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What Is It About 'The Big Lebowski'?

This year marks the 15th anniversary of “The Big Lebowski,” a film that baffled critics and audiences but has spawned perhaps the most loyal cult following of any movie released in recent years.

The epicenter of Lebowksi re-evaluation is Louisville, Kentucky, home of the inaugural Lebowski Fest, a celebration that has brought fans of “The Dude,” as he’s known, together for the last dozen years, and has been replicated across the country.

Joseph Lord from Here & Now contributing station WFPL went to the 12th annual Lebowski Fest in Louisville this weekend to find out what it is exactly that inspires the fans’ devotion.

Reporter

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Actors Jeff Bridges, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi are pictured in a scene from "The Big Lebowski." (Working Title Films)
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Actors Jeff Bridges, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi are pictured in a scene from "The Big Lebowski." (Working Title Films)
A participants dressed a Jeff Bridges's character Jeffrey Lebowski ("The Dude") bowls at the 12th annual Lebowski Fest in Louisville, Kentucky. (Joseph Lord/WFPL)
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A participants dressed a Jeff Bridges's character Jeffrey Lebowski ("The Dude") bowls at the 12th annual Lebowski Fest in Louisville, Kentucky. (Joseph Lord/WFPL)
A participants dressed a Jeff Bridges's character Jeffrey Lebowski ("The Dude") bowls at the 12th annual Lebowski Fest in Louisville, Kentucky. (Joseph Lord/WFPL)
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A participants dressed a Jeff Bridges's character Jeffrey Lebowski ("The Dude") bowls at the 12th annual Lebowski Fest in Louisville, Kentucky. (Joseph Lord/WFPL)
A participants dressed a Jeff Bridges's character Jeffrey Lebowski ("The Dude") bowls at the 12th annual Lebowski Fest in Louisville, Kentucky. (Joseph Lord/WFPL)
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A participants dressed a Jeff Bridges's character Jeffrey Lebowski ("The Dude") bowls at the 12th annual Lebowski Fest in Louisville, Kentucky. (Joseph Lord/WFPL)
A participants dressed a Jeff Bridges's character Jeffrey Lebowski ("The Dude") bowls at the 12th annual Lebowski Fest in Louisville, Kentucky. (Joseph Lord/WFPL)
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A participants dressed a Jeff Bridges's character Jeffrey Lebowski ("The Dude") bowls at the 12th annual Lebowski Fest in Louisville, Kentucky. (Joseph Lord/WFPL)