Robin Williams’ Ad-Lib in ‘Good Will Hunting’ Made Matt Damon Burst Out Laughing

Robin Williams was best known for his work in high-profile comedy films, including Mrs. Doubtfire and Aladdin. Still, many of Williams’ staunchest supporters believe that he was at his best when he took on dramatic roles.

Williams was a gifted actor, with the unique ability to connect to viewers of all ages. Sadly, Williams died in 2014, when he was only 63 years old.

Although he is no longer around to impress fans with his talent, Williams is remembered as a loving, caring, talented man, with a unique ability to improvise when acting, even in complex scenes. 

Robin Williams acted in many dramatic films

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Williams got his start in the entertainment industry in the ’70s, performing stand-up comedy in clubs all around California.

Still, it wasn’t until the late seventies that Williams really began to make an impression with audiences, when he landed the role of the alien Mork in the hit TV series Mork & Mindy. A master at impressions and fast-paced comedy routines, Williams became a star in short order, and all throughout the ’80s appeared in a wide variety of film roles.

While Williams first became known to audiences as a comedian, it quickly became apparent that he had a real flair for drama. A few of his popular dramatic films include Dead Poets Society and Awakenings.

Critics, as well as viewers, acknowledged Williams’ talent, and by the mid-nineties, he was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. 

What is ‘Good Will Hunting’ about?

Matt Damon, Robin Williams and Ben Affleck
Matt Damon, Robin Williams and Ben Affleck | Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

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In 1997, Williams appeared in the film Good Will Hunting, opposite young up and coming actor Matt Damon. The film, which was written by Damon and his good friend Ben Affleck, tells the story of a janitor in South Boston, a genius who begins attending therapy and studying mathematics with an acclaimed professor.

Ultimately, through the power of his therapy sessions, Will is able to properly deal with his past as well as make plans for his future. Williams plays Dr. Sean Maguire, who is partially responsible for Will’s rediscovering of himself.

Good Will Hunting was universally praised by critics, receiving nine Academy Award nominations, including the Academy Award for Best Picture. It was the vehicle that launched Matt Damon to stardom, with industry peers recognizing his talent at both acting and writing.

Still, it was Williams who really made the biggest impression on viewers, and to this day, Good Will Hunting remains one of his most popular films. 

Robin Williams improvised a famous scene in ‘Good Will Hunting’

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Robin Williams has many touching, entertaining scenes in Good Will Hunting. However, one of the most touching and hilarious scenes involves Williams’ character, Sean, telling Will all about his late wife.

Sean starts to recount a touching anecdote about his wife, but the story ultimately turns to humor when he reveals that his wife used to fart in her sleep so loudly that she would wake herself up. The moment is peak Robin Williams — combining pathos and humor.

In a later interview for the Good Will Hunting DVD commentary track, Damon revealed that not only did Williams make up the monologue as they were filming, completely improvising the fart story, but that he and the cameraman were barely able to hold it together as Williams was telling the story. In fact, the frame visibly shakes became the cameraman was laughing so hard. The scene remains one of the most popular in the entire film — and remains proof positive that, in many ways, Robin Williams was a true genius of his craft.