When I learned that Robin William had passed away at the age of only 63, I have to say the news hit me like that house that crushes the witch in The Wizard of Oz. Throughout his distinguished career, this man had managed to get hold of four golden globes, five Grammys, two Emmys, an Oscar, and two screen actors Guild awards.Initially, I couldn’t believe it – this genius, this entertainment God who had helped to deliver some of the happiest memories of my childhood, had gone. I was heartbroken. However, it did prompt me to look back over the time that I have spent with this amazing actor through watching and enjoying his movies over the years of my life, from comedy to drama, roles that touched my heart, to roles that still have me laughing today. With that in mind, I’d like to invite the readers of TTB to join me in paying tribute to one of the brightest stars to have lit up Hollywood, as we look through some of the dazzling highlights of his career. Goodbye Captain, and thank you for the memories.
This film contains some of the most quotable lines in William’s filmography, including stunningly heart-touching examples such as ‘No matter what anybody tells you – words and ideas can change the world’. A tale of drama, the movie is set in Vermont, within an incredibly prestigious all-boys school dedicated to providing ‘excellence’ alongside various other strict rules of tradition and discipline. Luckily, the English teacher, Mr. John Keating, approaches teaching from an unorthodox angle, inspiring his students to form their own opinions and think for themselves. Obviously, as a drama, things do not all turn out well, and one of Keating’s students commits suicide after being unable to deal with the concept of his future. Although Williams’ character is blamed for the death, his students celebrate him as an individual who truly changed their lives.
Poetry, beauty, romance, love – these are what we stay alive for.
- Good Morning, Vietnam
Anyone who has seen this movie will probably tell you how difficult it is to simply read the title without hearing Robin William’s voice booming it out inside of their head. This film earned him his very first Golden Globe, and his first Oscar nomination, dramatizing the wartime experience of a real armed forces radio service DJ named Adrian Cronauer. In the movie, Williams’ character uses comedy to entertain the troops, while simultaneously enraging his superior. Just like Robin Williams continued to lift our spirits and provide us with laughter and joy in the darkest of times throughout our lives, his character in this movie provides inspiration for the troops battling to stay alive.
What are you afraid of Dickerson? People might find out there’s a war going on?
In Good Will Hunting, Williams’ character once again acts as a fantastic inspiration. When Will Hunting, played by Matt Damon, devotes himself to completely ignoring his potential, one of his many arrests leads him to attending therapy sessions with Sean Mcquire (Robin Williams). The therapists’ unique methods finally encourage Will to start opening up and discussing his inability to commit, himself, and his friends. Eventually, Mcquire lets Will know that he has the right to let go of his tragic past and the things that weren’t his fault, prompting the audience to consider the important choices that we have made in our own lives.
Real loss is only possible when you love something more than you love yourself.
- Mrs Doubtfire
In Mrs Doubtfire, Robin Williams shows us with character Daniel Hillard, what it really means to be a truly great father – by dressing up as a woman and pretending to be a nanny. Although he may not be the most mature or responsible person in the world, his dedication towards his children is truly inspiring, and when his wife decides to take custody of the children, Daniel quickly becomes desperate. By disguising himself as Mrs Euphegenia Doubtfire, Daniel manages to stay close to his children, proving that he is willing to do absolutely anything for his kids.
But if there’s love, dear… those are the ties that bind, and you’ll have a family in your heart, forever.
This film may have made me slightly terrified of the sound of drums during my childhood, and a little bit concerned whenever I sat down to play a board game with my brother, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t absolutely exceptional. The film introduces viewers to a magical game that is so engaging it actually sucks players into it – literally. When Alan (Robin Williams) first starts playing with his friend Sarah, his turn causes him to get dragged into the game for 26 years, until Kirsten Dunst and her brother bring Alan back. Monkeys destroy everything, vines threaten to crush the house, gigantic spiders scuttle around the attack, and a hunter appears as the group struggle to finish the game and put an end to the madness. Jumanji remains one of my favourite movies, to this day.
A game for those who seek to find a way to leave their world behind
One of my favourite Disney movies of all time, Aladdin tells the tale of a fun-loving ‘street rat’ who races around the city of Agrabah, stealing bread and falling in love with Princesses. When Jafar, the obviously evil guy in the movie, takes Aladdin to the cave of wonders to retrieve a magical lamp, Aladdin ends up meeting an exciting (and somewhat eccentric) genie, who offers him three wishes. The Genie (Robin Williams) skillfully manages the many character traits of the genie, bringing light, humour and colour to an already brilliant movie.
Genie, I’m gonna miss you…
In possibly the best rendition of the ‘boy who never grew up’ I’ve ever seen, Hook features Robin Williams as the finely aged version of Peter Pan, who has developed into Peter Banning, a lawyer completely oblivious of his childhood. When Hook (Dustin Hoffman) kidnaps his children, Peter needs to get back to Neverland and save them, rekindling his relationship with Tinkerbell and the Lost Boys along the way. He learns how to be a child again, and begins to understand the importance of connecting with his kids and staying young at heart. The movie was nominated for five academy awards, and has so many brilliant moments that it’s bound to stay in the heart of anyone who watches it, forever.
To live would be an awfully great adventure.