Denzel Washington: 10 Best Movies, Ranked According To Letterboxd

Denzel Washington is one of the most acclaimed actors of all time and his top-rated movies on Letterboxd are a collection of brilliant performances.

There are few actors who have reached the level of fame and acclaim that Denzel Washington has achieved. He is regarded as one of the greatest actors of all time and has been delivering amazing performances and beloved movies for decades now.

With two Oscar-winning performances in his career, Washington recently secured his ninth acting nomination for The Tragedy of Macbeth. For fans interested in checking out some of his other great work, from powerful dramas to intense thrillers, Denzel Washington’s top-rated movies on Letterboxd offer a glimpse at his amazing filmography.

10Devil In A Blue Dress (1995) – 3.59

Though Washington has starred in a number of big movies that have become iconic, he still has some in his career that are underrated. One project that fits into that category is the crime story Devil in a Blue Dress.

Set in Los Angeles in the 1940s, Washington plays Easy Rawlins, an out-of-work World War II veteran who is hired to investigate the disappearance of a woman. The mystery soon reveals more than Easy had bargained for. It is a gripping noir story that also features a breakout supporting role from Don Cheadle.

9Inside Man (2006) – 3.61

Certainly, one of Washington’s best collaborators throughout his career has been Spike Lee. To date, Inside Man has been the most recent project the two artists have worked on together and it is one of their most entertaining movies as well.

Washington plays a hostage negotiator who is brought into a bank robbery situation. There, he is confronted with a cunning thief (Clive Owen) who seems to have a bigger plan in mind. Washington is effortlessly cool in the lead role and Lee pays homage to great heist movies of the past in this stylish and fun thriller.

8Remember The Titans (2000) – 3.65

Washington doesn’t really seem like the kind of actor who would appear in a Disney movie, but he was a perfect fit for the feel-good sports movie Remember the Titans. Based on a true story, Washington plays the Black coach of a high school football team during their first season as an integrated team.

The movie is a crowd-pleasing and inspirational tale filled with powerful moments and uplifting triumphs. Washington brings a lot of gravitas to the role of a man who helps these young men to see past their differences to win.

7Crimson Tide (1995) – 3.66

Crimson Tide marks the first collaboration between Washington and director Tony Scott which would also become an important one in his career. The military thriller stars Washington as a First Officer on a submarine whose disagreements with his commander (Gene Hackman) could mean the difference between peace and nuclear war.

It is a thrill to see two actors as powerful as Washington and Hackman going toe-to-toe in this movie. the confined location and high stakes make for an intense ride.

6American Gangster (2007) – 3.67

Washington is known for playing complex characters, but it was interesting to see him step into as dark of a role as Frank Lucas in the crime movie American Gangster. Based on real events, Lucas was a Black man who became the most powerful crime figure in New York City in the 1970s.

Washington is riveting as the brutal yet highly intelligent crime lord while Russell Crowe plays the lawman looking to take him down. It makes for a brutal gangster story that stands out in the genre.

5Glory (1989) – 3.67

It is interesting to look back at the earlier days of Washington’s career and see him in smaller parts. However, even in a supporting role, Washington steals the show with his Oscar-winning performance in Glory.

The Civil War story follows the true tale of the first volunteer all-Black company as they faced prejudices from their own Union army as well as brutal battles from the Confederates. Along with Washington’s powerful performance, the cast also includes Morgan Freeman and Andre Braugher.

4Philadelphia (1993) – 3.81

Though Washington can easily command an entire movie on his own, it is also very entertaining to see him play off another skilled actor. In Philadelphia, Washington and Tom Hanks made for a brilliant pair in the harrowing drama.

Hanks plays a lawyer who is fired when his firm learns he is gay and has HIV. Washington plays a homophobic lawyer who comes to defend Hanks in his lawsuit against his former employers. While Hanks won the Oscar for his terrific performance, Washington is just as good as an ignorant man who learns compassion over the course of the story.

3Training Day (2001) – 3.81

In his second Oscar-winning role, Washington played perhaps his most villainous role to date. Training Day stars Ethan Hawke as a new rookie detective whose first day on the job is spent with Alonzo Harris (Washington) a corrupt and brutal detective who takes his young partner on a dark odyssey.

Washington elevates when could have been a run-of-the-mill crime thriller with his brilliant performance. He is charismatic and entertaining while also being completely intimidating and terrifying.

2The Tragedy Of Macbeth (2021) – 3.82

Taking on one of William Shakespeare’s most iconic plays for a movie adaptation is daunting. But the team-up of Joel Coen and Washington helped to make The Tragedy of Macbeth one of the best thrillers of last year.

Washington takes on the title role of Macbeth, a loyal soldier to the king whose ambitions lead him down a dark and deadly path. It is a haunting and beautiful take on this classic work which could earn Washington yet another Oscar.

1Malcolm X (1992) – 4.10

It’s hard to imagine another actor being able to take on the title role in Spike Lee’s biopic Malcolm X. Washington plays the historic figure in the story of his journey to becoming one of the most influential leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.

Lee gives the movie an appropriately epic feel, giving this man a cinematic treatment that is both grounded in reality and larger than life. Washington gives one of the best performances of his career in the complex and astounding role.

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