The Best William Hurt Movies, Ranked

The critically acclaimed actor William Hurt is known by many, predominantly from his reign as leading man during the 1980s mainstream film era. The actor has received recognition for his numerous performances in Children of a Lesser God, Broadcast Newsand A History of Violencein addition to winning an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1986, for the film Kiss of the Spider Womanwhere he played an LGBTQ prisoner.

Hurt was successfully able to transform into more colorful and multidimensional roles, after gaining notoriety for his leading male status. Although Hurt had suddenly passed away, at his Portland, Oregon home in March 2022, he was reportedly surrounded by his closest family members. The great deal of work that Hurt has graced the world with will never be forgotten. He will forever be known as the actor who brought individual characters to life in a colorful, charismatic and distinctive way. These are among the most commended films from William Hurt’s long career.

7 Broadcast News

William Hurt in a suit in Broadcast News
20th Century Fox

One of the best depictions of an American television newsroom, complete with endless amounts of satire. In Broadcast News, a fellow news producer, Jane Carig (Holly Hunter), becomes extremely attracted to her anchorman colleague, while she also despises him within the work environment. If this was not terrible enough, her best friend Aaron Altman (Albert Brooks), also a news reporter, secretly falls in love with her. William Hurt plays the local news anchorman Jane falls for and is as charming and quick-witted as always in a stand-out cast.

Related: Will the MCU Replace Thunderbolt Ross?

6 The Big Chill

William Hurt jogging in The Big Chill
Columbia Pictures

In The Big Chill, a group of friends reconnects for a weekend after the funeral of their friend Alex, who died by suicide. An actor (JoBeth Williams), a doctor (Glenn Close) and her husband (Kevin Kline), a Vietnam veteran (William Hurt), and a journalist (Tom Berenger) all spend the weekend confronting the series of challenging factors that split them up in the first place. While the group faces former sacrifices, betrayals, and surprising self revelations, each of them faces unresolved issues they had with Alex, now unfinished, in addition to conundrums with each other.

5 Kiss of The Spider Woman

William Hurt with long hair meditating in prison in Kiss of the Spider Woman
Island Alive

Set somewhere in Latin America, Luis Molina (William Hurt) and Valentin Arregui (Raul Julia) become cellmates in a Southern American prison in the powerful and underrated Kiss of the Spider Woman. As a homosexual male, Luis is found guilty of participating in immoral behavior, while Valentin is labeled as a political prisoner. The two men cautiously confront each other despite their obvious differences. To mentally escape their current predicament, Luis invents various romantic movies, as Valentin struggles to keep his focus on the current situation he’s in.

4 Captain America: Civil War

William Hurt;  Thaddeus Ross
Walt Disney Studios

An onslaught of political pressures increases aft the dangerous out in the open showdowns between the Avengers and their opposition, leading to a crackdown on superheroes and their collateral damage in Captain America: Civil War. While restrictions divide the members, Captain America (Chris Evans) advocates for superheroes to roam free to defend humanity without government interference, as Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) disagrees and supports the governmental oversight.

Related: Matt Damon replaces Leonardo DiCaprio in The Good Shepherd

Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” (Hurt) Ross is currently the US Secretary of State. He was once a retired lieutenant general of the United States Army, and was responsible for the experiment that led to Bruce Banner’s accidental transformation into the Hulk. Hurt is excellent here, suitably serious in this most serious and arguably best movie in the MCU.

3 Body Heat

Body Heat
Warner Brothers Pictures

After Ned Racine (William Hurt), a deceptive lawyer, partakes in an affair with Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner), wife of a wealthy Florida businessman (Richard Crenna), Ned cultivates a plan to kill Matty’s husband so that the two can run away with his money in the great neo-noir Body Heat. Reaching out to his criminal clients for further assistance, complications arise after the revelations of double-crosses begin to take effect. This series of events leads Racine into a deeper hole than he could have ever imagined in this excellent, sensual and steamy thriller.

2 The Accidental Tourist

William Hurt
Warner Bros.

Hurt and Turner work very well together again in The Accidental Tourist. The marriage between Macon (William Hurt) and his wife Sarah (Kathleen Turner) slowly disintegrates after the murder of their young son. Sarah moves out and Macon leaves to stay with his eccentric siblings at the family home, after an abrupt accident puts him on crutches. Macon meets a kind dog trainer, Muriel (Geena Davis), who also has a son. While Muriel and Macon spark up a friendship, Sarah tries to reconcile with her estranged husband after learning of the two’s growing relationship. This leads Macon to make a difficult life decision.

1 The Good Shepherd

Leo DiCaprio and his wife in The Good Shepherd

Universal Pictures

Edward Wilson (Matt Damon) becomes a founding member of the Central Intelligence Agency, a civilian foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States, in The Good Shepherd. Under the radar and loyal to his job, Wilson comes across a series of career and personal challenges, once the country becomes deeper and deeper engraved into the Cold War. Edward is forced to confront the fact that his history of dedication to duty above his family also comes with a price. Hurt plays Philip Allen, based on Allen Welsh Dulles, the first civilian head of the CIA, with appropriate authority and gravitas.


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