Robin Williams' Top 10 Movies

Robin Williams' Top 10 Movies
Robin Williams Top 10 Movies

Robin Williams was one of the most beloved and iconic comedic actors of all time. Known for his rapid-fire improv skills and ability to seamlessly shift between zany comedy and moving drama, Williams left an indelible mark on cinema before his tragic death in 2014. Let's take a look back at 10 of Robin Williams' most memorable films that highlight his incredible range and talent.

10. Awakenings (1990)

Director: Penny Marshall

Genre: Drama

Main Actors: Robert De Niro, Robin Williams

IMDB: 7.8/10

Robert De Niro and Robin Williams "Awakenings"

Under the direction of Penny Marshall, Awakenings is a poignant drama based on a true story about a doctor's experimental treatment of catatonic patients. Williams takes on a more serious role as Dr. Malcolm Sayer, who discovers certain stimulants can "awaken" patients from their unresponsive states. When he tries the treatment on Robert De Niro's character, Leonard Lowe, it seems to work miracles, bringing him back to life for the first time in 30 years. But the initial promise of the treatment gives way to heartbreaking complications. Awakenings earned Williams his third Academy Award nomination and showed his ability to move audiences through quiet, emotional performances.

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9. The World According to Garp (1982)

Director: George Roy Hill

Genre: Comedy Drama

Main Actors: Robin Williams, Mary Beth Hurt, Glenn Close

IMDB: 7.2/10

The World According to Garp

Based on the quirky John Irving novel, The World According to Garp showcased Robin Williams' talents in one of his earliest film roles. Williams tackles the eccentric character of T.S. Garp, a struggling writer raised by a feminist mother (Glenn Close) who encounters various mishaps and tragedies throughout his unusual life. Williams nails Garp's sweet, melancholic nature while still delivering plenty of oddball humor. The film blends comedy and drama seamlessly, just as Williams would continue doing throughout his career.

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8. Insomnia (2002)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Genre: Psychological thriller

Main Actors: Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank

IMDB: 7.2/10

Robin Williams and Al Pacino

In this taut thriller from Christopher Nolan, Robin Williams goes against type as the villainous crime writer Walter Finch. Also starring Al Pacino as a troubled police detective, Insomnia centers on the cat-and-mouse game between the two during a murder investigation in Alaska. Williams brings an unsettling edge to his supporting turn, playing his first truly unsympathetic character. The film proved that Williams could lend his acting chops to darker, more complex roles outside of his usual comedic fare.

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7. The Birdcage (1996)

Director: Mike Nichols

Genre: Comedy

Main Actors: Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman

IMDB: 7.1/10

Nathan Lane and Robin Williams "The Birdcage"

Mike Nichols’ uproarious comedy The Birdcage stars Robin Williams and Nathan Lane as the owners of a flamboyant Miami drag club who pretend to be a straight couple when Lane’s character’s conservative parents come to visit. Williams is riotous as Armand Goldman, pulling off the deception with increasingly absurd aplomb. His hilarious banter and chemistry with Lane as his partner Albert stole the show. The Birdcage highlighted Williams’ talents for physical comedy and rapid-fire line delivery that would influence countless comedians to come.

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6. The Fisher King (1991)

Director: Terry Gilliam

Genre: Fantasy/Comedy-drama

Main Actors: Robin Williams, Jeff Bridges, Amanda Plummer

IMDB: 7.6/10

Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges "The Fisher King"

Terry Gilliam’s fantastical dramedy The Fisher King paired Robin Williams with Jeff Bridges as two troubled New Yorkers whose lives become unexpectedly intertwined. Williams earned Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for his portrayal of Parry, a quirky homeless man struck by tragedy who embarks on a quest to find the Holy Grail. Blending humor, pathos and absurdity, the film saw Williams create one of his most endearing characters and cement his reputation as one of Hollywood’s top leading men.

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5. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

Director: Chris Columbus

Genre: Comedy

Main Actors: Robin Williams, Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan

IMDB: 6.9/10

Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire

Mrs. Doubtfire cemented Robin Williams’ status as a master of comedy and disguise. As recently divorced dad Daniel Hillard, Williams stops at nothing to spend time with his kids, even masquerading as a sweet Scottish nanny named Mrs. Doubtfire. Jumping between characters and accents with ease, he delivers some of the most hilarious and heartfelt moments of his career. The smash-hit family comedy combined Williams’ skills for improv, voices, and prosthetics into a charming, unforgettable performance.

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4. Aladdin (1992)

Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker

Genre: Animation, Fantasy, Adventure

Main Actors: Scott Weinger, Robin Williams, Linda Larkin

IMDB: 8.0/10


As the fast-talking, shape-shifting Genie in Disney’s Aladdin, Robin Williams created one of the most iconic animated characters of all time. Bringing his trademark off-the-cuff comedy and impersonations, Williams ad-libbed so much material the film earned a special Golden Globe for his riotous vocal performance. The Genie remains his most beloved voice role, introducing Williams’ madcap humor to a new generation of Disney fans.

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3. Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)

Director: Barry Levinson

Genre: War comedy-drama

Main Actors: Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker

IMDB: 7.3/10

Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)

Good Morning, Vietnam established Robin Williams as a bonafide movie star and showcased the full range of his improvisational genius. As real-life radio DJ Adrian Cronauer, Williams’ infectious energy lights up the screen. Unleashing his wild stand-up style on the Vietnam airwaves, he improvised nearly all of his hilarious broadcasts. The film earned Williams his first Academy Award nomination and became his biggest box office hit.

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2. Good Will Hunting (1997)

Director: Gus Van Sant

Genre: Drama

Main Actors: Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck

IMDB: 8.3/10

Matt Damon and Robin Williams in "Good Will Hunting"

Robin Williams earned his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as psychologist Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting. Co-starring Matt Damon as his troubled protégé, Williams’ conveyed incredible wisdom, humor and warmth in the role. His chemistry with Damon anchored the emotional heart of the film. His crowning “It’s not your fault” scene remains one of the most powerful moments in Williams' revered dramatic career.

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1. Dead Poets Society (1989)

Director: Peter Weir

Genre: Drama

Main Actors: Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke

IMDB: 8.0/10

Dead Poets Society (1989)

Dead Poets Society remains Robin Williams' most beloved dramatic film. As inspirational English teacher John Keating at a conservative 1950s boarding school, Williams makes poetry come alive for his students, encouraging them to seize the day. His stirring message to follow your passion makes for rousing cinema. Williams earned his second Oscar nomination for bringing such depth, nuance, and likeability to the role. Three decades later, Dead Poets Society continues to inspire generations and exemplifies Williams' profound talents.

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Robin Williams was a singular force in cinema, renowned for his ability to effortlessly shift from uproarious comedy to profound drama. His incredible range is on full display in this list of 10 crowning films, reminding us of his enduring legacy. Though his loss is still felt, Robin Williams' moving and hilarious performances will continue entertaining and inspiring audiences for all time.

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