The Dude Abides! The Big Lebowski Turns 20

The Dude Abides! The Big Lebowski Turns 20

Dude! It’s the 20th anniversary of The Big Lebowski!

Written and directed by the Joel and Ethan Coen (Fargo), The Big Lebowski blazed its way into theatres on March 6, 1998 after its premiere at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. Shot on a budget of $15M, the classic stoner flick was originally considered a box office failure, but has since risen to the top of the crime comedy heap. It was even added to the U.S. National Film Registry, man!

Starring Jeff Bridges as The Dude, the Coen Brothers classic also hosts a killer supporting cast. Everyone from John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore, and even the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman spark up hilarious performances over the course of a hopelessly convoluted plot. They really tie the film together, you know?

Well, we’ve lost our train of thought here. But… aw, hell. We’ve done introduced it enough. Roll with us as we track down ten facts to honour the 20th anniversary of The Big Lebowski!

1. Dude, Where’s My Car?

In the Coen Brothers’ original script, a Chrysler LeBaron was selected as The Dude’s set of wheels. However, once it became clear that the car was not big enough to fit John Goodman, the siblings opted for a Ford Torino instead.


2. Atomic Blonde

In what was perhaps the only time Tara Reid beat out a Hollywood A-Lister for a movie role, Charlize Theron also auditioned for the role of Bunny Lebowski.

3. “Dead Flowers”

Former Rolling Stones manager, Allen Klein, wanted a whopping $150,000 for the use of Townes Van Zandt’s cover of “Dead Flowers,” which he owns the rights to. According to the film’s “musical archivist,” T Bone Burnett, during an early screening the film, “It got to the part where The Dude says, 'I hate the f@#%!n' Eagles, man!' Klein stands up and says, 'That's it, you can have the song!’” Klein waved the licensing fee and you can catch the track playing over the film’s closing credits.


4. “Do you have to use so many cuss words?”

In case you were wondering, here are the stats for some of the film’s most popular words:

“Man” – 147 times, which works out to roughly 1.5 man’s per minute

“F#@k” – 292 times, including creative variations

“Dude” – 160 times, plus one extra use in text form during the “Gutterballs” dream sequence


5. Ooh là là!

Those with a quick eye (or the ability to freeze-frame) will notice the license plate on Bunny Lebowski’s red convertible spells out “LAPIN,” which is French for “bunny.”

6. McMansion

If you thought millionaire Jeffrey “Big” Lebowski’s (David Huddleston) mansion looked familiar, you’re absolutely correct! Known as Greystone Mansion, the Tudor-style residence is one of Hollywood’s most famous film locations. Everything from The Bodyguard (1992) to X-Men (2000) has been shot at the not-so-humble abode.

7. “Near the In-N-Out Burger”

Whether or not John Goodman’s references to In-N-Out Burger were intentional, they are definitely an interesting coincidence! The "Roseanne" funny man once did a radio commercial for California’s famed (and delicious) fast-food chain.


8. Lebowski Fest

As with most cult classics, The Big Lebowski has quite the following. Known as “Achievers,” enthusiastic fans of the film host an annual celebration of The Dude, aptly named “Lebowski Fest.” Founded in Louisville, Kentucky in 2002, the weekend-long event has since expanded to several other cities and features a variety of themed activities, including bowling, trivia, and celebrity appearances.

9. Puzzling Plot

Eventually left on the cutting room floor to keep audiences guessing, early drafts of the film revealed where The Dude’s income came from. Believe it or not, the loveable slacker was intended to be the heir to the Rubik’s Cube fortune! That explains a lot, actually.

10. Higher Power

Have you ever had a religious experience at the movies? If so, you aren’t alone! Known as Dudeism or The Church of the Latter-Day Dude, a religion devoted to the philosophy and lifestyle of The Dude was formed in 2005. Preaching non-preachiness and practicing as little as possible, there are now over 450,000 ordained Dudeist Priests worldwide!


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