Here are 10 trivia facts about The Big Lebowski from 1998, which originally appeared as our Mystery Movie Quiz on our Facebook page. There are hundreds of pieces of behind-the-scenes information about this movie. Please feel free to comment and add more trivia we might have missed.
1. A popular sport is played in the film.
The Dude and Walter would always rather be bowling. Although there are many scenes in the bowling alley, The Dude is never actually seen bowling. The bowling alley scenes were filmed at the Holly Star Lanes in Los Angeles. It has since been torn down and a new elementary school was built on that spot.
2. This movie is a comedy.
Although there are elements of being a mystery and a slightly noirish crime-thriller, this movie is first and foremost a comedy about bowling, among other things. The Big Lebowski has become a cultural phenomenon with quirky dialogue like, “I go by The Dude, but you can call me Sir Dude, Your Royal Dudeness, or Duderino, whatever…” Some critics have tagged this Coen Brothers hit as one of the funniest movies ever made. As with any comedy, however, it may not be for everyone’s tastes.
Steve Buscemi has appeared in five films from the Coen Brothers: Miller’s Crossing (1990), Barton Fink (1991), The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), Fargo (1996) and The Big Lebowski (1998), and Paris, je t’aime (2006). Oddly enough, he dies in three of them.
4. Two Academy-Award Winning actors appear in the film.
5. One of the characters has anger management issues.
John Goodman as Walter is just about the angriest man alive. He’s a Vietnam vet and has anger management issues with just about anyone and anything. Some feel Walter steals the movie because The Coen Brothers (bio; videography) gave his character many of the film’s best lines, keeping the anger going in even the most minor instances. The running gag of Steve Buscemi’s character, Donny, constantly being told to “Shut the %*#@ up!” by Goodman is because Buscemi’s character in Fargo, another Coen Brothers film two years earlier, would not shut up.
6. One of the actors is part of a famous acting family.
Jeff Bridges and his brother Beau Bridges are the sons of veteran actor, Lloyd Bridges.
7. Foul language is used often in this film.
The F-word is used a total of 292 times (either directly or a derivative of). Although the movie seems mostly ad-libbed, in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, John Goodman said that The Dude referring to The Big Lebowski as a “human paraquat” was one of the only improvised lines to make it into the final film. Virtually every other line, including every ‘man’ and ‘dude’ was scripted.
8. The film’s narrator is known for his moustache.
Sam Elliott, one of Hollywood’s most popular stars, is rarely seen without his famous moustache. In their book Sweet ‘Stache: 50 Badass Moustaches and the Faces Who Sport Them, writers Jon Chattman and Rich Tarantino picked Sam Elliott’s moustache as the only perfect 10. “Most actors grow a moustache for a particular role, but Elliott doesn’t need a movie. The movie needs his moustache,” said Jon Chattman. “Its finest moment is in The Big Lebowski” Chattman added that Elliot’s tipping point for greatest ‘stache is his ability to remain a true sex symbol despite the unruly lip hair.
9. The writers of the film are related.
Joel and Ethan Coen are brothers. Because they work so closely together, the two of them have been jokingly referred to as “The Two-Headed Director.”
10. A specific mixed drink was part of the plot.
The Dude drinks nine White Russians during the movie. He dropped one of them at Ben Gazzarra’s house. Want to make a White Russian? It’s 2 parts vodka, 1 part coffee liqueur and 1 part cream, served with ice in a low ball glass.
More TBL trivia: Like Star Trek conventions and Comic-Con International before it, The Big Lebowski has achieved genuine cult status — it has its own fan convention. Actually, not one convention but many. It all started in Louisville, Kentucky in 2002 and now you can find a “Lebowski Fest” just about every month somewhere across the entire USA, even in Europe. People go bowling at the events, they dress up as characters from the movie and as can be expected, they continually quote their favorite lines. More information can be found at the Lebowski Fest official website.