A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie is inappropriate for kids. The Dude is subject to a lot of violence. One group threatens to cut off his penis, while another threatens him by shoving his face in the toilet. A Malibu police chief hits him with a coffee cup. A woman's toe gets cut off (though not on screen), Walter wields a gun more than once, and Walter, the Dude, and Donny get in a fight with a group of nihilists. Women are most often treated as objects and there's some frontal female nudity. The Dude drinks and smokes pot while driving, and while doing everything else. There's lots of profanity as well.
What's the story?
All the Dude (Jeff Bridges) wants is some more milk for his White Russians. Instead, he comes home from an all-night grocery store to an ambush by some thugs who mistake the Dude for Jeffrey Lebowski, a philanthropist with a wife who's racking up debts all over town. The guys shove his head in a toilet, urinate on his rug, and leave the place with a threat. From there on, the Dude just wants to replace his rug, which "tied the whole place together." Following the Dude, THE BIG LEBOWSKI takes the viewer on a crazy ride through psychotic bowling beefs, deception by the disabled, naked, flying art, kidnappings, nihilists, and ransoms. All along, the Dude is accompanied by his blustering Vietnam vet bowling buddy Walter (John Goodman), who gets him in even worse trouble. Will the Dude be able to recover a lost $1 million ransom? Will Maude carry his baby? And what ever happened to the porn actress-turned-trophy wife-turned-supposed kidnapping victim? The Dude will show you.
Is it any good?
Nymphomania, pot, White Russians, and the search for a rug to tie his living room together set the stage for The Big Lebowski, a wild ride through Los Angeles' underbelly. Like other Coen brothers' movies, the story is too crazy to be believed -- and so well done you can't stop watching it.
The brilliance of The Big Lebowski isn't so much in the story -- though it's got plenty of twists and turns -- but the characters and actors. Along with the two main players, there's the masterfully creepy and hilarious Jesus (John Turturro), the Oscar-winning and brilliant Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Steve Buscemi, who uses his doe eyes to great effect here. Having sung the films praises, it's also important to say that this is NOT a movie for kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: January 1, 1998
- On DVD or streaming: October 18, 2005
- Cast: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore
- Director: Joel Coen
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 108 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: pervasive strong language, drug content, sexuality, and brief violence
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.