There are certain movies that rise above the mantle of “quotable” and become something more. Movies so iconic that quoting a line from them immediately elicits a response, whether it’s reverence for the original film or disgust. From Dirty Dancing to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (and including a whole bunch of movies that actually weren’t birthed in the ’80s), there are a lot of these legendary cult movies out there. Their king is The Big Lebowski, the most quotable movie of all time, and perhaps the most over-quoted, too – though really, nobody’s complaining.
The Coen brothers’ comedic take on the film noir genre wasn’t ridiculously successful when it premiered, but over the years, a loyal following has developed. Each year, Lebowskifests spring up across the country, where fans bowl, drink White Russians (Jeff Bridges’ signature drink from the film), and most tellingly, quote their favorite lines from The Big Lebowski.
The film may be the most quotable movie of all time simply because quotes from the film don’t get old. Whether a person’s bowling, enjoying a cup of coffee, or driving through the desert with an uzi, there’s an appropriate scene to quote. Men and women, college kids and older people (but, er, especially the college kids) can’t resist a good Big Lebowski quote, if they’ve seen the film, and in the most unexpected situation you may hear someone call out, “over the line!” or “shut the (expletive) up, Donny.” In a waiting room, you may hear a twentysomething remark that the doctor is a good man, and thorough. In a pound, you might find a Pomeranian, but don’t be surprised when a friend notes that “you can’t board it, it gets upset. It’s hair falls out.” The Big Lebowski has given our culture all of these blithe, sometimes obscene, but always hilarious observations, for better or for worse.
The Lebowski quote cult has spread wildly on the Internet, with sites like Fark and Digg regularly referencing quotes from the movie. Sure, movies like The Princess Bride and Star Wars are quoted, but nothing seems to live up to the quotability of Lebowski and the others from the film. Quotes don’t seem to get old; John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Jeff Bridges, and the rest of the cast have so many iconic, hilarious lines in each scene, it’s impossible to overuse a certain quote.
What may be most surprising is that despite the easy flow of dialog in The Big Lebowski, very few lines were improvised. The Coen brothers carefully scripted the entire film, right down to every repetition of the F word or “dude.” Whether or not they knew that their movie would be quoted by frat boys, Internet geeks, and Hollywood insiders alike, it’s not really possible to say. In any case, the Coen brothers succeeded at making a comedy with dialog as an outrageous centerpiece, and easily the most quotable movie of all time.
Of course, if you don’t feel the same way, post in our comments section. But remember: that’s just, like, your opinion, man.