Alex and Walter saw people die "face down in a ditch" / "face down in the muck".
  • Richard is friendly with George, a pudgy, gentle man who looks like the landlord in The Big Lebowski. Both George and the landlord wear Adidas shirts.
  • Similar post-sex scene with naked woman in bed conversing with Bridges as he stands at foot of bed
  • Similar scene where Bridges is taken to a police station and converses with a detective/chief
  • Similar diner scene except they sit at table instead of the counter
  • Mo wears loose fitting robes similar to Maude Lebowski
  • Valerie resembles Bunny Lebowski
  • JJ Cord's house resembles Lebowski's house. Cord is a millionaire like Jeffrey Lebowski.
  • Location in Santa Barbara not far from Malibu where Treehorn lives.
  • Alex and Walter walk with a limp (after the dropoff scene in Lebowski)
  • Alex seeks justice independent of the system and Walter does too. Both hate nihilism.
  • Alex and Walter hate the rich.
  • Neither story has much to do with Vietnam other than the way it affects the main characters
  • Alex and Walter fly into similar rages
  • The phrase "Thai stick" is used
  • Bone and the Dude both went to college and underachieved while their friends went to Vietnam
  • Alex says, "that murdering bastard", in the same way Walter says, "that f'ing b".
  • Mid-story the Dude takes a break to go bowling. Bone takes a break to go sailing.
  • Lebowski: "Strikes and gutters", and "Gutterballs". Cutter's: "Gutter squalor"
  • A police officer is called a fascist in both movies
  • A fight is averted by someone holding back the belligerents.
  • There is a reference to Bone's car having been stolen once. The dude gets his car stolen.
  • A car is torched in both movies
  • Sunglasses are prominent in conflict scenes
  • Mrs. Cord's goons punch Bone and she says, "I do hope you weren't hurt," similar to Maude Lebowski.
  • Cord's back is turned and he is staring out the window when Bone enters his study.
  • Cutter avoids fights by saying he's a cripple. The Dude attempts to prevent Walter from attacking Lebowski by saying he's a cripple.
  • Cord and Lebowski, confronted by Bone and the Dude's accusations, both respond imperiously. Cord: "What if it were?" Lebowski: "Well aren't you?"


  • Jackie Treehorn resembles Tony's employer, Frank Lopez. White suit, drink in hand, pleasant demeanor, swanky home, comfortable sofa.


  • Julianne Moore's (Maude) robotic voice and mannerisms are similar to Faye Dunaway's Evelyn Mulwray.
  • Similar bedroom scene

Life Stinks[edit]

  • Outdoor funeral scene where ashes blow all over the main characters. Inspired by a real life incident in which Mel Brooks accompanied his friend Howard Morris to the Hudson River to scatter the ashes of his father.

The Big Sleep[edit]

  • Film noir in which a wheelchair-bound millionaire hires a detective (Humphrey Bogart) in a case involving pictures of his daughter.
  • Written by Raymond Chandler. Complicated, but ultimately unimportant plot.
  • Screenplay William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett, +1
  • Shamus. Private detective
  • Flirtatious young blonde in a mansion (Carmen Sternwood/Bunny Lebowski)
  • He went to college.
  • Vivian Sternwood/Maude Lebowski

42nd Street[edit]

  • Musical made in 1943 with some of the same shots seen in the bowling alley dream sequences.

The Long Goodbye[edit]

  • Slacker Eliot Gould is a detective in southern California who goes shopping at the supermarket.
  • Two cops barge into his apartment and treat him disrespectfully, rifling through his stuff. One of them picks up a bronzed baby shoe and asks, "What is this?"
  • "Are you gainfully employed?"
  • His free-spirited neighbors resemble Bunny.
  • "You didn't go to college."
  • There is a bowling pin in the apartment.
  • Goons break into apartment looking for money. Boss says find my money.
  • Goons go through Marlowe's dirty laundry, whites.
  • Erev shabbos.
  • Malibu beach party
  • Delirious ranting: Marlowe threatens to call Ronald Reagan on the cop (Ronald Reagan/Ron Kuby)
  • Threatening castration to find money
  • Running by side of road ending in ambulance sirens
  • Poorly disguised following (Harry/DaFino)
  • Bad guy boss mutilates his own woman to try to scare Marlowe
  • Ethnically diverse group of criminal henchmen
  • Marlowe is used as a convenient way to make some money disappear
  • Marlowe continually uses strike-anywhere matches to light his cigarettes. The Dude uses a strike-anywhere match while he is in bed with Maude.
  • Exaggerated repetition:"your crazy looneytoon husband could have killed sylvia lennox. Could have killed sylvia lennox." (That poor woman)
  • Marty Augustine sounds like Marty Ackerman
  • High-maintenance pets
  • Dog barking during time of tension
  • Nina van Pallandt also in Cutter's Way
  • Written by Raymond Chandler, screenplay by Leigh Brackett

North by Northwest[edit]

  • Mistaken identity
  • Pencil rubbing trick to see last message written on notepad.
  • Protagonist is drugged then arrested
  • What is this a joke or something? / Is this some sort of a joke?

Cutter's Way sequel theory[edit]

Theory that The Big Lebowski is a sequel to Cutter's Way.

According to this theory Mrs. Cord witnesses the killing of J.J. Cord. Convinced that Cord murdered Vicky Duran, she is disgusted with her husband and helps Richard escape justice. She testifies that Alex was the shooter and that Richard was trying to prevent him from firing the gun. According to this version of events, Richard went to JJ Cord to discuss the situation, warn him that Alex's mental health was deteriorating, and to ask him to help Alex with his PTSD and delusional fantasies. This is when Alex comes crashing through the window and the tragedy occurs. George also testifies supporting this version of events.

Later in life Mrs. Cord meets her second husband, Jeffrey Lebowski, and dies leaving him the house. Her daughter, Maude Lebowski, is not seen in the events of Cutter's Way. Mrs. Cord and her daughter take on the Lebowski name to avoid association with J.J. Cord.

The Dude ends up living in an apartment complex owned or managed by his friend, George.


  • Takes place approximately nine years later.
  • The Dude is uncomfortable with his name Jeffrey Lebowski, preferring simply "The Dude", "his dudeness", or "El duderino", so it is plausible that he changed it.
  • Richard Bone shows a predilection towards inventing pseudonyms using the names of his friends, going by "Richard Alexander" at a party.
  • The Dude's landlord. George Swanson is the only character besides The Dude to appear in both movies, though he also changes his name (to Martin Randahl which the Dude corrupts to "Monty").
  • The Dude is concerned that "they're gonna kill that poor woman" because he possibly experienced the same thing with Mo Cutter and Vicky Duran.
  • Upon meeting the Big Lebowski, the Dude seems comfortable and familiar with the house. The Big Lebowski seems unaware of their connection.
  • Maude Lebowski notes that the family wealth was "all mother's".