Robin Williams will always be remembered as a comedy freak. His eccentric styles are skills that most actors and performers in his field can only aspire to aspire to. His portrayals of characters like Peter Pan, Mrs. Doubtfire, and the Genie secured him a reputation as perhaps the funniest character actor in Hollywood, but Williams certainly wasn’t a one-trick pony.
While his most famous “serious role” might be the phenomenal Mr. Keating of Dead Poets Society, whose understanding of poets, prose and Carpe Diem continues to resonate, Williams really does have a remarkable range that extends beyond funny vocals and dizzying presence.
10 The professor (the secret agent)
The secret agent is a spy thriller set in 19th century London. While it does feature big names like Bob Hoskins and Patricia Arquette in the lead roles, there is a Williams cameo that is far from his normal comic style.
Williams plays the professor, a mysterious explosives expert who sports a smile on his face and an armed bomb on his vest is ready to go off. He’s calm, collected, and even personable, but in the brief moments that the audience meets him, there’s an unwavering and haunting aura about his presence.
9 Mort Goldman (The Cage)
Though The cage It’s one of Williams’ comic takes, it deserves an honorable mention simply because it features him in the role of the straight man (no pun intended) alongside Nathan Lane’s drag queen character. While he does have some loud moments, Williams plays Mort Goldman with a phenomenal display of control.
It would be very easy to reverse roles, given Williams’ more colorful dynamics and style, but it definitely deserves a round of applause here.
8 Henry Altmann (The Angriest Man in Brooklyn)
Those hoping for the craziness of Robin Williams’ comic antics might be more than a little surprised with Angriest man in Brooklynn. Willams plays Henry Altmann, an irate and bitter man, angry at the world who was wrongly told he had 90 minutes to live, causing him to panic to make peace with his family and friends before he died.
It sounds comical on paper, but this is a very petty black comedy, and Henry is not the most likable character. Honestly, he’s pretty brutal compared to other Williams characters.
7 Lance Clayton (World’s Greatest Dad)
Lance Clayton is a less than wonderful father, but when his son dies from autoerotic asphyxia, Lance decides to try to cover it up by making it look like suicide and writing his son’s ‘diary’ to back up the story. However, when the magazine begins to gain media attention, Lance believes that he may have the opportunity to fulfill his dream of being a writer. What happens is a black comedy of errors.
Anyone familiar with Bobcat Goldwaith movies knows that they are designed to be awkward, but Williams really shines in this haunting role. I cannot say that the man is inflexible in his craft.
6 Dwight D. Eisenhower (The Butler)
Apart from Man of the year Y Night in the museum, Did anyone really expect Robin Williams to be such an impressive president? Dwight D. Eisenhower isn’t really a figure associated with Willams’ eccentric personality, but he really did something amazing with the role.
Williams plays Eisenhower in an oddly softer light with his interactions with Forrest Whittaker’s Cecil Gaines. Seeing the war hero president at a painter’s easel having a personal reflection with the butler is surely a different representation of such a historically important figure.
5 Jakob (Jakob the Liar)
Robin Williams in a Holocaust movie isn’t exactly something most moviegoers would ever do, but Liar Jakob is a criminally underrated entry in the actor’s filmography. Needless to say, it’s a heavy material Williams can work with, but he does it wonderfully.
Playing a Jewish prisoner in a Nazi labor camp is a difficult task for any actor, but he takes it seriously and delivers an emotional performance.
4 Andrew (bicentennial man)
Bicentennial man he doesn’t get the love he deserves, and Robin Williams’ performance is truly noteworthy. It may be a sci-fi comedy, but his portrayal of an android with severe Pinocchio syndrome is one of the most underrated roles of his career.
It has its funny moments, but Andrew is ultimately an alien character in a human world. His performance is anything but robotic, but it’s hard to see anyone other than Williams in this role. It really adds a pop of color to your silicone soul.
3 Sean Maguire (Good Will Hunting)
Hunting goodwill it was what earned Williams his well-deserved Oscar. The worn-out Sean Maguire is far from the actor’s trademark comic character, but it was this devastating performance that earned him so much recognition.
Sean, a brilliant psychologist still mourning the loss of his wife, is far from the energetic and bombastic characters the actor is used to playing, but he is by far the most profound in terms of development and emotional investment. Honest, understanding, and exceptionally insightful, how could one not want a mentor of his caliber?
two Merrit Rook (Law & Order: SVU)
A television role, but one that seems incredibly off the Williams character roster. In the episode “Authority”, Merrit Rook is a vengeful vigilante who uses his voice and audio technician training to wreak anti-authoritarian havoc on unwitting victims.
Robin Williams is the last person most would consider a psycho suspect in SVU, but he supports the writers and producers by creating a character that would use Williams’ gift for voices with malicious intent. Simply put, if Robin Williams is on board, put your gifts to use.
1 Sy Parrish (One hour photo)
Robin Williams playing a horror movie villain. In almost all respects, this shouldn’t work. However, thanks to the actor’s incredible skills, Sy Parrish goes from being friendly and unassuming to being a predator in an instant.
A lonely photo technician stalking a family through their family photos certainly sounds like nightmares, at least in the days before smartphones and cameras. But the way Williams portrays the lovable Sy going through his mental breakdown and psychosis is truly chilling.
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