9 Robin Williams Roles That Are Always Worth Revisiting When You Want To Honor The Comedy Legend
It's hard to believe, but it's been a year since Robin Williams passed away. On Aug. 11, 2014, beloved comic Williams committed suicide after a longtime battle with severe depression. The film and television industry has felt this loss immensely, as Williams was such a singular talent. As an actor, he brought so much heart and character to every role he filmed. As a stand up comedian, he was fearless and feverish. Like so many of my generation, I grew up with Robin Williams as the voice to my favorite cartoons and the face of the movies that made me laugh. As I got older, I saw him transform into an actor recognized for his dramatic abilities, and I was always fascinated and touched by his work.
Looking back on Williams' career in film, his range as an actor is un-matched in Hollywood. There are few, if any, other actors, who can transform themselves so completely into so many different roles. Whether it was slapstick comedy, action-adventure, or Oscar-winning dramas, Robin Williams did it all — and he did in a way that only Robin Williams could. When it comes to the actor's roles, no one else could do them quite like Robin Williams.
To remember his work, here are his unforgettable roles that are always worth revisiting.
1. Good Will Hunting
Professor Sean Maguire is the role that landed Williams an Oscar, and it's easy to see why. There's so much depth and aching constantly underneath this gentle, but smart assed, academic.
Genie could have been a big, blue joke, but Williams gave the bombastic wish-granter so much heart. In fact, Genie was the heart of this childhood classic.
3. Dead Poets Society
Dead Poets Society is one of those movies you want to curl up to on a cold, rainy fall day and get wrapped up in the simple beauty of storytelling. This is a particularly fitting moment to remember Robin Williams by. In the film, John Keating's students pay tribute to their teacher who inspired them to fall in love with the written word, just as the real Robin Williams inspired to many comedians and actors to pursue their craft.
4. Mrs. Doubtfire
In anyone else's hands, Mrs. Doubtfire would have just been a flat farce making jokes about a man dressing up as a woman. But, with Robin Williams in the role, we all rooted for Daniel Hilard to be with his kids, no matter what the hilarious or ridiculous method. He made us believe in this movie, and that's not an easy task when you think about the premise.
5. Good Morning, Vietnam
Though Williams is so often remembered for his skills in comedy, particularly big and often over-the-top comedy, Good Morning, Vietnam showcases his abilities as a dramatic actor. He carries this whole film on his shoulders and does it with grace and subtlety.
If there was ever an actor you could believe really was Peter Pan, it was Robin Williams.
7. The Birdcage
If you want to see Robin Williams do what Robin Williams did best, watch this movie. We get his laugh-out-loud theatrics as well as touching moments of tenderness and hurt. The Birdcage is a near-perfect comedy. It pokes fun without ever being mean, and gives each and every character a reason to be loved.
8. The World According To Garp
This movie is a fascinating look into gender, sexuality, and the life of being an artist. Williams' growth from start to finish in this film show just how much the actor was fascinated by the people he played and the worlds they lived in.
For someone who was dealing with such difficult depression, it's especially heartbreaking to hear the line, "You should always face what you're afraid of." Again, Williams gave so much depth and gravity to roles that could have otherwise been surface-level. Jumanji wasn't just about what happens when a board game comes to life; it's really a film about facing your past, your fears, and yourself in order to take on what lies ahead.