Each time you watch The Big Sleep it’s easy to be torn between thinking it’s a classic of the big screen, or simply sensationalist fluff, a shallow vehicle for off-screen couple Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.
But Howard Hawks’ 1946 adaptation of the Raymond Chandler novel earns its classic status because of one quality that never dims. It contains some of the most memorable dialogue in big screen history.
In fact, dialogue isn’t just a function of The Big Sleep, it carries the entire movie. Moments of brilliance are contained in how scathing put-downs are delivered with such wry eloquence.