Pop Culture

Go beyond 'Garp': Watch these 6 lesser-known Robin Williams films

Maybe you hold fond memories of the late Robin Williams as Mork, Garp, and Mrs. Doubtfire, and can still quote lines from "Good Morning Vietnam," "Dead Poets Society," or "Good Will Hunting." But the prolific actor and comedian made dozens of movies, many of which didn't have the same box-office buzz.

If you're looking to remember Williams with a video rental or online streaming marathon this weekend, catch up on these lesser-known performances.

  • Slideshow Photos

    Anonymous / ABC

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014

    "Na-nu Na-nu" and "O Captain, my Captain": Robin Williams will best be remembered by the characters he played and lines he delivered.

  • Robin Williams, 1951-2014


    "Mork and Mindy"

    "I am Mork from Ork, na-nu na-nu." Robin Williams' breakout role was as happy alien Mork on the TV show "Mork and Mindy," a spin-off of "Happy Days." He played Mork, and is seen sitting on set here in April 1978.

    ABC via AP / ABC via AP
  • MORK & MINDY, Robin Williams, Pam Dawber, 1978-82, © Paramount Television / Courtesy: Everett Collec

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014


    Forever a funnyman

    Williams' Mork and Pam Dawber's Mindy were one of the most unlikely super-couples of the 1970s. They even eventually had a child, Mearth -- hatched from an egg laid by Mork and played by veteran funnyman Jonathan Winters.

    ©Paramount Television/Courtesy / Â©Paramount Television/Courtesy
  • DEAD POETS SOCIETY, Robin Williams, 1989

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014


    "Dead Poets Society"

    In "Dead Poets Society," Williams played English teacher John Keating, who dared his class to take risks and break out of the molds their families may have put them in. He encouraged his students to call him "O Captain! My Captain!"

    Courtesy Everett Collection / Courtesy Everett Collection
  • Image: Robin Williams In 'Mrs. Doubtfire'

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014


    "Mrs. Doubtfire"

    Robin Williams played the title role in "Mrs. Doubtfire." In a TODAY interview at the time, Robin Williams told Gene Shalit that creating his character had a lot to do with the makeup he wore. In April 2014, there were reports that Williams would reprise his role in a sequel.

    20th Century-Fox via Getty Images / 20th Century-Fox via Getty Images
  • Image: GOOD WILL HUNTING, Matt Damon, Robin Williams, 1997, (c) Miramax/courtesy Everett Collection

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014


    "Good Will Hunting"

    Williams, right, next to Matt Damon, won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1998 for his role in "Good Will Hunting."

    Miramax/Courtesy Everett Collection / Miramax/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014



    In the 1995 fantasy-adventure film "Jumanji," Williams is chased by a lion, fights off giant spiders and is sucked into quicksand-like floorboards.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Robin Williams, Ben Stiller

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014


    "Night at the Museum"

    Williams played President Teddy Roosevelt in the "Night at the Museum" trilogy. He finished shooting the third film, "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" earlier this year. It's set to be released Dec. 19.

    Twentieth Century Fox via AP / Twentieth Century Fox via AP
  • FLUBBER, Robin Williams, 1997, © Buena Vista/courtesy Everett Collection

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014



    In 1997's "Flubber," a remake of the 1961 Disney comedy "The Absent-Minded Professor," Williams played a professor with an ingenious, if trouble-prone, invention.

    Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection / Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
  • HOOK, Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, 1991

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014



    In the 1991 Steven Spielberg movie "Hook," Williams played a lawyer who must reclaim his past as Peter Pan, with Dustin Hoffman as the menacing Captain Hook.

    TriStar Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection / TriStar Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
  • ONE HOUR PHOTO, Robin Williams, 2002, TM & Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights rese

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014


    'One Hour Photo'

    "One Hour Photo" may have been Williams' most surprising film. In the 2002 psychological thriller, the usually affable Williams portrays a disturbed photo clerk with a creepy secret.

    20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection / 20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection
  • ALADDIN, Genie, Aladdin, 1992. (c) Walt Disney/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014



    "Aladdin" was the title character, but it was Williams' comic Genie who stole the show in the 1992 Disney film.

    Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett Collection / Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett Collection
  • GOOD MORNING VIETNAM, Robin Williams, 1987

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014


    'Good Morning Vietnam'

    The DJ Williams played in 1987's "Good Morning Vietnam" was based on a real Vietnam War soldier, but much of Williams' radio banter in the film was improvised by the actor himself.

    Touchstone Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection / Touchstone Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
  • Robin Williams, 1951-2014


    'The Crazy Ones'

    Williams starred with Sarah Michelle Gellar on the sitcom "The Crazy Ones," which ran from 2013-2014 before being canceled. Williams played an eccentric ad executive and Gellar his daughter.

    AP / AP
  • Robin Williams, 1951-2014



    Williams was strong to the finish, 'cause he eats his spinach, when he played the iconic comic-strip tough-guy in the 1980 big-screen version of "Popeye."

    AP / AP

'One Hour Photo,' 2002
By 2002, few doubted that Williams could play serious, but in "One Hour Photo" he plays scary — a photo clerk whose obsession with a family mixes with his own traumatic past to form a perfect storm of terror. There's not one Morkian gesture or giggle to remind us of the manic comedian we're used to, and the crisp and stark cinematography and subtly menacing score all combine to make this a horror film without the gore.

Why see it? Because you never thought Mork could be terrifying.

'The Fisher King,' 1991
Williams was nominated for four Oscars and won only for "Good Will Hunting," but "The Fisher King" is probably his least-seen nomination. He plays Perry, a homeless man on a quest for the Holy Grail, and with a tragic secret that ties him to co-star Jeff Bridges. Williams is as imaginative as ever, swinging between sanity and fantasy, and director and Monty Python member Terry Gilliam's distinctive style gives Williams a perfect playground of story in which to prance.

Why see it? Because Williams often intentionally acts crazy on stage, but here, that insanity has a context and a poignancy.

'Insomnia,' 2002
Williams is often frenetic and babbling, but in "Insomnia," it's exhausted cop Al Pacino who's dancing on the edge of losing it all. He's trying to solve a teen's murder in Alaska, where the long daylight hours and his own inner demons are keeping him up. And now he has to deal with creepy Williams, who shows that despite his comic persona, he does know the meaning of "understated." Williams' performance was critically acclaimed, but somehow this chilly thriller slipped under most moviegoers' radar.

Why see it? Because when Williams carefully keeps his trademark zaniness in check, you believe he can do anything, even kill.

'Awakenings,' 1990
You'll find elements of "House M.D." and "Flowers for Algernon" in "Awakenings," which features Williams as a painfully soft-spoken neurologist (based on author and doctor Oliver Sacks) who discovers a drug can seemingly revive patients (including Robert De Niro) who've been catatonic for decades. It's fascinating to see the normally bold and brash Williams as a physician so shy he backs away from his patients

Why see it? Because Williams is a much better doctor here than in "Patch Adams."

'The Butler,' 2013
If you missed the fascinating 2013 historical drama "The Butler," you should see it now, and for more reasons than Williams' brief performance. It's a fascinating trip through America's racial history. Forest Whitaker plays Cecil Gaines, who rose from a sharecropping background to serve as White House butler for 30 years under eight presidents. Williams plays the first president Gaines meets, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and it's at a pivotal time: The desegregation crisis is raging in Little Rock and Gaines himself has two sons on the verge of manhood in a nation that doesn't like the color of their skin. He's only onscreen for minutes, but Williams plays Ike as a weary man who sees in Gaines an example of why he must keep the nation together as racial issues threaten to tear it apart.

Why see it: As a reminder that Williams didn't always have to rule the screen. He could serve just as well in a small role.

'Robin Williams: Weapons of Self-Destruction,' 2008
Williams' 1986 comedy performance "A Night at the Met" is better known, but 2009's definitely-R-rated "Robin Williams: Weapons of Self-Destruction" reminds us that he never lost his edge. Swooping around the stage at Washington's DAR Constitution Hall, he gets digs in at Sarah Palin, hurricanes, cats vs. dogs, the elderly, his own heart surgery and anything else that crosses his wonderfully loopy mind. Let's just say latecomers to a Williams show should always beware.

Why see it: Because Williams' stand-up is the purest form of his terrifically inventive id.

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