Denzel Washington, a name synonymous with excellence in acting, has graced the silver screen for decades, leaving an indelible mark on the world of cinema. From inspiring football coaches to relentless drug lords, from morally complex lawyers to corrupt cops, Washington has portrayed a diverse array of characters with unparalleled depth and charisma. In this list of the “Best Denzel Washington Movies,” we explore the cinematic gems that showcase his remarkable talent and have left an enduring impact on audiences worldwide.
10. Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017)
Our journey through Denzel Washington’s top films begins with “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” While it might not have shattered box office records, this film offers a unique role for the actor. Washington plays Roman, a brilliant attorney stuck in the 70s with a remarkable memory for past trials.
What sets this movie apart is the authenticity of Denzel’s portrayal. Roman is a legal mind who lives by the book, but when he feels slighted by the system, he takes matters into his own hands.
9. Remember the Titans (2000)
In the movie “Remember the Titans,” Denzel Washington pleasantly surprises fans with his role in a football-centered story. Yet, this inspirational film finds its roots in the true story of Coach Herman Boone, who passionately works towards integrating T.C. Williams High School in Virginia during the 70s, addressing numerous racial challenges. Denzel’s character showcases not only his intelligence but also his patience, which plays a pivotal role in uniting a divided community.
8. The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021)
Next, we have “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” an Oscar-nominated film directed by Joel Coen. Denzel Washington stars as Macbeth alongside Frances McDormand and Brendan Gleeson. This adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic tale delves into betrayal and ambition, portraying Macbeth’s relentless pursuit of power.
7. American Gangster (2007)
“Blue Magic. That’s a brand name.”
Director Ridley Scott presents one of the best drug dealer movies in cinema, “American Gangster,” with Denzel Washington taking on the role of Frank Lucas. Based on a true story, Frank rises to power in the heroin trade, revolutionizing the business by cutting out middlemen. His audacious approach disrupts the competition, making for a compelling drama.
6. Fences (2016)
Mr. Washington shines in his directorial debut, “Fences.” This dialogue-rich film, featuring a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson, focuses on the characters and their compelling stories. Washington plays Troy Maxson, a garbage collector haunted by missed opportunities and past mistakes. The film explores family dynamics and life’s challenges.
5. The Equalizer (2014)
It may seem like a standard action movie at first, but “The Equalizer” is far from ordinary. Denzel Washington portrays Robert McCall, a seemingly average man living in Boston who has a unique set of skills. When he crosses paths with a young girl in trouble, he unleashes his capabilities to help her, setting off a chain of events involving the Russian mafia. The film’s gripping storyline and Washington’s performance make it stand out.
4. Safe House (2012)
Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington star in the action-packed thriller, “Safe House.” Washington plays Tobin Frost, a former CIA operative gone rogue. Reynolds, as junior officer Matt Weston, must manage a safe house in South Africa. When Frost is brought in, chaos ensues, and the two must work together to survive. Stellar performances from the cast, including Brendan Gleeson and Vera Farmiga, make this a memorable film.
3. Fallen (1998)
“Fallen,” directed by Gregory Hoblit, is a supernatural thriller that features our celebrated thespian as a Philadelphia police detective investigating occult murders. While it didn’t perform exceptionally well at the box office, the film has gained a cult following and is considered one of Washington’s most underrated works.
2. Training Day (2001)
Showcasing Denzel Washington’s versatility, he takes on the role of Detective Alonzo Harris, a corrupt narcotics officer, in “Training Day.” The film follows a day in the life of Alonzo’s rookie partner, played by Ethan Hawke, who quickly realizes he must adapt or perish in a world of corruption and danger. Denzel’s performance earned him an Oscar, and the film remains a standout in his career.
1. Malcolm X (1992)
Topping our list is “Malcolm X,” an epic biographical drama directed and co-written by Spike Lee. Denzel Washington delivers a transformative performance as the African American activist Malcolm X. Supported by notable figures like Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, and Nelson Mandela, this film chronicles the life of Malcolm X, making it one of Denzel’s most significant and impactful works.
These films showcase the incredible range and talent of Denzel Washington, cementing his status as one of Hollywood’s finest actors.
As we conclude our journey through the remarkable career of Denzel Washington, it becomes abundantly clear why he stands as one of Hollywood’s most revered actors. Afterall, each film mentioned in this list reflects his dedication to his craft and his ability to breathe life into captivating characters. Denzel Washington’s legacy as an actor is one of unwavering excellence, and these movies serve as a testament to his enduring impact on the world of film.