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Robin Williams: Inside The Actors Studio

165 customer reviews

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(Sep 16, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Now, the most requested episode of Inside the Actors Studio ever, the featuring Robin Williams, makes its DVD debut, its running time doubled with deleted scenes showing Williams at his most outrageous and insightful.

Bonus Features:

* All-new intro by James Lipton.

* 10 never-before-seen scenes.

"Are you thinking faster than the rest of us?" host James Lipton asks Robin Williams, who proceeds to improvise for four breakneck minutes with a pink shawl donated by an audience member. Williams brings it "on" throughout this exhilarating and exhausting 2001 interview (it's about five minutes before Lipton can even get in a question), the first two-hour episode in Inside the Actor's Studio's august history. In the "thrilling pandemonium" of this master class, the Oscar and Golden Globe award-winning actor and comedian not only crosses the line, but also hurtles himself off the cliff, and he takes his wildly appreciative audience with him. Lipton makes no attempts to reign in Williams, sticking to his signature blue cards that take Williams through his life and phenomenal career, while Williams heads into the ether with digressionary riffs, embodying a dizzying array of characters. Along the way, there are fun biographical bits (Williams was voted least most likely to succeed in high school) and nuggets of comedy wisdom (stand up comedy, he says, makes one fearless and tough as an actor). One wishes Williams dug a little deeper, especially in discussing his addiction battle (Lipton elicits no dramatic revelations or breakdown moments), but this essential episode is a tour de force that is a marvel to behold for any Williams fan or aspiring actor or comedian. A highlight of the disc are deleted interview segments from the five-hour taping, which reveal a more thoughtful side of Williams as he discusses lifting a paralyzed Christopher Reeve's spirits with a hospital room visit, the classic play Waiting for Godot, in which he costarred on Broadway opposite Steve Martin, and calling Steven Spielberg to give him much-needed comic relief during the filming of Schindler's List. As Lipton notes in his introduction, Williams here is unleashed, uncut, and uncensored. He is also, in accordance with broadcast standards, very heavily bleeped, especially when discussing his favorite profanity. --Donald Liebenson

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Robin Williams, James Lipton
  • Directors: Jeff Wurtz
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Shout Factory
  • DVD Release Date: September 16, 2008
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,260 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Doc Farmer on July 23, 2008
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I had originally given this product a single star because the technical data showed a run time of only 50 minutes. However, it looks like Amazon goofed (thankfully, not me!), and it now shows double that time (well, almost!) which look like it gives the full two-hour interview showed on Bravo. Also, there are two hidden bonus tracks - "James Lipton: Flashbacks" and "Great Moments That Didn't Make The Cut". I'm hoping the latter shows the poor shmoe who laughed himself right into an ambulance (hernia, don'tchaknow). And no, it's not the fat lady in the front row - the hernia victim was male.

When you watch, feel deep pity for poor James Lipton. I mean, he's a serious guy, and he's pitted against the Fastest Comedy Brain in the West. He shows his frustration only once, to the delight of both Mr. Williams and the audience. Williams DOES occasionally give a straight answer (and not a straight line), otherwise you'd think he needs a straight jacket. When he's serious, you can still see the twinkle in his eye. When he's NOT serious (which is most of the time), you'll swear you can see smoke curling out of his ears as the gears in his head grind at warp speed.

The only way this could have five stars is if they showed all four hours of his antics, completely uncut. That said, I'm still pre-ordering it!
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Holczer on January 6, 2009
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This was an amazing interview, and the small amount of extras they showed were fantastic. However, they admit that they took 5 hours of Robin Williams, and condensed it into 2.5 hours for this dvd. I want my other 2.5-3 hours of Robin. Amazingly, they also cut out the part I remember seeing on tv, where Robin talks about his friendship with Christopher Reeve. This was very strange.

Overall, it was excellent, hence 4 out of 5 stars. If they come out with an extended version, buy that one instead.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Inanna Arthen on January 11, 2009
Actors Studio Drama School alumnus Robin Williams was interviewed by Lipton on January 29, 2001, and the resulting episode of *Inside the Actors Studio* became one of the most popular that Bravo ever aired. In his inimitable style, Williams takes control of the evening away from his host the moment he steps onto the stage, and spends more than five hours (from which the original two-hour episode was edited) committing serial improvisation for the very entertained students. He also, when Lipton can get a word in edgewise, answers questions, discussing his childhood, different film roles and how he moved from stand-up comedy to acting.

The DVD version is extremely enjoyable. Everything that made the original broadcast episode so popular is intact, along with additional footage from Williams' live interview. It's futile to say any more about it, because Robin Williams can't be described - you just have to watch him, and repeated viewings are recommended. Sometimes he's gleefully predictable: when Lipton ingenuously asks Williams if he has an introverted side, we know exactly how Williams will respond, and we're just waiting for it. But more typically, Williams takes Lipton and us on the kind of roller-coaster ride we've come to expect from this brilliant comedian and actor. Only two things about this DVD disappointed me.

James Lipton takes up a bit too much of the allotted time, speaking for four and half minutes at the beginning of the interview. There is a dictum among writers: "show, don't tell." Lipton talks at great length, needlessly describing things we're about to see in the interview, when all we, as viewers, want is to see Williams himself.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dennis N. Russell on September 2, 2008
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One part of the interview which stands out for me, is when Robin took a scarf from a female audience member, and used it as a prop to make many hilarious examples of his amazingly quick improvisational talent. Known for his lightning fast wit, he still surprised my family with how many different examples he could come up with, for how the scarf could be used to make so many jokes. Robin's talent *was* the interview, not answering many questions; although he did answer as many as he could before he had to give in to the lure of having an audience ready & willing to enjoy his humor!

James Lipton knew going in that he was going to have a challenge keeping Robin answering questions, lol! But Robin did show the process of how he used & utilized his talent, and it was a highly entertaining and interesting interview which I will never forget.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jsquared on September 3, 2008
I love the entire series but I think that this may be one of the crowning moments. There are a lot of great interviews but Robin Williams steals the show and really lets us know why he's one of the greatest comedic performers today. If you don't like to laugh don't watch this. I was laughing out loud the entire time since Robin Williams took the stage. If you don't like this episode it's a simple fact that you don't like Robin Williams' comedy. This is a must see for anyone that loves hilarious improv. I'm definitely getting this.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By P. Rodriguez on May 29, 2009
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I have seen this show several times and I still laugh at Robin's humor and the reactions he gets. In these hard times there is not much to laugh at. I find this show is good therapy for sad and hard times. Laughter will make you forget your problems for a while and it will not effect you like alcohol or drugs. I would recommend this show for a good laugh.
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Robin Williams: Inside The Actors Studio
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