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Mrs. Doubtfire is a 1993 Americanmarker comedy film starring Robin Williams and based on the novel Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine. It was directed by Chris Columbus and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It won the Academy Award for Best Makeup. The film was placed 67th in the American Film Institute's 100 Years, 100 Laughs: America's Funniest Movies (see the 100 Years Series), a list of the 100 funniest movies of the 20th century, and was also rated #39 on Bravo's 100 Funniest Movies of All Time. The original music score was composed by Howard Shore.


Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) is an out-of-work voice actor. His wife Miranda (Sally Field), an interior designer, has reached the end of her patience with their marriage and seeks a divorce due to the two of them not having anything in common anymore. Since Daniel has no steady source of income, Miranda gets primary custody of their three children, 14-year-old Lydia Hillard (Lisa Jakub), 12-year-old Chris Hillard (Matthew Lawrence) and 5-year-old Natalie Hillard (Mara Wilson) and Daniel has visitation rights limited to Saturday evenings. The news is crushing to Daniel, who adores his children.

When Daniel learns that Miranda intends to place an advertisement for a housekeeper, he requests to pick them up from school and spend time with them, but Miranda refuses. Daniel sabotages the ad that Miranda wrote, changing the numbers on the copy so he could be the only one who could call. He calls Miranda several times, posing as a series of increasingly disturbing applicants, and eventually presents the perfect applicant: a 60-year-old Englishwoman with a Scottish accent with years of experience, giving the name "Mrs. Doubtfire". Miranda is impressed enough to have "Mrs. Doubtfire" come over to the house to interview for the position.

Initially the children are hostile toward Mrs Doubtfire, particularly Lydia. However, Daniel wins them over after preparing a luxurious meal for Miranda upon her return home, delighting her and earning the trust of the children. As Mrs. Doubtfire, Daniel is able to see his children every day, giving him the opportunity to be the firm father figure that he wasn't formerly, and the change begins to work as the children respond to Mrs. Doubtfire's methods, and Miranda is able to heal her rocky relationship with the children and also with Daniel, who is now learning to be a better person and homemaker than he was before due to his alter ego.

Daniel's situation is not a perfect one, however, as he encounters several problems including igniting his fake breasts on a stove when cooking dinner, almost having his cover blown by his caseworker (Anne Haney) at his apartment, and attempting to stall his ex-wife's relationship with Stuart Dunmyer (Pierce Brosnan), her new boyfriend, who is not particularly fond of Daniel (and who has no idea that Daniel is disguised as Mrs. Doubtfire). Daniel once again asks Miranda if she will allow him to take care of their children after school, but she once again (politely) declines, saying that she could never get rid of Mrs Doubtfire, as she has made their lives so much better.

Eventually Daniel's cover is blown, as Chris walks in on him in the bathroom. He explains what he's done to Lydia and Chris, and tells them that they can't tell Miranda (as she will most likely report him to the authorities and have him banned from seeing them for good) or Natalie, as she is too young to understand and would tell her mother. Both children are happy to have their father back in their lives and agree to help maintain the pretense.

Meanwhile, at the TV station where Daniel works as a shipping clerk, his job situation is about to improve. The CEO of the television studio, Jonathan Lundy (Robert Prosky), sees him clowning with toy dinosaurs on the set of a particularly boring children's program and is impressed enough to schedule a dinner meeting to hear his ideas. Trouble brews when Daniel learns that Stuart plans to celebrate Miranda's birthday by taking the family out to the same restaurant at the same time, and that everyone expects Mrs. Doubtfire to join them.

At the restaurant, Daniel attempts to rotate back and forth between Lundy and his family, using a restroom to change back and forth from himself to Mrs. Doubtfire. He succeeds for most of the evening, but his cover is blown when he administers the Heimlich maneuver to a choking Stuart and loses his mask in the process. Miranda is outraged and humiliated to find out that her housekeeper and her ex-husband are one and the same person; she then storms out.

Returning to court due to Daniel violating his limited visiting days, Miranda receives full custody of the children as the judge is somewhat disturbed by Daniel's behavior. However, she experiences a change of heart upon realizing that her children, and she herself she admits, are all deeply unhappy without Mrs. Doubtfire and therefore Daniel. Daniel, meanwhile, becomes the star of Lundy's new television program, Aunt Euphegenia's House, where he plays Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire. Miranda pays Daniel a visit on the set one day and explains the situation to him, and decides to let him take the kids for a few hours every day after school. In the final moments of the movie, Daniel picks the kids up to spend an afternoon with them while Miranda watches an Aunt Euphegenia's House episode, where Mrs. Doubtfire says that no matter what type of living arrangement children of divorce may have, love will maintain the bond of family.



The score was written by Howard Shore. The song Robin Williams sings at the cartoon voiceover in the beginning is "Largo al factotum". Other songs featured often were chosen referencing the identity of Mrs. Doubtfire. These songs include: Additionally. these songs were featured:


Various locations in San Franciscomarker were used for filming. Parts were shot at KTVUmarker studios, in Oakland. The street signs for the intersection near the "Painted Ladymarker" home, Steiner and Broadway, were visible on-screen. The exact address, 2640 Steiner Street , became a tourist attraction for a while after the film's release. Though the film's home exteriors were impressive, its interiors were all shot on the 20th Century Fox lot. Robin Williams' divorced father character 'Daniel', lived upstairs from Danilo Bakery at 516 Green St., and his children attended a school at Filbert and Taylor.

The uproarious restaurant scene was filmed in an actual upscale restaurant, Bridges Restaurant & Bar, in downtown Danville, Californiamarker; Bridges is still in operation, but its interior has been dramatically renovated and no longer resembles the interior seen in the movie.

Box office

Box Office Revenue
United States International Total
$219,195,243 $222,000,000 $441,195,243

Awards and honors

Academy Awards
  • 1993
    • Best Makeup (Greg Cannom, Ve Neill, Yolanda Toussieng)

Golden Globe Awards

BAFTA Awards

American Film Institute recognition

Critical Response

At the time of its release, several critics compared Mrs. Doubtfire unfavorably with the movie "Tootsie" or even "Some Like It Hot." Even critics who viewed the movie favorably noted its similarity to the Dustin Hoffman and Sydney Pollack film.

As of November 2009, Mrs. Doubtfire had a freshness rating of 64% on, although a Top Critics' score was unavailable.


Mrs. Doubtfire 2 was to be a sequel to the 1993 box office hit. Writing began in 2003 by Bonnie Hunt (Cheaper by the Dozen, Cars, Jumanji). Robin Williams was set to return in disguise as an old nanny like in the first movie. Due to problems with the script, re-writing began in early 2006 as Robin Williams was allegedly unhappy with the plot. The film was expected to be released in late 2007, but following further script problems the sequel was declared "scrapped" in mid-2006.

Recently in an interview for Newsday, Williams said the movie's sequel was indefinitely scrapped. Stating his reasons, he said, "The script they had just didn't work."

Apparently, the sequel's story involved Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire moving close to his daughter's college so he could keep an eye on her.

On December 5, 2006, during an interview with BBC Radio 1 by DJ Edith Bowman, Williams said that if it's not going to be done right, then it's not worth doing and that there won't be a sequel with him in it. However, the character might return in some form some day in the future. The interview doesn't seem to have been recorded but was posted online almost immediately.

Comparisons with book

During the conversion to film, most of the characters were moderated heavily. In the book, all the main characters, apart from Natalie, tend to act in self-interest and expect a large amount of credit whenever they do otherwise. The divorce of Miranda and Daniel in the book is also much more bitter.


  2. Shot on This Site, William A. Gordon, Citadel, 1995, p.39.

See also

External links

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