8 of Robin Williams' movies and performances to stream right now
Robin Williams spent nearly four decades making audiences laugh, from both the stage and the screen.
In his memory, watch one of his notable performances.
In Steven Speilberg's "Hook," Robin Williams played the role he was seemingly born to play: a grown-up version of Peter Pan. The film tells the story of Peter Banning, a lawyer who grew up after being adopted by Wendy -- and whose children have been kidnapped by Captain Hook for a rematch. The trick is, Banning needs to remember how magic works to get them back. The role, Hal Hinson of The Washington Post writes, "fits [Williams] like a glove."
"Hook" is available to stream on Netflix.(Credit: TriStar Pictures/Photofest)
This Mike Nichols and Elaine May film would seem so run-of-the-mill in today's age of "Modern Family," but the tale of two gay men madly in love who raised a straight son was not often seen on the screen in 1996. "The Birdcage," the American version of the popular French musical "La Cage aux Folles," starred Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. The duo tries to convince their son's fiance's conservative parents that they are a "normal" family. James Plath of MovieMet says Williams' performance anchors the film "and keeps everyone else from taking a tumble."
"The Birdcage" is available to stream on Netflix.(Credit: United Artist Pictures)
Based on the comic strip, the 1980 live-action comedy "Popeye" stars Williams in his first major film role as the title character and Shelly Duvall as Olive Oyl. Roger Ebert wrote that audiences "immediately notice the immense forearms on Robin Williams ... they're big, brawny, and completely convincing. But so is Williams' perpetual squint and lopsided smile."
"Popeye" is available to stream on Netflix.(Credit: Paramount Pictures)
The Fisher King
The 1991 Terry Gilliam film about a suicidal radio DJ (Jeff Bridges) stopped by a homeless man named Parry (Robin Williams) seeking redemption earned Williams an Oscar nomination. New York Times film critic Janet Maslin described Williams' performance as bringing a "disarming warmth and gentleness to the fiendishly comic Parry."
"The Fisher King" is available to stream on Netflix.(Credit: TriStar Pictures)
The Big Wedding
This 2013 comedy was mostly panned by critics, despite its all-star cast that included not only Williams, but also Susan Saradon, Diane Keaton, Robert de Niro and Amanda Seyfried. Williams played the priest advising the would-be couple, a role that critic Alfonso Duralde of The Wrap says is "dialed down a notch or 10" from Williams' usually lively performances.
"The Big Wedding" is available to stream on Netflix.(Credit: Barry Wetcher)
The 1995 film, also starring Bonnie Hunt and a young Kirsten Dunst, is about a board game gone horribly wrong. Neil Simon of the BBC said the film "signaled the start of a cycle of family-oriented films in which the anarchic edge of old was supplanted by gruesome sentimentality."
"Jumanji" is available to stream on Netflix.(Credit: Bob McUnon)
World's Greatest Dad
In this 2009 film, Williams plays Lance, a failed writer turned teacher whose son dies in a humiliating accident. Lance pens a suicide note to save face. But he soon learns that getting what you want won't necessarily make you happy. Time Out's Tom Long calls the film Williams' "richest role in memory" and says "World's Greatest Dad" is a "surprisingly smart and severely twisted dark comedy."
"World's Greatest Dad" is available to stream on Netflix.(Credit: Magnolia Pictures)
Robin Williams: Weapons of Self Destruction
In 2009, Williams returned to his stand-up roots for the first time in seven years at the DAR Constitution Hall in a special for HBO. There was no topic too taboo for Williams, who joked about sex, politics, health care, his recent heart surgery, drugs and even suicide. In a now-eerie joke, Williams said "if you ever thought of jumping off a tall building, there was a guy who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. He survived, and he said this, he said 'halfway down, I thought it was a bad idea.'"
"Robin Williams: Weapons of Self Destruction" is available to stream on Amazon Instant.(Credit: HBO)