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    The Dude 

Jeffrey Lebowski, a.k.a. "The Dude"

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the_big_lebowski___jeff_bridges_9616.jpg
"The Dude abides."
That rug really tied the room together.

Played by: Jeff Bridges

A single, unemployed slacker living in Venice, California, who does nothing more than enjoying cocktails and bowling.

He is mostly inspired by Jeff Dowd, a member of the anti-war radical group the Seattle Liberation Front (The Dude tells Maude Lebowski that he was one of the Seattle Seven, who were members of the SLF). A friend of the Coen brothers, Vietnam War veteran Pete Exline, also inspired aspects of the character.


  • Affectionate Nickname: Nicknames himself "The Dude", and prefers to be known as such. Notably, the only characters other than Walter and Donny to call him "Dude" are Brandt, the Stranger, and Jackie Treehorn. Everyone else calls him either "Lebowski" or "Mr. Lebowski", while Maude calls him "Jeffrey".
  • The Alleged Car: His Torino increasingly becomes this. It wasn't exactly a royal chariot to begin with, but over the course of the film, it is stolen and trashed by a fifteen-year-old loser kid, used as a toilet, crashed by the Dude (twice), beaten with a crowbar, and finally set on fire.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Despite being a complete slacker, The Dude definitively figures out the mystery of the film on his own, despite the increasing amount of things complicating matters, and accurately fingers The Big Lebowski as having stolen his own money. The reason that the Big Lebowski wasn't in much of a hurry to get his wife Bunny back, according to The Dude, is that he doesn't want her back and was hoping the kidnappers would kill her to get her out of his hair.
  • Catchphrase: "Fuck it." His answer to any kind of adversity is to simply not care about it, an attitude that gets him criticized by both Walter and the Big Lebowski.
  • The Chew Toy: The universe seems to love sending him people who break down his door, smash up his car, and pee on his carpet.
  • Chosen Conception Partner: Maude picks him to conceive a child with her, because as The Slacker, there's no way he'd want any part of the child's life and that's how she wants it.
  • Chronically Crashed Car: He only crashes his car twice, but since it takes so much abuse throughout the film, that's all it takes to really wreck the poor thing.
  • Classical Antihero: A lazy, jobless good-for-nothing who doesn't do anything heroic at all, but is at least genuinely concerned about Bunny's well-being, finds himself lost in a tangled web of other people's plots and schemes, and is taken aback by some of Walter's shenanigans, which he tries to mitigate or rein in. The Dude is sympathetic because even though he's done very little with his life and doesn't seem to want anymore, he's fine with that and isn't hurting anyone else.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: To a lesser extent than Walter, but he's still a pretty odd guy. At the beginning, he writes a check for 69 cents; drinks White Russians in the morning; listens to the sounds of the bowling alleys while taking a nap on his rug and whale sounds in his tub.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Tries to moderate Walter's shenanigans, with mixed results.
  • Cool Shades: Sometimes dons a pair of sunglasses to look even cooler.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Constantly demonstrates a laid-back, somewhat indifferent but poignant sense of humor.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Just as the film is a Deconstructive Parody of the Film Noir, the Dude can be seen as a spoof of the classic Film Noir protagonist. While most noir protagonists are rough around the edges, tough as nails and dedicated to the mysteries that they involve themselves in, The Dude is a laid-back stoner with a penchant for home decor and is unwittingly forced into situations that he has no place in nor wants any part of.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": He would prefer if people refer to him as "The Dude", rather than Jeffrey or Mr. Lebowski, and politely requests everyone he meets to refer to him as such.
  • Erudite Stoner: Has "the occasional acid flashback", and is shown smoking pot at a few points in the movie.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The first he is shown doing is shopping for half-and-half in his robe, tasting it in the store, then paying for it by writing a check for 69 cents. The check is postdated.
  • Fish out of Water: He's stuck in a Film Noir narrative with all the various interests around him (aside from Walter and Donny) behaving accordingly.
  • Genre Refugee: He acts like he's walked right out of a stoner comedy or a 1960s New Hollywood-style counterculture flick.
  • Glorified Sperm Donor: The "glorified" bit is definitely averted.
    Maude: I don't want the father to be someone I have to see socially, or who will have any interest in raising the child himself.
  • Good Is Not Nice: He isn't a violent person like Walter was, but makes up for it by being an incredibly lazy and occasionally stubborn slacker.
  • Hero of Another Story: His involvement in most of the ongoing plots is tangential, whether the struggle between Maude and the eponymous Big Lebowski over his embezzlement (and Maude's subsequent quest to find a "sperm donor" to get her pregnant), Jackie Treehorn's dispute with Bunny Lebowski (which kickstarts the plot due only to the incompetence of Treehorn's hired thugs), or Da Fino's struggle to return "Bunny" to her family back east. Inverting this trope, The Dude is the hero of the story of the bowling league and his team's struggle against the Jesus, but we never get to see how that turned out.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Walter.
    The Dude: "Walter, I love ya, but you're just gonna have to accept that you're a fucking moron!"
  • Humble Goal: "All The Dude wanted was his rug back." Which is weird because his rug was never stolen, it was just peed on. The only rug that was taken from him was one he stole, later rightfully reclaimed by Maude, who won't return it as part of their bargain. If the Dude wanted his rug back, he could've just taken it to a cleaner and returned for it on Thursday of next week. But as Walter comments, "this is about drawing a line in the sand."
  • Iconic Outfit: The sweater, the shades and the purple shirt.
  • Informed Ability: The Dude is apparently a pretty good bowler, considering he and his buddies were able to make it to the semifinals of a league tournament. Bowling also seems to be one of the only things he's actually passionate about, as bowling imagery appears all over his house and in his dreams. Despite this, he's never actually shown bowling at any point in the movie.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • "I'm not Mr. Lebowski. You're Mr. Lebowski. I'm The Dude. So that's what you call me. Or you know, like, 'His Dudeness', or 'Duder', or... 'El Duderino', if you're into the whole brevity thing."
    • "She's not my special lady; she's my fucking lady friend!"
  • It's the Principle of the Thing: This is why The Dude doesn't just get his rug cleaned after one of the thugs pees on it. Because it's about "drawing a line in the sand" and all about how "this aggression will not stand, man".
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Dude is too lazy to do anything heroic for its own sake, as evidenced by the fact that the Dude only agrees to do the drop-off because the Big Lebowski promises Dude twenty thousand dollars to do so. But the Dude at least feels terrible when he thinks Bunny is dead, or had her toe chopped off. He also skips out on his rent, but keeps his promise to his landlord to come to his dance recital.
  • Knight Knave And Squire: The Knave to Walter's Knight and Donny's Squire. He's the most laid-back of the three, he's generally content to talk his way out of most tough situations, and he has no loyalty to anything but his own petty interests (he gets dragged into the adventure because he wants someone to replace his rug).
  • Lame Comeback: "Well that's just, like, uh, your opinion, man." Generally, the Dude has a lot more trouble producing his witty snarks when he's being directly challenged by someone.
  • Lazy Bum: He's even referred to as such by The Big Lebowski and the Malibu chief of police. The Dude has no job, very little money, and even less ambition to do anything with his life besides slack off. It's exemplified at the end of the movie: in spite of everything that's happened to him, The Dude doesn't really mind it that much, choosing to go on just as before, since "The Dude abides."
  • Looks Like Jesus: Though he doesn't exactly act like Jesus, he's got the long hair and beard commonly associated with him.
  • Meaningful Echo: Subverted. The Dude has a tendency of (poorly) copying the vocabulary of more eloquent characters when trying to be taken more seriously, but it's never particularly significant.
  • Mellow Fellow: Pretty much his defining trait. The Dude doesn't really care about much, and even finds the overarching mystery to be a mild inconvenience to him.
  • Messianic Archetype: He has long hair, a simple attire consisting largely of robes, a close group of "disciples," and a tendency to suffer for things he has no responsibility for.
  • Mistaken Identity: Due to his name being the same as a millionaire living in the same area. In fact, Jackie Treehorn's goons mixing the two up is what kickstarts the plot.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: The vice being Sloth. He means well and to the extent he does anything at all he tries to do good, but out of laziness and a general desire for an easy life he'd really rather not be involved.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: When asked what he does with his time, he says "Drive around. Bowl. Enjoy the occasional acid flashback."
    "I spent most of my time occupying various administration buildings... smoking a lot of Thai stick... breaking into the ROTC... and bowling."
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between: The in-between. He's snarky, lazy, and will only ever do anything if he's absolutely required to. But The Dude is a generally decent guy, so long as you're willing to move at his pace.
  • Non-Action Guy: The closest he gets to being involved in action is getting beat up a few times and halfheartedly swinging his bowling bag at one of the nihilists.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Displays this on a handful of occasions as he attempts to decipher exactly what's going on — and only gets called out on it by Maude when he jokes about the plot of Bunny's porn tape.
  • Only Sane Man: In spite of his laziness, he's the only character with the lucidity necessary to understand what's actually going on.
  • Pet the Dog: He picks up the Big Lebowski after Walter drags him out of his wheelchair, despite having no obligation to do it.
  • Pinball Protagonist: While the story is seen through The Dude's eyes, he ultimately has no effect on the schemes of The Big Lebowski, Jackie Treehorn, or anyone else. He doesn't participate in the fight with the nihilists at the movie's climax, and we never even see him bowl. He's just dragged along through the plot, not affecting much of anything.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The laid back, lazy and comparatively sensible blue oni to the volatile Walter's red.
  • The Roadie: Claims to have been one for Metallica for a time, though how true this is remains a mystery.
  • Royalties Heir: An early script said he was related to Reno Rubik and lived off royalties from the Rubik's Cube.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: When a "marmot" gets dropped in his bath. Also when he tries to flick a lit joint out of his car window as he's driving and it falls into his lap.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Zig-zagged in his dynamic with Walter. While the Dude is a non-confrontational hippy, he's also much better at keeping his emotions under control than Walter is.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: He swears constantly, though he doesn't seem to be aware of it.
    Stranger: Do you have to use so many cusswords?
    Dude: What the fuck are you talking about?
  • The Slacker: Casualness runs deep in this man. The Narrator says as much in the introduction, and The Dude's Establishing Character Moment is him paying for a quart of half-and-half for his white Russian with a check of less than one dollar. The Dude has achieved very little, but is happy with very little.
    Stranger: The Dude, from Los Angeles. And even if he's a lazy man — and the Dude was most certainly that. Quite possibly the laziest in all of Los Angeles County, which would place him high in the running for laziest worldwide.
  • The Stoner: He often smokes joints and Thai sticks, and used to do acid.
  • Supporting Protagonist: His involvement in most of the ongoing plots is tangential, whether the struggle between Maude and the eponymous Big Lebowski over his embezzlement (and Maude's subsequent quest to find a "sperm donor" to get her pregnant), Jackie Treehorn's dispute with Bunny Lebowski (which kickstarts the plot due only to the incompetence of Treehorn's hired thugs), or Da Fino's struggle to return "Bunny" to her family back east. Inverting this trope, The Dude is the hero of the story of the bowling league and his team's struggle against the Jesus, but we never get to see how that turns out.
  • Third-Person Person: He occasionally refers to His Dudeness as... the Dude.
    The Dude: The Dude MINDS, man!
  • Trademark Favorite Drink: He loves White Russian cocktails. He's seen drinking them throughout the movie, and the movie's opening scene has him buying half-and-half for a White Russian.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: The Dude and Walter are, to an outside observer, completely incompatible people who, true to form, spend most of their time loudly arguing with each other. However, they're practically inseparable.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: He thinks all the various threads he uncovers must figure into the big mystery at the center of the plot. They don't; really, in spite of all the players, most of them don't affect much of anything.

    Walter 

Walter Sobchak

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/waltersobchak_1179.png
"Am I the only one around here who gives a shit about the rules?! MARK IT ZERO!"
We're talking about unchecked aggression here, Dude.

Played by: John Goodman

A Nam veteran, the Dude's best friend and bowling teammate. Walter places the rules of bowling second in reverence only to the rules of his religion, Judaism, as evidenced by his strict stance against "rolling" on Shabbos. He has a violent temper, and is given to pulling out a handgun (or crowbar) in order to settle disputes. He says the Gulf War was all about oil and claims to have dabbled in pacifism. He constantly references Vietnam in conversations, much to the annoyance of the Dude.

Walter was based, in part, on screenwriter John Milius.


  • Ambiguously Trained: Walter makes it very clear in every scene that he has done service in Vietnam, but it is never made clear in which branch of the military he served. In the original screenplay, Walter did not actually serve any time in Vietnam, thus averting the premise of this trope entirely.
  • Anti-Hero: A violent, bumbling psychopath who screams at people for anything, ever. However, he's The Big Guy of the group in the Dude's friends, and he's right about quite a lot throughout the movie (although not for the reasons he intended).
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Walter is a walking example of this trope, despite serving in Vietnam, and presumably having been trained in gun handling. Notable examples include threatening someone else with a gun (though he isn't being reckless here so much as psychotic), and, in doing so, racking the slide with his finger on the trigger, which is likely to end poorly. It is worth pointing out that after Smokey marks the zero, Walter immediately clears, unloads and safes the gun before putting it away... though he does all of this while pointing the gun at half the other people in the bowling alley. In other words, Walter knows exactly how to handle a gun, he just doesn't care enough to do it safely.
  • Ax-Crazy: Although it's played for laughs, Walter is violently unstable. His endearing qualities make it easy to forget that he was willing to shoot Smokey in the face and kill him in full view of the entire alley because he was (allegedly) over the line. It's telling that he has no qualms with murdering an acquaintance of his he's known for years over an extremely minor bowling dispute.
  • Berserk Button: He has several:
    • He flips right the fuck out when Smokey allegedly steps over the line in a League game and refuses to acknowledge his error. Cross Walter on a rules violation, and you'll stare down the barrel of a gun.
    Walter: You are entering a world of pain.
    • He takes his Judaism very seriously, even though he converted for his ex-wife. Getting him to break the laws of Shabbos will earn you an ear full.
    • He completely snaps when trying to intimidate a teenager he suspects has stolen the ransom money by smashing up what he thinks is his car, screaming, "This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass!" er, "find a stranger in the Alps!"
    • Whenever he gets his dander up, he inevitably finds some way to link it back to some obviously unresolved issues with his tour in Vietnam. In fact, he finds an excuse to mention 'Nam in just about any situation.
    Dude: What the fuck does anything have to do with Vietnam?
  • The Berserker: When Walter gets mad, he gets violent. At the very least, he'll start screaming over very minor slights, and when he's pushed to actually fight, he fights very dirty.
  • The Big Guy: The gruff, mean variety. Walter pulls a gun on Smokey for a minor bowling dispute, smashes a car with a crowbar, and beats up the nihilists with just what he has on hand.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: He's big, loud and violent, which carries over even when he's in a good mood. That being said, when Walter's pushed far enough, he turns into a Screaming Warrior.
  • Break the Haughty: Subtle, but it's there. After Donny dies, he yells at the funeral director for being unable to sell a cheap urn. This is unlike most of his outbursts throughout the movie, as he actually has a pretty solid reason to be upset. And after the Dude calls him out for his attempt at eulogizing Donny, Walter just somberly apologizes and hugs the Dude instead of trying to defend himself.
  • Broken Record: He has a tendency of repeating himself (especially when pissed — or more pissed than usual), and sometimes he goes into overdrive.
    You see what happens, Larry?! You see what happens, Larry?! You see what what happens, Larry, when you fuck a stranger in the ass?! You see what happens, Larry?! (etc, etc.)
  • Cassandra Truth: Walter speculates what really happened throughout the movie and is right almost every time. No one believes him. "Am I wrong?" The only things he wasn't right about was when he thinks the Big Lebowski isn't disabled and throws him on the floor and about Bunny kidnapping herself, but that wasn't his idea anyway, and he was right that she was safe all along. And he was right that "that's not her toe, dude."
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Shut the fuck up, Donny!"
    • "Am I wrong?"
    • "Donny, you're out of your element!"
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Deconstructed. Walter is (supposedly) this because of years of mental trauma, thanks to Vietnam and years of living in an unhappy marriage. Not to mention, the other characters aren't just put off by his behavior. They think Walter is a psychopath who is going to snap and kill someone at any moment.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: When he thinks Larry stole the Dude's money, thanks to seeing a new Corvette outside, Walter proceeds to smash it with a crowbar. The entire time, Walter is screaming that "this is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass!"
  • Converting for Love: He converted to Judaism for his ex-wife, but still clings to the religion even though she divorced him. It's left ambiguous whether he stuck with it out of genuine devotion or still just hasn't gotten over his wife, since other characters openly speculate on both possibilities.
  • Cool Shades: Never seen without his stylish yellow tinted shades.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: For all of his bluster, Walter proves himself to have genuine combat ability during the fight with the nihilists. While the nihilists were much less intimidating than they made themselves out to be, Walter's one-sided beatdown of them is still pretty impressive.
  • Cultural Posturing: Walter is not of Jewish descent and converted to Judaism for his ex-wife.
    "Three thousand years of beautiful tradition, from Moses to Sandy Koufax. YOU'RE GODDAMN RIGHT I'M LIVING IN THE FUCKING PAST!"
  • Determinator: Deconstructed. Walter is determined to carry out his plans and get what he wants, such as getting a cheap urn or getting a confession out of Larry when the Dude's car gets stolen. However, this is often shown as very short-sighted and destructive, which just leads to even more trouble. When Walter smashes what he thinks is another car Larry stole, it turns out that it's a neighbor's car, and the neighbor smashes the Dude's car in response.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • He threatens to shoot Smokey after he tries to mark it eight when he was over the line.
    • After correctly calling out the nihilists as inept cowards, he cripples them anyway.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Walter knows that Larry stole the Dude's car, and that there's a really nice car parked in front of Larry's parents' house, therefore Walter concludes that the nice car was also stolen by Larry. Walter's wrong; it's a neighbor's car. Too bad that Walter only finds this out when he's halfway done totaling the thing with a crowbar.
  • Establishing Character Moment: His first scene is conversing with the Dude about the first home invasion and spouting off various theories and odd phrases, showcasing his Cloud Cuckoolander personality.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Despite converting for his ex-wife, he's sincere about his Judaism. But he hates Nihilists so much he considers them BENEATH Nazis.
    "Say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism dude, at least it's an ethos."
    • He'll also argue with anyone over anything except The Jesus. Guy is a great bowler, but he's also a convicted pederast. Walter's got nothing to say to him. "Eight-year-olds, Dude."
  • Genre Refugee: He acts like he's in a Vietnam drama that chronicles the veteran's harrowing struggle to reacclimatize back into civilian society after everything he's seen and done.
  • Good Is Not Nice: He genuinely want what's best for the Dude, but he's incredibly violent and insists on doing things his own way to stop the bad guys.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Walter is basically in a near-constant state of anger. All it took was Smokey supposedly stepping over the line in a League game to get Walter to pull a gun.
  • Henpecked Husband: Despite being divorced for five years, Walter is still completely under the thumb of his ex-wife.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: All of his horrible actions are played for laughs. That being said, he has more agency than the Dude does in trying to clear up the mystery.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Something going wrong in the Dude's life? "Fuck it, Dude. Let's go bowling." The last of which was preceded by a manhug.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • For all his apparent psychopathy, Walter deeply loves his ex-wife Cynthia, even though she's long since moved on with another man. He frequently does random favors for her at the drop of a hat, and it's heavily implied that he only clings to his Jewish faith because it's the only connection that he has with her (he was raised Catholic, and converted to Judaism when he got married).
    • As harsh as he is with his friends he also genuinely loves the Dude and Donny tenderly comforting Donny as he's dying and being genuinely broken up after he's gone.
    • Despite his fierce patriotism and his (apparent) hatred of Communism, he's knowledgeable enough about Russian history to know Vladimir Lenin's full name, and he takes it seriously enough that he flips out on Donny when he gets him mixed up with the front-man of the Beatles.
    • He also objects to the Dude's use of 'Chinaman' and insists on the use of 'Asian American', although he ruins his own political correctness moment by using the same term moments later.
  • Iconic Outfit: The fishing vest, the short pants and the boots.
  • Insistent Terminology: "Also, Dude, 'Chinaman' is not the preferred nomenclature. Asian-American, please." And then he promptly subverts it: "The Chinaman is not the issue here!"
  • It's All About Me: He makes everything about how he fought in Vietnam just to see what the world has become.
    Waitress: Sir, if you don't calm down, I'm going to have to ask you to leave.
    Walter: LADY, I GOT BUDDIES WHO DIED FACE DOWN IN THE MUCK SO YOU AND I COULD ENJOY THIS FAMILY RESTAURANT!
  • Jerkass: He gets constantly called out on his obnoxiousness and The Dude once on passing (see I Resemble That Remark! above). They pay little mind to mild language.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's a complete asshole, but if pointed in the right direction, it's clear that most of the things Walter does are because he genuinely cares about the Dude. He also sometimes treats Donny in a more polite and affably way.
  • Jews Love to Argue: He's not Jewish by birth, but is still easily the most volatile, argumentative person in the film.
  • Karma Houdini: He pulls a gun on a man in a bowling alley where everybody knows him and destroys a brand new luxury car, and somehow manages to avoid jail time, or any other form of actual punishment.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Dragging the Big Lebowski out of his chair to prove that he's not a cripple certainly counts.
  • Knight Knave And Squire: The Knight to Donny's Squire and the Dude's Knave. He's the only professional soldier of the three, he's known for his fierce patriotism and religious faith, he always brings the guns (even to bowling matches), and he charges headfirst into every tough situation.
  • The Lancer: To the Dude. While the Dude is the person that the story follows, it's Walter that does all the heavy lifting and makes all the moves.
  • Large Ham: John Goodman has stated that he's never had more fun acting in a movie. And, boy, does it show. Walter is loud, boisterous, obnoxious, and extremely tempermental. He can't go one scene without screaming or mentioning Vietnam.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: While he does seem less-than-stable throughout the movie, it's mostly in a bombastic and ineffective sense that tends to make him less useful rather than more. At the very end in the confrontation with the nihilists, however, he demonstrates how effective he can really be. Although as the other two point out, they are only being shaken down for about twenty bucks.
  • The Millstone: He makes things go wrong for the Dude constantly due to his stubbornness and violent temper. Walter throws out a fake briefcase instead of the money, accidentally gets the Dude's car smashed when Walter wrecks what he thinks is a stolen car, and is so convinced that Bunny kidnapped herself that he tells the Dude not to pursue the case any further. Although the case didn't have any money in the first place, and he was sort of right that Bunny wasn't kidnapped.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between: The mean. He's quick to threaten violence against anyone who crosses him, and is generally a paranoid wreck.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: He was inspired by writer/director John Milius, who is a longtime friend of the Coen Brothers.
  • No Indoor Voice: He spends at least half of his screentime shouting his dialogue.
  • No Sense of Humor: Everything is deadly serious to him, though he does seem to think that using his dirty underwear as a ringer is pretty hilarious.
  • The Obi-Wannabe: Especially when it comes to things like Vietnam, Judaism, and the M.O. of kidnappers - he pretends to be a know-it-all, but is really just a colossal jackass.
  • Only Sane Man: Massive subversion — he proves to be the only insane man: "Has the whole world gone CRAZY?! Am I the only one around here who gives a shit about the rules?" Right before pulling out a Colt on a bowler who simply rule-argued with him.
    • Of course, he proves ultimately correct about the kidnapping and the severed toe and all.
  • Paper Tiger: Zig-zagged. Walter talks a big game and is very quick to threaten violence, but also tends to back down just as quickly when someone actually tries to fight him. With that said, he shows himself to genuinely be strong and have good fighting instincts during his No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of the nihilists (who, in fairness, are wimpy Paper Tigers themselves). To summarize: while Walter actually is pretty tough, he's not nearly as unstoppable as he presents himself to be, and is quick to run away when he encounters an opponent he believes can actually fight back against him.
  • Pet the Dog: While he bullies and yells at Donny throughout the movie, Walter's genuinely calm and reassuring towards him after Donny gets caught up in the ambush that the Nihilists spring on the Dude and Walter. He also comforts him when he dies.
  • Phony Veteran: In the original screenplay. The reveal was cut from the movie, although from his bluster he can still be read this way.
  • Poisonous Friend: He's technically responsible for everything that happens to the Dude after the initial rug-soiling incident, because it is he who kickstarts the plot by convincing the Dude to seek out the Big Lebowski for recompense over the rug instead of dropping the whole matter.
  • Principles Zealot: He is so thoroughly principled that he converted to Judaism for his wife and refuses to abandon it even after their divorce.
    Saturday, Donny, is Shabbos, the Jewish day of rest. That means that I don't work, I don't drive a car, I don't fucking ride in a car, I don't handle money, I don't turn on the oven, and I sure as shit DON'T FUCKING ROLL!!!
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The hot-tempered and violent red oni to the mellow Dude's blue.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Zig-zagged in his dynamic with the Dude. While Walter is a hyper-aggressive gun nut, he's also much more emotional than the Dude is.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Just as much as the Dude. And he gets offended if he's asked to tone it down.
  • Tranquil Fury: He spends most of the movie exploding into loud, bombastic rage at the drop of a pin. But when the nihilists try to rob the money that he, the Dude and Donny have on them after they realise they won't be getting a ransom any time soon, he becomes quietly, chillingly livid.
  • Undying Loyalty: To the Dude, even if the Dude doesn't exactly always welcome Walter's help.
  • Unwanted Assistance: His "helping" with the ransom, much to the Dude's complete and utter annoyance. invoked
  • Verbal Tic: "Shut the fuck up, Donny!":
    Donny: They posted the next round for the tournament.
    Walter: Shut the fu- when're we playing?
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With the Dude and Donny.
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    Donny 

Theodore Donald "Donny" Kerabatsos

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/donny_3133.jpg
"I am the Walrus."
Lebowski? That's your name, Dude!

Played by: Steve Buscemi

A member of Walter and The Dude's bowling team. Naïve and good-natured, Donny is an avid bowler and frequently interrupts Walter's diatribes to inquire about the parts of the story he missed or did not understand, provoking Walter's frequently repeated response, "Shut the fuck up, Donny!"

The aforementioned line is a reference to Fargo, in which Buscemi's character was constantly talking.


  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He seems kind of stupid, and Walter and the Dude don't have any respect for him, but he's shown to be an amazing bowler, hitting a strike every time it's his turn. The one time he doesn't, it's a sign that he's going to have a heart attack.
  • Butt-Monkey: He gets no respect from his friends (especially Walter) when he tries to join in on their conversations. Literally the only time he isn't told to shut the fuck up by Walter, or something similar, is at the end — when he's dying.
  • Captain Obvious: May be part of the reason why Walter and the Dude ignore him all the time.
    "Jeffrey Lebowski? That's your name, Dude!"
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: His death is a deliberate subversion of the unwritten rule that nobody ever dies for random or plot-unimportant reasons in Film Noir, or really, any genre except weird comedies. "It's a heart attack." Though, considering the scene in which his death occurs, it may be a Double Subversion.
  • Establishing Character Moment: His first scene is him scoring a perfect strike while bowling then immediately being ignored or berated by Walter when he asks what's going on, establishing his bowling skills and background character status.
  • Facial Dialogue: Donny is always commenting in the conversations with his confused face, and especially with his eyebrows. Is the one form of communication that Walter doesn't object to (or cares to notice).
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Walter constantly shuts down his attempts at joining conversations while the Dude mostly just ignores him entirely. The only time either is shown to care about him is after he dies.
  • The Generic Guy: In comparison to his friends, who both have big, broad personalities. He seems pleasant and kind of dopey and... that's about it.
  • Genre Refugee: He's just an ordinary guy who thinks he's in a slightly eccentric bowling team but has an otherwise normal life. He's probably the most wrong out of all of them.
  • Informed Ability: Walter mentions that he enjoyed surfing during his funeral. This is the first time we ever hear about it.
  • Kindhearted Simpleton: He's "like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie" when he tries to get in on the conversation about the Dude's life, yet is still quite loyal to both him and Walter.
  • Knight Knave And Squire: The Squire to Walter's Knight and the Dude's Knave. Compared to the other two, he's just an average Joe with no interest in intrigue or conspiracies, and he spends most of the movie completely out of his element.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: He tries to construe the plot, but nobody explains anything to him and stays in constant bewilderment. He's like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie and wants to know what's going on.
  • Middle Name Basis: Donny is a diminutive of his middle name Donald.
  • Nice Guy: Despite being constantly yelled at, ignored or told to shut the fuck up, Donny stays surprisingly easy-going and cheery.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between: The nice. He's perpetually affable-but-oblivious compared to his two friends.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: He's only ever referred to by a nickname derived from his middle name. We don't even learn his first name until the end of the movie.
  • Phrase Catcher: "Shut the fuck up, Donny!"
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Donny has no plot significance even when he dies, but damn if it doesn't hurt to see him go all the same.
  • Satellite Character: He's the Dude and Walter's bowling buddy and... that's about all of the connection to the plot he has. Donny is so tangential to the two of them that they're the ones who get to keep his ashes, rather than anyone in his actual family.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Walter spends a lot of time browbeating and yelling at him yet is clearly cut up when Donny dies from a heart attack.
  • The Watson: Subverted, he's Locked Out of the Loop. "You have no frame of reference. You're like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie, and wants to know..."

    The Big Lebowski 

Jeffrey Lebowski, a.k.a. "The Big Lebowski"

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/6687359_std_9103.jpg
"Every time a rug is micturated upon in this fair city, I have to compensate the owner?"
Played by: David Huddleston

The titular character. He is a Korean war vet who lost the use of his legs and uses a wheelchair; he's also an apparent multi-millionaire who is married to Bunny and is Maude's father by his late wife. He refers to The Dude dismissively as "a bum" and a "deadbeat", and is obsessed with "achievement." Although he characterizes himself as highly successful and accomplished, it is revealed by Maude that he is simply "allowed" to run some of the philanthropic efforts of her mother’s estate, and that he doesn't actually have very much money of his own.


  • Ambiguous Situation: What his supposed role in the kidnapping ultimately amounts to. Although the Dude's theory that Lebowski used Bunny's "kidnapping" as an excuse to embezzle money is very plausible, it's never outright confirmed by any of the related parties. The closest thing to any form of solid evidence is The Big Lebowski's reaction to Dude and Walter's accusation. He doesn't seem fazed nor does he even bother denying it, but instead simply counters with a "your word against mine" retort.
  • Big Bad: Him deciding to let the kidnappers kill Bunny by setting up the Dude to fail to pay the ransom sends several people's lives into a downward spiral.
  • Character Title: "The Big Lebowski" is what the Dude and his friends keep referring to him as.
  • Decoy Leader: Maude is the one who maintains all of the Lebowski family's organizations. The Big Lebowski just likes to pretend that he does.
  • Establishing Character Moment: His first real appearance has him berating the Dude for asking for compensation and insulting him for being a bum, all while talking about how amazing, hardworking, and successful he is.
  • Evil Cripple: He lost the use of his legs in the Korean War, and gets in a wheelchair.
  • Evil Old Folks: A bitter, manipulative and rude old man. He constantly insults The Dude for being a Lazy Bum, and he resorts to screaming when things don't go his way.
  • Fat Bastard: He's noticeably overweight and has a very sour personality.
  • Greed: His driving force. He's already rich, but wants to be even richer. Or so he wants people to think; he just plays the part of a guy with a ton of money because he wants to be more important than he really is.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Even before the Dude asks for a new rug, the Big Lebowski treats him like crap, calling him a "bum" and chastising him for wasting his time.
  • Hypocrite: The crux of his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the Dude is that where the Dude's a lazy slacker who hasn't accomplished anything, he is a successful Self-Made Man who built everything he has himself despite being deprived of the use of his legs. It turns out he just married into money and likes to act the role.
  • Jerkass: He treats everyone like crap, and doesn't care who he has to roll over to get what he wants.
  • Karma Houdini: Aside from getting thrown onto the floor by Walter after the Dude confronts him, the Big Lebowski gets away with extortion, attempted kidnapping, and attempted murder.
  • Kick the Dog: Lest the audience have too much sympathy with him after Walter throws him to the floor, the Big Lebowski's first action after whimpering is to shove away the affectionate dog.
  • Large Ham: Not as much as Walter, but David Huddleston was definitely enjoying himself.
    THE WHOLE GODDAMN PLANE HAS CRASHED INTO THE MOUNTAIN!
  • Manly Tears: "Do my tears surprise you? Strong men also cry, Mr. Lebowski. Strong men...also cry..." Possibly a subversion since you never see his tears indicating that he either knows she kidnapped herself or that he actually doesn't care about her. He sheds a few real ones when Walter tosses him to the floor, but by then, we know he's not really a strong man anyway.
  • Mock Millionaire: He doesn't actually have much money to his own name; it all comes from his late wife's estate. He plays the part of a millionaire anyway because he likes throwing his weight around.
  • Obfuscating Disability: Walter accuses him of doing this, but it turns out he was wrong. A subtle move of one of the Big Lebowski's legs hints that even that might be a lie, though.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He refers to the person who blew his legs off as a "Chinaman"note  and is extremely prejudiced towards the lower/working class, who he considers to be "lazy bums."
  • Rich Bitch: Not so rich, actually. But he's certainly a jerk to everyone, and uses his alledged money and influence to get what he wants.
  • Self-Made Man: Stresses to the Dude the importance of hard work, claiming to have made his fortune by working from the bottom up. In reality, this is a lie, and whatever money he actually has comes entirely from an allowance given to him by Maude.
  • Shrine to Self: The Dude is given a guided tour of all the plaques and awards that the Big Lebowski has, most of which are from the Big Lebowski's own foundation.
  • Smug Snake: He portrays himself as a billionaire Self-Made Man who understands the importance of hard work and has a massive amount of power and influence. In reality, he simply married into money and has very little power of his own.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Due to Bunny being a Trophy Wife. It's implied that the two argue a lot, and she has no interest in him at all.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: The reason the Dude gets in as much trouble with the police as he does is because the Big Lebowski is well-liked among the populace.

    Maude 

Maude Lebowski

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/julianne-18a-ayb_1359.jpg
"Does the female form make you uncomfortable?"
Played by: Julianne Moore

The Big Lebowski's eccentric daughter and stepdaughter of Bunny (she's older than her stepmother). A post-feminist and avant-garde artist whose work "has been commended as being strongly vaginal", which she believes inherently bothers men. She introduced Bunny to Uli Kunkel. She beds The Dude solely to conceive a child, and wants nothing else to do with him.


  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: While she's ridiculously pretentious, she manages to both maintain her family's fortune by running several organizations at once while also having a successful career as an artist on the side.
  • Deadpan Snarker: All of her conversations with the Dude have a distinctly condescending tinge to them.
  • Do You Want to Copulate?: She shows up at the Dude's house, drops her robe and says: "Love me." He obliges.
  • Dress Hits Floor: Just before she tells the Dude to have sex with her.
  • Establishing Character Moment: She's introduced performing some sort of ridiculous, self-styled painting method, then awkwardly and nonchalantly asking the Dude if he enjoys sex before going on a small rant about how men are uncomfortable with sex, all showing how pretentious and hipster-like she is.
  • Femme Fatale: Has elements of one, being a mysterious beauty who gives the hero clues to solve the case. In reality, though, there is no case to solve.
  • Generation Xerox: It's quite apparent that she's just as pretentious as her father, but in different ways: While he likes to put on the air of a self-made multi-millionaire but really married into money and doesn't have much power of his own, Maude is....well, Maude Lebowski.
  • Hahvahd Yahd In My Cah: In keeping with her blue-blooded femme fatale characterization, Moore affects a Katharine Hepburn-esque New England accent as Maude.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Subverted. She offers herself to The Dude, albeit without love and solely to conceive a child.
  • Hime Cut: Her haircut has forehead-covering bangs, and she's an influential debutante.
  • Hipster: An older, more French New Wave-style example of one. She paints in a pretentious way, talks down about men, and generally has an air of smug bohemian superiority in everything she does.
  • Hypocrite: Talks about how the word "vagina" makes men uncomfortable while avoiding using the word "penis" in the same conversation. She describes "Logjammin'" as disgusting smut, while her art isn't terribly different from it. She's disgusted by those who desire sex without love, while doing exactly that in order to become pregnant. Maude is a walking contradiction.
  • It's Not Porn, It's Art: How she justifies the things she does. Despite working with porn stars, and owning an extensive collection of porn movies. She does have clear standards, however, as she claims that "Logjammin'" is an artless travesty.
  • Jerkass: She's generally condescending towards the Dude and speaks about everyone who isn't one of her artist buddies with disdain. She even bluntly tells the Dude to his face that she has no interest in him as a person at all immediately after getting him to impregnate her.
  • Le Film Artistique: All of the art that she produces and collects has this going on for it.
  • Loose Lips: The Dude ends up figuring out the entire scheme of the Big Lebowski thanks to a slip of the tongue from Maude. In truth, Maude is the one in charge of all of the Lebowski family's money; she just doesn't mind her father pretending like he's rich when he's not. However, in telling The Dude this information, The Dude figures out that the Big Lebowski was trying to steal his own money and get Bunny killed at the same time.
  • The Man Behind the Man: She is actually the one in charge of all of the Lebowski family's money and organizations, she's simply content in letting her father pretend to be because she's more interested in pursuing her art career.
  • Ms. Fanservice: At times, she comes off as a warped version of this trope. In general, she takes full advantage of the naked female body to intimidate others.
  • Naked on Arrival: Makes her debut flying from the ceiling wearing only a harness.
  • No Nudity Taboo: From what we see, she appears to be a nudist (or at least a Home Nudist). She paints in the nude, is only ever seen wearing a robe (and that only when she's in someone else's company), and tends to keep that robe very loosely tied in order to ensure that the people she's with are left in no doubt that she's naked underneath.
  • Rich Bitch: A multi-millionaire who is endlessly smug and pretentious.
  • The Stoic: While we see her smile and even burst into giddy laughter at a few points, her usual state of being is an almost emotionless calm.
  • Straw Feminist: It isn't so much her beliefs themselves that are being parodied, it's that she's unbelievably pretentious about uncontroversial mainstream stances and refuses to notice that nobody is actually diagreeing with her. There's also an obvious element of projection, like when she's certain that men are uncomfortable about the word "vagina" but refuses to acknowledge that the word "penis" clearly disturbs her.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Subverted. She may be incredibly pretentious and insufferable and fails to see any irony in how much her views conflict with her lifestyle choices, but she is an intelligent, highly competent individual who manages to be one of the only people in the film who knows what they're doing.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Discussed by Julianne Moore in the making of documentary. She created an entirely new accent for her character that sounds vaguely British, but clearly isn't.
  • Women Are Wiser: Probably the single most competent and accomplished character in the film, and arguably the real "Big Lebowski".

    The Nihilists 

The Nihilists

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/uli-kunkel_5702.jpg
"Ve belief in nussink."
Ve beleef in nuzink, Lebowski!
Played by: Peter Stormare, Flea and Torsten Voges

A group of German nihilistic thugs (Uli Kunkel, Dieter and Franz respectively). They were once techno musicians (Uli, as "Karl Hungus", appeared in a porn film with Bunny), who, along with Uli's girlfriend (Aimee Mann), pretend to be the ones who kidnapped Bunny.

The character of Uli originated on the set of Fargo between Ethan Coen and Stormare, who often spoke in a mock German accent.


  • Batter Up!: Though they aren't above using other weapons as well, one of them carries around a baseball bat to threaten the Dude and his friends with.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Their threats are intimidating. Their fighting skills, not so much.
  • Catchphrase: "We believe in nothing!" (which Uli pronounces "nossink!")
  • Cool Pet: Uli's ferret, which is used to threaten The Dude in his bath.
  • Cool Sword: Uli wields one during his battle with Walter in the bowling alley parking lot. Rather than actually use it, though, he just tries to tackle Walter.
  • Curbstomp Battle: They're all on the receiving end of one from Walter, who absolutely destroys them with very little effort. Walter bites off one's ear, knocks one of them out with a bowling ball, and effortlessly chases away the third one.
  • Ear Ache: Uli, who gets his ear bitten off by Walter.
  • Genre Refugee: They believe they're in a quirky-but-dark Tarantino-inspired crime thriller about a gang of eccentric Villain Protagonists, and that they're the protagonists in question.
  • Gratuitous German: All three pepper their speech with German.
  • Groin Attack: Their threat to the Dude.
    Uli: And tomorrow ve come back and ve cut off your chonson!
  • Guns Are Worthless: Dieter is wielding what looks like a submachine gun in the fight with Walter, but instantly drops it and is left uselessly doubled in pain after Walter chucks a bowling ball at his stomach. Given the kind of guys they actually are, it was likely just a non-functional replica or toy gun.
  • Harmless Villain: In spite of trying to appear threatening, they don't actually hurt the Dude or his allies. The ferret in the bathtub was just a way to intimidate the Dude, which didn't work because the Dude was stoned. And when they try to fight the Dude in the bowling alley's parking lot, Walter takes care of all three of them with little effort.
  • Large Ham: Peter Stormare is in this group. It is required. This is especially true in the fight scene towards the end of the movie, where their attempts at fighting and/or intimidation all involve Milking the Giant Cow instead of actually trying to do any damage.
  • The Leader: Uli appears to be the leader of the pack, and is the only one who gets a full name.
  • Paper Tigers: They talk a good game, but are ultimately revealed to be this. Walter ends up handing them their asses over the course of less than a minute, even though it's three against one.
  • Smug Snakes: They're a lot less competent than they think they are.
  • Straw Nihilists: Played for laughs. Their amusing Catchphrase is often applied free of any particular context. They're very enthusiastic about their nihilism, and love to bring it up. Their nihilism, however, doesn't stop them from whining about how "It's not fair!" when their attempt to extort money out of the heroes is foiled. By the time the nihilists confront the Dude, he knows that they're just pretending that they've kidnapped a woman, when they never had her in the first place. Walter retorts: "'FAIR?!' WHO'S THE FUCKING NIHILISTS HERE, YA FUCKING CRY-BABIES!?".
    Walter: Say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism, but at least it's an ethos.
  • Terrible Trio: A trio of German thugs.
  • What the Fu Are You Doing?: During their fight with the Dude's bowling team, one of them wields a sword, the other wields a [likely fake] gun, and the third... flails around doing faux-karate moves while screaming in a high-pitched voice.
  • Wimp Fight: One of them engages in one with the Dude during their "battle" in the bowling alley parking lot. It consists of him making various karate poses while the Dude hesitantly waves his bowling bag at him. Walter ends up flooring him in two hits.

    Bunny 

Bunny Lebowski (real name Fawn Knutsen)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bunnythebiglebowski_9729.jpg
Played by: Tara Reid

The Big Lebowski's young wife. Born Fawn Knutsen, she ran away from the family farm outside Moorhead, Minnesota, and soon found herself making pornographic videos under the name "Bunny La Joya".


  • Adoptive Peer Parent: She's younger than her own stepdaughter.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Bunny.
  • Cool Shades: Wears a pair when the Dude first meets her.
  • Faked Kidnapping: Averted. It turns out that everyone was wrong; the nihilists didn't actually kidnap Bunny. She just went off on her own to visit friends for a few days, and didn't bother telling anyone. The nihilists took advantage of this to try and milk the Big Lebowski out of money.
  • Femme Fatale: She offers the Dude a $1,000 blowjob when they first meet.
    The Dude: Uh, I'm just gonna go find a cash machine.
  • Genre Refugee: Her dialogue and attitude is essentially a porn movie starlet.
  • Gold Digger: A scene in the Dude's montage late in the movie implies heavily that she's only after him for his money.
  • May–December Romance: She's much younger than her husband. (In real life, Tara Reid is 45 years younger than David Huddleston).
  • Ms. Fanservice: Is scantily clad in all of her scenes and can briefly be seen running around in the nude.
  • Really Gets Around:
    The Dude (to Maude): "I'm sorry your stepmother is a nympho..."
  • Spanner in the Works: She derails the plans of both the Big Lebowski and the nihilists to get money after she's supposedly "kidnapped" by coming back home out of nowhere. Turns out, Bunny was never kidnapped; she just left to visit friends for a few days and didn't bother telling anyone where she was going. Coming back ruins the Big Lebowski's plans to get rid of Bunny, allowing Maude to have more of a hold over him. And by the time the nihilists confront The Dude and his friends, The Dude knows the score and that they never had Bunny to begin with.
  • Trophy Wife: Of the Big Lebowski. As Maude puts it: "Father's weakness is vanity. Hence the slut."
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: She's a blonde bombshell who seems to be barely into her twenties while the Big Lebowski is a fat and ugly old man.
  • Walking Swimsuit Scene: In all but one scene, she's dressed scantily by a pool.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: She still owes Jackie Treehorn a pile of cash, but that's now a problem for her and the Big Lebowski to deal with.
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    Jackie Treehorn 

Jackie Treehorn

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jackie-treehorn_480_poster_1866.jpg
Played by: Ben Gazzara

A wealthy pornographer, who lives in Malibu and employs the two thugs who assault the Dude at the beginning of the film. Bunny owes him a large sum of money.


  • Affably Evil: Personally welcomes the Dude into his home for a drink and a polite conversation about the whole Bunny Lebowski situation, while dismissing a few jabs the Dude takes at his work. On the other hand, he has no qualms about sending men to kick in doors looking for Bunny, sending the Dude on a Mushroom Samba via spiked beverage, or holding the Dude personally responsible for the whole mess.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: He has enough money to throw around to drug the Dude and get away with it. In fact, when the police pick the Dude up, they yell at him for wasting Treehorn's time.
  • Doing It for the Art:invoked Treehorn waxes poetic about pornography.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: While the Big Lebowski's scheme revolves around obtaining the money necessary to pay off Bunny's debt to Jackie Treehorn, the Dude isn't invested in the situation enough to really care about trying to confront him.
  • Karma Houdini: Drugs the Dude and sends thugs and the police to beat him up at various points, but suffers no comeuppance for his actions.
  • Loan Shark: Bunny owes him a lot of money. It's Bunny's debts that get his goons after the Big Lebowski.
  • Red Herring: His introduction sets him up to be the main antagonist, but his importance to the plot is only indirect.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Treehorn "draws a lot of water" in Malibu, and the local police are more than happy to deal with a deadbeat messing up his "garden party."

    The Jesus 

Jesus Quintana, a.k.a. "The Jesus"

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/1370360819-jesus_8970.jpg
Played by: John Turturro

The extraordinarily loathsome opponent of The Dude's team in the bowling league semifinals. He serves literally no plot purpose and shows up for only two scenes, but is hilarious enough that he's one of the film's most memorable characters. A Latino North Hollywood resident who speaks with a thick Cuban American accent, and often refers to himself in the third person, insisting on the English pronunciation of his name rather than the Spanish. "The Jesus", as he refers to himself, is a "pederast" (according to Walter) who did six months in Chino for exposing himself to an eight-year-old boy.

Turturro originally thought that he was going to have a bigger role in the film but when he read the script, he realized that it was much smaller. However, the Coen brothers let him come up with a lot of his own ideas for the character, like shining the bowling ball and the scene where he dances backwards, which he says was inspired by Muhammad Ali.


    The Stranger 

The Stranger

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/stranger_480_poster_393.jpg
Played by: Sam Elliott

The narrator, who sees the story unfold from a third-party perspective. His narration is marked by a thick, laid-back Texas accent. He is seen in the bar of the bowling alley, and converses directly with The Dude on two occasions. He expresses admiration for the Dude and his ability to be "a man of his time and place", but disapproves of his use of profanity and laziness, and adds the qualifier "parts of it anyway" when concluding that he enjoyed the film. He is unaware that it isn't a western.


  • Badass Baritone: When it's Sam Elliott talking, this goes without saying.
  • Badass Mustache: Sam Elliott's trademark mustache. His character doesn't do anything especially badass during the film, but it's still cool.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: He's aware he's narrating the story to us, but breaks the fourth wall directly at the end of the film.
  • Cool Old Guy: A laid-back and cordial elderly cowboy who admires the Dude's style.
  • Cowboy: His manner of dress and speech. He even asks for a sarsaparilla at a bowling alley bar.
  • Fauxlosophic Narration: He is not only Wrong Genre Savvy, but can't keep his fauxlosophy straight and keeps getting sidetracked. At one point he repeats "Sometimes there's a man" a few times before trailing off and stating that he lost his train of thought. He eventually just gives up ("Aw, hell, I done introduced him enough."), and at the very end even lampshades it ("Oh, look at me — I'm ramblin' again."). Ironically, the last time he realizes this and gives up is when he's actually on the verge of making a sage, relevant point for once.
  • Genre Refugee: He seems to think he's in a western.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: A milder example than most. The Dude's a decent guy, but from the way the Stranger talks about him, you'd think he was some kind of epic hero instead of the lazy stoner that he is.
  • Interactive Narrator: It can come as quite the surprise to new viewers when the old cowboy voice from the opening scene suddenly appears on screen and has a conversation with the Dude midway through the film.
  • Lemony Narrator: "Way out west, there was this fella I wanna tell you about..." Variation in that he's not sarcastic, just completely clueless about the genre.
  • Narrator: Narrates over the beginning and ending scenes of the movie.
  • Nice Guy: Comes off as a generally friendly guy all around. While he and the Dude only interact a few times, they seem to get along swimmingly.
  • Nice Hat: Wears a slick-looking cowboy hat.
  • No Name Given: He's simply known as "The Stranger", possibly as a reference to the Western gunslingers such as The Man with No Name.
  • The Teetotaler: Implied. His drink of choice is sarsaparilla and his one gripe with the Dude is that he cusses too much.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Seems to be convinced that the movie is a modern western with the Dude as its hero, but is completely unable to articulate why he thinks this when he actually tries to.

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