Mrs. Doubtfire

Mrs. Doubtfire
Mrs. Doubtfire

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
Lisa Jakub
Matthew Lawrence
Mara Wilson
Pierce Brosnan
Harvey Fierstein
Music by Howard Shore
Cinematography Donald McAlpine
Editing by Raja Gosnell
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) November 24, 1993
Running time 125 mins.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $25,000,000
Box office $441,286,195

Mrs. Doubtfire is a 1993 American comedy film starring Robin Williams and Sally Field 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.[1] 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 #40 on Bravo's 100 Funniest Movies of All Time. The original music score was composed by Howard Shore.



Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) is a recently-unemployed voice actor, and a good father loved by his three children. However, he also suffers from an increasingly strained marriage to his wife Miranda (Sally Field), an interior designer who has grown to dislike her husband's child-like antics. On the day of their son's twelfth birthday, Daniel hires a local petting zoo to throw a large birthday party for his son. After receiving a complaint at work from their neighbor Gloria Chaney, Miranda discovers that Daniel has thrown the party without her consent, because their son had a bad report card. This is the last straw for Miranda, who subsequently divorces her husband. Since Daniel has no steady source of income, Miranda gets primary custody of their three children, twelve-year-old Chris (Matthew Lawrence), fourteen-year-old Lydia (Lisa Jakub), and five-year-old Natalie (Mara Wilson). Daniel has visitation rights limited to Saturday evenings. The judge, acknowledging this, agrees to consider a joint custody arrangement if Daniel can get a job and create a suitable home within three months.

When Daniel learns that Miranda intends to place an advertisement for a housekeeper, he adopts the persona of a sixty-year-old English caretaker named Euphegenia Doubtfire, and applies for the job himself. When Miranda accepts, Daniel recruits his brother Frank (Harvey Fierstein), a makeup artist, and his partner Jack (Scott Capurro), to design a costume for Mrs. Doubtfire. Though the children are initially hostile toward their new nanny, as Mrs. Doubtfire, Daniel is able to see his children every day, giving him the opportunity to be the firm father figure he wasn't before. Eventually the children begin to respond favorably to Mrs. Doubtfire's methods, and Miranda is able to heal her relationship with them and with Daniel as well, who begins to improve himself through his alter ego by learning gourmet cooking and refurnishing his new apartment.

For a while, Daniel is able to keep up the charade, despite nearly being discovered by his caseworker Mrs. Sellner (Anne Haney), and attempting to stop his ex-wife's relationship with Stuart Dunmire (Pierce Brosnan), her new boyfriend, who is not particularly fond of Daniel.

Ultimately, Daniel's cover is blown when Chris walks in on him in the bathroom by accident. He explains to Lydia and Chris what he has done, and tells them that they cannot tell Miranda, because Miranda would put Daniel in jail, or Natalie, as she is too young to understand and would possibly tell Miranda. 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, the station's CEO Jonathan Lundy (Robert Prosky) sees him clowning with toy dinosaurs on the set of a children's program and is impressed enough to schedule a dinner meeting to hear his ideas. Stuart plans to celebrate Miranda's birthday by taking the family out to the same restaurant at the same time, and everyone expects Mrs. Doubtfire to join them. Daniel tries to postpone his dinner with Lundy, but Lundy is booked for two months, and Lundy's secretary advises him not to cancel the appointment.

At the restaurant, Daniel attempts to rotate back and forth between Lundy and his family, using the restroom to change back and forth from himself to Doubtfire. At one point, Daniel dumps cayenne pepper on Stuart's order of jambalaya, an ingredient that he is allergic to, not realizing the potential consequences of this action. He also becomes increasingly intoxicated throughout the evening and forgets to remove his costume before returning to Lundy's table. He covers for the mistake by explaining to Lundy that his alter ego is merely his idea for a new TV persona. Lundy is once again impressed, and agrees to develop the character into a possible television program.

At that moment, Daniel notices that Stuart is choking on the pepper and administers the Heimlich maneuver. However, part of his mask peels off, revealing part of his real face in the process, and Miranda is horrified to discover his identity. As a result, Miranda receives full custody of the children. Despite his impassioned plea that the motive was solely for the love of his children, the judge, believing his actions to be the result of insanity, restricts Daniel's visitation rights by ordering him to undergo supervised visits, only once a week. Miranda is equally appalled by this, but says nothing. Meanwhile, as Mrs. Doubtfire, he becomes the star of Lundy's new television program, "Euphegenia's House". It quickly becomes the highest-rated program in its timeslot, creating the possibility that the show will be aired nationwide.

Upon seeing how unhappy she and the children are without Mrs. Doubtfire in their lives, Miranda pays Daniel a visit on the set and tells him that she doesn't want to keep hurting the children over the custody issues, and, as a surprise for the kids, invites him back as their caretaker. Daniel picks the kids up to spend an afternoon with them, while Miranda, smiling, watches an episode of Daniel's show in which Mrs. Doubtfire answers a letter from another child of divorce asking for advice. She explains that no matter what type of living arrangement such children may have, love will maintain the bond of the family.



The score was composed, orchestrated, and conducted 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:


Chicago was the studio's first choice for filming. However, two new television shows (ER and Chicago Hope) had a lease with the city around the same time period, and they eventually went with San Francisco. Various locations in San Francisco were used for filming. Parts were shot at the studios of television station KTVU in Oakland. The 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 a while after the film's release.[2] Though the film's home exteriors were impressive, its interiors were all shot in a warehouse in the Bay area that was turned into a soundstage. 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 restaurant scene was filmed in an actual upscale restaurant, Bridges Restaurant & Bar, in downtown Danville, California; Bridges is still in operation.


Box office

The film was a huge box office success. It became the second biggest film of 1993, behind only Jurassic Park.[3][4]

Critical Reception

The film received mixed to positive reviews. At the time of its release, several critics compared Mrs. Doubtfire unfavorably with Some Like It Hot (1959), and others who viewed the movie favorably noted its similarity to Tootsie (1982).[5]

Mrs. Doubtfire has a "fresh" rating of 69% with an average score of 5.8 out of 10 on Rotten Tomatoes.[6][7]


BAFTA Awards

American Film Institute Lists


Writing of a sequel, Mrs. Doubtfire 2, began in 2003 by actress Bonnie Hunt (Beethoven, Cheaper by the Dozen, Jerry Maguire). Robin Williams was set to return in disguise as an old nanny, similar to 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.[9]

The sequel's story involved Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire moving close to his daughter's college so he could keep an eye on her. 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."[10]

On December 5, 2006, during an interview with BBC Radio 1 by DJ Edith Bowman, Williams said that if it is not going to be done right, then it is not worth doing and that there will not be a sequel with him in it. However, the character might return in some form some day in the future. The interview does not seem to have been recorded but was posted online almost immediately.[10]

In August 2010, Robin Williams was featured on Alan Carr's 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.

Comparisons with book

During the conversion to film, most of the characters were modified 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. While Natalie is the only child left out of the loop in the film, she is the first to find out in the novel. The divorce of Miranda and Daniel in the book is also much more bitter. The scene at dinner where Daniel becomes angry at Miranda's early arrival is present in the book but takes place prior to Daniel becoming Mrs Doubtfire, while the references to Miranda getting diseases and Lydia telling him to stop it are present in both the book and film. Daniel does not swear in that scene in the book although he is reluctant to let the kids leave straight away as in the movie.


See also

External links

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

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mrs. Doubtfire — Título Señora Doubtfire (España) Papá por siempre (Hispanoamérica) Ficha técnica Dirección Chris Columbus Fotografía Fotografía …   Wikipedia Español

  • Mrs. Doubtfire — (conocida en Latinoamérica como Papá Por Siempre. Atención: La siguiente información contiene detalles de la trama. El filme relata la historia de un divorcio, el padre de familia, (interpretado por Robin Williams), por la necesidad de ver a sus… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Mrs. Doubtfire — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel Mrs. Doubtfire – Das stachelige Kindermädchen Originaltitel Mrs. Doubtfire …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mrs. Doubtfire — Madame Doubtfire Madame Doubtfire Titre original Mrs. Doubtfire Réalisation Chris Columbus Acteurs principaux Robin Williams Sally Field Pierce Brosnan Harvey Fierstein Scénario Anne Fine (roman) Randi Mayem Singer (adaptation …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mrs Doubtfire — Madame Doubtfire Madame Doubtfire Titre original Mrs. Doubtfire Réalisation Chris Columbus Acteurs principaux Robin Williams Sally Field Pierce Brosnan Harvey Fierstein Scénario Anne Fine (roman) Randi Mayem Singer (adaptation …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mrs. Doubtfire - Das stachelige Kindermädchen — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel: Mrs. Doubtfire – Das stachelige Kindermädchen Originaltitel: Mrs. Doubtfire Produktionsland: USA Erscheinungsjahr: 1993 Länge: 120 Minuten Originalsprache: englisch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mrs. Doubtfire – Das stachelige Kindermädchen — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel: Mrs. Doubtfire – Das stachelige Kindermädchen Originaltitel: Mrs. Doubtfire Produktionsland: USA Erscheinungsjahr: 1993 Länge: 120 Minuten Originalsprache: englisch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Madame Doubtfire —  Pour l’article homonyme, voir Madame Doubtfire (théâtre).  Madame Doubtfire Données clés Titre original Mrs. Doubtfire Réalisation Chris Columbus …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mme Doubtfire — Madame Doubtfire Madame Doubtfire Titre original Mrs. Doubtfire Réalisation Chris Columbus Acteurs principaux Robin Williams Sally Field Pierce Brosnan Harvey Fierstein Scénario Anne Fine (roman) Randi Mayem Singer (adaptation …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Madame Doubtfire — infobox Book | name = Madame Doubtfire title orig = translator = image caption = author = Anne Fine cover artist = Bob Lea country = United Kingdom flagicon|UK language = English series = genre = Young Adult publisher = Hamish Hamilton release… …   Wikipedia

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