Born Robin McLaurin Williams in 1951 in Chicago Illinois Robin Williams would go on to have a long successful career and in many people’s minds is basically a national treasure. I have never heard anyone say a bad thing about this man and it’s for good reason, he was known to be an incredibly good human being, even going out of his way to ensure homeless people would find work on the set of his movies. The world became a worse place the day we lost Robin Williams on August 11, 2014 and today would have been his 69th birthday so I thought it’d be a good time to talk about some of my favorite movies he was in.
As with any of my movie lists any movies with sequels will be included in one entry as to now repeat too much and the movies will mostly be in order by when they were released not ranked by which I like more and although Mork & Mindy is one of my favorite roles by Williams I am sticking to movies for this list, but anyways let’s get to it.
Released in 1980 and directed by Robert Altman Popeye was of course based on the famous cartoon character and it is the earliest role I remember Robin Williams in besides Mork & Mindy. He played the titular character alongside Shelley Duvall who played Olive Oyl. The film was generally well received by critics and was a good start to what would be a great career in film for Williams.
The World According To Garp
Released in 1982 and directed by George Roy Hill The World According To Garp is based on the Novel of the same name and sees Williams playing T.S. Garp. the film follows the life of T.S. Garp who grows up with a feminist mother who is a writer and he grows up to be a great writer as well.It has a wide variety o different characters that Garp meets throughout his life and is a great coming of age type film. Robin Williams starred alongside John Lithgow and Glenn Close, who were both nominated for awards for their roles.
Good Morning, Vietnam
Released in 1987 the comedy drama war film Good Morning, Vietnam directed by Barry Levinson would see Robin Williams play the role of a Radio DJ for the armed forces and is loosely based on the experiences of Adrian Cronauer. The film made Robin Williams acting skills more obvious than ever and made people take him a bit more seriously. He would win a Golden Globe for his role and was also nominated for an Academy Award.
Dead Poets Society
Dead Poets Society was released in 1989 and directed by Peter Weir and was Robin Williams’ most serious and dramatic role so far. Williams played an English teacher who inspired his students through teaching poetry. Williams would win an Academy Award for his role and the film was nominated for countless other awards.
The Fisher King
Released in 1991 and directed by Terry Gilliam The Fisher King follows the story of a radio DJ who feels partially responsible for problems causing another man grief. Williams plays a widower trying to navigate his grief. the film also stars Jeff Bridges and Amanda Plummer and although it wasn’t commercially successful I consider it one of his better roles.
Released in 1991 and directed by Steven Spielberg Hook would put Robin Williams in one of the roles most people think about when they think of him, Peter Pan and he was fantastic in the role of someone who never wanted to grow up because that seemed to be how Robin Williams was in real life anyways, a kid at heart. The film also starred Dustin Hoffman and Julia Roberts and was very well received by basically everyone.
Released in 1992 Aladdin would have Williams voicing yet another of his memorable characters The Genie. It’s one of his most beloved roles and when the remake was released recently with Will Smith it wasn’t very well met. the film earned over half a billion dollars and won 2 Academy Awards.
Released in 1993 and directed by Chris Colombus Mrs. Doubtfire was a strange but loved movie. With Robin Williams playing a recently divorced dad that dresses as and pretends to be a nanny in order to spend more time with his kids. It sounds a lot creepier when I type it out but it’s a fun movie full of Williams’ unique brand of comedy. Also starring Sally Field and Pierce Brosnan the movie was very successful making over $400 million at the box office.
Released in 1995 and directed by Joe Johnston the fantasy comedy film starred Robin Williams as a man that was stuck in a magical board game for years and is finally released while some children play the game for the first time since he became trapped in it. It is one of my favorite roles of his and I’m not alone in that feeling. The film did very well and spawned sequels,spin-offs and remakes and even an animated TV show at one point in the 90’s.
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola and released in 1996 the film Jack feels like it was made just for Robin Williams to star in as he is perfect in the role of a child that looks like an adult. Also starring Diane Lane and Jennifer Lopez the film wasn’t very successful commercially or critically but regardless it is a role I feel Robin Williams was born to play and he played it very well.
Good Will Hunting
Released in 1998 and directed by Gus Van Sant Good Will Hunting would put Robin Williams in the role of a therapist who is trying to help guide a gifted young man towards success in life rather than being trapped in his hometown his whole life. also starring Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Minnie Driver the film was incredibly successful grossing over $225 million and being nominated for 9 Academy Awards and Williams won an academy Award for his role.
Released in 1998 and directed by Tom Shadyac Patch Adams puts Robin Williams in the role of a doctor trying to find a better way to handle his patients and finds that humor is the answer. It is based on the life of Dr. Hunter “Patch Adams and although critics didn’t favor it very much it did gross over $200 million at the box office an is one of Robin Williams more memorable roles.
One Hour Photo
Released in 2002 and directed Mark Romanek One Hour Photo gave Robin Williams a chance to play a different kind of role, a creepy spine tingling one. The film was praised by critics and Williams won a Saturn Award for his role.
Night at the Museum
Released in 2006 and directed by Shawn Levy Night at the Museum turned out to be a pretty successful franchise spawning 2 sequels and gave us all a chance to see Robin Williams play Theodore Roosevelt which was worth the price of a ticket all by itself. Also starring Ben Stiller as a night watchman the film grossed over half a billion dollars.
World’s Greatest Dad
Released in 2009 and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait World’s Greatest Dad see Robin Williams in the role of a father trying to deal with the loss of his son while also going through a midlife crisis of sorts and although it’s not one of Williams best known roles it is one of my favorites. The movie wasn’t a huge success or anything but I certainly would recommend watching it if you haven’t.
This list is by no means the definitive Robin Williams list or anything, it’s just some of my personal favorites.
He was a good man, a funny man and the world needs more people like him and will be worse off without him.
Happy Bday Robin Williams.
What’s your favorite Robin Williams role? Let us know in the comments.