Enforced Method Acting: During the dream sequence when the Dude is looking up at a series of dancing girls, the expression he wears on his face is the result of the extras (with the encouragement of Jeff Bridges' wife and daughter) having stuffed their briefs with hair to make it seem as though they had ungroomed nether regions.
To some degree, John Goodman as Walter Sobchak. His characters, when not directed by the Coen Brothers, tend to be nice, huggable, jolly guys. Walter is anything but. Which nearly became his type. Goodman said in an interview that a lot of the roles offer to him post-Lebowski were variations of the blustering Walter character.
Also, Steve Buscemi's role as a clueless, laid-back slacker who can't get a word in edgewise was written as a jokey inversion of the motor-mouthed psychopath types he'd played in Fargo and Reservoir Dogs. Walter's oft-repeated line "shut the fuck up Donny!" is precisely because Buscemi's wouldn't shut up in Fargo.
The Red Stapler: The White Russian has become somewhat legitimized as a "guy" drink thanks to this movie, as most people nowadays will just assume a man ordering one is a fan of The Dude.
Release Date Change: Originally scheduled for a Christmas 1997 release, Polygram moved the film out of the crowded holiday frame to March 1998, where it opened in the same frame as Fargo.
Shrug of God: Jimmie Dale Gilmore (Smokey) admits he has been asked over a hundred times whether he stepped over the line or not when his character bowled. Gilmore says he knows, but the answer is a secret that he will take to his grave.
Throw It In!: In an interview with Rolling Stone, John Goodman stated 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", "dude", and "uh", was scripted.
The Dude is mostly inspired by Jeff Dowd, an American film producer and political activist The Coen Brothers met while they were trying to find distribution for Blood Simple. Dowd had been a member of the Seattle Seven, liked to drink White Russians, and was known as "The Dude". The Dude was also partly based on a friend of the Coen brothers, Peter Exline (now a member of the faculty at USC's School of Cinematic Arts), a Vietnam War veteran who reportedly lived in a dump of an apartment and was proud of a little rug that "tied the room together". Exline knew Barry Sonnenfeld from New York University and Sonnenfeld introduced Exline to the Coen brothers while they were trying to raise money for Blood Simple.Exline became friends with the Coens and in 1989, told them all kinds of stories from his own life, including ones about his actor-writer friend Lewis Abernathy (one of the inspirations for Walter), a fellow Vietnam vet who later became a private investigator and helped him track down and confront a high school kid who stole his car. As in the film, Exline's car was impounded by the Los Angeles Police Department and Abernathy found an 8th grader's homework under the passenger seat.
Walter was based on John Milius, who the Coens met in Los Angeles while making Barton Fink. An infamously bombastic right-winger with an obsession with all things militaristic, and an enthusiasm for guns, his girth, beard, hair style, and shades are also all reflected in Walter's physical appearance. Milius introduced the Coens to one of his best friends, Jim Ganzer, also known as the Dude.
For the pinball:
Pre-Order Bonus: Or early purchase bonus, rather - a Lebowski-themed small rug (complete with bowling references) that can be placed under the game.
Troubled Production: Quite a turbulent one. Universal Studios contributed plenty of Executive Meddling during development and threatened Dutch Pinball with pulling the license after premature showing of a prototype with unapproved artwork. Dutch Pinball's Director of Marketing and Communications, Phillip Weinberg, resigned due to said problems and made several revealing and accusatory statements about the company. And just when everything appeared fine, it came to light in 2017 that Dutch's Pinball's contract manufacturer, ARA, was halting production of The Big Lebowski upon claims that Dutch Pinball had not paid them sufficiently. They also were holding completed machines hostage from customers out of protest. Dutch Pinball severed ties with ARA and announced that they found a new manufacturer, though nonetheless have been derided by those still awaiting their games.