The Dude Abides: Every Jeff Bridges Movie, Ranked Worst to Best

From charming rascals to old coots, 'The Last Picture Show' to 'The Big Lebowski' – the iconic actor's greatest hits (and misses)

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2. 'The Big Lebowski' (1998)

Here it is: The one that ensured that Bridges will always be thought of as "the Dude" – that bowling-league all-star, White Russian-loving, recovering idealist who gets harassed by a group of nihilistic goons as a result of a cosmic case of mistaken identity. And the man plays every note perfectly as the lead of the Coen Brothers’ cult classic. He's a stoner who takes his time understanding things, but this amateur gumshoe in a bathrobe is also kind of surprisingly relentless. Lebowski lets the world wash over him, and yet, he's also a deeply loyal friend. Although it's very funny, this movie has a very serious core: The comedy is ultimately about how the ideals of the 1960s came crashing against the hard-brutal reality of capitalism and political power, and about how the Boomer generation missed their chance at greatness. Throughout his career, Bridges has regularly played characters who have quietly felt the world passing them by, and this might be the purest expression of that. In its own way, The Big Lebowski is as complex and sad a film as Chinatown, and the greatness of the actor's performance lies in the fact that underneath all that pitch-perfect humor, he strikes a deep vein of melancholy. And if you don't agree with that, well, like, that's your opinion, etc.

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