The 25 Best films of William Hurt

by John Jacoby | created - 18 Oct 2011 | updated - 08 Feb 2016 | Public

Wonderful, talented actor, William Hurt, burst on the movie acting scene in 1980 in his film debut, Altered States, followed by an amazing list of film characterizations over the decade. William Hurt, was arguably, the most popular and important actor of the decade of the 80's having appeared in several important and successful films, including Body Heat, The Big Chill, Broadcast News, Children of a Lesser God, The Accidental Tourist, and his Oscar winning turn in Kiss of the Spider Woman. His acting is consistently excellent. After one of my favorite roles in "The Doctor" (1991), his career fell off considerably. Nevetheless, Hurt's run in the 80's is remarkable. Here are 25 of his best films.

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1. Body Heat (1981)

R | 113 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

77 Metascore

In the midst of a searing Florida heat wave, a woman persuades her lover, a small-town lawyer, to murder her rich husband.

Director: Lawrence Kasdan | Stars: William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Richard Crenna, Ted Danson

Votes: 25,947 | Gross: $24.06M

2. Broadcast News (1987)

R | 133 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

84 Metascore

Take two rival television reporters: one handsome, one talented, both male. Add one Producer, female. Mix well, and watch the sparks fly.

Director: James L. Brooks | Stars: William Hurt, Albert Brooks, Holly Hunter, Robert Prosky

Votes: 23,438 | Gross: $51.25M

3. The Doctor (1991)

PG-13 | 122 min | Drama

When a self-centered doctor is diagnosed with cancer, he becomes better able to get closer to his patients and understand a life outside his career.

Director: Randa Haines | Stars: William Hurt, Christine Lahti, Elizabeth Perkins, Mandy Patinkin

Votes: 4,463 | Gross: $38.12M

4. Children of a Lesser God (1986)

R | 119 min | Drama, Romance

A new speech teacher at a school for the deaf falls in love with the janitor, a deaf woman speechless by choice.

Director: Randa Haines | Stars: William Hurt, Marlee Matlin, Piper Laurie, Philip Bosco

Votes: 12,905 | Gross: $31.85M

5. Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)

R | 120 min | Drama

80 Metascore

A gay man and a political prisoner are together in a prison. The gay man narrates the stories of two fake movies and his own life.

Director: Hector Babenco | Stars: William Hurt, Raul Julia, Sônia Braga, José Lewgoy

Votes: 12,212 | Gross: $17.04M

6. The Accidental Tourist (1988)

PG | 121 min | Drama, Romance

53 Metascore

An emotionally distant writer of travel guides must carry on with his life after his son is killed and his marriage crumbles.

Director: Lawrence Kasdan | Stars: William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Geena Davis, Amy Wright

Votes: 13,330 | Gross: $32.63M

7. Too Big to Fail (2011 TV Movie)

TV-MA | 99 min | Biography, Drama, History

Chronicles the financial meltdown of 2008 and centers on Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

Director: Curtis Hanson | Stars: James Woods, John Heard, William Hurt, Erin Dilly

Votes: 12,892

8. The Good Shepherd (2006)

R | 167 min | Drama, History, Thriller

61 Metascore

The tumultuous early history of the Central Intelligence Agency is viewed through the prism of one man's life.

Director: Robert De Niro | Stars: Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Robert De Niro, Alec Baldwin

Votes: 91,631 | Gross: $59.95M

9. Syriana (2005)

R | 128 min | Drama, Thriller

76 Metascore

A politically charged epic about the state of the oil industry in the hands of those personally involved and affected by it.

Director: Stephen Gaghan | Stars: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet, Kayvan Novak

Votes: 116,894 | Gross: $50.82M

10. Eyewitness (1981)

R | 103 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Eccentric Vietnam War vet turned janitor claims to have witnessed a murder of a man tied to international political underground in order to get the attention of a TV reporter he has a huge crush on. The cops suspect his loser best friend.

Director: Peter Yates | Stars: William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Christopher Plummer, James Woods

Votes: 3,597 | Gross: $6.40M

11. Gorky Park (1983)

R | 128 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A Moscow police officer investigates a vicious triple homicide and stumbles upon a high-level international political conspiracy.

Director: Michael Apted | Stars: William Hurt, Lee Marvin, Brian Dennehy, Ian Bannen

Votes: 10,567 | Gross: $15.90M

12. The Big Chill (1983)

R | 105 min | Comedy, Drama

62 Metascore

A group of seven former college friends gather for a weekend reunion at a South Carolina winter house after the funeral of one of their friends.

Director: Lawrence Kasdan | Stars: Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt

Votes: 28,352 | Gross: $56.20M

13. Altered States (1980)

R | 102 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

58 Metascore

A Harvard scientist conducts experiments on himself with a hallucinatory drug and an isolation chamber that may be causing him to regress genetically.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: William Hurt, Blair Brown, Bob Balaban, Charles Haid

Votes: 27,076 | Gross: $19.85M

14. Smoke (1995)

R | 112 min | Comedy, Drama

70 Metascore

A Brooklyn smoke shop is the center of neighborhood activity, and the stories of its customers.

Directors: Wayne Wang, Paul Auster | Stars: Harvey Keitel, William Hurt, Giancarlo Esposito, José Zúñiga

Votes: 30,120 | Gross: $8.35M

15. Michael (1996)

PG | 105 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

38 Metascore

Two tabloid reporters checking out a report of the Archangel Michael living with an old woman find that it's true. But that's not the only surprise.

Director: Nora Ephron | Stars: John Travolta, Andie MacDowell, William Hurt, Bob Hoskins

Votes: 37,153 | Gross: $95.32M

16. One True Thing (1998)

R | 127 min | Drama

63 Metascore

A career woman reassesses her parents' lives after she is forced to care for her cancer-stricken mother.

Director: Carl Franklin | Stars: Meryl Streep, Renée Zellweger, William Hurt, Tom Everett Scott

Votes: 10,195 | Gross: $23.25M

17. Bonnie & Clyde (2013– )

TV-14 | 240 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

Based on the true story of Clyde Barrow, a charismatic convicted armed robber who sweeps Bonnie Parker, an impressionable, petite, small-town waitress, off her feet, and the two embark on ... See full summary »

Stars: Emile Hirsch, Holliday Grainger, Sarah Hyland, Elizabeth Reaser

Votes: 4,390

18. Vantage Point (2008)

PG-13 | 90 min | Action, Crime, Drama

40 Metascore

The attempted assassination of the American President is told and re-told from several different perspectives.

Director: Pete Travis | Stars: Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker, Matthew Fox, Bruce McGill

Votes: 134,962 | Gross: $72.27M

19. Into the Wild (2007)

R | 148 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

73 Metascore

After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life.

Director: Sean Penn | Stars: Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn, Catherine Keener, Marcia Gay Harden

Votes: 494,158 | Gross: $18.35M

20. Mr. Brooks (2007)

R | 120 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

45 Metascore

A psychological thriller about a man who is sometimes controlled by his murder-and-mayhem-loving alter ego.

Director: Bruce A. Evans | Stars: Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, William Hurt, Dane Cook

Votes: 132,133 | Gross: $28.48M

21. Changing Lanes (2002)

R | 98 min | Drama, Thriller

69 Metascore

The story of what happens one day in New York City, when a young lawyer and a businessman share a small automobile accident on F.D.R. Drive, and their mutual road rage escalates into a feud.

Director: Roger Michell | Stars: Ben Affleck, Samuel L. Jackson, Kim Staunton, Toni Collette

Votes: 61,541 | Gross: $66.82M

22. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

PG-13 | 146 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

65 Metascore

A highly advanced robotic boy longs to become "real" so that he can regain the love of his human mother.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, Frances O'Connor, Sam Robards

Votes: 263,418 | Gross: $78.62M

23. Winter's Tale (2014)

PG-13 | 118 min | Drama, Fantasy, Mystery

31 Metascore

A burglar falls for an heiress as she dies in his arms. When he learns that he has the gift of reincarnation, he sets out to save her.

Director: Akiva Goldsman | Stars: Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly

Votes: 46,763 | Gross: $0.02M

24. The Host (2013)

PG-13 | 125 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

35 Metascore

When an unseen enemy threatens mankind by taking over their bodies and erasing their memories, Melanie will risk everything to protect the people she cares most about, proving that love can conquer all in a dangerous new world.

Director: Andrew Niccol | Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons, Jake Abel, Diane Kruger

Votes: 101,321 | Gross: $26.63M

25. Hellgate (2011)

Not Rated | 93 min | Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

A western businessman, his Thai wife and son experience a horrible accident while visiting Bangkok. In the aftermath, they find there is a shadow world between life and death where endless darkness lies.

Director: John Penney | Stars: William Hurt, Cary Elwes, Ploy Jindachote, Paula Taylor

Votes: 680