“I can’t be worrying about that sh*t. Life goes on, man,” the ‘Dude’ exclaims in the Coen brothers cult comedy classic, The Big Lebowski starring Jeff Bridges. Depicted by the iconic actor, the ‘Dude’ would go on to become one of cinema’s most iconic characters thanks to his bohemian attitude, loose dressing gowns and obsession with White Russian cocktails.
Inspired by the American film producer and political activist, Jeff Dowd, that the Coen brothers had met whilst seeking distribution for their debut film, Blood Simple, the producer became the basis for Jeff Bridges iconic character. Whilst this may be the actor’s most well-known role, he has also enjoyed success with the likes of filmmakers including Scott Cooper, Sidney Lumet and Michael Cimino.
Having also worked within the industry goliath of the Marvel cinematic universe in the original Iron Man, directed by Jon Favreau and starring Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow, he is undoubtedly best known for his association with the great Coen brothers. Working with the duo on The Big Lebowski and True Grit, the characters of Jeff Bridges are known for their loveable personalities despite their radical approaches to life.
Having worked in the industry since the 1950s, Jeff Bridges has enjoyed a fruitful career that has experienced the fluctuating values of Hollywood cinema throughout the late 20th century. Speaking to the American Film Institute, the actor states the film that has influenced his career the most, making reference to a classic of mainstream cinema.
In conversation with the institute, Jeff Bridges explains, “My favourite movie of all time is Citizen Kane. Some of these special effects shots that they orchestrated were just phenomenal, and a lot of it I think came about because Orson Welles was just a novice”. Elaborating on why he finds the film such a triumph, Bridges notes, That was his first film, how old was he? 25 years old? He didn’t know what he couldn’t. Greg Tolland gave him all the confidence in the world, this old master saying ‘well you’ve done theatre, you know lighting’”.
Often making the top spot of the greatest films of all time alongside Vertigo from Alfred Hitchcock and The Godfather by the great Francis Ford Coppola, Citizen Kane was released in 1941 and stars Orson Welles as the film’s main star and director. Tracking the regretful life of a publishing tycoon, Charles Foster Kane, the story follows journalists scrambling to try and decipher the meaning of the icon’s last word, “Rosebud”.
Having since been parodied and tributed throughout popular culture, there are few films in the history of the medium that can match Citizen Kane for its extraordinary legacy, though in recent years one could certainly make the case for The Big Lebowski.