‘The Dude’, A Short Documentary About The Man Who Inspired ‘The Big Lebowski’

“The Dude.”

“His Dudeness.”



“Duderino.” (If you’re not into the whole brevity thing).

These are some of the names used to address Jeff Lebowski, one of the most iconic characters of our time. Many fans of The Big Lebowski may already know this, but the Dude is in fact based off of a real person. That man’s name is Jeff Dowd.

Jeff Bridges and Jeff Dowd

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 The USA Network has the tagline “Characters Welcome” and they certainly mean it. For their “USA Character Project” they’re showing a short documentary directed by Jeff Feuerzeig. The documentary is called The Dude and is about the man behind the myth, Mr. Dowd, and his journey leading up to Lebowski Fest, a fan gathering to commemorate the movie. While watching the short documentary you can see how Dowd inspired this iconic character. There is an undeniable charm about the man, and just like his fictional counterpart he has a history of activism including being a member of the Seattle 7, he has a penchant for oversized knitted sweaters, and he loves the ganja. The Dude not only captures Dowd’s unique personality, but also the devotion of The Big Lebowski fans and their creativity showing that love. People even dress up as the infamous rug that tied the room together (did it not?).

One aspect of the movie, and the documentary, is that there is something comforting about knowing that The Dude is out there. I have to agree. There is something strangely comforting knowing that Jeff Dowd exists. As he says in The Dude, he tells it like it is, but at times can be a fool about it. He’s earnest and kind hearted, but like many of us can be silly at times. In this confusing and weary world we live in, it’s nice to know that people like him exist. I suppose that is the underlying appeal of The Big Lebowski. The Dude, despite his oddities, is a good guy. After all, the dude abides.

It’s a great documentary to watch for any Lebowski fan and for anybody who is simply fascinated by the wonderfully strange people who inhabit this earth. As someone who does identify herself as quite the Lebowski fan, I most certainly recommend it.

So make yourself a white russian and watch it here, man.
The documentary is about 18 minutes long.
[iframe width=”100%” height=”398″ src=”http://characterproject.usanetwork.com/fbvideo.swf?src=media/src/fb/2/the-dude.mp4″].

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