Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Big Lebowski (1998)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Big Lebowski (1998)

In this dark and quirky comedy/crime caper-thriller involving a complex case of mistaken identity - it was from the inventive, cultish and anarchic Coen Brothers; the obscenity-filled independent film became one of the most revered cult films of all time; the plot was actually about extortion and kidnapping, but was intentionally designed as a shaggy dog tale. It threw together (in episodic vignettes) a mismatching set of absurdist pop cultural elements, including a pissed-on rug, nihilism, strange performance art, a severed toe, White Russians and doobies, porn, a ferret on a leash, missing money, and much more. There were echoes of writer Raymond Chandler's writings behind the film noir The Big Sleep (1946) in its tale of LA neo-noir sleaze:

  • the opening scene narrated by the off-screen, drawling cowboy Stranger (Sam Elliott) as the Sons of the Pioneers sang about "Tumbling Tumbleweeds", introduced bearded hippie, disheveled, long-haired pot-smoking, laid-back slacker, unemployed slob Jeffrey 'The Dude' Lebowski (Jeff Bridges), wandering in the aisles of a Los Angeles Ralph's grocery store late at night in the year 1990, and smelling a carton of Half & Half before writing a check for $.69 cents
  • upon the often-stoned Lebowski's return home to his Venice Beach (California) bungalow, he was assaulted by two debt-collecting thugs (Mark Pellegrino) and Woo (Philip Moon) (sent by Treehorn, later introduced), who alleged that The Dude owed them money due to his own wife's promiscuous associations around town: ("Don't f--k with us! Your wife owes money to Jackie Treehorn. That means you owe money to Jackie Treehorn") - they roughed him up and then Woo peed on the Dude's favorite carpet; apparently, he had been mistaken for fat, wheelchair-bound, philanthropic Pasadena tycoon-millionaire Jeff Lebowski, the real "Big Lebowski"; the Dude complained to the thugs: ("No, no, don't do that! Not on the rug, man"), but then after realizing that it was a case of mistaken identity, and the Dude was the wrong individual, the goons took off: ("He looks like a f--kin' loser...F--king time wasted. Thanks a lot, asshole")
  • the bowling-loving Dude commiserated with his bowling buddies: uptight nutcase Vietnam war veteran Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) and ex-surfer Donny (Steve Buscemi), about his ruined, valued rug that was peeded upon by the Chinaman Woo ("Yeah, man, it really tied the room together")

"You're a Lebowski, I'm a Lebowski" Scene

Lebowski in Wheelchair

"You're Mr. Lebowski. I'm the Dude"

The "Big" Lebowski (David Huddleston)

The Replacement Rug Being Carried Out

Mr. Lebowski's Nympho Wife Bunny (Tara Reid): "I'll suck your c--k for $1,000"
  • the Dude, wearing shorts and a T-shirt, visited the Pasadena, CA home of wheel-chair bound philanthropist millionaire Jeffrey 'The Big' Lebowski (David Huddleston) - his namesake; he was there to complain about and demand compensation from Lebowski for the mistaken attack by two hoods (due to a mix-up of addresses for "Lebowski"); the thugs were really targeting Mr. Lebowski's indebted, promiscuous trophy wife Bunny (Tara Reid), a porn actress who was involved somehow with Jackie Treehorn
  • the Dude introduced himself to "The Big" Lebowski: ("You're Mr. Lebowski. I'm the Dude. So that's what you call me. You know, uh, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or uh, you know, El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing")
  • Mr. Lebowski offered employment advice to the laid-back Dude - ("My wife is not the issue here! I hope that someday my wife will learn to live on her allowance, which is ample, but if she does not, that is her problem, not mine, just as the rug is your problem, just as every bum's lot in life is his own responsibility, regardless of who he chooses to blame. I didn't blame anyone for the loss of my legs. Some Chinaman took them from me in Korea. But I went out and achieved anyway. I cannot solve your problems, sir, only you can....Yes, that's your answer. That's your answer to everything. Tattoo it on your forehead. Your revolution is over, Mr. Lebowski! Condolences! The bums lost! My advice to you is to do what your parents did! Get a job, sir! The bums will always lose! Do you hear me, Lebowski?! The bums will always lose!"); in response, the Dude briefly answered: "Oh, F--k it!" and left
  • on his way out of the Lebowski estate, the Dude met up with the millionaire's sexy young trophy wife Bunny (Tara Reid), a free-spirited nymphomaniac, and one of the porn stars and bedding partners of sleaze king mobster and pornographer-producer Jackie Treehorn (Ben Gazzara); while painting her toenails, she offered the Dude: ("I'll suck your cock for $1,000 dollars"); through deceitful means, the Dude was able to exit the premises with a beautiful, rolled-up Persian rug as a replacement
  • during a bowling competition, the Dude's hot-headed bowling buddy Walter told older, pacifist rival bowler Smokey (Jimmie Dale Gilmore) that he had committed a minor infraction of bowling league rules by fouling over the line - he drew his gun to protest, accompanied by scary, gun-wielding threats: "You're entering a world of pain," and "Mark it zero"
  • the Dude was summoned to return to the Lebowski mansion where he was hired (for a promised $20K) by his namesake to serve as a courier to deliver ransom money of $1 million to free the allegedly-kidnapped Bunny from the kidnappers; [Note: Lebowski assumed that the "deadbeat" would screw things up and could be used as a scapegoat; his intention was never to get Bunny back. Instead, he wanted her dead while he embezzled the 'ransom money' derived from his charity program/foundation - the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers.]
  • the Dude suspected that the "carpet-pissers" were the kidnappers and/or extortionists - hired by porn king Treehorn to pressure Mr. Lebowski to pay off his wife's indebtedness; he also thought (and was proven right later) that the abduction had been faked by the gold-digging Bunny [Note: However, as it turned out, the ransom demands came not from pornographer Treehorn, to whom Bunny owed money, but from three opportunistic German nihilists (one of whom was Bunny's boyfriend) who thought, with Bunny's help, that they could con Bunny's rich husband Mr. Lebowski with ransom demands]

Bowler Jesus Quintana Seductively Licking His Bowling Ball

Strange Victory Dance After a Strike

Bowler Jesus Quintana: "Nobody f--ks with the Jesus..."
  • at the Dude's bowling alley, competitive, flamboyant, lavender-jump-suited Latino bowler Jesus Quintana (John Turturro) (with a long painted pinky fingernail on one of his ring-laden fingers, who seductively licked his bowling ball) rolled a strike, then did a strange victory dance to the Spanish-tinged tune of Hotel California by the Gipsy Kings; then he threatened the Dude about their upcoming semi-finals match: "Let me tell you something, pendejo. You pull any of your crazy s--t with us, you flash a piece out on the lanes, I'll take it away from you, and stick it up your ass and pull the f--kin' trigger 'til it goes click....Nobody f--ks with the Jesus..."

The Dude Lying On His Replacement Rug

Maude With Two Assistants

The Dude's Vision While Knocked Out

  • while in his apartment and happily enjoying the replacement rug he took from Lebowski's mansion, the Dude was assaulted by two men and a red-haired female (Maude!), who knocked him out and stole the rug underneath him; after recovering consciousness (and experiencing a disjointed, bowling-themed dream), the Dude returned to Lebowski's place to retrieve a metal suitcase allegedly filled with the money for the ransom-payoff; he and Walter went on a nighttime drive to try and attempt to double-cross the kidnappers by handing off a fake case (a "ringer") so they could keep the $1 million for themselves. To their surprise, their plan actually succeeded - the three kidnappers (nihilists) fled on motorcross bikes with the duplicate case; however, they remained worried that the culprits might harm Bunny. And then they discovered that the Dude's car was missing and presumably stolen - with the $1 million dollars of ransom money
  • the Dude received a phone message from the female, introducing herself as Maude Lebowski (Julianne Moore in a small, comic caricaturized role), Lebowski's estranged daughter; she admitted to reacquiring the family's rug, and wanted to meet him; the Dude was picked up and driven to meet Lebowski's idiosyncratic, eccentric daughter - an erotic, super-stoic, avante garde feminist artist who exhibited living art by soaring nude over her canvas to paint it in a flying trapeze harness; she also delivered a "vagina monologue." ("Does the female form make you uncomfortable, Mr. Lebowski?...My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal, which bothers some men. The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina....Yes, they don't like hearing it and find it difficult to say, whereas without batting an eye, a man will refer to his dick or his rod or his Johnson")
  • During his visit with Maude, she denounced her philanthropist father as crooked, and also criticized Bunny as his unfaithful, promiscuous, sex-crazed and gold-digging wife who was "banging" Treehorn - confirming the Dude's earlier hypothesis. She also informed the Dude that the ransom money was improperly taken out of her father's children's fund. As a co-trustee of the Lebowski Foundation, she proposed hiring the Dude (for $100,000) to recover the $1 million dollars taken from the family's personal foundation to pay off Bunny's so-called 'ransom', before police learned of her dishonest father's embezzlement
  • after pressure from Mr. Lebowski to save his ransomed, victimized wife Bunny, the Dude found himself the victim of an attack as he relaxed smoking a joint in his bathtub; the three nihilists involved in the plot assaulted him in his apartment with a pet ferret as he splashed around to avoid the animal; they threatened the Dude with castration if he didn't have their money by the next day; afterwards, the Dude was notified that his stolen car had been located, but his reclaimed car was missing the money case; through some deductive reasoning, he and Walter suspected that the stolen Lebowski attache case with the $1 million ransom money might be at the North Hollywood home of a 9th grader named Larry Sellers. Their visit to the home was a disastrous failure, resulting in Walter's wanton destruction of a neighbor's new vehicle, and more damage to the Dude's car
  • two of Treehorn's tough goons brought the Dude to the Malibu beach home of porn kingpin Jackie Treehorn who asked questions about Bunny's whereabouts and his unpaid debts, and made assumptions that Bunny faked her kidnapping and then ran off with his money; in one of the film's most unique sequences ("Gutterballs"), the Dude experienced a fanciful Busby-Berkeley inspired musical dream about bowling and porn after being slipped a mickey in his White Russian cocktail; the Dude's dream was filled with images including the Viking Queen, Saddam Hussein, and bowling
"Gutterballs" - The Dude's Fanciful Dream About Bowling After a Spiked Drink
  • the Dude was found by Malibu police on the highway, reportedly after being ejected from Treehorn's party, and after questioning, he was taken by taxi back to his place. There, he obliged Maude who propositioned him to make love ("Jeffrey...Love me") - with child-bearing intentions; she again reiterated that her father was a fraud and phony who was actually poorer than he claimed, and that all of his wealth had come from Maude's mother who had left everything to the family's charity foundation. She insisted that her father was raiding the Foundation's money
  • outside his bungalow, the Dude encountered a PI named Da Fino (Jon Polito) who had been hired by Bunny's family - the Knudsens from Minnesota - after she (her real name was Fawn Knudsen) had run away from home a year earlier; upon her arrival in LA, she hooked up with Treehorn to shoot porno videos
  • the Dude and Walter drove to Lebowski's mansion, where they found Bunny alive and well after a visit with friends in Palm Springs. The two confronted Lebowski in his study about lying to them and embezzling his own foundation's money: ""We know the briefcase was f--kin' empty, We know you kept the million bucks for yourself."
  • during their bowling competition against Jesus, a confrontation occurred outside the bowling alley with the three nihilists who had torched the Dude's car and demanded the ransom money; the Dude refused, since he claimed it was all a fake kidnapping plot to extort the money anyway; as Walter refused to be intimidated and viciously attacked the nihilists, Donny suffered a fatal heart attack

The Three Nihilists In Front of the Dude's Burning Car

Donny's Fatal Heart Attack
  • after Donny's death, Walter delivered a rambling eulogy and the 'Dude' prepared to scatter Donny's cremated ashes from a Folger's coffee can on a windy cliff-side. However, the breeze blew the ashes back - and all over the Dude's face: ("Donny was a good bowler and a good man. He was one of us. He was a man who loved the outdoors and bowling. And as a surfer, he explored the beaches of Southern California, from La Jolla to Leo Carrillo and up to Pismo. He died, he died, as so many men of his generation, before his time. In your wisdom, Lord, you took him, as you took so many bright, flowering young men at Khe Sanh, at Lan Doc, and Hill 364. These young men gave their lives. So did Donny. Donny who loved bowling. And so, Theodore Donald Karabatsos, in accordance with what we think your dying wishes might well have been, we commit your final mortal remains to the bosom of the Pacific Ocean, which you loved so well. Good night, sweet prince")
  • in the concluding scene set at a bar in the bowling alley, the Stranger discovered how the Dude was doing: "Oh, you know, strikes and gutters, ups and downs." As the Dude wandered off, he bid goodbye: "The Dude abides." The Stranger expressed his hope that the Dude and Walter would win their upcoming bowling tournament, and stated that Maude was pregnant with a "little Lebowski" - not with Maude's surname but with the Dude's surname!

Introduction of 'The Dude' in a Grocery Store

"Where's the money, Lebowski?"

Woo Peeing on the Dude's Rug: "No, no, don't do that! Not on the rug, man"

After the Thugs' Visit

The Dude Commiserated with his Bowling Buddies: Walter and Donny

"They peed on my f--king rug!"

Hot-Headed Walter to Smokey: "You're entering a world of pain"

Walter: "Mark it zero"

The Kidnappers' Ransom Note

The Metal Attache Case With the Ransom-Money

The Successful Exchange With Fake "Ringer" Case

Mr. Lebowski's Estranged Daughter Maude (Julianne Moore)

Attack on the Dude in Bathtub by Nihilists with a Live Ferret

Walter's Destruction of the Wrong Vehicle at the Sellers' Residence

Pornographer Jackie Treehorn (Ben Gazzara) At His Posh Malibu Home

Maude to the Dude: "Jeffrey...Love me"

PI Da Fino (Jon Polito) - "A Brother Shamus"

Walter's Eulogy for Donny

'The Dude' Scattering Donny's Ashes in the Wind

The Last Scene: The Dude With the Stranger


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