The Films of William Hurt

Maybe it’s the steely gaze, but William Hurt seems to have played more than his share of docs, profs and other cerebral types. But he has also played an ebullient dreamer whose imagination can’t be imprisoned and a shallow but telegenic climber who instinctively manipulates his medium. His films, all of which are available on video:

Altered States (1980). Hurt made his debut in this film, adapted--and then disowned--by Paddy Chayefsky, from his novel about a brilliant scientist who experiments on himself.

Eyewitness (1981). Hurt is a janitor infatuated with a beautiful TV reporter.

Body Heat (1981). Hurt plays a lust-addled Florida lawyer of dubious ethics whose affair with a voluptuous woman (Kathleen Turner) puts him in the middle of a murder. Directed by Lawrence Kasdan.


The Big Chill (1983). Hurt is one of the old college friends who reunite at a funeral; also stars Tom Berenger, Glenn Close and Kevin Kline.

Gorky Park (1983). Hurt plays Arkady Renko, a stand-up cop in pre- glasnost Moscow, on the trail of a killer who has left his victim in the park of the film’s title.

Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985). This adaptation of Manuel Puig’s novel, now a musical on Broadway, starred Hurt as Molina, a gay window dresser who shares a cell with a tortured political prisoner, played by Raul Julia. Hurt won the Oscar for best actor.

Children of a Lesser God (1986). Hurt and Marlee Matlin, who won best actress Oscar, are appealing as a couple whose love is tested by their differences.


Broadcast News (1987). Hurt is the pretty but shallow anchorman who tantalizes the smart, principled producer played by Holly Hunter. Written and directed by James L. Brooks.

A Time of Destiny (1988). Hurt and Timothy Hutton are World War II GIs whose friendship is tried by tragedy.

The Accidental Tourist (1988). A faithful adaptation of Anne Tyler’s novel about a travel writer for the journey-phobic whose life and marriage are destroyed by the death of his son. With Geena Davis and Kathleen Turner.

I Love You to Death (1990). Hurt and a pre-hunk Keanu Reeves are Harlan and Marlon, two dim-witted cousins who agree to be hit men.


Alice (1990). Hurt is the title character’s uncaring husband in this Woody Allen comedy tinged with the supernatural.

The Doctor (1991). Hurt plays an arrogant surgeon who gets a taste of his own impersonal medicine when he is diagnosed with cancer.

Until the End of the World (1991). It’s 1999. The world is on the brink of nuclear confrontation; Hurt is a mystery man who travels the globe with a special camera that uses the operator’s emotional response to capture images.

The Plague (1992). Based on Albert Camus’ story of a town beset by bubonic plague, but updated and moved from Algeria to South America.


Mr. Wonderful (1993). In a cameo, Hurt is a married professor having an affair with his divorced student, played by Annabella Sciorra.