William Hurt died on Sunday, sending shockwaves through Hollywood. Hurt was an unavoidable star during the 1980s and successfully became a character actor during the 1990s on both small and big screens. Many of his best films are available to stream on several platforms.
Hurt's death was announced by his son, Will. "It is with great sadness that the Hurt family mourns the passing of William Hurt, beloved father, and Oscar-winning actor, on March 13, 2022, one week before his 72nd birthday," Will's statement read. "He died peacefully, among family, of natural causes."
Hurt won an Oscar for his performance in the surprise 1985 hit Kiss of the Spider Woman, which came after his star-making roles in Body Heat (1981) and The Big Chill (1983). Hurt later earned back-to-back Best Actor nominations for his roles in Children of a Lesser God (1986) and Broadcast News (1987). His final Oscar nomination came for his supporting role in David Cronenberg's A Brief History of Violence (2005). He also had a part in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Thaddeus Ross, with appearances in The Incredible Hulk, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and Black Widow. (All of his Marvel movies, except for The Incredible Hulk, are available on Disney+.)
Many of Hurt's best films are available to stream, although Kiss of the Spider Woman is very difficult to find today. You can still see what made him a great actor though, thanks to the readily available Broadcast News and Children of a Lesser God. Here's a look at Hurt's best movies found on streaming platforms.
Children of a Lesser God (Pluto TV)
Children of a Lesser God stars Hurt as a hearing speech teacher who develops a relationship with a deaf custodian, played by Marlee Matlin. Both stars earned Oscar nominations, with Matlin becoming the first deaf performer to win an Oscar. The film was a massive hit when released in 1986, and can now be found on Pluto TV.
After making the film, Hurt and Matlin started an off-screen relationship. In her 2009 memoir, Matlin accused Hurt of being abusive. "My own recollection is that we both apologized and both did a great deal to heal our lives," Hurt said in a 2009 statement. "Of course, I did and do apologize for any pain I caused. And I know we have both grown. I wish Marlee and her family nothing but good."prevnext
Broadcast News (HBO Max)
Broadcast News is one of the best movies of the 1980s, thanks to the performances from Hurt, Albert Brooks, and Holly Hunter. Hurt stars as the charismatic, but inexperienced journalist Tom Grunick, who clashes with Brooks' Aaron Altman, a seasoned journalist who struggles under the spotlight. Hunter plays the television producer caught between the two. It earned seven Oscar nominations, but it had the misfortune of coming out during the same year as The Last Emperor.prevnext
Into the Wild (Netflix)
Hurt has a small role in Sean Penn's adaptation of Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild. He plays Walt McCandless, the father of Emile Hirsch's Chris McCandless. This is one of Penn's more acclaimed directing efforts. Although it's not a film remembered for Hurt's contribution, it is a good example of the kind of character work he excelled at later in his career.prevnext
Gorky Park (Amazon Prime Video)
Early in his career, Hurt starred in Gorky Park opposite Lee Marvin and Brian Dennehy. The movie was directed by Michael Apted and is based on the 1981 novel by Martin Cruz Smith. Hurt starred as Arkady Renko, a Russian officer who investigates the mysterious deaths of two men and one woman near the titular ice rink.prevnext
Too Big to Fail (HBO Max)
Hurt wasn't against starring in television movies. In 2011, he starred as U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in HBO's Too Big to Fail, a dramatization of the 2008 financial crisis based on Andrew Ross Sorkin's book. Hurt scored an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie. Too Big to Fail features a stacked cast with Ed Asner, Billy Crudup, Paul Giamatti, Topher Grace, Cynthia Nixon, James Woods, Tony Shalhoub, and Bill Pullman.prevnext
Body Heat (available to rent)
Body Heat is a must-see, featuring scorching performances from Kathleen Turner and Hurt. It was the first of several movies Hurt made with Larence Kasdan. Hurt plays an inept Florida lawyer who has an affair with Matty Walker (Turner) while her husband is away. Matty suggests they kill her husband so they could inherit his money and, as things usually go in film noir, everything goes wrong.prevnext
The Bill Chill (available to rent)
Kasdan's The Big Chill is one of the most iconic movies of the early 1980s and for good reason. Just about everyone in the lead cast became an even bigger superstar after the movie opened in 1983. Hurt stars as one of the baby boomers who reunite after their friend Alex takes his own life.prevnext
A History of Violence (available to rent)
Hurt's last Oscar nomination came for his supporting role in David Cronenberg's A History of Violence. The movie stars Viggo Mortensen as a diner owner who confronts two robbers, which sets off a chain of events that changes his and his family's lives. Hurt plays the crime boss Richie Cusack and does not have much screentime, but he made it count.prev