Since its release nearly ten years ago, The Big Lebowski has become a cult classic with a worldwide following, having survived the baffled reaction of many mainstream critics. Its fans tend to be fanatical, congregating at 'Lebowski Conventions' in bowling alleys across American and Britain, and even dressing up as characters from the film. Among the funniest films of the last twenty-five years, and one of the high-water marks of 1990s genre recycling and pastiche, The Big Lebowski is also littered with playful and subversive references to film history, especially to Raymond Chandler's world of hardboiled detective classics and the world of film noir. The Big Lebowski is the rarest kind of film, a comedy whose jokes become funnier with repetition. The same goes for its multitudinous jukebox-like references to other films, many of which open up vistas for intertextual interpretation. Underneath the film's breakneck pacing and foul-mouthed characters, a farcical collection of flakes, losers, and phonies, is a surprisingly humane account of what fools we mortals be. It is one of the oddest buddy films ever made, with extraordinary performances by Jeff Bridges and John Goodman. In this study, The Big Lebowski is set into the context of 1990s Hollywood cinema, anatomised for its witty relationship with the classics which it satirises, and discussed in terms of its key theme: the hopeless flailing of ridiculously unmanly men in the world of discombobulated, mixed-up, or put-on identities that is Los Angeles.