Denzel Washington is an influential American actor, director, and producer whose full name is Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. He is hailed as an on-screen performer who redefined “the concept of classic movie stardom.” His characters are inspired by humanity, inner strength, and grace. Denzel has won several prestigious awards in his career, including two Academy Awards. He was also ranked as the greatest actor of the 21st century by the New York Times in 2020. As an actor who started his acting career in theatre, Denzel has come a long way. His first significant role came for the medical drama television series St. Elsewhere (1982-1988). 

Denzel’s first film role came for the American drama film A Soldier’s Story (1984). As the 1990s approached, Denzel had established himself as a well-known actor in the industry. He has played both good as well as bad roles in his career. Throughout his career, he has played different types of roles that include lawyer, reporter, cop, doctor, mobster, etc. In short, Denzel is a complete package that puts his versatility on display every time he comes on screen. 1990 onwards, Denzel took center stage and featured as the leading actor in most of his films. 

We have prepared a list of some of the best Denzel Washington movies that everyone must watch.

Training Day: 

Training Day was one of the most successful movies of Denzel’s career. The 2001 American crime thriller by Antoine Fuqua stars Denzel as Alonzo Harris, a highly decorated Detective, and narcotics officer. The movie portrays Denzel as an unethical officer. He got his second Academy Award for his role in the film. The film also features Ethan Hawke as Jake Hoyt, another narcotics officer who gets to know about Harris’ unethical ways.

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Malcolm X: 

The 1992 biographical drama is based on American-African activist Malcolm X. Directed by Spike Lee, the film stars Denzel in the title role. The film takes us through key moments in the life of Malcolm that include his life as a criminal, conversion to Islam, marriage to Betty X, a pilgrimage to Mecca, his views about the Whites, and his assassination. Denzel was nominated for Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in the film.

The Hurricane: 

The 1999 American biographical sports drama by Norman Jewison tells the story of Rubin “The Hurricane Carter, a former middleweight boxer who was wrongly convicted for a triple murder in a bar in New Jersey. The title role has been played by Denzel. The film narrates the story of Carter’s conviction of Carter, his arrest, his life in prison, and his freedom. The movie also shows how the compassion of a teenager from Brooklyn named Lesra Martin and his Canadian foster family led to Carter’s freedom. It is a very touching story to watch.


The 1993 legal drama co-stars Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. It was probably the first Hollywood film that openly talked about AIDS, homosexuality, and homophobia. Hanks also won the Academy Award for best actor for his portrayal of Andrew Beckett in the film. The movie tells the story of Beckett, a senior associate at the largest corporate law firm in Philadelphia, who hides his homosexuality and his status as an AIDS patient from other members of the firm. 

The Siege: 

A jaw-dropping action thriller, The Siege was released in 1998. Directed by Edward Zwick, the film stars Denzel, Annette Bening, Tony Shalhoub, and Bruce Wills in lead roles. Denzel has played the role of FBI Special Agent Anthony Hubbard. The plot of the story is based on the fictional terrorist attacks in New York City. The story starts with Hubbard and his partner intervening in hijacking a bus fully loaded with passengers containing an explosive device. This one is a really gripping tale.

Inside Man: 

Denzel starred as Detective Keith Frazier in the 2006 heist thriller by Russel Gewirtz. The movie is based on a bank heist on Wall Street. Russel (Denzel) is a negotiator from the New York City Police Department. In contrast, Clive Owen played Dalton Russell, the mastermind behind the heist. The robbers take control of a Manhattan bank and take the patrons and employees hostage. The robbers then assign the hostages an unspecified project involving demolishing the floor in one of the bank’s storage rooms.

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In 2012, Denzel once again earned the nomination at the Academy Awards for the best actor, this time for the Robert Zemeckis directed drama film Flight. The movie stars Denzel as William “Whip” Whitaker Sr., an alcoholic airline pilot who manages to do the unthinkable by crash landing a flight after a mechanical failure, saving nearly everyone on board. Everyone hails him as a hero, but things change after being put under the scanner following an investigation into the incident.