Sea Hunt (1958-60)
Jeff Bridges made his first steps into the acting world under the stewardship of his thespian father Lloyd Bridges. Bridges Sr was famous for playing scuba diver Mike Nelson, an ex-navy officer who went on a implausible number of exciting missions.
Jeff popped up in a few minor roles throughout the show's four-season run (as did his brother Beau). Jeff also had a helping hand from his Pop with appearances in The Lloyd Bridges Show , The Loner , and Silent Night, Lonely Night .
Laidback Dude? His appearances were mostly so brief that he wouldn't have had time to get too relaxed.
The Yin and the Yang of Mr. Go (1970)
Bridges flew solo away from his old man's watchful eye in this bizarre, little-seen espionage flick, in which he starred alongside James Mason.
Written and directed by Burgess Meredith, the man who was The Penguin in the Adam West Batman series AND Rocky's inspirational trainer Mickey, it gave an exploitation spin on traditional James Bond-style antics.
Laidback Dude? Surely Jeff can keep the yin and yang in perfect harmony?
Halls of Anger (1970)
Bridges' next big-screen feature had a more serious tone than Mr. Go . This movie puts a bit of a spin on the representation of traditional racial politics by making white students the minority in a predominantly black school.
It's interesting to see a fresh-faced Jeff (who's now so well known for his crinkly gravitas) playing a student, but this is no Half Nelson .
Laidback Dude? We'd imagine the whole segregation thing was pretty stressful.
The Last Picture Show (1970)
This was the film that really put Bridges' name on the map: he received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nod for his role, but he lost out to co-star Ben Johnson.
Peter Bogdanovich's movie feels like it could have actually been made in the 50s, and it moves at a measured pace, following the tribulations of high-schoolers Sonny (Timothy Bottoms) and Duane (Bridges). The cast would reunite many years later for sequel Texasville .
Laidback Dude? There are highs and lows over the course of the movie, but the trademark Bridges charm keeps the character likeable.
Fat City (1972)
Jeff Bridges was quickly ascending the Hollywood ladder, and he worked with legendary director John Huston for this boxing drama.
He plays young boxer Ernie Munger, who's persuaded to take the sport seriously by washed up former pro Billy Tully (Stacy Keach). The film goes on to draw parallels between Bridges' young, optimistic hopeful, and Tully's past-his-prime loser.
Laidback Dude? He takes the punches on the chin much more smoothly than Tully does.
Bad Company (1972)
Barring an appearance in his dad's TV programme The Loner , this was Bridges' first real foray into Western territory. His gravelly drawl, and stoic, macho persona seem to perfectly mesh with the genre, which he'll soon be revisiting for the Coens' True Grit .
Jake Rumsey (Bridges) is a nasty piece of work, leading a gang who rob, administer beatings, dodge drafts and generally cause trouble for their small Oklahoma town, in this subversive, glory-eschewing tale.
Laidback Dude? This is Bridges at the most aggressive and ruthless we've so far seen him.
The Lolly-Madonna War (1973)
This adaption of the Sue Grafton novel of the same name focuses on the intense rivalry that escalated between two Tennessee families, headed up by Laban Feather (Rod Steiger) and Pap Gutshall (Robert Ryan).
Bridges is Zack Feather, a son of one of the families who gets involved in the feud by kidnapping a girl (who actually happens to be an incidental bystander who he falls in love with). This ain't no Romeo and Juliet , and struggles to find a consistent tone.
Laidback Dude? Not really, he's actually harbouring a lot of built-up angst.
The Last American Hero (1973)
Jeff Bridges' star power shines to the full in this NASCAR racing movie. Based on true events, the story was adapted from Tom Wolfe's articles on Junior Johnson.
Bridges has just the right balance of rough edges and movie-star charisma to play Johnson, a man who translated the driving skills he learnt while 'moonshining' (selling whisky illegally) into professional racing success. The film scored solid reviews and further demonstrated the extent of Bridges' range.
Laidback Dude? He's starting to make it clear that there's no one cooler...
The Iceman Cometh (1973)
Lee Marvin starred as charismatic salesman Hickey in this movie adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's classic play. Hickey returns after a sales trip with his mind set on snapping his barfly buddies out of their unmotivated ways.
Throughout the night, revelations come out that impact on the drinkers in different ways. Bridges is young Don, who experiences a profound reaction to Hickey's ranting, and finds he's unable to go back to his empty pipe dreams.
Laidback Dude? Certainly not here.
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)
Bridges made another smart move here, starring in this crime drama for director Michael Cimino (who went on to direct The Deer Hunter and Heaven's Gate ). He earned another Supporting Actor nod, and the film went on to be a decent-sized hit.
It's hard to imagine anyone other than Bridges who could have been so effective a foil to Clint Eastwood. As the reluctant partners in crime, the pair have a gratifying chemistry that makes the movie fly.
Laidback Dude? His nonchalant newbie perfectly contrasts with Eastwood's grizzled tough guy.
Hollywood Cowboy (1975)
Also known as Hearts of the West , Bridges toyed with Western staples and his cowboy image once again. He plays Lewis Tater, an author of pulp Wild West fiction, who dreams of actually becoming a cowboy.
He gets to live out his dream (sort of) when he stumbles upon a film set and finds himself starring in a Western. It's all fairly lightweight, but its good fun while it lasts, and it mocks the conventions of the genre as much as it celebrates them.
Laidback Dude? He's charmingly naive here.
Stay Hungry (1976)
Before finding fame in bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron , Arnold Schwarzenegger played an aspiring Mr Universe in this gym-set comedy (the Austrian Oak even took home a Best Acting Debut Golden Globe for his troubles).
Bridges plays a rich orphan, who gets involved with one of his shady company's deals when it comes to buying a gym. He also falls for receptionist Sally Fields, and finds himself envying Arnie's lifestyle.
Laidback Dude? His decision to open up a gym with Arnie's character will probably lead to a simple, pleasant, exercise-fuelled lifestyle.
King Kong (1976)
Before Peter Jackson made his post- LOTR visit to Skull Island to pay homage to his childhood favourite, super-producer Dino De Laurentiis had a stab at a remake.
This version has its supporters, but its mostly seen as the weakest of the bunch. It sets the action in the present, and swaps the film crew for an oil company. Bridges cuts a dashing figure as heroic Jack Prescott, and he gets to romance an in-her-prime Jessica Lange, but Kong (part man in a suit, part giant animatronic creation) fails to convince.
Laidback Dude? Not when he's competing for Lange's affections with a mahoosive ape.
Winter Kills (1979)
Bridges starred as Nick Kegan, a man who seeks out the truth behind his President brother's death, some 19 years after the fact. Surprisingly, given the serious-sounding premise, the movie (which is adapted from a novel) plays up the comedy.
The film itself is less well-known than its troubled production. It was exec-produced by two drug dealers, Leonard J. Goldberg and Robert Sterling, the former who was murdered before the film was released. The production was shut down several times before the film was completed.
Laidback Dude? It sounds like things were pretty stressful behind the scenes.
Heaven's Gate (1980)
Bridges teamed up with his Thunderbolt and Lightfoot director Michael Cimino for this epic, Wyoming set Western. The movie was a huge flop, with a famously troubled production.
Cimino got the labour of love up-and-running after the success of The Deer Hunter . Jeff Bridges came relatively far down the cast list, meaning he could escape with a reasonable amount of dignity. The movie has found some fans in the years since its release, though.
Laidback Dude? Most of his scenes involve some kind of violence.
Cutter's Way (1981)
Jeff Bridges shifted gear again for this noir tale. He plays Richard Bone, a playboy who becomes implicated in a murder when his car breaks down in the wrong place at the wrong time.
His 'Nam vet friend Alex Cutter (John Heard) joins him on the trail of the real killer. It's all surprisingly unconventional (like a fair amount of Bridges' output), and doesn't exactly play out in the way a brief synopsis leads you to expect.
Laidback Dude? Not when he's got a murder to solve.
He was trying out something totally new here, but not just in terms of his own acting career: Tron paved the way for computer animated movies, and was a huge inspiration for the John Lasseter and the bods at Pixar.
Bridges played Kevin Flynn, and his avatar Clu. A former programmer, his game ideas were stolen by ENCOM. He tries to exonerate himself by cracking into the system for evidence, and he ends up getting sucked into the mainframe and taking part in VR gladiatorial challenges.
Laidback Dude? Even when he's in luminescent peril, he's smart enough to never take things too seriously.
Kiss Me Goodbye (1982)
This bizarre, paranormal romcom sees Bridges as Rupert, the smug new partner of Sally Field's widower, Kay. James Caan plays her deceased former partner, Jolly, who decides to haunt her out of the relationship.
Only Kay can see persistent spirit Jolly, which causes a bit of concern for her family and friends. This kind of thing has been done many times before and since, and has little to recommend besides seeing its surprisingly talented cast tackle this kind of fluff.
Laidback Dude? Naturally he's a little stressed out by his partner's relationship with her dead husband.
Against All Odds (1984)
According to the team behind TRON: Legacy , this is the movie in which Jeff Bridges looked his hottest, hence their reason to model the digitally de-aged Clu on stills from this movie.
Taylor Hackford's remake of Out of the Past is possibly best remembered for the Phil Collins title track, but it boasts decent performances from Jeff and co-star James Woods.
Laidback Dude? Hardly, his football player is put into all manner of uncomfortable situations by Woods' dodgy businessman.
John Carpenter's romantic sci-fi sees an Oscar-nommed Bridges play a visiting alien who takes on the form of Jenny's (Karen Allen) recently deceased hubbie.
His people came in peace, but were gunned down by trigger-happy military types. He embarks on a cross-country tour with the widow, and the pair end up becoming romantically involved. He also finds time to ickily impregnate the widow with a weird starbaby/human hybrid.
Laidback Dude? He doesn't seem entirely comfortable in his human form.
Jagged Edge (1985)
Jeff was back on thriller duty for Jagged Edge . He plays Jack Forrester, a man who's accused of murdering his wife. He manages to secure hotshot defence lawyer Teddy Barnes (Glenn Close) to represent him in court, and before the trial's even underway he's bedded her.
It often threatens to veer into overblown trash (it is written by Basic Instinct and Showgirls scribe Joe Eszterhas) but Bridges' edgy charm manages to maintain enough ambiguity to keep you interested.
Laidback Dude? He's best described as 'seductively fraught' in this one…
8 Million Ways to Die (1986)
Bridges played against the grain again here, as an alcoholic detective on the verge of a break down. Matt Scudder (Bridges) enters a rehab programme, through which he's drawn back into seedy circumstances.
A hooker he befriends turns up dead, which puts him on the trail of Sarah (Rosanna Arquette) and her mobster boyfriend Angel (Andy Garcia), but he's got to stay away from temptation if he's got any chance of cracking the case. This would end up being Hal Ashby's last feature film.
Laidback Dude? Only when he's on the sauce...
Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)
Francis Ford Coppola directed Bridges here, in the true story of car designer Preston Tucker. Though the title makes it sound like a comedy, this telling of the events is extremely earnest and worthy.
Tucker (Bridges, of course) builds a revolutionary automobile, but he's driven out of the market by the Detroit manufacturing giants. Tucker doesn't stand among Coppola's finest achievements, but it is further proof of Bridges' ability to disappear into characters from any era.
Laidback Dude? Nah, Tucker's extremely ambitious and motivated.
The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)
Jeff starred alongside his brother Beau for this romantic, jazzy drama. Michelle Pfeiffer is the singer who joins the floundering duo and revitalises their stage act, while gradually coming between them. Her piano-top chirping is undoubtedly the most memorable aspect of the movie.
Jeff plays the younger, more dynamic, hunkier brother (much like real life, you're thinking). The brothers do get to belt out a couple of tunes, which must've put Jeff in good stead for his role in Crazy Heart .
Laidback Dude? He's happy to let his older bro worry about the business side of things.
Bridges reteamed with director Peter Bogdanovich for this sequel to The Last Picture Show . It was made 20 years after the original (and set 33 years after that story), with Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Timothy Bottoms and Randy Quaid reprising their roles.
Catching up with the noticeably craggier characters is a unique experience, and Bridges has expressed interest in starring in further adaptations of Larry McMurtry's series of novels.
Laidback Dude? His family situation isn't the most harmonious.
The Fisher King (1991)
Terry Gilliam directed this pitch-black comedy drama, which also starred Robin Williams. Jack Lucas (Bridges) is a shock-DJ whose life goes down the pan when one of his listeners goes on a killing spree.
Washed up, despondent and on the verge of suicide three years later, Black meets Parry (Willliams), a homeless nutcase, and agrees to help him on his quest for the Holy Grail. Despite the grim-sounding premise, this features many surreal flashes of Gilliam fantasy.
Laidback Dude? This is Bridges at his most downtrodden.
The Vanishing (1993)
Bridges turned villain for this hopelessly inferior remake of the Dutch thriller of the same name, which it unbelievably shares a director with. Jeff (Kiefer Sutherland) becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to his girlfriend (Sandra Bullock), who mysteriously vanished at a gas station.
His investigations lead him to Barney Cousins (Bridges) who admits responsibility and offers to show him what happened to his girlfriend. Unforgivably, this tacks on a ludicrously Hollywood ending that undermines the original's harrowing finale.
Laidback Dude? Scarily-intense dude, actually.
Picnic at Hanging Rock director Peter Weir drew an extremely memorable performance from Bridges, as a man who reassesses his life after surviving a plane crash. He becomes 'fearless', and grows emotionally distant from his family.
Bridges is backed by an extremely talented cast, and the movie confidently confronts some powerful existential questions.
Laidback Dude? After the accident he becomes extremely peaceful with the concept of his own mortality.
Blown Away (1994)
Jeff put his action hat on for this thriller which pits him against Tommy Lee Jones' terrorist. The film also provided Jeff with another opportunity to star alongside his father, Lloyd.
Boston lieutenant and bomb disposal expert Jimmy Dove (Bridges Jr) has to face up to his troubled past when he's targeted by his former partner Ryan Gaerity (Jones). It's hard to take the movie seriously, but it makes for effective Saturday night viewing.
Laidback Dude? Working in the field of bomb-disposing is always going to raise your heart rate.
Wild Bill (1995)
Back in familiar Western territory, Bridges plays iconic figure Wild Bill Hickok (Keith Carradine played the same character in Deadwood ). David Arquette is Jack McCall, a young man who holds a grudge against Bill, and plans to seek his revenge.
It's a solid enough study, but it it fails to reach the highs of the similarly-themed Unforgiven , The Assassination of Jesse James , or even TV show Deadwood .
Laidback Dude? He's clearly carrying a lifetime of guilt on his mind.
White Squall (1996)
Adding Ridley Scott to the list of directing greats he's worked with, here Bridges played the captain of infamous sailing ship the Albatross, which mysteriously sank in 1961.
The movie has little regard for the facts, setting up Bridges as the fatherly skipper, who charismatically knocks his crew into shape and teaches them some life lessons, before they get caught in the 'White Squall' storm of the title.
Laidback Dude? No, it's all hands on deck here.
The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)
This bizarre romantic drama sees Bridges as a maths professor who decides he doesn't want sex to mess up his relationships. He ends up marrying Barbra Streisand, who dolls herself up to try get him to change his platonic ways.
Babs also directed this oddity, which fails to really get to grips with its central idea, and neither of the leads convince.
Laidback Dude? We imagine he's be on edge if he's not getting any sort of 'release'...
The Big Lebowski (1998)
This is the role that has come to define Bridges more than any other, in what is almost the Coen Brothers' signature movie. He plays Jeffrey 'The Dude' Lebowski, an amiable stoner who gets caught up in a modern noir tale after a case of mistaken identity.
It's a testament to Bridges' chameleon-like screen presence that the handsome matinee idol is so convincing as a shaggy pothead who pays for a bottle of milk by cheque. An enduring cult classic.
Laidback Dude? He's beyond horizontal…
Arlington Road (1999)
This feels like a bit of a conglomeration of earlier Bridges roles, fusing the terror suspicions of Blown Away with the college professor persona of The Mirror Has Two Faces .
Michael Faraday (Bridges) becomes fixated on the idea that his new neighbours, played by Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack, are terrorists. Watchable enough, though not up there with the best of Bridges' output.
Laidback Dude? He's in the grip of paranoia here.
The Contender (2000)
Jeff got to play the President of the United States in this political drama (who wouldn't want to see the Dude in the White House?). The Pres names Laine Hanson (Joan Allen) as the new vice president, following the death of the previous post-holder.
Gary Oldman is deliciously slimy as a rival senator who does everything in his power to ensure that Hanson doesn't stay in the job.
Laidback Dude? Before the scandal arises, he's remarkably calm given the job he's in.
In K-PAX , Kevin Spacey plays Prot, a man who claims to be an alien visitor from the titular planet. Unsurprisingly, he's quickly directed towards a mental institute, where psychiatrist Mark Powell (Bridges) tries to assess his condition.
The central conceit is certainly intriguing, but it does eventually become a bit trying, much like Spacey's smug performance.
Laidback Dude? He gets a bit unsettled when Prot exhibits some convincingly alien characteristics.
Masked and Anonymous (2003)
Larry Charles directed this Bob Dylan starring curiosity piece, which sees the revolutionary folk singer pretty much playing himself, in a future America that's bordering on dystopic.
Bridges has a fairly prominent role among a starry cast that also features John Goodman, Mickey Rourke and Penelope Cruz. It's an impossible film to categorise, as it's characterised as much by its political and philosophical ramblings as it is by its musical performances.
Laidback Dude? He might as well be, as all action seems pretty futile in this bleak future.
Bridges, Chris Cooper, and Tobey Maguire are the three men whose lives are changed by Seabiscuit, the equine champion of Depression-era America. They are owner, trainer and jockey respectively.
After saving the horse from the brink of being put out of its misery, the trio use their passion for the gee-gee to help them get their own priorities in order. It ticks all the feel-good boxes, but your likely to feel a little nauseous before this crosses the finish line.
Laidback Dude? He has some personal issues to work through.
The Door in the Floor (2004)
A tragic drama, adapted from John Irving's novel A Widow for One Year . Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger play a couple who are reeling from the deaths of their teenage sons.
Children's author and illustrator Ted (Bridges) invites Eddie (Jon Foster) to work as his assistant, and the young man ends up complicating the married couple's relationship even further.
Laidback Dude? The stress shows in his dishevelled appearance.
The Moguls (2005)
This little seen comedy sees a bunch of friends, including Bridges, Ted Danson, William Fichtner and Joe Pantoliano, get together to make an amateur porn movie to earn some cash.
Andy (Bridges) has a crisis of confidence when he finds out how rich his son's new stepfather is, so he takes drastic steps to find a bit of money and fame. The amateur filmmakers intend to make a surprisingly innocent skin flick, but they don't find the process as easy as expected.
Laidback Dude? The longer hair betrays a mid-life crisis.
Bridges reteamed with his Fisher King director Terry Gilliam here for this out-there fantasy (he also provided a voiceover narration for Gilliam doc Lost in La Mancha ). Following a run of bad luck for Gilliam (his Don Quixote pic went down the pan, Brothers Grimm was facing problems), Tideland ended up getting a critical mauling.
Visually, its impressive, but its haphazard, tonally-unsure nature makes it a bit of a chore to watch.
Laidback Dude? He spends most of the movie without a pulse after a heroin overdose.
Surf's Up (2007)
Jeff lent his laconic drawl to this surprisingly decent animated penguin movie. Shia LaBeouf voices a young penguin who wants to be a surfer, and Bridges is Big Z, a former pro turned hermit.
Much of the movie's appeal comes from its affectionate and accurate pastiche of real surf docs, and the boarding action is well-handled.
Laidback Dude? He's got the perfect voice for a legendary surfer dude.
Iron Man (2008)
Bridges was shorn of his trademark locks to play bald villain Obadiah Stane in Jon Favreau's superhero smash. He gets to be mentor, sinister businessman AND mecha-suited bad guy throughout the course of the movie.
The film certified Downey Jr as one of Hollywood's most bankable stars, and both actors help to establish Iron Man 's precise tone, which adds some real-world details to the superhero fun.
Laidback Dude? Are supervillains ever laid-back?
How To Lose Friends and Alienate People (2008)
Simon Pegg took a big shot at launching himself Stateside by starring in this adaptation of Toby Young's memoir. Based on the writer's time at Vanity Fair magazine, it's something like The Devil Wears Prada for blokes.
During his time messing things up at Sharps magazine, Sidney Young (Pegg) has run-ins with Kirsten Dunst's journo, Megan Fox's starlet and Bridges' editor-in-chief. The humour's far too broad for any of the satirical punches to land cleanly.
Laidback Dude? Having the bumbling Pegg on your staff would test anyone.
The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)
George Clooney plays it for laughs in this story of the psychic division of the US army, which is based on a real-life investigative novel by journalist Jon Ronson.
Ewan McGregor plays the Ronson stand-in, who hears word of a mysterious unit of 'Jedi Warriors' that deals in psychic combat. Bridges channels The Dude again as the hippy leader of the telekinetic team.
Laidback Dude? Hell yeah!
Crazy Heart (2009)
After a long and extremely varied career, Bridges finally took home an Oscar for his role as alcoholic country singer Bad Blake.
He ambles through life, romancing journalist Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and mentoring young country star Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell), while his health falls foul of his booze habits. Bridges also manages to convince in the musical side of the role, and no-one begrudged the Hollywood veteran his awards sweep last year.
Laidback Dude? To th extent that he has drunk away his life and ambitions...
TRON: Legacy (2010)
Jeff returns to cinema screens this week for the hotly-anticipated sequel to 1982's Tron .
Expect uber-flashy 3D visuals and souped-up lightcycles as an ageing Kevin Flynn goes up against his young digital counterpart Clu (that's two lots of Bridges for the price of one).
Read Total Film's official verdict on TRON: Legacy here .