Whether the genre is thriller, love, comedy, drama or action, and the role may involve him playing a teacher, a comedian, a gangster, or a typical romantic hero, Denzel Washington is one of the most versatile actors ever. Denzel has devoted more than 30 years of his life to this industry and has pretty much played everything possible. He has earned two Academy Awards and exceeded a billion dollars in box-office grosses. To prepare a list of the best Denzel Washington movies would not be a cake-walk since he has done amazing roles and it is difficult to choose and claim the best out of all his schmaltz work. Let’s take a fresh look at some of the best Denzel Washington movies.
#1 Much Ado About Nothing
This 1993, Denzel Washington film, starred Denzel in a lee-serious role. He was the matchmaker prince Don Pedro, a role which was full of grace and splendour, and had to be carried with great amount of dignity. And Denzel definitely did justice to his character. The Shakespearean adaptation would not have been successful without him cast in Pedro’s role. A tale of love, comedy and much eavesdropping, won him much fame. And while not everyone may like it, the true appreciators of art saw his incredible acting through this film. Denzel Washington really pulled off the role of the prince of Aragon with great zeal.
This one was a Pulitzer winner. Denzel Washington reunited with his stage cast mate, Viola Davis and a beautiful theatrical, “fences”, was created. An emotional look at the racial relations in America, “fences”, was richly evocative in writing and majorly affective in terms of acting. The heart-touching story of a sanitation worker, who dreams of being a baseball player and is denied since he is considered too old. The African-American relations are kept in the limelight and the true conditions of the working-class people are brought to the forefront. Nobody else, but Denzel could have played Troy Maxson (the sanitation worker) any better. The dialogue delivery is truly strong and worth all the praise.
#3 Courage Under Fire
Written by Patrick Duncan, is a story of the death of Captain Emma Walden and Denzel Washington is assigned the task of investigating the cause of Emma’s death. Well Nathaniel Serling, played by Denzel, is a lieutenant who has a sad and gloomy past and some indelible marks that the battlefield has etched on his soul. This film brought a totally new Denzel to the audience and made us aware of the fact- that he was capable of showing depth as well. Serling’s journey as a troubled officer, would have been a tough task to handle as an actor. This one can for sure not be skipped from the list of the best Denzel Washington movies.
#4 The Great Debaters
Released in 2007, this film was thought provoking and sent the important message of equality. It also won Denzel, the Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture, for the role of Melvin B. Tolstoy. The debating team of Wiley College, or the first ever black debating team- as every one name calls them in the film, defeats the team from Harvard and hence brings everyone to the pedestal of equal rights. Well the film is based on a true event from the professor’s life back in 1935. Full of personal hardship, social oppression and resilient spirits, Denzel gives life to the role of professor Tolstoy. One among Denzel Washington movies which are worth watching, gives us the message- “don’t raise your voice, improve your argument”. True, indeed!
#5 Training Day
This movie finally got Denzel an Oscar for the lead actor. Here he is in the role of a shady, not-so-good cop, while the audience expected the directors to cast Ethan Hawke in the negative role. But Denzel has proved people who doubted him wrong, since he has controlled the amount of energy that needs to be invested in such a role. One of the finest Denzel Washington movies, “training day”, is the story of a veteran officer who has escorts a rookie on his first day with the narcotics unit of the LAPD. It leaves the question to the audience as to what the necessity is, and what needs to be in crucial situation. A thrilling action drama that holds you in rapt attention throughout.
Adding an undeniable charm to all his roles, Denzel again succeeds in the role of a man arguing with his ex-wife over alimony, having some relationships with stewardesses, and being in a total dilemma at times. Playing Whip Whitaker, an airline pilot, who has lived a life full of unpardonable sins and plenty of mistakes- saves a flight from crashing, adds another jewel role to the set of his achievements as an actor. This movie bagged Denzel another Academy Award for best actor and also for best original screenplay. It can be called a gripping-graphic drama of not just a plane being saved from a crash, but also of a man who has done enough of miscalculated deeds and who learns to overcome his addictions and malpractices.
#7 Remember the Titans
Nobody owns the screen like Denzel Washington, and with yet another film he proved that. This film was a Disney sports movie, but it wasn’t like the usual ones and the reason for it being so is Denzel. Playing Herman Boone, he excels as a coach and has a push of talent and a pinch of motivation. Every line delivered by him in this film is remembered as a quote. A very remarkable scene is his slow clap in front of Gerry Bertier, and his entire speech at Gettysburg is equally amazing. This is one of those Denzel Washington movies, which are there to stay on the pages of time and are filled with so many moments of awe that you are not left unattended by surprise and admiration, even for a single second. There is a reason the cable channels play it so often because no matter what, you will not want to miss Denzel at his best.
Six-time Academy Award nominee and two-time winner, is one of the most gracious actors you would have ever seen. The film is an awareness ringer, as the story revolves around a man named Andrew Beckett, who is discriminated on the grounds of being affected by HIV/AIDS. He is fired from his firm and he approaches Denzel, who plays the lawyer. Joe, played by Denzel, is someone who can be called ignorant of such issues. Hence the film is a beautiful transition of Joe from a man once afraid to share food and space with Beckett to a man who finally fights for him. Bringing out the flaws in human character with great subtlety, this cannot be left uncounted as one of Denzel Washington best movies.
Also Read: Captivating Tom Hanks Movies Watch
#9 The Hurricane
In this film Denzel plays Rubin Hurricane, a boxer who is alleged and later convicted for a crime he has not committed. Rubin transforms from a man of strong-will and iron-grit to a man of less hope and least faith, in prison. He is aware of the fact that he has been wronged yet accepts and gives in to the injustice that plagues the systems of our world. For him good news is few. The line that rings in one’s ears after watching the film is one of Denzel’s most touching dialogue- “I’m dead, just bury me”. Denzel does not speak a lot in this film, but we feel him throughout his stay in the prison and get emotionally linked to his sadness and complaints with life.
There are many more Denzel films that are worth immense appreciation. There might be some that appeal to you more, while some might not be just the right genre as per your taste. But this actor has never failed his fans and is indeed worthy of all the love and respect people have for him. These were some of his finest performances, and we are sure he would add more to the list. Watch the trailer of his upcoming film “The Equaliser”, which might hit the theatres by August 2018.