It’s hard to put into words how much Robin Williams meant to some of us. He made us laugh, he made us cry, and for those of us that grew up with him, he was a defining figure in our lives. His off-the-cuff style of improvised comedy was some of the best we’ll ever know, and his more serious roles have a powerful emotional impact. Here are just a few of the movies that Robin Williams made great for us when we were kids.
No one else could have played the Genie of the lamp with such comedic intensity. Robin improvised much of the dialogue for this role. His rapid-fire jokes and commentary made him an ideal candidate for voice acting. He brought depth to the character who spent his life granting wishes while always wishing for his own freedom.
This movie gave hope to us kids with busy parents by reminding us that everyone has an inner child, and that all parents become heroes when it comes to saving their kids. In the role of a grown up Peter Pan, Robin Williams brought childlike wonder into his stern adult persona. Bangarang!
Mad science has never been more fun. The creation of Flubber, a sentient, trouble-making green goop, leads to some insane antics. It takes serious comedic talent to keep up with the Flubber, but Robin Williams pulls it off flawlessly.
The perfect blend of frightening and funny to tantalize any kid, Jumanji had Robin Williams playing a man who grew up in the jungle, transported there by a magical board game. The concept sounds silly, and plenty of laughs arise when the jungle starts coming out from the game, but there’s also a more serious side. We pity Robin’s character Alan because he lost so much during the 20 years he was trapped inside the game.
FernGully: The Last Rainforest
In a role a lot like Genie from Aladdin, Robin voices a fast-talking comedic side character, a bat named Batty, in this animated environmentalist adventure through the rainforest. Batty is a little crazy, but he still manages to help the fairies of the forest defeat the toxic creature known as Hexxus.
Night at the Museum
There’s no doubt in our minds that the Night at the Museum franchise never would have lasted as long as it did without Robin Williams playing Teddy Roosevelt. The funny and inspiring character helps bring the movie to life, even though he is technically made of wax.
Again, Robin Williams proves that parents will do anything when it comes to their kids. When his character Daniel loses the right to see his kids in a divorce, he disguises himself as the female housekeeper, Mrs. Doubtfire, so he can spend more time with them. Needless to say, his cross-dressing puts him in some bizarre situations perfect for making us laugh.
Dead Poets Society
One of Robin’s amazing talents was that he could play a serious role as well as a comedic one. As the English teacher John Keating, Robin Williams inspired his students and us viewers to embrace literature, express ourselves, and make change for the better in our lives.
Good Will Hunting
For many of us, Robin Williams feels like a mentor or a father figure thanks to the inspirational dramatic roles he’s played. In Good Will Hunting, his character Sean Maguire, a psychiatrist, befriends the lonely and misunderstood math prodigy Will Hunting and leads him toward a better life.
Only someone with a heart as huge as Robin Williams’ could play such a gentle and loving role. Robin’s role as Bicentennial Man will never grow old. The sentimental story follows the journey of a robot who learns to experience human emotions and becomes attached to the family who take him in. It’s hard to watch this movie without crying your heart out.
Robin Williams’ demonstrated a rare versatility when he played the role of Jack, a boy who ages four times faster than normal. He took on the characteristics and behavior of a child effortlessly and made us laugh and cry at the same time in the family-friendly tale.
Although Toys goes down as one of Robin Williams’ most bizarre movies, it still counts as one that defined our childhood. Robin and his signature smile gave a great performance as the toymaker who had to save his father’s toy factory from the clutches of his army general brother.
What Dreams May Come
While not exactly a movie for kids, What Dreams May Come had a significant impact on those of us who saw it growing up. In it, Robin William’s character Chris travels the afterlife, searching for his wife who committed suicide. The dark tale teaches us that love is more important than anything, even an eternity of happiness. Sometimes we have to travel through dark places all for the sake of love.
That’s what Robin did for us as his audience, and for that he deserves our utmost respect. He loved his craft, bringing joy to people and teaching them in the roles he played. Saying he had a rare talent doesn’t begin to cover it. Thank you, Robin, for all that you’ve left behind.
Robin Williams will make his final appearance in a voice role in the movie Absolutely Anything, directed by Terry Jones.