My Top 10 Favorite Robin Williams Films…And Why I’ll Miss Him

Robin Williams has died!robin_williams01_website_image_jwce_standard

It’s not uncommon to wake up in the morning to discover that a famous celebrity passed away. Often the discovery is followed by a “what a shame” before heading out the door for work and largely forgetting about it.

Not so with Robin Williams!

Throughout the day I mused over the inspiration and joy his films have brought to me throughout my life.

Yes, my life

It feels like I grew up with Robin Williams and his movies have always been with me.

As a child…Mork & Mindy

As a rebel teen… Good Morning Vietnam

As a college student… Dead Poets Society

As a husband and father… Hook

I remember watching Robin Williams the first time he played the lovable alien Mork on Happy Days.  Mork was battling the Fonz with only the “cool” of Fonzie able to ultimately win in the end.  My brothers and I thought he was about the funniest guy we’d ever seen.  ABC executives thought the same thing and Mork & Mindy, and Robin Williams incredible career, was born!

Because we didn’t have VHS back then my brothers and I would audio tape Mork & Mindy so we could listen to William’s antics on long road trip vacations. I was honed on Robin Williams humor…

Of course from Mork & Mindy a long and successful career began.  And whether it was Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poet’s Society, or Patch Adams, Williams seemed to thrive on roles as the “insider” pushing the envelope, poking at the underbelly of “The Man”, not to tear it down, but instead to lift people up!

He was a rebel… for humanity!

So, with his tragic passing yesterday, I thought I would share my personal Top 10 Robin Williams movies.

My favorites…the ones that made me a fan!

Note: I didn’t include animated films and I have not seen Awakenings or One Hour Photo both of which I’m told are wonderful movies!


“My” Top 10 Favorite Robin Williams Films

10) Good Will Hunting – A great movie and the sole Oscar win for Williams. But if I’m honest, it never “clicked” for me like it has for others.  A fine film never the less

9) Patch Adams – Williams plays real life doctor Hunter “Patch” Adams using humor to cure patients and fight the system

8) Bicentennial Man – Based on the short story by Issac Asimov, Williams plays Andrew Martin, a household robot who over the course of 200 years discovers what it is like to be human.

7)  Jumanji – Williams gets trapped within a magical game.  He’s helped out by a couple children who share his adventures through time and other worlds.

6) RV – OK, this movie was panned by the critics but I can’t help myself…it just makes me smile.  Williams is trying to keep his job and his family together by going on a long road trip in an RV.  The regular encounters with Jeff Daniels is worth watching the film for but as they are all heading to Boulder Colorado,its a sentimental favorite for me.

5) Hook Williams plays Peter Pan!  The kid who never grows up…but he has and now has to save his children from Dustin Hoffman a.k.a. Captain Hook by finding his “happy thought’ and learning to fly again.  This movie is magical for me!

4) What Dream May Come – Tammy particularly likes this movie.  Williams travels to Heaven and has to save his wife from hell with the help of his children.  Beautiful film!

3) Good Morning Vietnam– I think I saw this film 2 or 3 times at the cinema when it first came out.  I love it!  Williams is in rare form playing a disc jockey in the Vietnam War trying to bring some humor and joy to the troops while, again, sticking it to The Man.  (You see a pattern here?)

2) The Birdcage- Williams plays a gay nightclub owner who has to pretend for an evening to be straight while meeting his son’s future in-laws;  a conservative Republican played by Gene Hackman.  Tammy and I have watched this movie ad nauseam.  Nathan Lane as Williams partner and Hank Azaria as the “maid” steal the show.

1) Dead Poets Society – Is there a film which personifies who we see Robin Williams as more than when he played English teacher John Keating in Dead Poets Society.  Every teacher wants to be John Keating and every student hopes they will get a teacher like him.  Once again Williams is teaching people what it means to be human…again while sticking it to The Man!  I think I must watch this one again this week.

Honorable Mention

Insomnia- One of the rare times Williams plays the bad guy.  In this Christopher Nolan film he is co-starred with Al Pacino.  Those three names in a movie make it a must see.

There it is…my personal Robin Williams filmography!

And now rest well Mr. Williams…we’ll see you on the other side!


  • Connie

    I prayed that he will enjoy the compassion of the place where he now has gone where he will be without the torment of depression. I especially liked the film What Dreams May Come and highly recommend it to your readers who may be struggling with Robin’s suicide for religious reasons.

    • Steve

      Agreed Connie and “What Dreams May Come” figures in my list!

  • I read a favorite book of Robin Williams growing up was a Christian allegory by C.S. Lewis called “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.” RIP Robin Williams

  • MarkC

    Heard a lovely story on the radio on Tuesday. A woman from the UK talked about how she was a nanny in San Francisco. At the time the children in her care went to the same school as Robin’s. One day when she went to collect the children in her care Robin turned up and proceeded to read the class a story using all the faces, actions and voices as only he could. She said it was a such precious and treasured moment that had everyone transfixed (children, parents and teachers!). Such a talent, such a loss.

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