LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 07: Denzel Washington attends the 94th Annual Oscars Nominees Luncheon at Fairmont Century Plaza on March 07, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Momodu Mansaray/WireImage)
Movies - TV
The 21 Best Denzel Washington Movies, Ranked
21. Flight
Robert Zemeckis’ “Flight” sees Denzel Washington as an alcoholic pilot who successfully lands a plane with minimal losses after a malfunction causes the aircraft to nosedive. Washington delivers a powerful performance, but the movie’s central tension surrounding the aftermath never matches up to the thrilling opening of the plane incident.
20. Cry Freedom
1987’s “Cry Freedom” marked Washington’s first major transition into being a critically-acclaimed movie actor, and he shines as anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko. However, the movie shifts focus from Washington to another character midway through its run, and the film slips into the white savior cliche.
19. The Preacher’s Wife
Many would have expected Washington to play the serious preacher in “The Preacher’s Wife,” but the actor instead plays against his usual roles and takes on the angel Dudley in this holiday rom-com. Although the movie lets audiences see a different, more comedic side of the actor, the film is somewhat unremarkable compared to some of his other works.
18. Fences
Washington has only directed four movies throughout his career, clearly deciding only to take on passion projects, like “Fences.” The movie's theatrical origins are evident in the long, dialogue-heavy scenes, but this doesn’t diminish the power of the performances.
17. Glory
“Glory” tells the story of one of the first regiments of Black soldiers to form during the Civil War, and Washington won his first Oscar for the supporting role of Silas Trip. “Glory” suffers from the same issue as “Cry Freedom” and doesn’t focus on Washington’s character, but more attention is given to the other Black characters.