The 8 Movies That Defined Denzel Washington’s Career

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The 8 Movies That Defined Denzel Washington’s Career: A few particular movies stand out as pivotal milestones in Denzel Washington’s celebrated and diverse career that helped shape him into the actor he is today.

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The 8 Movies That Defined Denzel Washington’s Career

  • Over the course of his nearly 50 years in the entertainment industry, Denzel Washington has achieved a remarkable accomplishment in his profession, winning him numerous awards and distinctions. Washington, a two-time Academy Award winner, has distinguished himself as one of the greatest actors of his generation by performing brilliantly in action, comedies, and historical dramas.
  • Washington has continually pushed the limits of his acting potential and continues to find ever-greater success, from successful creative partnerships with directors like Spike Lee to well-known films where he even directed himself.
  • Washington began his acting career in theater, but he soon achieved fame in Hollywood and became well-known as a starring man in visually striking dramas. Actor Washington was a fiercely dedicated professional who was particularly good at playing historical characters from real life, like Malcolm X.
  • He also managed to balance his career as an action hero and a dramatic actor. A few of Washington’s numerous performances told his story, and his career was unparalleled in its sheer variety.

8. The 1984 film A Soldier’s Spy

Although Denzel Washington’s acting career began in theater, and he appeared in his first Hollywood picture, Carton Copy, in 1981, he would land his first significant feature film part in the drama A Soldier’s Spy.

Here, thirty-year-old Washington portrayed Private Peterson in a gripping murder investigation that was adapted from Charles Fuller’s Pulitzer Prize–winning play. With a strong performance in this part, Washington announced the entrance of a new movie star with immense promise that was immediately apparent.

7. Cry Freedom (1987)

In Richard Attenborough’s Cry Freedom, Denzel Washington demonstrated that he had what it took to portray South African activist Steve Biko, a captivating leading man. Like he would do later in Malcolm X and The Hurricane, Washington immersed himself in the role of a real-life persona and led this tale of prejudice, political corruption, and the fallout from violence with a believable South African accent.

Washington received a lot of praise for his portrayal of Biko and was nominated for his first Academy Award for Best Actor.

6. Glory (1989)

Denzel Washington won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Private Silas Trip in the historical war film Glory, just two years after receiving his first nomination. Washington demonstrated his talent by telling the account of the first African American battalions in the American Civil War.

This performance tackled significant topics of privilege, race, and those compelled to fight. Glory served as an early illustration of Washington’s ability to select parts that were rich in social, political, and cultural value in addition to being engaging.

5. Crochet (1991)

Denzel Washington demonstrated his promise as an action movie star with his major part in the crime thriller Ricochet, following his success as an Oscar-winning dramatic actor. Ricochet was an exciting cat and mouse game that demonstrated Washington’s ability to compete with the best action stars of the 1990s, including Will Smith, Nicolas Cage, and Keanu Reeves.

It was a suspenseful tale of revenge. Washington would deftly tread the thin line between starring in highly regarded artistic roles and outrageous action extravaganzas after making her action film debut.

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4. Malcolm X (1992)

Although Denzel Washington had previously starred in Spike Lee’s musical comedy Mo’ Better Blues from 1990, it was in his role as Malcolm X that the entire creative potential of the two men became evident, as he gave a powerful portrayal of the divisive civil rights activist.

Over the years, Washington and Lee remained collaborators on He Got Game, Inside Man, and the forthcoming High & Low remake. One of the distinguishing characteristics of Lee’s career has been their teamwork, as he consistently brought out the best in Washington.

3. Training Day (2001)

Denzel Washington’s portrayal of the dishonest LAPD detective Alonzo Harris was his most remembered performance in Training Day. As the drug officer tasked with assisting Officer Jake Hoyt on his first day on the job, Washington won the Academy Award for Best Actor.

With his unvarnished and powerful performance, Washington exposed the police force’s hypocritical behavior as well as its dark self-interest. Even though Washington was already one of the greatest actors in Hollywood, his performance in Training Day was so intense that it reached a whole new level.

2. (2014) The Equalizer

Actor, comedian, and dramatic drama star Denzel Washington had played so many iconic parts by 2014 that it seemed like he had done it all. With the release of The Equalizer, he was able to drastically alter the major blockbuster franchise, which was one area he still needed to conquer.

Robert McCall, a former U.S. Marine and intelligence officer, played a character in Washington who set out to assist a young girl under the hands of vicious Russian thugs. The Equalizer’s popularity demonstrated Washington’s potential as a franchise star and spawned two sequels.

1. Fences (2016)

Denzel Washington’s career encompassed highly regarded directorial roles in films such as Antwone Fisher, The Great Debaters, and A Journal for Jordan; nonetheless, Fences stands as the ultimate example of Washington’s more artistic side. Fences, based on August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize–winning play, was widely praised and felt timely and relevant when Washington directed and acted in it.

Fences felt like the logical next step for Denzel Washington, who had already proven himself as a talented actor in the Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing in 1993 and in Joel Coen’s critically praised The Tragedy of Macbeth. Fences was not merely a success of filmmaking for Washington.

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6 thoughts on “The 8 Movies That Defined Denzel Washington’s Career”

  1. Why is this published with all these errors? “Soldiers Story”; “Carbon Copy”. I’m sure there are more. I stopped reading.

  2. A few of those didn’t hold my interest though two awesome movies he also starred in not mentioned was Man on Fire, and The Bone Collector.

  3. Ditto so many errors
    My personal picks would be
    8 American Gangster
    7 Antoine Fisher
    6 Mo Better Blues
    5 Cry Freedom
    4 Malcolm X
    3 A Soldiers Story
    2 Training Day
    1 Glory

  4. Very Talented Artist. I’ve enjoyed all his movies. But what i like best is to see him walk. Stunning is what i like to say. But he and his wife is a very awesome couple. A power house. Love seeing them together.


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