Denzel Washington is one of the most prolific and talented actors in Hollywood with a career spanning more than 30 years. He has won two Academy Awards, six Golden Globe Awards, three Screen Actors Guild awards, and two Tony Awards.

His performance in films like Glory, Malcolm X, Training Day, and The Hurricane are some of Hollywood’s classics that have stood the test of time. He has won two Academy Awards for Best Actor for his roles in Glory and Training Day.

Denzel Washington is a Hollywood legend. His name is synonymous with quality, and he’s played some of the best roles in movie history. But which movies should you watch? In this list, we’ll take a look at the best Denzel Washington movies ever made – from Glory to Training Day. You won’t be disappointed!

Best Denzel Washington Movies

Inside Man

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Inside Man is the most popular movie of Denzel Washington. This is a very good thriller and crime movie in which Denzel Washington does the role of an ex-cop who now works as a security manager for Manhattan bank and Clive Owen plays a criminal mastermind who takes complete control of New York City’s infrastructure by holding hostages in order to settle his personal grievances. With its great script, direction, music, this film has received 8.6/10 ratings from IMDB and 7.5 out 10 points from Rotten Tomatoes.

Training Day (2001)

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Denzel Washington won the Best Actor award in the 2002 Oscar ceremony for his great performance in Training Day. This movie is based on a story of two narcotics police officers, one a detective veteran played by Denzel Washington and another trainee who happens to be Ethan Hawke. This film has received 8.4/10 ratings from IMDB and 7.2 out 10 points from Rotten Tomatoes as its score.

Malcolm X (1992)

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Malcolm X is a biopic of a famous African American leader Malcolm X, played by Denzel Washington. Directed by Spike Lee and written by Arnold Perl, this movie tells about the life and conversion from Malcolm Little to Malcolm X through his association with Civil Rights Movement. This film has received 8.5/10 ratings from IMDB and 7.6 out 10 points from Rotten Tomatoes as its score.

The Great Debaters (2007)

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The Great Debaters is based on a true story of the Wiley College debate team in Texas and their struggle against racism to become one of the most successful collegiate debate teams in US history. Denzel Washington plays the role of Melvin B Tolson who becomes both coach and teacher for three students at the college who are determined to succeed against all odds. This movie has received 8.3/10 ratings from IMDB and 8 out 10 points from Rotten Tomatoes as its score.

Glory (1989)

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Based on a true story about the first-ever all-black volunteer company of the Union Army during the US Civil War, Glory is an American historical drama movie in which Denzel Washington plays the leading role of Private Trip. With its great direction, wonderful screenplay, and supporting performances of Morgan Freeman and Matthew Broderick this movie has received 7 .9/10 ratings from IMDB and 7 out 10 points from Rotten Tomatoes as its score.

Deja Vu (2006)

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Deja Vu is a mystery thriller movie in which Denzel Washington plays Federal Agent Doug Carlin who investigates a ferry explosion that sunk when it was close to the dock. This movie has received 8 .4/10 ratings from IMDB and 6.9 out 10 points from Rotten Tomatoes as its score.

The Pelican Brief (1993)

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The Pelican Brief (1993)

The Pelican Brief is a crime mystery thriller in which Denzel Washington plays the role of a law school student who accidentally becomes involved with the investigation of a female law professor’s murder as she had written a brief about the people who might have been behind it that was circulated anonymously to key figures in government, media, and law enforcement offices across the country before her death. It has received 6.7/10 ratings from IMDB and 5 out of 10 points from Rotten Tomatoes as its score. 

Antwone Fisher (2002)

Antwone Fisher is a psychological drama in which Denzel Washington plays the role of Antwone Fisher, an ex-US Navy sailor who struggles with anger management problems and a traumatic experience that he had endured during his time at sea. This movie has received 8.4/10 ratings from IMDB and 7.1 out 10 points from Rottentomatoes as its score.

The Book of Eli (2010)

The Book of Eli is a post-apocalyptic action science-fiction movie in which Denzel Washington plays the role of Miler, who believes that there is still good in humanity and sets out on a journey across the wasteland to protect and save one special child. This movie has received 8.3/10 ratings from IMDB and 7 out 10 points from Rotten Tomatoes as its score.

John Q (2002)

John Q is a crime drama psychological movie in which Denzel Washington plays the role of John Quincy Archibald, an unemployed factory worker who was laid off from his job and can no longer afford to pay for his son’s health insurance. This movie has received 8 .3/10 ratings from IMDB and 6 out 10 points from Rotten Tomatoes as its score.

Philadelphia (1993)

Philadelphia is a drama movie about Andrew Beckett, a lawyer who gets fired because he has AIDS and later files a discrimination lawsuit with the help of Joe Miller. Denzel Washington plays the role of Beckett in this movie that has received 8.6/10 ratings from IMDB and 7 out 10 points from Rotten Tomatoes as its score.

Safe House (2012)

Safe House is an action mystery thriller in which Denzel Washington plays the role of Matt Weston, an inexperienced CIA agent who’s covering up his failures by fabricating evidence then he gets entangled with a fugitive whom he leads into a trap then they are both forced to go on the run to save themselves from a CIA team that is trying to retrieve their target. This movie has received 6.5/10 ratings from IMDB and 4 out 10 points from Rotten Tomatoes as its score.

2 Guns (2013)

2 Guns is an action crime movie in which Denzel Washington plays the role of Bobby Trench, an undercover DEA agent working for Michael Stigman who happens to be a Naval Intelligence officer played by Mark Wahlberg. This movie has received 7.7/10 ratings from IMDB and 6 out 10 points from Rotten Tomatoes as its score. 

The Hurricane (1999)

The Hurricane is a drama movie based on the real-life story of Rubin Carter, a middleweight boxer who was falsely accused and imprisoned for robbery due to racism in the police force. Denzel Washington plays the role of Carter in this movie that has received 8.8/10 ratings from IMDB and 7.6 out 10 points from Rotten Tomatoes as its score.

The Preacher’s Wife (1996)

The Preacher’s Wife is a musical comedy-drama in which Denzel Washington plays the role of Robert, who comes to town when he hears his childhood sweetheart Carlise has cancer. This movie has received 6 .3/10 ratings from IMDB and 5 out 10 points from Rottentomatoes as its score. 

Philadelphia (1993)

Philadelphia is a drama movie about Andrew Beckett, a lawyer who gets fired because he has AIDS then with the help of Joe Miller played by Tom Hanks, they file a discrimination lawsuit against the firm. Denzel Washington plays the role of Beckett in this movie that has received 8.6/10 ratings from IMDB and 7 out of 10 points from Rottentomatoes as its score. 

Flight (2012)

Flight is an action drama in which Denzel Washington plays the role of Whip Whitaker, a veteran airline pilot who miraculously landed his damaged plane on emergency but later it is discovered that he was drunk during the flight then he later finds himself facing criminal charges for his misbehavior and as well as battling with personal demons after revealing to have been an alcoholic throughout his entire career as a pilot. This movie has received 7.8/10 ratings from IMDB and 6 out of 10 points from Rottentomatoes as its score. 

He Got Game (1998)

He Got Game is a drama movie about Jesus Shuttlesworth, a highly rated high school basketball player who must decide whether to follow his father played by Denzel Washington, or stay with his girlfriend. This movie has received 8 .6/10 ratings from IMDB and 6 out 10 points from Rottentomatoes as its score. 

Antwone Fisher (2002)

Antwone Fisher is an inspirational drama movie about the real-life story of Antwone Fisher, an ex-US navy officer whose life was full with violence due to his troubled childhood then he meets a Navy psychiatrist played by Denzel Washington that helps him find peace after the war. This movie has received 7.4/10 ratings from IMDB and 6 out 10 points from Rottentomatoes as its score. 

The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

The Manchurian Candidate is an action thriller movie in which Denzel Washington plays the role of Major Bennett Marco, a soldier who is trying to find answers for his entire squad’s mysterious behavior after attending a military course that wiped their memories during the Korean War. This movie has received 8.1/10 ratings from IMDB and 6 out of 10 points from Rottentomatoes as its score. 


Denzel Washington has been an actor for more than three decades and he is still going strong. His performances in films like Malcolm X, Philadelphia, Glory, American Gangster have all earned him Academy Awards nominations. This list of the 21 best Denzel Washington movies should be a good starting point if you are looking to get started exploring his filmography or just want a refresher on some of his career highlights. Which one is your favorite?