How much Robin Williams will be missed cannot be overstated. While his close friends and family are surely experiencing their own grief, the fans are also left with a sense of great loss, as his work has entertained, moved and inspired us for decades. In honor of all that wonderful work, let us take a look back at some of his most memorable films.
These highest profiting Williams films are the roles that made him a legend. They will continue to be adored and canonized throughout the generations as we pass them down. No doubt, the actor accomplished some of his richest roles in the 80s and 90s, but as time went on, even his less critically acclaimed roles continued to break the box office. The numbers (which just may surprise you) speak for themselves; as his highest grossing films, it’s clear that these roles will ensure Robin Williams is never forgotten.
10. Patch Adams (1998)
Loosely based on real-life doctor, Hunter Adams, this drama garnered Williams much praise. His superior acting skills really shone as he portrayed a distraught mental patient, who quickly learns that humor is the key to everything, even death. His journey takes him to medical school, where he pursues his dream to make good on the old saying, “laughter is the best medicine”. The role was touching, and seemed rather personal for the comedian who had faced his own challenges in life. The film grossed over 200 million dollars.
9. Good Will Hunting (1997)
This Drama, directed by Gus Van Sant and written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, is truly a classic. The story follows a troubled genius, Will (Damon), as he undergoes therapy with Dr. Maguire (Williams) and begins to re-evaluate his life and all of the relationships in it. The low-budget film received worldwide critical acclaim, and Williams was given the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. It grossed nearly 230 million dollars at the box office.
8. Dead Poets Society (1989)
In yet another motivational role that melts our hearts, Williams portrayed an English teacher working to inspire his students through the art of poetry. Although Williams is known for his wild, energetic style, this time around, he was praised by the Washington Post for delivering a “nicely restrained acting performance.” It has come to be known as one of his best performances, for which he received a Best Actor nomination at the Oscars. The film brought in over $235 million.
7. Jumangi (1995)
As much as we love heart-warming Robin Williams characters, we still can never get enough of his family comedy. This Fantasy-Adventure took us through a great cinematic experience, as the characters are faced with the impossible, when a board-game reveals itself as magical. Williams plays Alan, a man who has been trapped in the game-world since he was 12 years old, and now, he must team up with a set of youngens to finish the game and undo its destruction. The fun never stops in this one. It grossed more than $263 million at the box office.
6. Hook (1991)
The classic tale of Peter Pan was given a twist, as this live-action version stars Williams as a grown Peter Pan who, having forgotten all about his magical childhood, finds his life turned upside down when Hook kidnaps his children and takes them to Neverland. Despite luke-warm reviews, the film was a commercial success, grossing 300 million dollars. The Speilberg picture was made on a somewhat tight-budget, which left Speilberg, Williams and co-star, Hoffman without salaries for the work. Speilberg maintains that a lack of technology was the film’s biggest shortcoming. And yet, this remains a key picture of the 90s that many of us recall being excited about, at some point or another.
5. Happy Feet (2006)
Robin Williams and voice-work is a match made in heaven. Viewers everywhere recognize his enthused voice and tone in an instant, and his insertion of himself into CG or animated characters is always something to look forward to. During the early 2000s craze for new CGI, this award-winning number was released. The film incorporates motion-capture technology and centred on socially relevant environmental issues. Robin Williams leant his voice to both Ramon, and Lovelace, giving them both some extra funk. The movie brought in a total of nearly $385 million at the box office.
4. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009)
Sequel to the huge 2006 success, Night at the Museum, this wacky adventure film had Robin Williams star as Teddy Roosevelt. The plot has Ben Stiller reprise his role as Larry, as he decides to make a long-overdue visit to his museum pals. Excessive visual effects had viewers arriving at the cinemas in hoards, and the film grossed nearly 415 million dollars. The series will undoubtedly be one by which the younger generation remember Williams, despite its mixed reviews.
3. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
Although comedy derived from men in drag seems tired today, there was a time when it was a modern-groundbreaker, thanks to Robin Williams. While drag had been a source of comedy in the early years of cinema, this was the first time it was used to incite both laughs and tears, in one of the most memorable dramadies of the decade. The story followed Daniel, a newly divorced father struggling to make ends meet while battling a difficult custody arrangement. Deciding not to let the courts take his children from him, he takes up a female persona and lands a job as their Nanny. As he attempts to bring his family back together, viewers can’t help but fall in love. The film even won 3 awards, Best Make-Up, Best Picture and Best Actor to Williams, after pulling in an impressive $441 million.
2. Aladdin (1992)
Today’s kids may know Robin Williams as a rendering of Roosevelt, but for many of us, he will always be Genie. The Disney hit is part of a film era known as the Disney Renaissance. At a time when princesses dominated the big screen, Genie’s role became very precious. As a sidekick to the love-struck peasant, Aladdin, Genie was sympathetic, amusing and bigger than life. Let’s face it, he stole the show. It was the most successful film of 1992, grossing over 500 million dollars at the box office.
1. Night at the Museum (2006)
Wicked effects and a great cast were enough to drive kids everywhere to the cinema for this one. Mixed reviews hardly stopped them from falling in love, and the film managed to pull in nearly $575 million! It’s whopping commercial success was enough to inspire the high grossing sequel, and a third instalment set to hit theatres during the Christmas season this year. That will make it one of the last films released to star the amazing actor. With a full and star-studded cast, the series also gave many of his admiring colleagues a chance to get to work with him, which is surely greatly appreciated and fondly remembered.