Top 10 Denzel Washington Movies and IMDB Scores

Denzel Washington is one of the most highly respected and influential black actors of his generation. This hugely talented New Yorker has made a career out of playing challenging roles, including the iconic Malcolm X. A calm, focused presence on the screen, the best Denzel Washington movies allow him to show his vast acting range whether he's playing the good guy, the villain, or someone with slightly more ambiguous morals.

The top ten Denzel Washington movies include blockbusters as well as more indie-style offerings. But every film in the Denzel Washington filmography is well worth watching. It's no wonder this Hollywood giant already has two Oscars and countless other awards to his name. Let's take a look at our list of Denzel Washington movies and their IMDb scores so you can put together your own playlist for your next movie night.

1. Remember the Titans – 2000 – 7.8

Washington is never afraid to address some of the more uncomfortable elements of black American history, and this film based on a true story is a fine example. In 1971, the state of Virginia is still coming to terms with the growth of the Equal Rights movement. A high school football team is forced to integrate players from two schools, one an all-black school and the other an all-white one. Washington plays Coach Boone, who not only has to achieve success on the field but also has to ensure that the students begin to work together and overcome prejudice on both sides.

2. American Gangster – 2007 – 7.8

After his boss is killed, Frank Lucas (Washington) decides that the natural heir to his former employer’s drug empire is Frank himself. Using his formidable intellect and ruthless determination, Lucas quickly becomes the biggest importer of heroin in Harlem, striking deals with the New York Mafia and other alliances. However, one dedicated, honest policeman is determined to bring Lucas to justice. Based on a true story, American Gangster is one of the best Denzel Washington movies of all time.

3. Training Day - 2001 - 7.7

LA is a city in crisis as drug gangs and dealers overrun the streets. For rookie cop Jay Hoit, played by Ethan Hawke, his first day on the job is a baptism of fire. His job is to follow jaded and experienced cop Alonzo Harris (Washington) around as the veteran narcotics cop enforces the law in his own unconventional way. Is Harris the good guy, or are his methods as bad as those of the dealers he claims to be fighting?

4. Man on Fire - 2004 - 7.7

Ex-CIA operative John Creasy is hired by a Mexican family to protect their 9-year-old daughter Pita. Slowly, the hard-drinking bodyguard starts to regain his humanity until Pita is kidnapped, and John Creasy must draw on his fieldcraft and deadly skills to hunt her and bring her back. Against the setting of Mexico City and with Christopher Walken providing a fascinating counterpoint to Washington's character, this is one of the most tense, flawlessly acted films you'll ever watch.

5. Philadelphia – 1993 – 7.7

At the height of the AIDs pandemic, this film put the attitude towards those who were stricken with the disease and even those who were wrongly suspected of having HIV under the spotlight. Andrew Beckett, played by Tom Hanks, is fired from his job at a powerful Philadelphia law firm when his bosses find out about his condition. Determined to stand up for his rights, Beckett hires lawyer Joe Miller (Washington), the only lawyer willing to represent him as he fights for compensation. Philadelphia was a groundbreaking movie that earned Hanks a Best Actor Oscar and both actors worldwide recognition.

6. Malcolm X – 1992 – 7.7

This biography of black American leader Malcolm X earned Washington yet another Oscar nomination and critical acclaim for his performance. After the Ku Klux Klan kills Malcolm Little's father, the young man loses his way and ends up in jail. There, he discovers the teachings of Islam, eventually going on a pilgrimage to Mecca, where he converts to become a Sunni Muslim. Returning to the USA, Malcolm X becomes a beacon of hope for the black youth until he is assassinated in 1965, an event that would ignite the Civil Rites movement and change the face of America forever.

7. Inside Man – 2006 – 7.6

After a softly spoken thief masterminds what seems to be the perfect heist, hostage negotiator Keith Frazier (Washington) must ensure this situation doesn't spiral out of control. But is every move he makes being orchestrated by the thief (brilliantly played by Clive Owen)? With a stellar cast including Jodie Foster, Willem Dafoe, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, Inside Man is arguably one of the best Denzel Washington movies of all time.

8. The Equalizer – 2014 – 7.2

Inspired by the Edward Woodward series of the 1980s, this film sees Washington taking on the role of Robert McCall, a man with a mysterious past and an impressive set of skills. Opting for a quiet life, he is forced to reawaken his past life as a Special Forces Commando when the Russian mafia takes an interest in him. He quickly becomes the man to seek out when ordinary people have a problem and cannot get justice from the police or federal agencies. Violent, slick, and with Washington turning in a delightfully understated performance, The Equalizer is an exceptionally good action thriller.

9. The Bone Collector – 1999 – 6.7

The Bone Collector is a very different take on a cop-versus-serial killer genre. Ex-cop Lincoln Rhyme (Washington) is waiting to die and looking forward to being released from his crippled and useless body. However, a psychopath is killing across New York City, and Rhyme thinks he can see a pattern. In one last act, he recruits Amelia Donaghy (played by Angelina Jolie) to work the crime scenes on his behalf so they can try to track down the killer. Will this case give Rhyme a new perspective and a greater love of life?

10. The Pelican Brief – 1993 – 6.6

After two Supreme Court judges are murdered, college professor Darby Shaw (played by Julia Roberts) gets hold of a brief that identifies the possible killer. The trouble is that the scandal leads all the way to the President's office, and there are plenty of people who want to see this evidence disappear - along with anyone who has come into contact with it. Fearing for her safety, Shaw seeks out the help of investigative reporter Gray Grantham (Washington), but the two continually encounter barriers at every turn, eventually having to fight to stay alive as dark agencies pursue them. The Pelican Brief is one of the finest offerings in any Denzel Washington movies list and a fantastic way to finish our look at one of Hollywood's finest actors.

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