10 Best Robin Williams Movies

Robin Williams was an extraordinary performer who left an indelible mark on Hollywood. As both a talented comedian and a versatile actor, he was known for his ability to captivate audiences in a wide range of roles. He received numerous accolades during his career, including an Academy Award, multiple Golden Globes, and an enduring legacy in the world of film.

Despite his comedic prowess, Williams also shone in more serious roles, proving his acting range and ability to connect with audiences on an emotional level. Here’s a deep-dive into Williams’ best films:

10. Moscow on the Hudson (1984)

In 1984, “Moscow on the Hudson” was released, a romantic comedy-drama film directed and written by Paul Mazursky. The movie features the late, great Robin Williams as the protagonist, a Soviet circus musician.

Vladimir Ivanoff, played by Williams, decides to defect from the USSR during a visit to the USA with his circus troupe. Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, the movie showcases the struggles he faces while adapting to his new life in America.

The film co-stars María Conchita Alonso in her film debut, Elya Baskin as the circus clown, Savely Kramarov as a KGB apparatchik, and Alejandro Rey as an immigration attorney. Moscow on the Hudson emphasizes the cultural and political differences between the two superpowers, the USA and the USSR.

9. The Birdcage (1996)

“The Birdcage,” released in 1996, is an American comedy film directed by Mike Nichols. The movie features a talented cast, including Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. Adapted by Elaine May, the film is a remake of the French comedy “La Cage aux Folles”.

The story revolves around a gay cabaret owner (Williams) and his drag queen partner (Lane). Facing a dilemma when their son wants to introduce them to his fiancée’s conservative parents, they put on a false straight front to win their approval.

As a comedy film, “The Birdcage” explores family dynamics and challenges societal norms. With its energetic performances and engaging script, the movie skillfully weaves laughter and emotion together.

8. The Fisher King (1991)

“The Fisher King” is a 1991 American fantasy comedy-drama film directed by Terry Gilliam. Gilliam, a member of Monty Python, showcased his unique storytelling skills in this film. The movie stars Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges, with supporting roles played by Mercedes Ruehl, Amanda Plummer, and Michael Jeter.

The story follows a former radio shock jock, portrayed by Bridges, who attempts to find redemption after causing a tragic incident. He meets a homeless man, played by Williams, whose life was inadvertently affected by Bridges’ character’s mistake.

7. Dead Poets Society (1989)

“Dead Poets Society” is a 1989 classic directed by Peter Weir. The film is set in a fictional elite boarding school called Welton Academy. It was written by Tom Schulman and focuses on an English teacher who inspires his students through poetry.

The film features a young Ethan Hawke as one of Robin Williams’ students. Williams’ character, John Keating, employs unorthodox methods to embolden his students and help them find their voices. His lessons about self-expression, adventure, and seizing the day leave a lasting impact.

In the story, Keating introduces his students to the concept of the Dead Poets Society. The society is a secret club where they gather to read poems, defy the rigid academic environment, and embrace their individuality.

6. Awakenings (1990)

“Awakenings” is a 1990 American drama film directed by Penny Marshall. It showcases the powerful acting skills of Robin Williams alongside Robert De Niro. The film is an adaptation of neurologist Oliver Sacks’ 1973 memoir of the same name.

In the film, Williams portrays Dr. Malcolm Sayer, a character based on Sacks himself. The plot revolves around Dr. Sayer’s discovery of the beneficial effects of the drug L-DOPA on catatonic patients affected by an encephalitis epidemic.

Robert De Niro delivers a captivating performance as Leonard Lowe, a long-comatose patient who is brought back to life by Dr. Sayer’s groundbreaking treatment. The film’s narrative explores the challenges and emotions experienced by the revived patients as well as their families and caregivers.

5. World’s Greatest Dad (2009)

“World’s Greatest Dad” is a 2009 American satirical black comedy-drama film directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, starring Robin Williams, Daryl Sabara, and Alexie Gilmore. The film had a limited theatrical release after being released on video on demand providers on July 24, 2009.

The story revolves around Lance Clayton (Robin Williams), a high school English teacher and aspiring writer whose works have never been published. He teaches poetry at the same school his son, Kyle (Daryl Sabara), attends. The film showcases a blend of comedy and drama as Lance navigates his strained relationship with his son and personal aspirations.

A turning point in the story occurs when Lance discovers his son accidentally killed himself while practicing autoerotic asphyxiation. In an effort to avoid scandal, Lance writes a fake suicide note to cover up the truth. The unexpected result of this action is a surge of community and media attention that forces Lance to confront the consequences of his choices.

4. Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)

“Good Morning, Vietnam” is a 1987 American war comedy film, directed by Barry Levinson and written by Mitch Markowitz. The film features the talented Robin Williams in the lead role as Adrian Cronauer, a radio DJ employed by the U.S. Armed Services radio station in Vietnam.

Set in 1965, the film showcases Cronauer’s unorthodox and irreverent approach to radio broadcasting. His comedic morning show quickly becomes popular among the soldiers, providing them with much-needed laughter during difficult times.

Despite the comedic elements, “Good Morning, Vietnam” also touches on the harsh realities of war. As the story unfolds, Cronauer’s character confronts the challenges of censorship and maintaining his unique style while facing the tension and danger present in Vietnam.

3. Insomnia (2002)

“Insomnia” is a 2002 psychological drama directed by Christopher Nolan. The film is a remake of the 1997 Norwegian movie with the same name. Starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams, and Hilary Swank, the story revolves around two Los Angeles homicide detectives who have been dispatched to a northern town to investigate the murder of a local teenager.

Robin Williams played the role of a photo developer, who later becomes a prime suspect in the case. His impressive performance was noted for its blend of darkness and intrigue. The character contributed to the intense, gripping atmosphere that is characteristic of Christopher Nolan films.

Throughout the movie, the protagonists grapple with the challenges of their investigation while experiencing the unique phenomenon of perpetual daylight, as the sun never sets in the town. This element of the story adds to the suspense and drama that “Insomnia” delivers.

2. Aladdin (1992)

In 1992, Robin Williams lent his voice to the iconic character Genie in the animated adventure-comedy film “Aladdin.” The movie was directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, and produced by Buena Vista Pictures, a subsidiary of Disney.

Aladdin follows the story of a kind-hearted street urchin named Aladdin who, with the help of a magically empowering lamp, tries to win the heart of Princess Jasmine. The film is a perfect blend of humor, adventure, and romance, showcasing Williams’ talent for comedic timing and improvisation.

Aladdin was a commercial and critical success, grossing over $500 million worldwide. The film received numerous awards and accolades, including two Academy Awards for Best Original Song (“A Whole New World”) and Best Original Score.

1. Good Will Hunting (1997)

“Good Will Hunting” is a 1997 American psychological drama film directed by Gus Van Sant. The film was written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, who also starred in the movie along with Robin Williams, Stellan Skarsgård, and Minnie Driver.

It focuses on the story of a young janitor, played by Matt Damon, who works at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is discovered to be a self-taught mathematical genius.

In Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams plays a therapist who helps the protagonist, Will Hunting, overcome personal and emotional challenges. The film explores themes like self-discovery, trust, and friendship through a poignant narrative involving the talented young man and his therapist.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some top comedy films starring Robin Williams?

Robin Williams was known for his comedic roles in various films, such as Mrs. Doubtfire, The Birdcage, and Aladdin. Other notable comedy movies include Good Morning, Vietnam, Jumanji, and Patch Adams. Williams portrayed unique characters that showcased his diverse acting abilities and comedic skills.

Which Robin Williams films are available on Netflix?

Availability of films on Netflix may vary by region. As of September 11, 2023, it’s recommended to search for specific titles on Netflix’s platform to determine current availability. Popular Robin Williams films, such as Good Will Huntingor Dead Poets Society, may be found on streaming platforms.

In which TV shows did Robin Williams appear?

Robin Williams first became popular with his role as Mork on the TV show Mork & Mindy. He also made memorable guest appearances on shows like Friends, The Larry Sanders Show, and Louie. Williams was known for his unique ability to adapt to different genres and entertain various audiences.

What is the chronological order of Robin Williams’ filmography?

Robin Williams began his film career with Popeye in 1980. Following that, he starred in The World According to Garp(1982), Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989), Awakenings (1990), The Fisher King (1991), Aladdin (1992), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Jumanji (1995), The Birdcage (1996), Good Will Hunting (1997), Patch Adams(1998), and many more throughout his illustrious career.

Which movie made Robin Williams a household name?

Robin Williams gained widespread popularity with his role in the 1987 film Good Morning, Vietnam. His portrayal of radio DJ Adrian Cronauer showcased his improvisational abilities and dynamic comedic talent. This role solidified Williams as a recognized and beloved actor, setting the stage for many successful film and television appearances.

What was the final film Robin Williams acted in before his passing?

Before his passing in 2014, Robin Williams completed a voice role in the film Absolutely Anything, released in 2015. Williams provided the voice for Dennis the Dog, a talking dog granted to the film’s protagonist, played by Simon Pegg. This film marks the final appearance of Williams’ talents in the acting world.