Top 30 Denzel Washington films

He's done so many great films over the years, and I've seen ALL of them. Here's my list of top 30 Denzel films, with my ranking based on: a) is it my favorite?, b) was it valuable to watch?, and c) how well did Denzel play in it?

Like most people know, he's a master at creating a character and somehow turning a mediocre film into a great one. Not to mention his versatility as an actor, his ability to deliver intense performances or his ability to wholeheartedly live into the character he portrays, making the performance and the film as a whole uniquely realistic, dignified and worth watching.

What can I say... he's the best!
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
Crimson Tide (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
On a U.S. nuclear missile sub, a young First Officer stages a mutiny, to prevent his trigger happy Captain from launching his missiles, before confirming his orders to do so. (116 mins.)
Director: Tony Scott
“ I used to watch this movie over and over and it made a huge impact on me every time. Denzel and especially Gene Hackman deliver a masterclass in acting, in what is an intense, well-crafted thriller. The music is also great, and this marks Denzel's first collaboration with director Tony Scott. ” - fuoriclasse
 
2.
Cry Freedom (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
South African journalist Donald Woods is forced to flee the country, after attempting to investigate the death in custody of his friend, the black activist Steve Biko. (157 mins.)
“ Like many of Denzel's movies, this is one that every person should see. It tells the story of Steve Biko's struggle against apartheid, and his white friend, played by a brilliant Kevin Kline. It's a movie about struggle, justice, tolerance, non-violence, and is imo the first great performance by Denzel. ” - fuoriclasse
 
3.
John Q (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
John Quincy Archibald takes a hospital emergency room hostage when his insurance won't cover his son's heart transplant. (116 mins.)
Director: Nick Cassavetes
“ This is such a touching and important movie. It deals with the harsh realities of the American health care system, in which Denzel's character is denied treatment for his son's heart operation and this forces him to go to extreme measures. Denzel is brilliant in this role, and helps raise some important moral questions concerning healthcare, empathy and justice. What would you do if you were in his shoes? ” - fuoriclasse
 
4.
Philadelphia (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
When a man with HIV is fired by his law firm because of his condition, he hires a homophobic small time lawyer as the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit. (125 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Demme
“ Another masterpiece, in which the lead character, played by Tom Hanks, falls ill with AIDS and seeks help from a lawyer to sue the firm in which he was fired from. Although Hanks is fantastic in his role, it is imo Denzel who with his acting makes this movie the great masterpiece that it is. It's one of those movies that everyone should see, and also brilliantly deals with the subject of homosexuality. ” - fuoriclasse
 
5.
The Hurricane (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The story of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a boxer wrongly imprisoned for murder, and the people who aided in his fight to prove his innocence. (146 mins.)
Director: Norman Jewison
“ Needless to say, this is one of Denzel's best performances ever. He portrays Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a successful boxer, who is sentenced to 20 years in jail for something he didn't do. Although the story is important and the movie raises important questions, it is again Denzel's performance which makes this movie unforgettable. He literally transforms himself physically, mentally and spiritually, and it's worth noting that he trained boxing for over a year to prepare himself for the role. ” - fuoriclasse
 
6.
Man on Fire (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
In Mexico City, a former assassin swears vengeance on those who committed an unspeakable act against the family he was hired to protect. (146 mins.)
Director: Tony Scott
 
7.
Training Day (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
On his first day on the job as a Los Angeles narcotics officer, a rookie cop goes beyond a full work day in training within the narcotics division of the LAPD with a rogue detective who isn't what he appears to be. (122 mins.)
Director: Antoine Fuqua
 
8.
Out of Time (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A Florida police chief must solve a vicious double homicide before he himself falls under suspicion. (105 mins.)
Director: Carl Franklin
 
9.
Inside Man (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A police detective, a bank robber, and a high-power broker enter high-stakes negotiations after the criminal's brilliant heist spirals into a hostage situation. (129 mins.)
Director: Spike Lee
 
10.
Remember the Titans (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit. (113 mins.)
Director: Boaz Yakin
 
11.
He Got Game (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A basketball player's father must try to convince him to go to a college so he can get a shorter sentence. (136 mins.)
Director: Spike Lee
 
12.
The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
In the midst of the Gulf War, soldiers are kidnapped and brainwashed for sinister purposes. (129 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Demme
 
13.
Deja Vu (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
After a ferry is bombed in New Orleans, an A.T.F. agent joins a unique investigation using experimental surveillance technology to find the bomber, but soon finds himself becoming obsessed with one of the victims. (126 mins.)
Director: Tony Scott
 
14.
Malcolm X (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam. (202 mins.)
Director: Spike Lee
 
15.
Antwone Fisher (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Antwone Fisher, a young navy man, is forced to see a psychiatrist after a violent outburst against a fellow crewman. During the course of treatment a painful past is revealed and a new hope begins. (120 mins.)
 
16.
Courage Under Fire (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A U.S. Army officer, despondent about a deadly mistake he made, investigates a female chopper commander's worthiness for the Medal of Honor. (116 mins.)
Director: Edward Zwick
 
17.
Mo' Better Blues (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Jazz trumpeter Bleek Gilliam makes questionable decisions in his professional and romantic lives. (129 mins.)
Director: Spike Lee
 
18.
Glory (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Robert Gould Shaw leads the U.S. Civil War's first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices from both his own Union Army, and the Confederates. (122 mins.)
Director: Edward Zwick
 
19.
Flight (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
An airline pilot saves almost all his passengers on his malfunctioning airliner which eventually crashed, but an investigation into the accident reveals something troubling. (138 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
 
20.
The Pelican Brief (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A law student uncovers a conspiracy, putting herself and others in danger. (141 mins.)
Director: Alan J. Pakula
 
21.
Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
An African-American man is hired to find a woman, and gets mixed up in a murderous political scandal. (102 mins.)
Director: Carl Franklin
 
22.
The Bone Collector (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A quadriplegic ex-homicide detective and his female partner try to track down a serial killer who is terrorizing New York City. (118 mins.)
Director: Phillip Noyce
 
23.
The Siege (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
The secret U.S. abduction of a suspected terrorist, leads to a wave of terrorist attacks in New York City, that lead to the declaration of martial-law. (116 mins.)
Director: Edward Zwick
 
24.
The Preacher's Wife (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
Good natured Reverend Henry Biggs finds that his marriage to choir mistress Julia is flagging, due to... (123 mins.)
Director: Penny Marshall
 
25.
The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Armed men hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for a ransom, and turning an ordinary day's work for dispatcher Walter Garber into a face-off with the mastermind behind the crime. (106 mins.)
Director: Tony Scott
 
26.
The Great Debaters (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school's first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship. (126 mins.)
 
27.
The Equalizer (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A man believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when he meets a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can't stand idly by - he has to help her. (132 mins.)
Director: Antoine Fuqua
 
28.
American Gangster (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
In 1970s America, a detective works to bring down the drug empire of Frank Lucas, a heroin kingpin from Manhattan, who is smuggling the drug into the country from the Far East. (157 mins.)
Director: Ridley Scott
 
29.
2 Guns (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Two hardened criminals get into trouble with the US border patrol after meeting with a Mexican drug lord, and then revelations start to unfold. (109 mins.)
 
30.
The Book of Eli (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A post-apocalyptic tale, in which a lone man fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind. (118 mins.)