Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Big Clue Everyone Missed Early In The Big Lebowski

Throughout their multiple decades-long careers, Joel and Ethan Coen — better known colloquially as the Coen Brothers — have gifted moviegoers some unforgettable films. Titles like "Fargo" and "No Country For Old Men" live on as widely-beloved favorites, just as "Barton Fink" and "Burn After Reading" remain cult favorites. However, if one took on the task of choosing just one production to define the entirety of the Coen Brothers' filmography, there's certainly a case to be made for "The Big Lebowski." Despite hitting the big screen in 1998 and bombing at the box office, it refuses to disappear from pop culture.

The film stars Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski: a free-spirited, well, dude, who enjoys bowling, drinking white Russians, and listening to his Creedence Clearwater Revival tapes. After his home is invaded and his rug urinated upon, he ends up at the center of a kidnapping case infused with family turmoil — neither of which he wants any part of. Nevertheless, the Dude takes the brunt of this mayhem, for better or worse, and somehow manages to come out the other side relatively unscathed, aside from some light property damage and the death of his friend, Donny Kerabatsos (Steve Buscemi).

Speaking of Donny, here's a clever bit of foreshadowing that pops up early on in "The Big Lebowski" that reveals how his story would unfold.

Donny's bowling skills foreshadow his fate

In the grand scheme of the story, Donny serves as one of the comic relief characters in "The Big Lebowski." He takes a lot of verbal abuse from his friends — specifically the hot-tempered Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) — for his general cluelessness, but that doesn't turn him away. He sticks around and continues to spend time with his buddies at the local bowling alley to sharpen his skills for league play. Though this may just seem like a hobby of his, how he plays throughout the film tells us a lot.

When we first meet Donny, he's, naturally, bowling with Walter and the Dude. He's shown getting a strike, which he does a handful more times throughout the film. The last time audiences see him hit the lanes, however, he fails to knock down all of the pins. Even he is visibly confused by this, but we all have our bad days, right? Well, for Donny, things went from bad to worse when he left the bowling alley and faced down a group of angry nihilists. The Dude and Walter successfully fought them off, but not before Donny suffered a fatal heart attack.

As Screen Rant points out, Donny's performance during his last game turned out to be a bit of ominous foreshadowing for his coming demise. He had a stellar track record of getting strikes, so when we finally see him not, it served as a visual cue that something was amiss. His death certainly was a down note in an otherwise goofy, entertaining film, but you can't say the Coen Brothers didn't warn us that it was coming.