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Why ‘The Big Lebowski’ Has The Best Comedic Trio in Film

Jeff Bridges, Steve Buscemi, and John Goodman in "The Big Lebwoski"
Universal Pictures


Why ‘The Big Lebowski’ Has The Best Comedic Trio in Film

Name a more iconic trio.

From the animated Ed, Edd, and Eddy to the classic Three Stooges, there are dozens upon dozens of comedic trios both in film and television. The trope has become so popular that there seems to be a plethora of examples everywhere, but there is an unforgettable cult classic trio that never gets old: the bowling buddies. 

The Coen Brothers’ cult classic film “The Big Lebowski” takes viewers on one of the wildest rides in cinematic history. The film has a story-line full of twists and turns but never seems to go anywhere. But the reason why the film has gained such a cult following is because fans love its characters. Within the movie’s long list of eccentric personalities is the film’s central trio consisting of Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski (Jeff Bridges), Walter Sobchak (John Goodman), and Donny Kerabatsos (Steve Buscemi). Together, the three make up the iconic bowling buddies of the film. As individuals, they seem like a very unlikely trio with nothing in common except the fact that they all bowl (hence the name), but the dynamic that they share is unmatched. 

Jeffrey “The Dude” Lubowski is a laid back hippie that’s content with smoking pot and being unemployed. When he gets mistaken for a millionaire who shares the same name, one thing leads to another and he gets his rug peed on, sparking one of the most bizarre catalysts in movie history. Shortly after this incident happens, the Dude’s bowling partners, Walter and Donny, are introduced. When the Dude vents about the unfortunate event, Walter and Donny convince him that he needs to seek compensation from the other “Big Lebowski,” marking the beginning of the trio’s bizarre adventure as they are pulled into an absurd neo noir-esque narrative.

Throughout the movie, Walter’s hot-tempered nature contrasts with the Dude’s relaxed attitude making the two’s interactions even more amusing and fun to watch. Their conversations spark conflict, yet they always play out in a comedic way. At this point, you’re probably wondering where Donny fits into the picture and honestly, he doesn’t really. When the Dude and Walter are in a heated conversation, Donny only contributes with clueless expressions and occasional comments that immediately get shut down by Walter. But oddly enough, Donny’s lack of presence is what makes him a crucial part of the trio. He adds an extra layer of comedic depth to the group dynamic that ultimately makes them the best comedic trio in movie history. And sure, you might not agree with me and think I’m out of my element, but watch the short scene below before you make any final calls. And if you still don’t agree with me, then well, that’s just, like, my opinion, man.

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