When the Coen Brothers first unleashed The Big Lebowski on an unsuspecting world in the mid '90s, audiences didn't know what to make of it. It was a zany caper involving Nihilists, porn directors, bowling, and at the center of it all, The Dude, a chill guy who just happened to have the same name as a millionaire with a kidnapped trophy wife. This case of mistaken identity was something of a "stoner film-noir," with dialogue that was equal parts existentially insightful and absurd.
The film grew in popularity over the years, and if you ask anyone (even if they haven't experienced it), chances are they can quote at least some random line from it. The trials and tribulations of The Dude (Jeff Bridges), his unhinged Vietnam veteran friend Walter (John Goodman), and mild-mannered Donny (Steve Buscemi) as they unraveled the truth behind the "Big Lebowski" and his kidnapped wife became a parable for life's journey. It was hard to narrow down just ten quotes, but here are the best of the Dudeisms. And remember, the Dude abides.
10 "Strikes and gutters, ups and down."
The Dude has inspired a certain philosophical ideology, no doubt due to the inane yet enlightening dialogue written by the Coen Brothers. Part absurdist humor, part Daoism, the dialogue spoken by the Dude comes off as simple stoner lingo as well as well as insightful, as is evidenced by the way he works bowling vocabulary into a quote about life's many obstacles.
Some of the best dialogue comes in the form of simple conversations between the Dude and his friends, almost like biblical apostles, who follow his credence and help facilitate his ideology. Even his exchange with The Stranger has roots in literary classics like Dante's Inferno.
9 "Careful man, there's a beverage here!"
The Dude's functional alcoholism amidst the caper he finds himself in is almost admirable. Able to keep his cool (and his beverage) intact despite being chased by Nihilists, Jesus and his gang, and partnering with Walter is a thing of quiet beauty. The Dude's drink of choice is of course a White Russian, which he's seen buying a carton of milk for in the first ten minutes of the film.
If he isn't making them at home, he's scouring for ingredients to make one at every person's house he visits. When he's strong armed into a limo to meet with the "Big Lebowski", the millionaire he's been mistaken for, his first concern is the safety of his drink, not himself. And he doesn't manage to spill a drop, bless his Dudeness.
8 "It really tied the room together."
Ask anyone to say a quote from The Big Lebowski and chances are, even if a person hasn't seen the movie, they'll repeat, "It really tied the room together." It gets repeated throughout the film, in reference to the rug that gets peed on by thugs mistaking The Dude for a millionaire with his same namesake. It's an important ethos for Duderino, considering if nothing happened to the rug there wouldn't be a plot for the film.
The rug isn't particularly fancy (as is nothing in the Dude's house), yet every one of his friends agrees it was a nice rug, and even worth almost getting shot and getting his Johnson cut off by Nihilists.
7 "This aggression will not stand, man."
The Big Lebowski is all about mistaken identity, with a group of thugs mistaking The Dude for a millionaire with his same last name. They kidnap the millionaire's trophy wife but they rough up The Dude in search of ransom money for the kidnapping. After already having a particularly bad night, the Dude meets the "Big Lebowski" at his mansion to troubleshoot the matter, only to find himself the subject of character assassination.
The Big Lebowski is a self made man who accomplished more in one year of his life than the Dude in all of his, all while being a paraplegic. He begins grilling the Dude with questions about his employment and his life, to which the Dude responds, "This aggression will not stand, man.", quoting something he heard on the news.
6 "You brought the ****ing Pomeranian bowling?"
Walter and The Dude have a tempestuous relationship at best. They are complete opposites in terms of personality, physicality, and ideologies, but they are ride or die buds that also share a fondness for bowling. When Walter shows up with his ex wife's Pomeranian in a carrier, the Dude is at a loss. Even for Walter, it's an odd action, and Walter is known for dynamic executive function.
Walter responds to the criticism with vitriol, "Bring the Pomeranian bowling? Am I renting it shoes, Dude? Am I buying it a f***ing beer? Is it taking your f***ing turn, Dude?". He goes on to explain it's a show dog "with papers," as though that completely justifies his decision.
5 "Hey, nice marmot."
When the Dude is mistaken for a millionaire, his apartment gets vandalized by thugs looking for ransom money. All they have to do is look around and see the Dude isn’t exactly rolling in cash, much less living with a trophy wife worthy of kidnapping. The thugs beat him senseless, often resorting to water torture via toilet in an attempt to get information out of him.
Aside from the odd fact of being Nihilists who have no idea what his bowling ball is used for, one of them has a marmot. In the midst of getting his face beaten off and dunked in a toilet, he admires the strange little animal’s presence. Clearly, nothing phases the Dude.
4 "Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man."
It’s pretty hard to ruffle The Dude’s feathers. He cruises through life at his own speed, but occasionally people he encounters don’t stay in their lane, and he has to put on the brakes. When Jesus and his crew of fellow bowlers try to bully The Dude and his friends, he gives them a piece of his mind.
The championships are coming up, and Jesus thinks that The Dude and his friends are going to try to cheat. He also thinks they don’t deserve to be anywhere near the finals, but the Dude doesn’t share his sentiment. “Yea, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.” is his devastating (and legendary) comeback.
3 "Walter, the *****man who peed on my rug, I can't give him a bill, so what the f*** are you talking about?"
The Dude often runs things by his friend Walter to gauge just how much a situation should be escalated. Walter’s first gut reaction is usually to cause someone bodily harm or shoot them if things get heated, but occasionally he tries to rationally and calmly think through a series of solutions to the Dude’s problem.
Sometimes it’s the Dude who’s losing his cool (though it happens rarely), causing Walter to have to be the voice of reason. When the Dude is obviously upset over the fact that his new rug got peed on by random thugs breaking into his house, Walter suggests he go see the millionaire who’s house the thugs thought they were breaking into to make him pay for it.
2 "Um, I am not 'Mr. Lebowski.' You're Mr. Lebowski. I'm The Dude."
When The Dude first encounters the “Big” Lebowski, there’s some confusion about how they should both be addressed, given that they have the same last name. It doesn’t help that the Dude keeps getting called “Mr. Lebowski”, a name he hates. Unsatisfied with his own moniker, he offers some alternatives.
He’s the Dude. Sometimes His Dudeness. Duder to some friends. Or even El Duderino if people want to give him a loftier title and don’t care about “the whole brevity” thing. “The Dude” just rolls off the tongue, is a lot easier to remember, and captures the Californian laissez-faire attitude that the Dude has.
1 "The Rug Pee-ers did not do this."
As The Dude and Walter try to sift through the maze of clues and conspiracies attached to the the Big Lebowski’s kidnapped wife, Bunny, they come a few conclusions. One, the people that peed on The Dude’s rug aren’t the same people that kidnapped her, and that rather she kidnapped herself for the ransom.
The Big Lebowski is a wealthy man, but perhaps he didn’t provide enough funds for Bunny’s lavish lifestyle, leaving her no choice but to charge accounts all over town, leaving her in the hole for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The only way to get that sort of money, no questions asked, is to fake your own kidnapping.