BFI Film Classics: The Big Lebowski
A critical appreciation by J. M. Tyree & Ben Walters

Published by The British Film Institute and Palgrave/Macmillan

Why we wrote a book about The Big Lebowski

Our theoretical perspective is that this movie is really, really funny. Since its release, The Big Lebowski has become a classic with a worldwide following. Its fans congregate at bowling alleys across America. The film is littered with references to film history, especially Chandler's world of hard-boiled detectives. Underneath the film's farcical collection of flakes, losers and phonies, is a surprisingly humane account of what fools we mortals be.

How other people liked reading it

"Terrific stuff, intellectually engaging, visually appealing, and shot through with wit and insight." Time Out London. Read >>

"Beautifully lucid." LittleWhiteLies. Read >>

"Compact and deliciously readable." Read >>

"Is it an important book? That depends. Do you think The Big Lebowski is an important film? If the answer is an unhesitating 'yes,' run, don't walk." January Magazine. Read >>

A connection between the Bard and the Dude is fitting." OUPblog, Oxford University Press. Read >>

About the authors

J. M. Tyree's film essay "On the Implausibility of the Death Star's Trash Compactor" appeared in the anthology Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: Best of McSweeney's Humor Category (Knopf/Vintage). He is a Writer-at-Large for Film Quarterly.

Ben Walters has written books on Orson Welles and The Office. He introduced a double screening of The Big Sleep and The Big Lebowski at the Barbican Cinema in 2007, as well as introducing the Coen Brothers Season "O Brother!" at the BFI Southbank Centre. He lives in London.

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What's on at the BFI Southbank right now? Read More >>

Ben Walters on the trailer for A Serious Man at The Guardian. Read more >>

Book excerpt, "What Makes a Man?" at The Rumpus. Read more >>

Walters & Tyree review of Burn After Reading (index only) at Sight & Sound. Read more >>

Tyree & Walters review the Coens' No Country for Old Men at Sight & Sound. Read More >>

Ben Walters on Coen Hairdos for The Guardian. Read More >>

Ben Walters on The Big Sleep versus The Big Lebowski. Read More >>

Fan List of Lebowski essentials from Amazon.