'The Big Lebowski' Turns 25! What the Cast Has Said About the Cult Classic Since Its Premiere

The cast of The Big Lebowski has opened up over the years about the cultural impact of the Coen brothers film, which turns 25 on Monday

Jeff Bridges, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi in The Big Lebowski (1998). Photo: Mondadori Portfolio via Getty

Twenty-five years later, The Big Lebowski is still really tying the room together.

The Coen-brothers-directed crime-comedy film celebrates its silver anniversary on Monday, a little over the week after two of its stars, Jeff Bridges and Sam Elliott, reunited at the 2023 SAG Awards.

The Big Lebowski follows the misadventures of Bridges' slacker character as he is mistaken for a man who owes money to kingpin Jackie Treehorn (Ben Gazzara), and the hilarious fallout that ensues as the Dude just tries to live his life and mourn his ruined rug in peace.

Bridges, 73, played protagonist Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski in Joel and Ethan Coen's 1998 cult classic, while Elliott, 78, played "The Stranger," who serves as the movie's narrator as he sits at the bar at the bowling alley the Dude regularly frequents with his friends.

The movie also stars John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tara Reid and more.

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Back in 2018, Bridges appeared on the Today show alongside Goodman, 70, and Buscemi, 65, to reflect on the lasting legacy of the film.

Of whether it really felt like two decades had passed already, "It does and it doesn't. It's strange," Goodman said at the time. "There's a whole generation now that's growing up with this stuff, kids in college seeing it for the first time."

The Conners actor remembered his time with the cast and crew fondly, including the Cohen brothers. Goodman even recalled Bridges taking behind-the-scenes pictures while shooting.

"It was great, 'cause you got this dialogue that, you're sitting on top of the world. And the camaraderie with everyone," he said.

RELATED VIDEO: Jeff Bridges Didn't Smoke Any Pot While Filming The Big Lebowski

Although Buscemi agreed with Goodman that the script was hilarious, he remembered not understanding why Bridges and Goodman's characters were so mean to his Donny.

"I loved it, I thought it was really kind of wild and weird and funny," he said. "But I have to say, when I was reading the part of Donny, I didn't get it. I felt bad for the guy, I felt sad. I thought, why does Walter (Goodman) bully him all the time? And then my favorite scene is the ashes."

While The Big Lebowski was a moderate hit at the time of release, the zany film is considered a cult classic nowadays, and holds a 93% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes.

It has inspired everything from a an annual festival to a store in New York City, a charity fund — and yes, even a religion called "Dudeism" (or "The Church of the Latter-Day Dude").

Sam Elliott and Jeff Bridges shake hands at the 29th Annual Screen Actors Guild Award, held at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles on February 26th, 2013.
Sam Elliott and Jeff Bridges at the 2023 SAG Awards. Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty

Elliott recently opened in an interview with Entertainment Tonight about reuniting with Bridges at the SAG Awards, after taking home the trophy for outstanding performance by a male actor in a television movie or limited series (1883).

"I'm sitting with Jeff at the table and I haven't seen Jeff in quite a time," he said of the Feb. 26 event, which took place in Los Angeles.

"I'm really happy to be with him," Elliott added of Bridges, who was nominated for outstanding performance by a male actor in a drama series (The Old Man).

In honor of its 25th anniversary, The Big Lebowski will be returning to theaters on April 16 and April 20. Tickets are available now on fathomevents.com.

Fans of The Big Lebowski can also stream the film now — White Russian optional! — on Peacock.

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