Robin Williams - Rotten Tomatoes

Robin Williams

Onstage, on television, in the movies or in a serious interview, listening to and watching comedian/actor Robin Williams is an extraordinary experience. An improvisational master with a style comparable to Danny Kaye, his words rush forth in a gush of manic energy. They punctuate even the most basic story with sudden subject detours that often dissolve into flights of comic fancy, bawdy repartee, and unpredictable celebrity impressions before returning earthward with some pithy comment or dead-on observation. Born in Chicago on July 21st, 1951, Williams was raised as an only child and had much time alone with which to develop his imagination, often by memorizing Jonathan Winters' comedy records. After high school, Williams studied political science at Claremont Men's College, as well as drama at Marin College in California and then at Juilliard. His first real break came when he was cast as a crazy space alien on a fanciful episode of Happy Days. William's portrayal of Mork from Ork delighted audiences and generated so great a response that producer Garry Marshall gave Williams his own sitcom, Mork and Mindy, which ran from 1978 to 1982. The show was a hit and established Williams as one of the most popular comedians (along with Richard Pryor and Billy Crystal) of the '70s and '80s. Williams made his big screen debut in the title role of Robert Altman's elaborate but financially disastrous comic fantasy Popeye (1980). His next films included the modestly successful The World According to Garp, The Survivors, Moscow on the Hudson, Club Paradise, The Best of Times. Then in 1987, writer-director Barry Levinson drew from both sides of Williams - the manic shtickmeister and the studied Juliard thesp - for Good Morning, Vietnam, in which the comedian-cum-actor portrayed real-life deejay Adrian Cronauer, stationed in Saigon during the late sixties. Levinson shot the film strategically, by encouraging often outrageous, behind-the-mike improvisatory comedy routines for the scenes of Cronauer's broadcasts but evoking more sober dramatizations for Williams's scenes outside of the radio station. Thanks in no small part to this strategy, Williams received a much-deserved Oscar nomination for the role, but lost to Michael Douglas in Wall Street. Williams subsequently tackled a restrained performance as an introverted scientist trying to help a catatonic Robert De Niro in Awakenings (1990). He also earned accolades for playing an inspirational English teacher in the comedy/drama Dead Poets Society (1989) -- a role that earned him his second Oscar nomination. Williams's tragi-comic portrayal of a mad, homeless man in search of salvation and the Holy Grail in The Fisher King (1991) earned him a third nomination. In 1993, he lent his voice to two popular animated movies, Ferngully: The Last Rain Forest and most notably Aladdin, in which he played a rollicking genie and was allowed to go all out with ad-libs, improvs, and scads of celebrity improvisations. Further successes came in 1993 with Mrs. Doubtfire, in which he played a recently divorced father who masquerades as a Scottish nanny to be close to his kids. He had another hit in 1995 playing a rather staid homosexual club owner opposite a hilariously fey Nathan Lane in The Bird Cage. In 1997, Williams turned in one of his best dramatic performances in Good Will Hunting, a performance for which he was rewarded with an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Williams kept up his dramatic endeavors with both of his 1998 films: the comedy Patch Adams and What Dreams May Come, a vibrantly colored exploration of the afterlife. He next had starring roles in both Bicentennial Man and Jakob the Liar, playing a robot-turned-human in the former and a prisoner of the Warsaw ghetto in the latter. Though it was obvious to all that Williams' waning film career needed an invigorating breath of fresh air, many may not have expected the dark 180-degree turn he attempted in 2002 with roles in Death to Smoochy, Insomnia and One Hour Photo. Catching audiences off-guard with his portrayal of three deeply disturbed and tortured souls, the roles pointed to a new stage in Williams' career in which he would substitute the sap for more sinister motivations. Absent from the big-screen in 2003, Williams continued his vacation from comedy in 2004, starring in the little-seen thriller The Final Cut and in the David Duchovny-directed melodrama The House of D. After appearing in the comic documentary The Aristocrats and lending his voice to a character in the animated adventure Robots in 2005, he finally returned full-time in 2006 with roles in the vacation laugher RV and the crime comedy Man of the Year. His next project, The Night Listener, was a tense and erosive tale of literary trickery fueled by such serious issues as child abuse and AIDS. Williams wasn't finished with comedy, however. He lent his voice to the cast of the family feature Happy Feet and Happy Feet 2, played a late night talk show host who accidentally wins a presidential election in Man of the Year, portrayed an enthusiastic minister in License to Wed, and played a statue of Teddy Roosevelt that comes to life in Night at the Museum and its sequel Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. He would also enjoy family-friendly comedic turns in World's Greatest Dad, Shrink, and Old Dogs. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Photos

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
51% Boulevard
  • Nolan mack
2015
15% Absolutely Anything
  • Dennis the Dog
2015
48% Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
  • Teddy Roosevelt
2014
16% A Merry Friggin' Christmas
  • Mitch Mitchler
2014
67% Altman
  • Actor
2014
10% The Angriest Man in Brooklyn
  • Henry Altmann
2014
42% The Face of Love
  • Roger Stillman
2014
71% Lee Daniels' The Butler
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower
2013
7% The Big Wedding
  • Father Moinighan
2013
80% Richard Pryor: Omit The Logic
  • Actor
2013
No Score Yet Looking For Lenny
  • Actor
2012
46% Happy Feet Two
  • Ramon/Lovelace
2011
25% Certifiably Jonathan
  • Actor
2011
91% Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why is Everybody Talkin' About Him)?
  • Actor
2010
5% Old Dogs
  • Dan
2009
89% World's Greatest Dad
  • Lance Clayton
2009
44% Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian
  • Teddy Roosevelt
2009
No Score Yet Ladies or Gentlemen
  • Actor
2009
No Score Yet Robin Williams: Weapons of Self Destruction
  • Screenwriter
2009
100% Dreams With Sharp Teeth
  • Actor
2008
80% Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project
  • Actor
2008
No Score Yet History of the Joke
  • Actor
2008
No Score Yet Rona Barrett's Hollywood: Nothing but the Truth
  • Actor
2008
37% August Rush
  • Maxwell 'Wizard' Wallace
2007
7% License to Wed
  • Reverend Frank
2007
60% Fog City Mavericks
  • Actor
2007
43% Night at the Museum
  • Teddy Roosevelt
2006
75% Happy Feet
  • Ramón/Lovelace
2006
21% Man of the Year
  • Tom Dobbs
2006
41% Everyone's Hero
  • Napoleon Cross
2006
40% The Night Listener
  • Gabriel Noone
2006
81% A Prairie Home Companion
  • Himself
2006
23% RV
  • Bob Munro
2006
No Score Yet Famous - America's Finest Comedians
  • Actor
2006
30% The Big White
  • Paul Barnell
2005
79% The Aristocrats
  • Actor
2005
64% Robots
  • Fender
2005
No Score Yet The Rutles 2---Can't Buy Me Lunch
  • Hans Hankie
2004
37% The Final Cut
  • Alan Hakman
2004
10% House of D
  • Pappass
2004
29% Noel
  • Charlie Boyd
2004
No Score Yet Richard Pryor - I Ain't Dead Yet #%$#@!! Uncensored
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet An Uncommon Kindness: The Father Damien Story
  • Narrator
2003
No Score Yet BThere DVD Magazine
  • Actor
2003
81% One Hour Photo
  • Sy Parrish
2002
No Score Yet Robin Williams: Live on Broadway
  • Actor
2002
92% Insomnia
  • Walter Finch
2002
42% Death to Smoochy
  • `Rainbow' Randolph Smiley
2002
No Score Yet Fighting for Freedom: Revolution & Civil War
  • Narrator
2002
No Score Yet America: A Tribute to Heroes
  • Actor
2001
No Score Yet Chuck Jones: Extremes and Inbetweens - A Life in Animation
  • Actor
2000
No Score Yet The Directors
  • Interviewee
2000
37% Bicentennial Man
  • Andrew Martin
1999
29% Jakob the Liar
  • Jakob Heym
  • Executive Producer
1999
71% Get Bruce
  • Himself
1999
22% Patch Adams
  • Hunter `Patch' Adams
1998
54% What Dreams May Come
  • Chris Nielsen
1998
71% Deconstructing Harry
  • Mel
1997
97% Good Will Hunting
  • Sean McGuire
1997
23% Flubber
  • Prof. Philip Brainard
1997
25% Fathers' Day
  • Dale Putley
1997
No Score Yet I Am Your Child
  • Actor
1997
95% Hamlet
  • Osric
1996
50% Joseph Conrad's 'The Secret Agent'
  • The Professor
1996
17% Jack
  • Jack Powell
1996
79% The Birdcage
  • Armand Goldman
1996
No Score Yet Comic Relief VII
  • Actor
1996
48% Jumanji
  • Alan Parrish
1995
41% To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar
  • John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
1995
27% Nine Months
  • Dr. Kosevich
1995
27% Aladdin and the King of Thieves
  • Genie
1995
No Score Yet In Search of Dr. Seuss
  • Actor
1994
50% Being Human
  • Hector
1994
71% Mrs. Doubtfire
  • Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Doubtfire
  • Producer
1993
No Score Yet Comic Relief VI
  • Actor
1993
No Score Yet Andy Kaufman: I'm from Hollywood
  • Actor
1992
26% Toys
  • Leslie Zevo
1992
94% Aladdin
  • Genie
1992
71% FernGully - The Last Rainforest
  • Batty Koda
1992
38% Shakes the Clown
  • Jerry
1992
No Score Yet Comic Relief V
  • Actor
1992
No Score Yet Shakespeare: The Animated Tales
  • Actor
1992
30% Hook
  • Peter Banning/Peter Pan
1991
82% The Fisher King
  • Parry
1991
83% Dead Again
  • Dr. Cozy Carlisle
1991
No Score Yet Wish for Wings That Work
  • The Kiwi
1991
No Score Yet Opus & Bill - A Wish For Wings That Work
  • Actor
1991
No Score Yet We All Have Tales
  • Narrator
1991
88% Awakenings
  • Dr. Malcolm Sayer
1990
55% Cadillac Man
  • Joey O'Brian
1990
85% Dead Poets Society
  • John Keating
1989
No Score Yet Andy Kaufman: I'm from Hollywood
  • Actor
1989
92% The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  • King of the Moon
1989
No Score Yet Comic Relief III
  • Actor
1989
No Score Yet Rabbit Ears - The Story of Pecos Bill
  • Actor
1988
No Score Yet Free to be a Family - Marlo Thomas and Friends
  • Actor
1988
No Score Yet Will Rogers: Look Back in Laughter
  • Actor
1988
89% Good Morning, Vietnam
  • Adrian Cronauer
1987
100% Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam
  • Narrator
1987
No Score Yet Comic Relief '87
  • Actor
1987
No Score Yet Seize the Day
  • Tommy Wilhelm
1986
11% Club Paradise
  • Jack Moniker
1986
33% The Best of Times
  • Jack Dundee
1986
No Score Yet Jonathan Winters
  • Actor
1986
No Score Yet Barbra Streisand - One Voice
  • Actor
1986
No Score Yet Robin Williams Live
  • Actor
1986
90% Moscow On The Hudson
  • Vladimir Ivanoff
1984
9% The Survivors
  • Donald Quinelle
1983
79% The World According to Garp
  • Garp
1982
No Score Yet An Evening with Robin Williams
  • Actor
1982
No Score Yet Faerie Tale Theatre - Set
  • Actor
1982
No Score Yet Tale of the Frog Prince
  • Actor
1982
59% Popeye
  • Popeye
1980
No Score Yet Can I Do It...Til I Need Glasses
  • Actor
1980
No Score Yet Andy Kaufman Plays Carnegie Hall
  • Actor
1979
No Score Yet Can I Do It...Till I Need Glasses?
  • Actor
1977
No Score Yet All-Star Salute to the Improv
  • Actor
No Score Yet Comic Relief - The Original
  • Actor

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet Late Show With David Letterman
1993-2015
  • Guest
No Score Yet Real Time With Bill Maher
2003
  • Panelist
No Score Yet American Masters
2001
  • Appearing
No Score Yet The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson
2005-2014
  • Guest
No Score Yet American Idol
2002-2016
  • Appearing
No Score Yet Independent Lens
1999
  • Appearing
No Score Yet Inside Comedy
2012-2015
  • Guest
No Score Yet Jimmy Kimmel Live
2003
  • Appearing
  • Guest
No Score Yet The Talk
2010
  • Guest
No Score Yet The Tonight Show With Jay Leno
2014
  • Guest
No Score Yet Whose Line Is It Anyway?
  • Actor
  • Performer
No Score Yet Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
1999
  • Guest
55% The Crazy Ones
2013-2014
  • Simon Roberts
No Score Yet Sesame Street
1969
  • Guest
93% Louie
2010-2015
  • Robin
No Score Yet The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
2015
  • Guest
75% Wilfred
2011-2014
  • Dr. Eddy
No Score Yet Pioneers of Television
2008-2014
  • Appearing
No Score Yet Saturday Night Live
1975
  • Guest

Quotes from Robin Williams' Characters