My top 10 Robin Williams performances

I know I was supposed to be doing villainous TV couples this week but the untimely passing of comedy legend, Robin Williams made me take a different tack. Although Williams probably never counted as one of my favourite actors, he is a powerful presence in movies I loved from my childhood and more recently and hearing he had passed hit me really hard. He just had a way of stealing the show even in the smallest of cameos. His loss is surely one that will be felt throughout the film industry for years to come. If anything positive can come from such a terrible loss I hope it will be that people start having more honest conversations about the devastating impact of  depression. Rest in Peace, you wonderful man. We will never forget you.

970jumanji1995hdtv720pengAlan Parrish
Film: Jumanji (1995)
“Alan Parrish: You think that mosquitoes, monkeys, and lions are bad? That is just the beginning. I’ve seen things you’ve only seen in your nightmares. Things you can’t even imagine. Things you can’t even see. There are things that hunt you in the night. Then something screams. Then you hear them eating, and you hope to God that you’re not dessert. Afraid? You don’t even know what afraid is. You would not last five minutes without me.”

birdcageArmand Goldman
Film: The Birdcage (1996)
“Armand: Yes, I wear foundation. Yes, I live with a man. Yes, I’m a middle- aged fag. But I know who I am, Val. It took me twenty years to get here, and I’m not gonna let some idiot senator destroy that. Fuck the senator, I don’t give a damn what he thinks.”


Sean Maguire
Film: Good Will Hunting (1997)
“Sean: So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that. If I ask you about women, you’d probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You’re a tough kid. And I’d ask you about war, you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, “once more unto the breach dear friends.” But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I’d ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms “visiting hours” don’t apply to you. You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much. And look at you… I don’t see an intelligent, confident man… I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you’re a genius Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine, and you ripped my fucking life apart.”

0011774.JPGJohn Keating
Film: Dead Poet’s Society (1989)
“John Keating: We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

good morning vietnam

Adrian Cronauer
Film: Good Morning Vietnam (1987)
“Adrian Cronauer: Goooooooood morning Vietnam! It’s 0600 hours. What does the “O” stand for? O my God, it’s early! Speaking of early, let’s hear it for that Marty Lee Drywitz. Silky smooth sounds, making me sound like Peggy Lee…”

Hook-robin-williams2Peter Banning
Hook (1991)
Peter Banning: You’re a… you’re a complex Freudian hallucination having something to do with my mother and I don’t know why you have wings, but you have very lovely legs and you’re a very nice tiny person and what am I saying, I don’t know who my mother was; I’m an orphan and I’ve never taken drugs because I missed the sixties, I was an accountant.
“Tinkerbell: Guess again.
[Tinkerbell takes the sheet which makes Peter trip on the floor]
Peter Banning: [disoriented] Oh, look, stars.
Tinkerbell: That’s right, Peter, second star to the right and straight on till morning.
[Tinkerbell takes Peter by the strings of the sheet]
Tinkerbell: Neverland!”

Aladdin (1992)
“Genie: But oh, to be free. Not to have to go “Poof! What do you need, “Poof! What do you need, Poof! What do you need?”. To be my own master. Such a thing would be greater than all the magic and all the treasures in all the world. But what am I talking about? Let’s get real here, that’s never gonna happen. Genie, wake up and smell the hummus.”

l_119109_438f89faDale Putley
Father’s Day (1997)
“Jack Lawrence: What happened?
Dale Putley: He poured hot coffee all over my penis. Took my clothes and he ran away.
Jack Lawrence: Don’t cry! Now where is he?
Dale Putley: I don’t know.
Jack Lawrence: I don’t like you.”

mrsdoubtfire-splshDaniel Hillard / Mrs. Doubtfire
Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
Mrs. Doubtfire: Can you help me with something, I found this outside.
[holds up Mercedes hood ornament]
Stu: Uh, yes, this is off my, uh, Mercedes.
“Mrs. Doubtfire: Off your Mercedes, dear, you own that big expensive car out there? Oh, dear. Well, they say a man who has to buy a big car like that is trying to compensate for smaller genitals.”


Lance Clayton
World’s Greatest Dad (2009)
“Lance Clayton: I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.”


  1. The Birdcage is such a hoot! I love that part when he was teaching this young actor how to dance …

    “You do an eclectic celebration of the dance! You do Fosse, Fosse, Fosse! You do Martha Graham, Martha Graham, Martha Graham! Or Twyla, Twyla, Twyla! Or Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd! Or Madonna, Madonna, Madonna!… but you keep it all inside.” LOVE that scene!

    1. Abbi

      It is an absolutely brilliant scene. I bet it was improvised as well knowing him.

  2. Great picks here lady! I LOVED him in Jumanji…and Good Will Hunting… and Genie… he was really talented. What a pity.

    1. Abbi

      It’s so terribly sad. I would have loved to have seen him in more roles.

  3. Awesome list for a true great. Still can’t believe he’s gone. Nice post!

    1. Abbi

      Thank-you. I genuinely feel gutted, which seems odd since I obviously didn’t know him but his performances were always so heartfelt and I never watched him and didn’t enjoy it. It’s a terrible loss.

  4. Damn, so sad to read! You brought up some real classics here and reminded me of how much he has done over the years. Truly a great loss to this world!

    World’s Greatest Dad is something that I have yet to see…

  5. Great list Abbi! Was thinking of doing a top ten of his films at some point too. I’m still sad about this – he seemed like a lovely guy. : ( I think instead I may re-watch & review One Hour Photo as no one mentions that film. So underrated! Have you seen that? My favorite film of his is probably actually Good Morning Vietnam. : ) Dead Poets Society is great too.

    1. Abbi

      Thanks. I think I have seen One Hour Photo but I wasn’t blown away by it. I have heard a few people mention it.

  6. Excellent list. Picked a lot of these for mine, too. Ugh. This still stings. :/

    1. Abbi

      I think it will hurt for a very long time.

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