John Hurt

Actors

Sir John Vincent Hurt CBE (22 January 1940 – 25 January 2017) was a British actor whose career spanned more than 50 years. He came to prominence for his role as Richard Rich in Fred Zinnemann’s adaptation of A Man for All Seasons (1966) and gained BAFTA Award nominations for his portrayals of Timothy Evans in Richard Fleischer’s 10 Rillington Place (1971) and Quentin Crisp in television film The Naked Civil Servant (1975) – winning his first BAFTA for the latter. He played Caligula in the BBC TV series I, Claudius (1976).

Hurt’s performance Alan Parker’s prison drama Midnight Express (1978) brought him international renown and earned Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards, along with an Academy Award nomination. His BAFTA-nominated portrayal of astronaut Kane, in Ridley Scott‘s science-fiction horror film Alien (1979), yielded a scene where an alien creature burst out of his chest. It has been named by several publications as one of the most memorable moments in cinema history. He would spoof the scene from Alien in Mel Brooks‘s 1987 sci-fi spoof, Spaceballs.

Hurt earned his third competitive BAFTA, along with his second Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, as John Merrick in David Lynch‘s biopic The Elephant Man (1980). Other significant roles during the 1980s included Bob Champion in biopic Champions (1984), Mr. Braddock in the Stephen Frears drama The Hit (1984), with Terence Stamp, Laura del Sol, and Tim Roth; Winston Smith in Michael Radford‘s adaptation of Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) and Stephen Ward in the drama depicting the Profumo affair, Scandal (1989). Hurt was again BAFTA-nominated for his work in Jim Sheridan‘s The Field (1990) and played the primary villain, James Graham, in the epic adventure Rob Roy (1995). Other notable films include Second Best (1994), with William Hurt and Alan Cumming.

His later films include the Harry Potter film series (2001–11), Miranda (2002), with Christina Ricci, Kyle MacLachlan, John Simm, Tamsin Greig and Julian Rhind-Tutt; the Guillermo del Toro‘s Hellboy films (2004 and 2008), supernatural thriller The Skeleton Key (2005), western The Proposition (2005), political thriller V for Vendetta (2005), Steven Spielberg‘s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) the Cold War espionage film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), with Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Toby Jones, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciarán Hinds, David Dencik and Kathy Burke; Jayne Mansfield’s Car (2012), with Robert Duvall, Kevin Bacon, Ray Stevenson, Frances O’Connor, Ron White, and Robert Patrick; and Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer (2013), with Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Go Ah-sung, and Ed Harris. Hurt reprised his role as Quentin Crisp in An Englishman in New York (2009), which brought his seventh BAFTA nomination. He portrayed the War Doctor in BBC TV series Doctor Who in 2013.

Hurt was regarded as one of Britain’s finest actors; director David Lynch described him as “simply the greatest actor in the world.” He possessed what was described as the “most distinctive voice in Britain,” likened by The Observer to “nicotine sieved through dirty, moonlit gravel.” His voice acting career encompassed films such as Watership Down (1978), Ralph Bakshi‘s adaptation of The Lord of the Rings (1978), The Plague Dogs (1982), The Black Cauldron (1985) and Dogville (2003), as well as BBC TV series Merlin (2008–2012). In 2012, he was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement BAFTA Award, in recognition of his “outstanding contribution to cinema.” He was knighted in 2015 for his services to drama.

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)

Film

  • The Wild and the Willing (1962) – directed by Ralph Thomas
  • The Contact (1963) – directed by Philip Wrestler – short
  • This Is My Street (1964) – directed by Sidney Hayers
  • A Man for All Seasons (1966) – directed by Fred Zinnermann
  • The Sailor from Gibraltar (1967) – directed by Tony Richardson
  • Sinful Davey (1969) – directed by John Huston
  • Before Winter Comes (1969) – directed by J. Lee Thompson
  • In Search of Gregory (1969) – directed by Peter Wood
  • 10 Rillington Place (1971) – directed by Richard Fleischer
  • Mr. Forbush and the Penguins (1971) – directed by Arne Sucksdorff, Alfred Viola, & Roy Boulting
  • The Pied Piper (1972) – directed by Jacques Demy
  • Little Malcolm (1974) – directed by Stuart Cooper
  • The Ghoul (1975) – directed by Freddie Francis
  • La Linea del fiume (1975) – directed by Aldo Scavarda
  • The Disappearance (1977) – directed by Stuart Cooper
  • Three Dangerous Ladies (1977) – directed by Alvin Rakoff, Don Thompson, & Robert Fuest – anthology
  • Paperback (1977) – directed by David Bailey
  • East of Elephant Rock – directed by Don Boyd
  • Midnight Express (1978) – directed by Alan Parker
  • The Shout (1978) – directed by Jerzy Skolimowski,
  • Watership Down (1978) – directed by Martin Rosen
  • The Lord of the Rings (1978) – directed by Ralph Bakshi
  • Alien (1979)** – directed by Ridley Scott
  • The Elephant Man (1980) – directed by David Lynch
  • Heaven’s Gate (1980) – directed by Michael Cimino
  • History of the World, Part I (1981) – directed by Mel Brooks
  • Night Crossing (1981) – directed by Delbert Mann
  • Partners (1982) – directed by James Burrows
  • The Plague Dogs (1982) – directed by Martin Rosen
  • The Osterman Weekend (1983) – directed by Sam Peckinpah
  • Champions (1984) – directed by John Irvin
  • Success Is the Best Revenge (1984) – directed by Jerzy Skolimowski
  • The Hit (1984) – directed by Stephen Frears
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) – directed by Michael Radford
  • After Darkness (1985) – directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard & Sergio Guerraz
  • The Black Cauldron (1985) – directed by Ted Berman & Richard Rich
  • Jake Speed (1986) – directed by Andrew Lane
  • The Hunting of the Snark (1987) – directed by Mike Batt
  • Rocinante (1987) – directed by Ann Guedes & Eduardo Guedes
  • White Mischief (1987) – directed by Michael Radford
  • From the Hip (1987) – directed by Bob Clark
  • Aria (1987) – directed by Robert Altman, Bruce Beresford, Bill Bryden, Jean-Luc Godard, Derek Jarman, Franc Roddam, Nicolas Roeg, Ken Russell, Charles Sturridge, & Julien Temple – anthology
  • Spaceballs (1987)** – directed by Mel Brooks – cameo
  • Vincent (1987) – directed by Paul Cox
  • The Bengali Night (1988) – directed by Nicolas Klotz
  • Scandal (1989) – directed by
  • Michael Caton-Jones
  • Little Sweetheart (1989) – directed by Anthony Simmons
  • Windprints (1990) – directed by David Wicht
  • Romeo-Juliet (1990) – directed by Armondo Linus Acosta
  • The Field (1990) – directed by Jim Sheridan
  • Frankenstein Unbound (1990) – directed by Roger Corman
  • King Ralph (1991) – directed by David S. Ward
  • I Dreamt I Wake Up (1991) – directed by John Boorman – short
  • Lapse of Memory (1992) – directed by Patrick Dewolf
  • Dark at Noon (1993) – directed by Raúl Ruiz – aka L’Œil qui ment – Portugal/France
  • Kölcsönkapott idő (1993) – directed by István Poór
  • Monolith (1993) – directed by John Eyres
  • Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993) – directed by Gus Van Sant
  • Rabbit Ears: Aladdin and the Magic Lamp (1994) – directed by C.W. Rogers – straight to video
  • Thumbelina (1994) – directed by Don Bluth & Gary Goldman
  • Great Moments in Aviation (1994) – directed by Beeban Kidron
  • Second Best (1994) – directed by Chris Menges
  • Rob Roy (1995) – directed by Michael Caton-Jones
  • Dead Man (1995) – directed by Jim Jarmusch
  • Wild Bill (1995) – directed by Walter Hill
  • Two Nudes Bathing (1995) – directed by John Boorman – short
  • Love and Death on Long Island (1997) – directed by Richard Kwietniowski
  • Contact (1997) – directed by Robert Zemeckis
  • The Climb (1997) – directed by Bob Swaim
  • Badyta (1997) – directed by Maciej Dejczer
  • Tender Loving Care (1997) – directed by David Wheeler
  • The Commissioner (1998) – directed by George Sluizer
  • Night Train (1998) – directed by John Lynch
  • All the Little Animals (1998) – directed by Jeremy Thomas
  • A Monkey’s Tale (1999) – directed by Jean-François Laguionie
  • If… Dog… Rabbit… (1999) – directed by Matthew Modine
  • You’re Dead (1999) – directed by Andy Hurst
  • The Tigger Movie (2000) – directed by Jun Falkenstein
  • New Blood (2000) – directed by Michael Hurst
  • Lost Souls (2000) – directed by Janusz Kamiński
  • Tabloid (2001) – directed by David Blair
  • Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001) – directed by John Madden
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)* – directed by Chris Columbus
  • Miranda (2002) – directed by Marc Munden
  • Crime and Punishment (2002) – directed by Menahem Golan
  • Owning Mahoney (2003) – directed by Richard Kwietniowski
  • Meeting Che Guevara & the Man from Maybury Hill (2003) – directed by Anthony Byrne – short
  • Dogville (2003) – directed by Lars von Trier
  • Hellboy (2004)* – directed by Guillermo del Toro
  • Pride (2004) – directed by John Downer – TV movie
  • Short Order (2005) – directed by Anthony Byrne
  • Valiant (2005) – directed by Gary Chapman
  • Manderlay (2005) – directed by Lars von Trier
  • The Skeleton Key (2005) – directed by Iain Softley
  • Shooting Dogs (2005) – directed by Michael Caton-Jones – aka Beyond the Gates
  • The Proposition (2005) – directed by John Hillcoat
  • V for Vendetta (2005) – directed by James McTeigue
  • Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006) – directed by Tom Tykwer
  • Boxes (2007) – directed by Jane Birkin – aka Les Boites – France
  • Hellboy: Blood and Iron (2007) – directed by Victor Cook – straight to video
  • The Oxford Murders (2008) – directed by Álex de la Iglesia
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)* – directed by Steven Spielberg
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)* – directed by Guillermo del Toro
  • Outlander (2008) – directed by Howard McCain
  • Lecture 21 (2008) – directed by Alessandro Baricco
  • New York, I Love You (2008) – directed by Fatih Akin, Yvan Attal, Randall Balsmeyer, Allen Hughes, Shunji Iwai, Jiang Wen, Shekhar Kapur, Joshua Marston, Mira Nair, Natalie Portman, & Brett Ratner – anthology
  • An Englishman (2009) – directed by Richard Laxton
  • The Limits of Control (2009) – directed by Jim Jarmusch
  • 44 Inch Chest (2009) – directed by Malcolm Venville
  • Lou (2010) – directed by Belinda Chayko
  • A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures (2010) – directed by Ben Stassen
  • Brighton Rock (2010) – directed by Rowan Joffé
  • Ultramarines: The Movie (2010) – directed by Martyn Pick
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010)* – directed by David Yates
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)* – directed by David Yates
  • Regret Not Speaking (2011) – directed by Richard Kwietniowski
  • Melancholia (2011) – directed by Lars von Trier
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) – directed by Tomas Alfredson
  • Immortals (2011) – directed by Tarsem Singh
  • Jayne Mansfield’s Car (2012) – directed by Billy Bob Thornton
  • In Love with Alma Coogan (2012) – directed by Tony Britten
  • Sightseers (2012) – directed by Ben Wheatley – uncredited voice
  • Charlie Countryman (2013) – directed by Fredrik Bond – scenes deleted
  • Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) – directed by Jim Jarmusch
  • Swan Lake 3D – Live from the Mariinsky Theatre (2013) – directed by Ross MacGibbon
  • Snowpiercer (2013) – directed by Bong Joon-ho
  • More Than Money (2013) – directed by Markus Imhoof – narrator – documentary
  • Benjamin Britten – Peace and Conflict (2013)
  • Hercules (2014) – directed by Tony Britten – narrator – documentary
  • A.K.A. Nadia (2015) – directed by Tova Ascher
  • The Absinthe Drinker (2015) – directed by John Jopson
  • Break (2015) – directed by Nicholas Moss – short
  • Sodor’s Legend of the Lost Treasure (2015) – directed by David Stoten
  • ChickLit (2016) – directed by Tony Britten
  • The Journey (2016) – directed by Nick Hamm
  • Jackie (2016) – directed by Pablo Larraín
  • Back to Utopia (2016) – directed by Fabio Wuytack – posthumous international release
  • My Name is Lenny (2017) – directed by Ron Scalpello – posthumously released
  • The Good Night (2017) – directed by Eric Styles – posthumously released
  • Damascus Cover (2018) – directed by Daniel Zelik Berk – posthumously released

TV

  • The Playboy of the Western World (1974) – directed by Alan Gibson – TV movie
  • The Naked Civil Servant (1975) – directed by Jack Gold – TV movie
  • I, Claudius (1976) – directed by Herbert Wise – miniseries
  • Spectre (1977) – TV movie
  • Crime and Punishment (1979) – 3 episodes
  • King Lear (1983) – TV movie
  • The Storyteller (1987-1988) – 9 episodes
  • Six Characters in Search of an Author (1992) – TV movie
  • An Englishman in New York (2009) – TV movie
  • Whistle and I’ll Come to You (2010) – TV movie
  • Human Planet (2010) – documentary, 8 episodes
  • Planet Dinosaur (2011) – documentary, 6 episodes
  • The Hollow Crown: Henry V (2012) – TV movie
  • Doctor Who (2013) – 3 episodes
  • The Last Panthers (2015) – 6 episodes
  • The Pity of War: The Loves and Lives of the War Poets (2016) – TV movie