The Big Lebowski made its big-screen debut in the United States on March 6, 1998. Upon release, the film which featured Jeff Bridges and Sam Elliott was a moderate success. Since then, though, it has gone on to become one of the biggest cult films in history. Now, it’s coming back to theaters.
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Next month, Fathom Events is bringing the 1998 classic back to theaters across the country for two huge nights. The Big Lebowski will screen on April 16th at 4 PM and 7 PM local time. Fittingly, the film will also screen on April 20th at 7 PM local time. You can see if a theater near you will host a screening and get your tickets on the Fathom Events website.
The Impact of The Big Lebowski
Just about any movie that gets a nationwide release spawns a sea of merchandise. The Big Lebowski is no different. There are plenty of t-shirts, keychains, and other memorabilia to go around. However, not every movie inspires an annual festival or a religion.
According to the Lebowski Fest Facebook page, the annual festival is a “celebration of all things related to the 1998 Coen Brothers cult comedy The Big Lebowski. Fans of the film come from far and wide to drink white Russians, throw some rocks, and party with an array of Dudes, Walters, and Maudes (not to mention a nihilist or two).”
The first Lebowski Fest took place in Louisville, Kentucky in 2002. Since then, the festival has moved to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, and several other major cities around the globe. The Facebook page notes that the Coen Brothers have distanced themselves from the fan-founded festival. However, Jeff Bridges attended a festival in Los Angeles.
Also, yes, you read that correctly. The Big Lebowski spawned a religion. According to the World Religions and Spirituality Project, Oliver Benjamin founded The Church of the Latter Day Dude (also called Dudeism) after watching the film in 2005. Boiled down to the simplest explanation, Dudeism reimagines Taoist principles through the lens of The Dude.
How Jeff Bridges Prepared for Scenes
In The Big Lebowski, Jeff Bridges played one of the most quotable stoners in Hollywood history. Bridges nailed the role perfectly. However, he didn’t smoke any pot while working on the film. Instead, he would ask the Coen Brothers if they thought The Dude would have “burned one” before the scene. If so, he’d rub his eyes until they got red before the directors called “action.”
“For that film, I decided this is such a wonderful script and quite detailed,” Bridges explained. “While it seems very improvisational, it’s all scripted.” With that in mind, he wanted to make sure he was at the top of his game while working on the film.
“I wanted to have all my wits about me. I didn’t burn at all during that movie,” He said of The Big Lebowski.
Be sure to check the Fathom Events site to see if you’ll have the chance to see Jeff Bridges’ stone-cold sober performance as The Dude.