The 25 Greatest Jewish Characters in Movies

3. John Goodman as Walter Sobchak in The Big Lebowski (1998)

Notable Jewish Moment: He doesn't bowl on Saturdays.
Classic Quote: "Saturday, Donny, is Shabbos, the Jewish day of rest. That means that I don't work, I don't drive a car, I don't fucking ride in a car, I don't handle money, I don't turn on the oven, and I sure as shit don't fucking roll! SHOMER SHABBOS! Shomer fucking Shabbos."

Walter Sobchak is the Sandy Koufax of Jewish movie characters. Of everyone on this list, none may be more remembered for vocally asserting his Jewishness than this man, the bowling, ear-biting, gun-toting Vietnam vet (who has "dabbled" in pacifism).

John Goodman's portrayal of Sobchak goes beyond the pantheon of classic Jewish movie characters and into non-secular lists. But not including him here would be an egregious error: As Sobchek gets dragged into The Dude's hysterically bizarre kidnapping drama, the image of the gun-toting Jew as something other than a gangster of America's past is flipped on its head, and so is the observance of the Sabbath, which yielded, in a very memorable movie, what may be The Big Lebowski's most widely-repeated quote.

blog comments powered by Disqus