One great actor and a list of memorable, interesting and by genre very different movies. Born March 20 1950 in Washington D.C. and died March 13 2022, he will be greatly missed. But his movie legacy is big and he will be remembered for his roles.
Many times Academy award nominee and once a winner, Hurt won us over with his calm and stern posture and kindness in his eyes. And with his impeccable acting skills. He peaked in the 80s, with excellent movie choices, from Sci-Fi classics to romantic dramas. But in the last few years, he became a member of one of the greatest ensambles, playing the role of Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross in the Avengers.
This is the list of 10 best William Hurt movies of all time.
10. Altered States (1980)
Ken Russell’s Sci-Fi classic is one of Hurt’s first movies. And immediately one which is difficult to forget. Weird, dark and twisted, this movie introduced us to Hurt’s ability to play peculiar characters.
It is a story of a brilliant young student and later a respected professor Eddie Jessup who has always loved conducting experiments. After seven years he decided to finish what he started as a student and resumed his work with sensory deprivation. He claims he entered an alternate physical and mental state but isn’t aware that he got himself in too deep.
9. The Big Chill (1983)
When we see the credit list with the names such as William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Tom Berenger, Glenn Close and Jeff Goldblum, we know we are in for a movie treat. And The Big Chill is that indeed. A lot of talking and discussing a movie about nothing in particular, but one of those which we could always rewatch.
We follow a group of friends who gather at a South Carolina vacation home after the funeral of one of their college friends. It is a story about missed opportunities and about the idealism we have and nurture when younger. And how everything changes when we grow older.
8. Broadcast News (1987)
Comedy, drama and romance, this movie has it all. A duo of reporters who fight for the love of their colleague. Jane Craig is the news producer who despises new trends and entertainment news. But she falls for Tom Grunnick, the pretty boy who enjoys everything sensational and new. On the other side we have the talented, but boring correspondent Aaron Altman who also likes Jane.
And we find ourselves in the middle of a verbal game of seduction where Jane has to decide between style and security. This is a smart comedy which gives us much more than plain laughs and funny situations.
7. Children of a Lesser God (1986)
One of his most iconic roles, a heartbreaking romantic drama of a talented teacher who starts teaching at a school for the deaf. He never thought that he would end up in a romantic relationship with a twenty five year old deaf cleaning lady.
It wouldn’t be such a big deal if she wasn’t an insecure girl who decided not to speak. We then witness her background, find out why she is so angry and what drove her to that decision. A sad story that shows the love of a man for a woman who doesn’t want to be helped and rescued. Hurt was nominated for an Oscar here and Marlee Matlin won it for the best female in a leading role.
6. Smoke (1995)
One more classic, once again an iconic role by Hurt. Together with his character, the one of a broken writer, we will learn a lot about the streets of New York City and its interesting residents. Harvey Keitel is unforgettable as the smoke shop owner who teaches us about little things in life.
Hurt’s Paul Benjamin slowly starts to notice what is happening on the streets around him and finds numerous anecdotes and inspiration for his writing. This is a movie about outcasts who realize that it doesn’t take much to accept what is around us.
5. A History of Violence (2005)
David Cronenberg’s masterpiece, an intense and slow crime drama which examines human behaviour and secrets we are able to keep to protect ourselves. Tom Stall is a lawyer who leads a quiet and normal life somewhere in Indiana. His life changes completely after he saves his customers and friends from a robbery.
He becomes the local hero, but also a thorn in the eye of a man who returns to his town, believing that Tom wronged him in the past. We then find out that there might be more to Tom than it meets the eye. What if there is a history of violence in him?
William Hurt received an Oscar nomination for his supporting role of mob boss Richie Cusack.
4. Avengers (Endgame)
There isn’t much that hasn’t been said about Avengers these last years. Hurt’s character Thaddeus Ross is initially connected to the catastrophe that happened to Bruce Banner when he turned into Hulk.
Ross is the Secretary of State who has to slowly accept Hulk as his ally after his subordinate Blonsky used him and all their experiments to transform into the Abomination.
It was nice seeing Hurt in something new and remember his charisma and talent. He left us with many unforgettable roles and excellent movies.
3. Dark City (1998)
This is a movie you won’t forget and you will talk a lot about it way after you’ve seen it. Extremely dark and gloomy, set somewhere in the future where mind control is normal. John Murdoch wakes up in a hotel, with no recollection of everything that happened to him in the past few hours.
He is charged and wanted for various bizarre murders and while trying to solve the puzzle, he stumbles upon an underground organisation called The Strangers whose mission is to change the city and its habitants by putting them to sleep. Murdoch needs to resolve the mystery before the same happens to him.
2. Body Heat (1981)
When we hear Hurt’s name, one of the movies that definitely comes to mind is Body Heat, a sensual crime drama about obsession. In the middle of a Florida heat wave, a shady small town lawyer Ned Racine is picked up by married Matty Walker.
Matty isn’t a satisfied and happy woman and soon starts an affair with Racine. The intensity between Racine and Matty is tangible and in combination with heat and illicitness, something which screams danger. Soon the young couple realizes that the only one standing in their way is Matty’s rich husband. And they start plotting to kill him. But it is obvious that things won’t go as planned.
1. Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)
Maybe not his best movie, but definitely a performance we’ll never forget. It brought him this well deserved Oscar for the best male in a leading role. He is fascinating here, showing us everything we like and appreciate about him.
It is a story about two prisoners and cell mates in a South American prison who need to survive their days inside. We meet Luis, masterfully played by Hurt, a trans individual who is captured for immoral behavior and a political prisoner Valentin. To escape their reality in a certain way, they choose different ways of dealing with the situation. Gradually they get to know each other and respect their life choices and world views.
Raul Julia and Wiliam Hurt are a duo that will always be stated as one of the most memorable in movie history.