By Anshul Tewari:
Robin Williams, Academy Award winner and one of the most versatile artists of our times, died on Monday from an apparent suicide. Williams was not just a legendary actor, with amazing comedic energy, his roles were an inspiration for many.
From Popeye to Mrs. Doubtfire, for many of us, we grew up watching Robin Williams. Here’s a look at 9 of his movies which shaped our childhood.
1. Popeye (1980)
The beloved sailor-man of our childhood was played by Robbin Williams himself. The story of his strength coming back after eating that spinach has been retold over and over through the ages and Williams’ portrayal of a tough and yet sensitive sailor who fights for the good. The action antics full with his padded arms and guffaws in the movie brought the Thimble Theatre aka Popeye comic strip by E. C. Segar back to life. The title track of the movie is still an anthem reminiscent of our childhood and Popeye shall always remain the favourite weapon of parents to inculcate the importance of eating green vegetables to their children.
2. Good morning Vietnam (1987)
“Goooooood Mooorning, Vietnaaam!” It will take us a long time to forget these words which eternalized the movie. Robbin played the role of a radio DJ in the Armed Forces Radio Services in the background of the Vietnam War. William’s immortal comedy took a new turn with his character in the movie which was an instant hit with the audiences. His unorthodox radio jockeying and personal discovery of the aspects of war which never made it to the radio shall always be a treat to watch. The film underplayed the seriousness of war but William’s humour stepped in just at the right spots and managed to make people smile.
3. Dead Poets Society (1989)
A sorely shy student is sent to his the same school as his overachieving older brother. Set in the conservative and aristrocratic Welton Academy in Vermont of 1959, it tells the story of how an English teacher (played by Williams) inspires his students through his poetry lessons. The movie was critically acclaimed and won many accolades but Robbin William’s famous speech in the movie shall always remain beyond the realms of any honour that awards can lend. There are troubles in the world but John Keating had a jolting insight to counter,
“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”
4. Hook (1991)
Hook is the story of Robert William’s heroics as Peter Pan to rescue his children from the captivity of Captain Hook. His role as a merger and acquisitions lawyer who turns to Peter Pan and battles with Captain Hook just to save his children has been one of a kind. He returned to the Never Land with Tinkerbell and reclaimed his youth and defeated his old enemy and Lost Boys’ war cry “Bangarang” was revitalized.
5. Aladdin (1992)
The revival of Disney movies’ happened in a good measure due to this fantasy animated movie. The story of a street urchin taking the help of a genie to unite with the princess has never left our hearts and it shall never will. The movie inspired two direct sequels, an animated television series, video games, toys and even a Broadway adaptation. The genie was played by Robin Williams, and he was always there at Aladdin’s rescue.
6. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
This is the story of an eccentric actor who specializes in dubbing voices has a bitter divorce with his wife but he cares too much about his three children to visit them only once a week. Played by Robin Williams, Daniel finds a way to stay in touch and not just with the kids. He disguises himself as a Scottish nanny Mrs. Iphegenia Doubtfire. Not even his children recognize him and in the process, he learns some parenting tips as opposed to his old disciplinarian attitude towards his kids.
7. Jumanji (1995)
The 1981 children’s book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg became the inspiration of the fantasy adventure movie where Robin gave another brilliant performance as the 12 year old Alan who was trapped in the board game for 26 years. Two siblings Judy and Peter begin playing the game and unwittingly caused Alan’s release and they track down Sarah to play the game once more and undo the destruction it has caused over the years.
8. Flubber (1997)
Flubber is a comedy film that wraps in elements of science fiction and a family movie smoothly within the script. Robin Williams has perfectly played the role of an absent minded professor who has successfully missed his wedding on two occasions and working on creating a substance that’s a new source of energy. He creates the substances which causes objects to fly through the air and since it looks like rubber, he decides to call it flubber. The film is a great slapstick comedy you would want to kick back with, after a hard day.
9. Good Will Hunting (1997)
Will Hunting, a 20 year old undiscovered genius with an eidetic memory is working as a janitor at the MIT. Will faces jail for assaulting a man who bullied him as a child but he escapes it in lieu of learning mathematics and seeking behavioural therapy with a therapist (played by Robin Williams). He could solve all the problems he encountered except the ones boiling under him but he met his soul mate and things changed for good. William’s insightful advice transcends just beyond his patients and hits deep in the heart when he says,
“You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.”