Because I’m still remembering him.
10. Flubber (1997)
Flubber was certainly made for kids. It has plenty of cheap gags and overplayed action to elicit easy laughs from young boys—which makes Williams the perfect protagonist, because even as an adult, he was a young boy. There are special effects at work here of course, but perhaps some of this scene was filmed on some sort of super strength trampoline. Whatever the case may be, it’s fun simply because it looks like he’s having just as much fun doing it as we are watching it.
9. Jack (1996)
“Make your life spectacular.”
I know he looks old and wise, but Jack is still 18 at the time of this speech, so his pensive words about shooting stars always felt a little off-putting to me. But, this speech was recently transformed into a tribute video with clips of Williams’ legendary roles and suddenly the whole “life is short” mantra is a little more tear-jerking.
8. Nine Months (1995)
“Because men can’t handle the paaaa—”
Williams doesn’t even have to be top billed to steal the show. His appearance as Russian Dr. Kosevich was painfully hilarious. Childbirth scenes in any movie are hilarious, but when your delivery doc can’t remember the word for ‘epidural’ and then faints at the sight of the needle, you know you’re in for some sidesplitting contractions.
7. Jumanji (1995)
Williams’ range is on full display here. At one moment, he’s heart-broken over the loss of his family. Not a minute later, he goes full comedy with his outrageous monkey impressions. He almost looks like one while rocking that loincloth. How in the world did they all keep a straight face?
6. Fern Gully (1992)
“I been brain-fried, electrified, infected and injectified…”
Before diving into the wonderful world of Disney, Williams’ first foray into animated voice acting was Batty Koda, the comic relief in a little Australian-American cartoon about the importance of saving the rainforest. Even though the lyrics are terrifying, ask any millennial who fell in love with the little-known film and I bet they know every word to the ditty affectionally dubbed the “Batty Rap.”
5. Patch Adams (1998)
This scene proves a fact we already knew: Laughter is the best medicine. Williams was behind many a child’s smile throughout the years, and some of his most noble actions are just now coming to light. News of his video message to a 21-year-old mother suffering from terminal cancer has spread across social media, leading others who were touched by Williams in their time of need to come forward with their stories. You can read more about them here. Williams illustrated time and again a quote from Patch himself: “Why can’t we treat death with a certain amount of humanity and dignity and decency and, God forbid, maybe even humor?”
4. Hook (1991)
“I wish I had a dad … like you.”
Rufio (“Rufio, Ru-Fi-Oooooo”) spoke what we were all thinking when were kids. Nothing is more fun than a fun dad when you’re little—I speak from experience. Williams turned Peter Banning from a cold and cranky attorney into the one and only Pan, and he did it with near effortless grace. He could fly, he could fight, he could crow—and he made us all believe in never growing up. When he’s finally reunited with Jack and Maggie … ahem, excuse me, I think I’ve got fairydust in my eye.
3. The Birdcage (1996)
“You do an eclectic celebration of a dance!”
Who knows if this quick bit was scripted or not, as both Williams and co-star Nathan Lane were prone to improvise on set—IMDb trivia states that director Mike Nichols required them to film at least one good take sticking to the script before allowing them to do so. Regardless, Williams’ spirited montage of iconic dancers always makes me laugh, particularly the Michael Kidd part. The way he moves, you can see that every bone in his body was a funny one.
2. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
“I do voices.”
Mara Wilson, who played youngest daughter Natalie in the film, recently explained in a blog post (ironically with the same title as my column) dedicated to her movie dad that most people are unaware of how this scene was supposed to be filmed: “He was a creator as much as a performer. After one of my friends posted Robin’s “impression of a hot dog” on Facebook, I realized she had no idea that wasn’t in the script. It was supposed to be a monologue where he listed every voice he could do, but he decided to take the ones he’d been given, add more of his own, and just riff for a while.” The result was a minute-long laugh fest and a true display of Williams’ uncanny vocal talents.
1. Aladdin (1992)
“10,000 years will give you such a crick in the neck!”
In the early ‘90s, an animated street rat rubbed a lamp—the resulting explosion of sparks and blue smoke was an entire generation of kids’ introduction to Robin Williams’ phenomenal comedic power. His vocal acrobatics turned the hand-drawn genie into a three-dimensional spectacle. Genie, like Robin, is simply unforgettable.
We’ll miss you, Robin … we’ll never have another friend like you.