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Mrs. Doubtfire

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Mrs. Doubtfire
Mrs Doubtfire.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Chris Columbus
Produced by Marsha Garces Williams
Robin Williams
Mark Radcliffe
Screenplay by Randi Mayem Singer
Leslie Dixon
Based on Madame Doubtfire 
by Anne Fine
Starring Robin Williams
Sally Field
Pierce Brosnan
Harvey Fierstein
Robert Prosky
Music by Howard Shore
Cinematography Donald McAlpine
Edited by Raja Gosnell
Blue Wolf Productions
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • November 24, 1993 (1993-11-24)
Running time
123 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $25 million[1]
Box office $441.3 million[1]

Mrs. Doubtfire is a 1993 American comedy-drama film directed by Chris Columbus and based on the novel, Alias Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine. It stars Robin Williams (who also served as co-producer) and Sally Field. It won the Academy Award for Best Makeup.[2] Although the film received mixed reviews during its original theatrical run, subsequent reevaluation has been more positive: the film was placed 67th in the American Film Institute's 100 Years, 100 Laughs: America's Funniest Movies, a list of the 100 funniest movies of the 20th century, and was also rated No. 40 on Bravo's 100 Funniest Movies of All Time. The original music score was composed by Howard Shore.

In 2001, a sequel titled Mrs. Doubtfire 2 began production by Bonnie Hunt. Writing for the sequel began in 2003, but it was removed in December 2006, after Williams believed the script was "useless." Production resumed in April 2014, but after Williams' death in 2014, plans for a sequel were permanently cancelled.


Daniel Hillard is a voice actor living in San Francisco, California. Daniel is doing voices for a cat and bird cartoon, and has objections to the bird smoking a cigarette. He says it teaches kids that it's cool to smoke and he will not do it. The producers tell him to either follow the script or lose his job. Daniel chooses to quit, and walks out.

Though a devoted and well-meaning father to his three young children, Lydia, Chris and Natalie, Daniel is an unreliable husband. When Daniel throws a boisterous birthday party for his son Chris, despite his wife, Miranda, saying he couldn't have one because of his bad report card, Miranda becomes furious with him and seeks a divorce. At their first custody hearing, the judge grants Miranda custody of the children, since Daniel has neither a residence nor a job.

Daniel soon learns that Miranda intends to hire a housekeeper and surreptitiously alters her classifieds form when she refuses to let him take care of the children. He then calls Miranda several times, using his voice acting to trick her into thinking that terrible job applicants are calling. He then calls as a Scottish-accented[3] nanny, whom he dubs "Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire". Impressed with her alleged qualifications, Miranda invites "Mrs. Doubtfire" for an interview. Daniel enlists his brother Frank, a makeup artist, and his partner Jack to transform him into the character.

After being further impressed by the interview, Miranda hires Mrs. Doubtfire. The children initially struggle to adjust to Mrs. Doubtfire's strict methods, but they soon begin to thrive, becoming happier and doing better in school, while Miranda is able to heal her distant relationship with her children and she and Mrs. Doubtfire become good friends. Daniel has to learn several skills to play the role convincingly, such as cooking and cleaning, and also improves himself. However, despite impressing Miranda greatly with his newfound maturity, Daniel realizes he has indirectly created another barrier, as when he asks to look after the children, Miranda insists she could never dismiss Mrs. Doubtfire, as the family's lives have been made so much better by "her." One night, Chris and Lydia learn that Mrs. Doubtfire is their father in disguise, but after the initial panic and learning why he did it, agree to keep it a secret from everyone.

Daniel also takes a job at a TV station. CEO Jonathan Lundy sees Daniel clowning around with toy dinosaurs on the set of an unsuccessful children's program on the cusp of cancellation. Impressed with Daniel's creativity, Lundy invites him to dinner at Bridge's Restaurant on the coming Friday night in order for Daniel to pitch ideas as a new host. Miranda, meanwhile, expects Mrs. Doubtfire to attend a birthday dinner arranged by romantic interest Stuart Dunmire scheduled at the same time and place.

Unable to reschedule either appointment, Daniel goes to the restaurant and tries to rotate between both dinners, changing in and out of the Mrs. Doubtfire costume in the restroom. He consumes several alcoholic beverages between the two tables and becomes tipsy. He forgets to change out of the Mrs. Doubtfire costume before returning to Lundy's table and seasons pepper (an ingredient Stuart is allergic to) on Stuart's order. When Lundy questions the costume, Daniel covers for his mistake by explaining that his alter ego is his idea for a television persona, impressing Lundy. At Miranda's table, Stuart starts choking on the pepper. Out of regret, Daniel, still in the Mrs. Doubtfire costume, administers the Heimlich maneuver. During the struggle, Daniel's mask rips off, revealing his identity. Horrified and furious, Miranda storms out of the restaurant with the children.

At their next custody hearing, despite Daniel demonstrating he has a job and a suitable home, the judge, although sympathetic, is disturbed by Daniel's behavior and grants Miranda full custody, with Daniel limited to supervised visitation once a week. Without Mrs. Doubtfire, the children again become withdrawn and depressed, and even Miranda admits their lives were so much better with "her". However, they are delighted when they see Daniel dressed as Mrs. Doubtfire hosting his own television program, "Euphegenia's House", which becomes a hit across several American cities. Miranda pays a visit to Daniel after he wraps up one episode. Congratulating him on his success, she admits that things were better when he was involved, so she decides to appeal the custody ruling. Later the kids are greeted by Daniel, revealed as their new babysitter, undisguised and without supervision. They head out as Miranda watches a Euphegenia's House episode where Mrs. Doubtfire answers a letter from a little girl whose parents are divorcing, saying no matter what arrangements families have, love will prevail.




The San Francisco house used for exterior shots of the film, photographed several days after Robin Williams' death. A fan-made tribute to Williams can be seen at its front steps.

Chicago was the studio's first choice for filming. However, as two new television shows (ER and Chicago Hope) had a lease with the city during the subsequent time period, production was relocated to San Francisco. Various locations in the city were used during filming. Parts were filmed at the studios of television station KTVU in Oakland. Street signs for the intersection near the "Painted Lady" home, Steiner and Broadway, were visible on-screen. The exact address 2640 Steiner Street 37°47′38.07″N 122°26′10.78″W / 37.7939083°N 122.4363278°W / 37.7939083; -122.4363278 became a tourist attraction for some time after the film's release.[4] Following Williams' death on August 11, 2014, the house became an impromptu memorial.[5] All interior filming for the home took place in a Bay Area warehouse converted for soundstage usage. Williams' character Daniel Hillard lived upstairs from Danilo Bakery at 516 Green Street; his children attended a school at Filbert and Taylor.

The makeup for Mrs. Doubtfire's appearance took four hours to apply.[6] Williams later recounted how he used to walk through San Francisco dressed in full Mrs. Doubtfire make-up and costume and on one occasion, visiting a sex shop to buy a large dildo and other toys.[7]

The restaurant scene was filmed at Bridges Restaurant & Bar in Danville, California.


Mrs. Doubtfire
Mrs. Doubtfire Soundtrack album cover.jpg
Soundtrack album by Howard Shore
Released December 7, 1993
Genre Soundtrack
Length 41:07
Label Fox Music
Producer Howard Shore
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 1.5/5 stars[8]
Track listing
  1. "Mrs. Doubtfire" – 2:58
  2. "Divorce" – 2:56
  3. "My Name Is Else Immelman" – 2:55
  4. "Meeting Mrs. Doubtfire" – 2:14
  5. "Tea Time with Mrs. Sellner" – 3:58
  6. "Dinner Is Served" – 2:18
  7. "Daniel and the Kids" – 2:29
  8. "Cable Cars" – 4:56
  9. "Bridges Restaurant" – 6:13
  10. "Show's Over" – 3:26
  11. "The Kids Need You" – 3:21
  12. "Figaro / Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" – 3:23

The score was composed, orchestrated, and conducted by Howard Shore. The CD was mastered by Ted Jensen. 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:


Box office[edit]

The film earned $219,195,243 in the United States, along with $222,090,952 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $441,286,195.[1] making it the highest grossing cross-dressing film.[9] It became the second highest grossing film of 1993, behind only Jurassic Park.[10][11]

Critical reception[edit]

At the time of its release, several critics compared Mrs. Doubtfire unfavorably with Some Like It Hot (1959) and others who viewed the film favorably noted its similarity to Tootsie (1982).[12]

On Rotten Tomatoes, Mrs. Doubtfire has a rating of 71%, based on 49 reviews, with an average rating of 5.8/10. The site's critical reception reads, "On paper, Mrs. Doubtfire might seem excessively broad or sentimental, but Robin Williams shines so brightly in the title role that the end result is difficult to resist."[13][14] On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 53 out of 100, based on 16 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[15]


American Film Institute lists

Cancelled sequel[edit]

In 2001, Mrs. Doubtfire 2 began being developed by Bonnie Hunt, but not until 2003 did writing begin. Robin Williams was set to return in disguise as an old nanny. Due to problems with the script, re-writing began in 2006, as Williams was unhappy with the plot, but the sequel was again "scrapped" later that year. The film was expected to be released in late 2007.[17]

In an interview for Newsday during 2006, Williams said the movie's sequel was indefinitely scrapped. Stating his reasons, he said, "The script they had just didn't work." The sequel's story involved Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire moving close to Lydia's college, so he could keep an eye on her.[18] For a brief period of time, the film was classed as "stalled", but it then seemed that the project wouldn't occur, and was even removed from the IMDb website.

In December 2006, during an interview on BBC Radio 1 by DJ Edith Bowman, Williams said that if it is not going to be done right, then it's not worth doing, and that there would not be a sequel with him in it. In August 2010, Robin Williams was featured on Alan Carr: Chatty Man, and again brought up the topic of another Mrs. Doubtfire movie. He blamed the script not being right as the reason another movie wasn't shot. He claimed the script had been written three times and failed, and there was no mention of any ongoing work on the project. Furthermore, in December 2011, during an interview by Moviehole, Williams stated again that the chances of a sequel are "highly unlikely".

In May 2013, Chris Columbus stated that "We're talking about a sequel to Mrs. Doubtfire. We've [he and Williams] talked about it, and the studio is interested in it. The thing that fascinates me about a sequel to Mrs. Doubtfire is with most actors who create an iconic character like Mrs. Doubtfire, when you come back and do that character, well, you're twenty years older so, you're not going to look the same. The cool thing with Mrs. Doubtfire is there's a character, there's a woman, who is actually going to look exactly as she did in 1993. So I look forward to seeing that trailer. I love that concept and there's no CGI. So we just need to make absolutely certain that the story is a good emotionally strong story, that there's a reason for telling it, it's not like Big Momma's House or something. It has to be as emotional and as funny."

In April 2014, it was announced that a sequel was in development at 20th Century Fox. Williams and Columbus were expected to return, and Elf screenwriter David Berenbaum was hired to write the script.[19] However, after Williams' death in 2014, plans for a sequel were permanently cancelled.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Awards for Mrs. Doubtfire. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2010-11-12.
  3. ^ "Film crimes against the Scottish accent" BBC 23 December 2013
  4. ^ Shot on This Site, William A. Gordon, Citadel, 1995, p.39.
  5. ^ "Robin Williams memorial grows outside 'Mrs. Doubtfire' house"
  6. ^ Jessica Probus. "The Actual Makeup From "Mrs. Doubtfire" Was Even More Intense Than You Realized". Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  7. ^ Christopher Hooton (2014-08-12). "Robin Williams, dressed as Mrs Doubtfire, walks into a sex shop… - News - Films". The Independent. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  8. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Mrs. Doubtfire (Original Soundtrack Album) - Howard Shore". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2014-08-05.
  9. ^ "Arts & Media". Guinness World Records 2007 (UK ed.). Guiness World Records Limited. 2006. p. 182. ISBN 1-904994-11-3. 
  10. ^ Fox, David J. (1994-02-01). "Mrs. Doubtfire' Still the Champ". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-26. 
  11. ^ Fox, David J. (1994-01-04). "Mrs. Doubtfire Takes the Holiday". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-14. 
  12. ^ "Papa's Got A Brand New Drag". Newsweek. Retrieved 2010-11-14. 
  13. ^ "Review at Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  14. ^ "Go behind the scenes with 'Mrs. Doubtfire'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-14.
  15. ^ "Mrs. Doubtfire—Metacritic". Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  16. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  17. ^ "Williams Rejects Mrs. Doubtfire Sequel". 2006-12-07. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  18. ^ Brunton, Richard (December 5, 2006). "Williams says no Mrs Doubtfire 2". Filmstalker. Retrieved February 6, 2007. 
  19. ^ Kit, Borys (April 16, 2014). "'Mrs. Doubtfire' Sequel in the Works at Fox 2000 (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 18, 2014. 
  20. ^ Sperling, Nicole (August 11, 2014). "Robin Williams leaves behind four upcoming films". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 12, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
The Player
Golden Globe: Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Succeeded by
The Lion King