Robin Williams' 15 best movies, ranked by critics

Miramax Films/Buena Vista Pictures/Fox Searchlight PicturesRobin Williams was in over 65 movies, and won an Oscar for ‘Good Will Hunting.’
  • Robin Williams, known for his brilliant comedic abilities as well as his moving dramatic performances, was in over 65 movies across 38 years, including three posthumous releases.
  • He was nominated for four Academy Awards, winning one in 1998 for “Good Will Hunting.”
  • We’ve ranked his 15 best movies, according to critic score on Rotten Tomatoes.
  • “Aladdin” and Christopher Nolan’s “Insomnia” both make the top five, but “Good Will Hunting” tops the list with a score of 97%.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

15. ‘The World According to Garp’ (1982) — 78%

Warner Bros.‘The World According to Garp’ was directed by George Roy Hill.

Williams stars as a writer who struggles with work and life as his feminist mother (an Oscar-nominated Glenn Close) becomes a cultural icon and his wife (Mary Beth Hurt) becomes unfaithful.

14. ‘The Birdcage’ (1996) — 80%

United Artists‘The Birdcage’ was directed by Mike Nichols.

This fun movie sees Williams, the owner of a gay drag club, and his drag queen partner Nathan Lane pretend to be straight so they can meet their son’s fiancee’s right-wing parents.

13. ‘One Hour Photo’ (2002) — 81%

Fox Searchlight Pictures‘One Hour Photo’ was directed by Mark Romanek.

In one of Williams’ darker turns, he plays a photo developer who targets a middle-class family after he becomes deeply, and darkly, obsessed with them.

=11. ‘The Fisher King’ (1991) — 83%

TriStar Pictures‘The Fisher King’ was directed by Terry Gilliam.

In his second collaboration with “Monty Python” alumni Terry Gilliam, Williams plays a homeless man who tries to rid himself of the guilt he feels after making a big mistake with the help of a former radio DJ (Jeff Bridges). Williams earned his third best actor nomination for this role.

=11. ‘Dead Again’ (1991) — 83%

Paramount Pictures‘Dead Again’ was directed by Kenneth Branagh.

Williams starred as Dr. Cosy Carisle in Kenneth Branagh’s star-studded movie featuring Branagh himself along with Emma Thompson, Andy Garcia, and Derek Jacobi. The movie follows a private eye who helps a woman who has lost her memory uncover more than expected.

10. ‘Dead Poets Society’ (1989) — 84%

Buena Vista Pictures Distribution‘Dead Poets Society’ was directed by Peter Weir.

In this now-classic movie, Williams earned his second Oscar nomination for playing everybody’s favourite on-screen teacher John Keating. Keating inspires a bunch of high school boys to dream bigger and better through his passionate teaching methods.

9. ‘Moscow on the Hudson’ (1984) — 86%

Columbia Pictures‘Moscow on the Hudson’ was directed by Paul Mazursky.

In this quirky movie, Williams plays a Russian saxophonist who decides to defect from the USSR when he visits a department store in the USA. He struggles to adapt to everyday American life, however.

=7. ‘World’s Greatest Dad’ (2009) — 88%

Darko Entertainment.‘World’s Greatest Dad’ was directed by Bobcat Goldthwait.

This movie is actually rated a lot higher than many expect, and isn’t just a silly comedy as the title might suggest. The film shows off Williams’ darkly comic acting chops as he plays a man who covers up his son’s embarrassing death with a fake suicide note in order to preserve his son’s integrity.

=7. ‘Awakenings’ (1990) — 88%

Columbia Pictures‘Awakenings’ was directed by Penny Marshall.

While costar Robert De Niro was the one who earned an Oscar nomination for this movie, Williams is still excellent as a determined doctor trying to help victims of the encephalitis epidemic years after the fact.

6. ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’ (1987) — 90%

Buena Vista Pictures‘Good Morning, Vietnam’ was directed by Barry Levinson.

This is another Williams movie with iconic lines and great speeches, joining the likes of “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Dead Poets Society,” and “Good Will Hunting.”

Williams earned his first ever Oscar nomination (best actor) way back in 1987 for playing a radio DJ assigned to work in the US Armed Services in Vietnam during the war.

=4. ‘The Adventures of Baron Munchausen’ (1989) — 92%

Columbia Pictures‘The Adventures of Baron Munchausen’ was directed by Terry Gilliam.

Williams first collaborated with Terry Gilliam in this movie, which, as Williams’ character the King of the Moon will show you, is as wacky as they come. The film follows the titular character in his adventures during the 18th century and against the Ottoman Empire.

=4. ‘Insomnia’ (2002) — 92%

Warner Bros. Pictures/Summit Entertainment/Touchstone Pictures‘Insomnia’ was directed by Christopher Nolan.

While “Insomnia” feels smaller than Christopher Nolan’s other mammoths like “Interstellar” and “Inception,” it’s still a gripping story exploring the same high-concept themes as Al Pacino’s detective tries to solve the murder of a teen in a town where the sun never sets. Robin Williams plays the creepy villain in this cat and mouse flick.

=2. ‘Hamlet’ (1996) — 95%

Sony Pictures Releasing‘Hamlet’ was directed by Kenneth Branagh.

Williams’ role is a small but memorable one in this definitive adaptation of the William Shakespeare play. Williams plays Osric, who is the Elsinore courtier Claudius sends to invite Hamlet to a duel with Laertes. Again, Kenneth Branagh stars and directs.

=2. ‘Aladdin’ (1992) — 95%

Buena Vista Pictures‘Aladdin’ was directed by Ron Clements and John Musker.

While Will Smith gave us a live-action version of the character, and Michael James Scott was fantastic on stage in Disney’s Broadway adaptation, Williams will always be the definitive Genie. He was so good that the filmmakers ended up crafting the entire character around Williams’ improvisations, wit, and impressions. Thus, a truly iconic character was born.

1.’Good Will Hunting’ (1997) — 97%

Miramax Films‘Good Will Hunting’ was directed by Gus Van Sant.

Williams finally won his much-deserved Oscar on his fourth nomination in 1998, taking home best supporting actor for playing the therapist who helps out maths genius Will Hunting (Matt Damon). The famous “it’s not your fault” scene is proof alone of Williams’ dramatic acting abilities, and his performance is the heart and soul of the movie. A deserving number one spot.

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