10 Greatest Running Gags In Movies

6. Vietnam - The Big Lebowski

Dude, where's your car? As the protagonist of a Coen brothers film, Jeffrey 'The Dude' Lebowski really should have expected to be plagued by persistent bad luck. Throughout the comedy crime capers of this cult classic, his trusty Gran Torino becomes the victim of a near-endless running gag: stolen, trashed, crashed (twice), used as a toilet, smashed with a crowbar and finally set on fire. Oh, and to repeat his most common complaint - a Chinaman peed on his rug. All of which plays havoc with The Dude's Zen-like patience and pacifism. But the biggest risk to El Duderino's blood pressure is surely his bowling buddy Walter Sobchak (John Goodman). Walter is a short-tempered and possibly psychotic (after all, he does jab a gun into someone's face during a bowling tournament) Vietnam veteran who is unable to hold a conversation without relating it back to the conflict, no matter how irrelevant this may be. For example, after being asked to keep his voice down while sitting in a diner, he goes berserk and yells: ''LADY, I GOT BUDDIES WHO DIED FACE DOWN IN THE MUCK SO YOU AND I COULD ENJOY THIS FAMILY RESTAURANT!'' Naturally, not everyone shares his view.
The Dude: "I don't see any connection to Vietnam, Walter." Walter: "Well, there isn't a literal connection, Dude." The Dude: "Walter, face it, there isn't any connection."
And yet this is clearly something that Walter would like to get off his chest. Even his eulogy for the dearly departed Donny (Steve Buscemi) veers off into Vietnam territory: ''In your wisdom, Lord, you took him, as you took so many bright flowering young men at Khe Sanh..."

Yorkshireman (hence the surname). Often spotted sacrificing sleep and sanity for the annual Leeds International Film Festival. For a sample of (fairly) recent film reviews, please visit whatsnottoblog.wordpress.com.