Watch this incredible documentary about the real-life ‘Dude’
Because the Dude will always abide. No, we’re not trying to claim that The Big Lebowski was based on a true story, but there is a real-life Dude.
Jeff Dowd was an antiwar activist during the 1960s who was arrested as a member of the “Seattle Liberation Front,” a group created to protest U.S. involvement in Vietnam. He was arrested for inciting a riot in front of the Federal Courthouse in downtown Seattle that saw over 2,000 protesters throwing rocks and paint bombs at cops and buildings. Maybe you remember when The Dude tells Maude Lebowski about the “Seattle Seven?” That’s Jeff Dowd right there.
So how did he make the transition from real-world left wing protester to cinematic stoner hero? In the 1970s, Jeff Dowd moved to Los Angeles and became an indie film producer. When the Coen Brothers were working on distributing Blood Simple, their first film, he hooked up with them. They were so impressed by his bizarre story and impossibly laid-back demeanor that they started working on a shaggy-dog narrative with him as the star.
Now filmmaker Jeff Feuerzeig (who also made the spectacular The Devil And Daniel Johnston) has turned his lens on Dowd, who proves to be a really fascinating dude. And a hell of a bowler. It’s a short documentary that’s very worth your time, and it’s online for free. Watch the whole movie right here.