Robin Williams

The Best Robin Williams Movies

Robin Williams starred in a plethora of movies highlighting his talents for both drama and comedy, but there are some that stand out as his best.

Robin Williams was a well-loved actor known for his high-speed comedy and outstanding dramatic performances, as shown in his best movies. Shooting to fame with his memorable role on the TV series Mork & Mindy, Williams went from strength to strength, appearing in a variety of films. As an actor who set a high standard in nearly every role he undertook, there was seemingly no genre Williams couldn’t appear in.



With a total of three Academy Award nominations and one win, plus many other accolades to his name, it’s hard to deny Robin Williams’s marvelous impact on film, television, and stand-up. Here are his best movies, ranked from worst to best.

12. Hook (1991)

Peter looks startled when confronted by Captain Hook in Hook

Serving as a sequel to Peter PanHook received five Oscar nominations, though Robin Williams wasn’t nominated for his lead performance as an adult version of “the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up.” The movie features a star-studded cast, with clever cameos from Carrie Fisher and George Lucas and a scene-chewing Dustin Hoffman as the titular villain. It received negative reviews, though, and even director Steven Spielberg expressed disappointment with the production, stating he would’ve used a digital set if that had been available to him at the time (via Entertainment Weekly.) Still, the movie made a profit at the box office and has earned a cult following over the years.

11. Patch Adams (1998)

Robin Williams in Patch Adams

Patch Adams, which is based on a true story, was a big hit, grossing $202 million and ranking number one at the box office on its opening weekend (via Box Office Mojo). The titular doctor’s biopic was also nominated for two Golden Globes, including Robin Williams landing in contention for Best Actor for his performance as Adams. However, critics weren’t keen on the movie’s attempt to combine heartache and humor through its emotional narrative and its overly positive message, and the real Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams didn’t enjoy watching the “shallow” extent to which Williams took his portrayal (via Newsweek). Audience reviews of the hospital-centered movie have been more positive.

10. The Birdcage (1996)

A banner for The Birdcage featuring the four main characters of the movie.

Robin Williams’s role in The Birdcage is a strong example of how versatile he was at his craft. A remake of the Franco-Italian film La Cage aux Folles, it’s about a gay couple pretending to be straight in order for their son to get in good with his fiancee’s parents. The ensemble was acknowledged for their stellar work, winning Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the SAG Awards. The Birdcage has also been hailed as an LGBTQ+ comedy that “broke boundaries” (via the BBC).

9. The Fisher King (1991)

Close up of Robin Williams in Fisher King

Robin Williams won a Golden Globe and received an Oscar nomination for his performance in The Fisher King as Parry, a homeless man suffering from delusions. Inspired by Arthurian legend, the fantastical drama was directed by Terry Gilliam (whose unmade Good Omens movie would have also starred the actor), and it was received positively by critics, garnering an 84% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences also responded well to the movie’s combination of deep drama and comedy, resulting in a mild box office hit with a $41 million gross (via Box Office Mojo). However, its depiction of sensitive subjects such as suicide and mental illness can be viewed as problematic today.

8. Insomnia (2002)

Robin Williams on a boat in Insomnia

They may have been an unlikely duo to cross paths in their careers considering their previous works, but Robin Williams and Al Pacino took Insomnia to a high standard of cinematic work, steered by director Christopher Nolan. With one of the highest Rotten Tomatoes scores for a Williams movie at 92%, this remake of the Norwegian film of the same name was a far cry from his usual fast-paced comedic performances. While Insomnia is Nolan’s most forgotten movie, that’s no reflection on its quality, given the audience and critical reception. The psychological thriller is dark but clever, much to the credit of the cast and their director.

7. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

Robin Williams Mrs. Doubtfire

A renowned and iconic movie, Mrs. Doubtfire has become a staple among ’90s classics, earning a 7.1 user rating on IMDb. Robin Williams’s character encompasses his comedic flair while also showcasing his skill for portraying sadness. In the decades since its release, Mrs. Doubtfire has been viewed as problematic because it’s about a man dressing as a woman to be close to his children. Still, it holds a positive critic score of 70% on Rotten Tomatoes, Williams won a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his lead performance, and it also ranks highly among Chris Columbus’s movies.

6. One Hour Photo (2002)

Robin Williams sits in the break room in One Hour Photo

Much of Robin Williams’s comedic work, especially his stand-up, is about his physical eccentricity as much as it is about his voice. Mark Romanek’s One Hour Photo scales down his movements, though, focusing on the subtle, unsettling manner of his photo technician character, Sy, whom he performed with equal success. Another leap away from what audiences were used to from the actor, the well-directed psychological thriller has stood the test of time with its eerie nature, maintaining a score of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes.

5. Jumanji (1995)

Aln Parrish wearing an outfit made out of leaves in Jumanji

The hum of a low, worry-inducing drum beat is familiar to many a ’90s film buff as the sound of Jumanji. A great movie for children and adults alike, the picture book adaptation, which is about a board game that comes to life, has a rating of 7 out of 10 on IMDb but a score of just 52% on Rotten Tomatoes. Loosely connected to the newer Jumanji movies, the original remains an adventurous delight. Robin Williams’s character, Alan, displays the actor’s ability to be entertaining with a genuine sense of concern at the right moment.

4. Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)

Robin Williams yelling into a microphone in Good Morning Vietnam

A title that can be heard in the mind with Robin Williams’s distinctive, encouraging energy, Good Morning, Vietnam is loosely based on the life of Adrian Cronauer, who was a radio DJ during the Vietnam War. The role needed an actor who could deliver the correct tone for a war movie, which Williams did with ease, earning him his first Oscar nomination and his first win at the Golden Globes for his film work. It was the fourth-highest-grossing movie of 1987, with audiences enjoying its mix of military seriousness and smart comedy. It received some negative reviews, but overall Good Morning, Vietnam was a hit with critics, too.

3. Aladdin (1992)

Genie Aladdin

The plausible comment that Williams was like the Genie in real life, is no doubt a reflection of how much the performer was made for the part in Disney’s Aladdin. Scoring a whopping 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, the animated feature also won two Oscars and five Grammy Awards, while Williams received a Special Achievement Award at the Golden Globes. Audiences and critics were joined in their immense enjoyment of the movie, which incorporated every necessary element for a family classic. Known to have improvised a lot of his role, Williams gave viewers the magical, funny friend that everyone needs.

2. Dead Poets Society (1989)

Robin Williams reading to students in Dead Poets Society

With a box office gross of $235.9 million (via Box Office Mojo), Dead Poets Society places seventh among Robin Williams’s most successful movies, and it features one of his most inspiring characters, English teacher John Keating. The story can feel overly dramatized, but it works thanks to its talented cast of young actors supporting Williams. With its unforgettable dialogue, Dead Poets Society still holds relevance to modern viewers, intertwining a beautiful story with an intense undertone that keeps drawing new generations of fans.

1. Good Will Hunting (1997)

Matt Damon and Robin Williams on a park bench in Good Will Hunting

Hitting an impressively high rating of 8.3 on IMDb and a phenomenal score of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, Good Will Hunting epitomizes how the mastery of cinema can have a profound effect when a solid cast, crew, and narrative come together. Following the story of an underachieving genius as he receives guidance from a new therapist, the drama was first developed in Matt Damon’s playwriting class. Then he and Ben Affleck wrote and starred in the movie, which grossed $225.9 million at the box office (via Box Office Mojo) and earned Williams his first and only Oscar, for Best Supporting Actor.

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