His death has reverberated around the globe, with fans and friends of Robin Williams alike expressing their deepest shock at the news of his passing. Perhaps it is the way that he left this world that is the hardest to swallow, and the loss of his life is most definitely one that many are taking hard. It’s always tough when an icon dies, and it seems that much more tragic knowing that his last few days were so dark and hopeless.
However, Robin Williams left behind a film legacy that will continue to inspire generations to come. So at this time, I would like to encourage everyone to take a moment of silence for the late-great master of laughter and relive some of his most memorable motion pictures with me.
5. The World According to Garp
Released in 1982, The World According to Garp follows the life of a Garp, a young man growing up as the son of a feminist mother and an absent father. In the movie, Robin Williams plays T. S. Garp and shows great aptitude for wrestling and writing. This inspires his mother to try her hand at writing which causes her to become a hilarious, and at times, tragic advocate for women’s sexuality. With a supporting cast that included Glenn Close and John Lithgow, Robin Williams was able to work his own magic into the role of Garp and made this movie really, really special.
4. Dead Poets Society
In 1989, Robin Williams took on the role of John Keating, an Ivy school teacher with unconventional teaching methods. In this movie, Williams created magic and inspired the minds of millions of viewers with his charisma and off-the-cuff humor. In the role of John Keating, he reminded his viewers to seize the day and the power of a really great poem.
3. The Bird Cage
Arguably, the funniest role that Robin Williams ever played, in 1996, he took on the role of a gay cabaret owner whose son is looking for his blessing to marry into a very conservative family. Gene Hackman, Nathan Lane, and Dianne West star alongside Williams in this comedy that pushes stereotypes and shows that people from very different worlds can find common ground for the sake of those they love.
2. Good Will Hunting
Robin Williams shows up as Sean Macguire, and stars opposite Matt Damon in what became a break-out role for Damon, and almost single-handedly, shot Damon and his most famous cohort, Ben Affleck, to super-stardom. In Good Will Hunting, Williams fills the role of a tough but sensitive therapist to Matt Damon’s character, a young man with an astonishing brilliance. It would be pretty safe to say that this movie would not have been the same without Williams. The movie would go on to win 2 Oscars, as well as 19 other awards and was nominated for 43 others.
1. What Dreams May Come
Hands down, this is my favorite Robin Williams role to date. Sure, he’s starred in several other movies which fared much better at the box office, but sometimes, it’s not all about the money. Sometimes, a movie just touches a nerve and resonates so deeply that it is undeniably wonderful. In this role as pediatric physician Chris Nielson, Williams, with the help of Cuba Gooding Jr. and Annabella Sciorra, was able to effectively create an endearing and magical film that leaves not a single dry eye in the house by the end.
There’s a saying that goes “life imitates art” and sometimes that can be beautifully true, and at other times, it can be so devastating. The true irony is that Robin Williams’ death is being ruled as a suicide and reveals a secret world of darkness that few realized to be real for him.
One might wonder if there is something that could have been done to prevent this senseless loss, and Williams’ death leaves a world in mourning. It almost seems unfair that a man who made so many people laugh and inspired so many people to dream a bigger dream would meet such a tragic demise. But the legacy of Robin Williams will live on through his extensive body of work that he created while alive, even though the entertainment world feels just a little incomplete now. Rest in peace, O’ Captain, my Captain.
[Photo credit: The Doctor’s Couch]