The shocking and sudden passing of Robin Williams at the age of 63 gave rise to this list of this gifted actor’s Top 10 cinematic roles along with an honorable mention. See if you agree.
The World According To Garp
The 1982 film adaptation of the John Irving novel of the same name featured Williams playing the title character. And while co-stars Glenn Close and John Lithgow wound up with Oscar nominations, the late stand-up shone in what was his first leading role following Robert Altman’s ill-fated 1980 live action remake of Popeye.
Moscow On the Hudson
Williams shows his flair for accents in this 1984 dramedy where he plays a Russian circus musician who defects to the United States. Through various trials and tribulations of trying to achieve the American dream, Williams paints a heartfelt picture of the immigrant experience particularly in this one scene that takes place at a diner in downtown Manhattan.
Good Morning, Vietnam
In this 1987 war comedy, the former sitcom star played real-life Armed Forces Radio DJ Adrian Cronauer who served during the Vietnam War. Williams’ rat-a-tat delivery were tailormade for the film’s radio broadcasts, many of which were improvised.
Dead Poets Society
An Oscar-nominated role that found Williams playing an English teacher who inspired his charges through poetry. This scene is a perfect example of that.
This 1990 drama found Williams playing Malcolm Sayer, a fictionalized version of real-life British neurologist Oliver Sacks, whose 1973 memoir proved the inspiration and title for this movie. In the film, Dr. Sayer has success treating previously catatonic patients with the then-new drug L-Dopa.
Always a gifted mimic and impressionist, Williams played those skills to perfection in this 1992 Disney animated classic where he played the genie/merchant. And while he later had legal issues with the House of Mouse over the use of his name and image for marketing, he created one of the cartoon world’s most memorable characters.
In this 1993 comedy, Williams went drag in playing Euphegenia Doubtfire, a persona his unemployed voice actor character made up in order to stay close to his children amid an acrimonious divorce from his wife. A much-played scene from the movie revolves around the disastrous results of Doubtfire’s first day cooking in the kitchen for the kids.
Williams’ very visual style of comedy always made him very appealing to kids so it’s no surprise when he knocked it out of the park in this 1995 fantasy adventure film adapted from the 1981 Chris Van Allsburg children’s book of the same name.
While Williams’ gay owner of a South Beach club and his drag queen domestic partner are in domestic bliss, the duo must meet the very conservative future in-laws of his son in a 1996 remake of the 1978 Franco-Italian film La Cage aux Folles.
Good Will Hunting
He of course won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as a widowed psychologist who mentors Matt Damon’s genius South Boston laborer.
Shakes the Clown
Even though this genius 1992 dark comedy written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait is a cult film that portrays clowns and other performers as rival subcultures, one of the best moments in the movie featured an uncredited Robin Williams, (listed as Marty Fromage), playing a flamboyant martinet of a mime instructor named Mime Jerry. A priceless scene where Williams’ improvisational mastery is on full display.