- Can't Un-Hear It: It's pretty hard to read the book and not imagine Humphrey Bogart's voice narrating.
- Franchise Original Sin: Many criticisms hurled at the Genre Throwback to Film Noir The Black Dahlia can actually be found in this - an overly convoluted story and a lot of information that's hard to hold onto. The difference is of course that The Big Sleep still has a lot of merit with regards to how well it pulls that off - whereas The Black Dahlia was a three-hour movie cut down into a confusing two hour length.
- Narm: The Adaptational Modesty to Carmen when Marlowe interrupts her photoshoot. It doesn't quite have the same effect when she's wearing such a modest nightgown.
- One-Scene Wonder:
- The general appears in only one scene at the beginning of the film despite being an important background character for most of it.
- Dorothy Malone as the bookstore clerk. She gets far more love on This Very Wiki than her small screen time would indicate.
- Values Dissonance:
- Marlowe requests that the bookshop girl take her glasses off while they share a drink. This would be considered quite rude today.
- Marlowe also wears sunglasses to pass himself as a pretentious literature professor to Agnes - effectively invoking Nerd Glasses. Sunglasses had only just become available to the public in 1937 and hadn't caught on as a cool fashion accessory yet.
- Values Resonance: Marlowe's efforts to stop the lewd photos of Carmen being made public is still very relevant today, given the scandals involving female celebrities having their private photos stolen by hackers.
- Values Dissonance:
- Marlowe and other characters are open with their disgust for homosexuals. They freely use homophobic slurs like "queen" and make jokes at their expense. After getting decked by a gay man, Marlowe asserts that it didn't hurt much because gay men "have no iron in their bones."
- Geiger's pornography business is an underground criminal enterprise, and Marlowe is thoroughly disgusted by it.
- Marlowe's alcoholism, to an extent. There are several times in the novel where he takes a swig either while driving or about to start driving, and neither he nor anyone else thinks anything of it.