When Robin Williams passed away in 2014, the world was dealt a huge loss to its comedy ranks. Williams was a comic genius, and for him to pass away, especially at this own had, shattered many's notion of the clown and his duties to entertain. Williams was like a whirlwind of energy that twisted through the zeitgeist leaving everything in its wake in rubble. He was hilarious, fast, one the edge of collapse, and crazy. With that said, there was also a hint of sadness in his personality at times, a sadness that fans of his work could see in his more serious and dramatic works. Most may remember Williams from Good Will Hunting, especially, the moving scene in which Williams, along with Matt Damon, sit on a park bench together taking about the loss of wife. Williams had the ability to not only entertain, make people laugh, but also to move those to tears. Such is the essence of the actor, in particular, in the acting genius.
What follows are our favorite Robin Williams performances. Serious or dramatic, even funny; all of them wee distinctly Robin Williams at his very best.
Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
Perhaps it will be Doubtfire or Dead Poets Society that Robin Williams will be best -remembered for twenty years from now, and for good reason. Mrs. Doubtfire features Williams dressing up as an elderly British nanny who infiltrates the house of his former wife so that he can spend more time with his kids. What makes Williams' portrayal of Mrs. Doubtfire so memorable, isn't the wonderful and funny script that the film-makers were working with, but that the performance of Williams in the role, in some way, echoes the essence of his work. His character in the film is a struggling actor, must in the same way that Dustin Hoffman's work in Tootsie, was his body of work's apex. These are roles that were gifts from the gods. Luckily, Williams was there to snatch it up.
Death To Smoochy (2002)
Maligned by film critics on its release, Death to Smoochy is on its way to becoming one of the most beloved cult movie comedies of the last 30 years. And it's all because of the crazy, over-the-top performance of Williams as "Rainbow Randolph," a desperate, out-of-work, drunken former kiddie show host who gets caught up in a scandal and murder. Death To Smoochy is every bit a masterpiece of modern cinema, and one completely misunderstood. It's insane, hilarious, and over-the-top. C'mon! It's a film noir set in the world of kiddie shows!
Good Morning Vietnam (1987)
Directed by film-maker Barry Levinson, Williams plays radio D.J. "Adrian Cronauer," who has been sent "in-country" to do comedy bits over the radio for the G.Is, who might be listening. But what Williams as Cronauer delivers over the radio airwaves isn't just two bits of slapstick, but shocking and seriously disdain for the war at hand. Williams' work in Good Morning Vietnam, just may be his finest hour as an actor.
One Hour Photo (2002)
Released on a small-scale theatrically in 2002, One Hour Photo was a major departure for Williams as an actor, as he plays "Sy Parrish" a psychotic photo-mat tech who develops a unsettling fascination and obsession with a family who frequents his store. Williams is brilliant in the role, and while the film is missing any comedic elements that fans of Williams movies have come to expect, where its lacking those, One Hour Photo makes up for in disturbing atmosphere. It's one hell of creepy movie.
Patch Adams (1998)
Based on story of real-life doctor Hunter Adams," Williams portrays Adams with a profound warm and attention to love, as the former mental hospital patient turned wannabe doctor. Adams, a resident at Virginia University becomes disturbed at the hospitals clinic approach to bedside manners, and he sets out to change it as well as create his own clinic. While most film critics trashed Patch Adams for the movies over-the-top sappiness and forced tears, there is something incredibly powerful, moving, and poignant about Williams performance in the film. As in the end, the character of Patch Adams, in a funny way, is the embodiment of what Williams did in comedy. He entertained us, made us laugh, made us cry with some of his dramatic work. Williams was a red-nosed clown like Adams.