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All Denzel Washington Movies Ranked

Over the course of his decades in show business, Denzel Washington has done pretty much everything — he’s played cops (good and bad), lawyers, reporters, educators, doctors, mobsters, and more, earning multiple Academy Awards and more than a billion dollars in box office grosses along the way. Of course, it’s fairly difficult to do all that without piling up a pretty hefty stack of positive reviews, and Mr. Washington’s filmography has definitely drawn its share, from Oscar winners like GloryTraining Day, and Philadelphia to his collaborations with director Spike Lee, like Malcolm XHe Got Game, and Inside Man. With all of that in mind, we’re here to celebrate by taking a comprehensive look at his career, including the best Denzel Washington movies and the worst. Perfection! Let’s go to work.

#45

Heart Condition (1990)
11%

#45
Adjusted Score: 8.23%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Jack Moony (Bob Hoskins) is a vice detective, but he is also an intense and crazed, racist lout. Jack has... [More]
Directed By: James D. Parriott

#44

John Q (2002)
23%

#44
Adjusted Score: 26.416%
Critics Consensus: Washington's performance rises above the material, but John Q pounds the audience over the head with its message.
Synopsis: A national health care crisis in the United States yields this tense drama from screenwriter James Kearns and director Nick... [More]
Directed By: Nick Cassavetes

#43
#43
Adjusted Score: 32.404%
Critics Consensus: A talented cast is wasted on a bland attempt at a suspenseful, serial killer flick.
Synopsis: Filmed on location in Montreal and New York, The Bone Collector is a suspense thriller that combines Rear Window and... [More]
Directed By: Phillip Noyce

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 31.184%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: With a cruel, keen edge, this taut social drama slices deeply into Thatcher's England to expose a grim underbelly of... [More]
Directed By: Martin Stellman

#41

Virtuosity (1995)
32%

#41
Adjusted Score: 33.346%
Critics Consensus: Woefully deficient in thrills or common sense, Virtuosity strands its talented stars in a story whose vision of the future is depressingly short on imagination.
Synopsis: In a futuristic, high-tech world run by huge corporations, Parker Barnes (Denzel Washington) is an L.A. policeman serving time for... [More]
Directed By: Brett Leonard

#40

Man on Fire (2004)
38%

#40
Adjusted Score: 42.598%
Critics Consensus: Man on Fire starts out well, but goes over the top in the violent second half.
Synopsis: A wave of kidnappings has swept through Mexico, feeding a growing sense of panic among its wealthier citizens, especially parents.... [More]
Directed By: Tony Scott

#39

Fallen (1997)
40%

#39
Adjusted Score: 43.083%
Critics Consensus: Has an interesting premise. Unfortunately, it's just a recycling of old materials, and not all that thrilling.
Synopsis: Directed by Gregory Hoblit (Primal Fear), Fallen is a blend of the police drama and supernatural thriller genres. Homicide detective... [More]
Directed By: Gregory Hoblit

#38

The Siege (1998)
44%

#38
Adjusted Score: 46.982%
Critics Consensus: An exciting, well-paced action film.
Synopsis: Edward Zwick directed this action thriller about Islamic militants unleashing terrorism in New York City. As FBI Terrorism Task Force-chief... [More]
Directed By: Edward Zwick

#37

The Book of Eli (2010)
46%

#37
Adjusted Score: 52.176%
Critics Consensus: It's certainly uneven, and many viewers will find that its reach exceeds its grasp, but The Book of Eli finds the Hughes brothers injecting some fresh stylish fun into the kind of post-apocalyptic wasteland filmgoers have seen more than enough of lately.
Synopsis: In a post-apocalyptic America where the once-picturesque countryside has become a desolate and violent wasteland, one man (Denzel Washington) fights... [More]

#36

Power (1986)
50%

#36
Adjusted Score: 50.259%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A star-studded cast portrays political movers and shakers in this drama about politics and the media. Richard Gere is Pete... [More]
Directed By: Sidney Lumet

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 56.787%
Critics Consensus: Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington are a compelling team in the overlong Pelican Brief, a pulpy thriller that doesn't quite justify the intellectual remove of Alan J. Pakula's direction.
Synopsis: Embroiled in an affair with Thomas Callahan (Sam Shephard), her alcoholic professor, precocious 24-year-old Tulane University law student Darby Shaw... [More]
Directed By: Alan J. Pakula

#34
Adjusted Score: 58.547%
Critics Consensus: Despite a strong cast, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 suffers under the excesses of Tony Scott's frantic direction, and fails to measure up to the 1974 original.
Synopsis: The ordinary day of New York City subway dispatcher Walter Garber is thrown into chaos by an audacious crime: the... [More]
Directed By: Tony Scott

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 62.03%
Critics Consensus: Intriguing yet heavy-handed, Roman J. Israel, Esq. makes the most of -- but never quite lives up to -- Denzel Washington's magnetic performance in the title role.
Synopsis: Roman J. Israel, Esq. is a dramatic thriller set in the underbelly of the overburdened Los Angeles criminal court system.... [More]
Directed By: Dan Gilroy

#32

Safe House (2012)
53%

#32
Adjusted Score: 60.107%
Critics Consensus: Safe House stars Washington and Reynolds are let down by a thin script and choppily edited action sequences.
Synopsis: Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds star in the action-thriller Safe House. Washington plays the most dangerous renegade from the CIA,... [More]
Directed By: Daniel Espinosa

#31

Déjà Vu (2006)
56%

#31
Adjusted Score: 61.369%
Critics Consensus: Tony Scott tries to combine action, science fiction, romance, and explosions into one movie, but the time travel conceit might be too preposterous and the action falls apart under scrutiny.
Synopsis: Déjà vu: that flash of memory when you meet someone new who you feel you've known all your life or... [More]
Starring:
Directed By:

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 62.031%
Critics Consensus: Solid performances and a steady directorial hand help The Preacher's Wife offer some reliably heartwarming - albeit fairly predictable - holiday cheer.
Synopsis: An angel wonders if love can be Heaven on Earth in this family-themed romantic fantasy. Rev. Henry Biggs (Courtney B.... [More]
Directed By: Penny Marshall

#29

The Equalizer (2014)
60%

#29
Adjusted Score: 67.887%
Critics Consensus: The Equalizer is more stylishly violent than meaningful, but with Antoine Fuqua behind the cameras and Denzel Washington dispensing justice, it delivers.
Synopsis: In The Equalizer, Denzel Washington plays McCall, a man who believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and... [More]
Directed By: Antoine Fuqua

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 76.372%
Critics Consensus: The Magnificent Seven never really lives up to the superlative in its title -- or the classics from which it draws inspiration -- but remains a moderately diverting action thriller on its own merits.
Synopsis: Director Antoine Fuqua brings his modern vision to a classic story in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures' and Columbia Pictures' The Magnificent Seven.... [More]
Directed By: Antoine Fuqua

#27

2 Guns (2013)
65%

#27
Adjusted Score: 72.155%
Critics Consensus: Formulaic and often jarringly violent, 2 Guns rests its old-school appeal on the interplay between its charismatic, well-matched stars.
Synopsis: Two crooked undercover officers - one from the DEA and the other from the Navy - unknowingly lead investigations on... [More]
Directed By: Baltasar Kormákur

#26

Out of Time (2003)
64%

#26
Adjusted Score: 68.043%
Critics Consensus: A fun and stylish thriller if you can get past the contrivances.
Synopsis: Director Carl Franklin and actor Denzel Washington team up again (following 1995's Devil in a Blue Dress) for the crime... [More]
Directed By: Carl Franklin

#25

Ricochet (1991)
72%

#25
Adjusted Score: 72.56%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this fingernail-biting suspense film, a young cop (Denzel Washington) busts an infamous psycho who, when in prison, becomes totally... [More]
Directed By: Russell Mulcahy

#24

Training Day (2001)
73%

#24
Adjusted Score: 78.212%
Critics Consensus: The ending may be less than satisfying, but Denzel Washington reminds us why he's such a great actor in this taut and brutal police drama.
Synopsis: The Fast and the Furious (2001) screenwriter David Ayer follows up that fast-paced action hit with this gritty cop drama... [More]
Directed By: Antoine Fuqua

#23

Mo' Better Blues (1990)
71%

#23
Adjusted Score: 72.826%
Critics Consensus: Mo' Better Blues is rich with vibrant hues and Denzel Washington's impassioned performance, although its straightforward telling lacks the political punch fans expect from a Spike Lee joint.
Synopsis: Trumpeter Bleek Gilliam has many problems: his jazz quintet is troubled by internal rivalry, his manager and friend is deeply... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 77.612%
Critics Consensus: An inspirational crowd-pleaser with a healthy dose of social commentary, Remember the Titans may be predictable, but it's also well-crafted and features terrific performances.
Synopsis: Based on actual events that took place in 1971, a white southern high school is integrated with black students from... [More]
Directed By: Boaz Yakin

#21

Flight (2012)
77%

#21
Adjusted Score: 85.946%
Critics Consensus: Robert Zemeckis makes a triumphant return to live-action cinema with Flight, a thoughtful and provocative character study propelled by a compelling performance from Denzel Washington.
Synopsis: In this action-packed mystery thriller, Academy Award winner, Denzel Washington stars as Whip Whitaker, a seasoned airline pilot, who miraculously... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#20

Philadelphia (1993)
80%

#20
Adjusted Score: 84.057%
Critics Consensus: Philadelphia indulges in some unfortunate clichés in its quest to impart a meaningful message, but its stellar cast and sensitive direction are more than enough to compensate.
Synopsis: At the time of its release, Jonathan Demme's Philadelphia was the first big-budget Hollywood film to tackle the medical, political,... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 84.065%
Critics Consensus: A wonderful cast and top-notch script elevate The Great Debaters beyond a familiar formula for a touching, uplifting drama.
Synopsis: True story of professor Melvin B. Tolson who formed a debate team at a small, African American college in the... [More]
Directed By: Denzel Washington

#18

Antwone Fisher (2002)
78%

#18
Adjusted Score: 82.085%
Critics Consensus: Washington's directing debut is a solidly crafted, emotionally touching work.
Synopsis: The directorial debut of Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington, Antwone Fisher is an autobiographical drama written by the real-life Antwone... [More]
Directed By: Denzel Washington

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 82.907%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Mississippi Masala is a tale of how prejudice makes victims and instigators of us all. In 1972, Indian Jay (Roshan... [More]
Directed By: Mira Nair

#16

He Got Game (1998)
81%

#16
Adjusted Score: 84.046%
Critics Consensus: Though not without its flaws, He Got Game finds Spike Lee near the top of his game, combining trenchant commentary with his signature visuals and a strong performance from Denzel Washington.
Synopsis: Denzel Washington does some of his best work as a prison inmate trying to earn himself an early release by... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 85.989%
Critics Consensus: While not the classic its predecessor is, this update is well-acted and conjures a chilling resonance.
Synopsis: A psychological thriller in which a career soldier, Army Major Bennett Marco, grows suspicious about his experiences in Desert Storm... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 88.288%
Critics Consensus: American Gangster is a gritty and entertaining throwback to classic gangster films, with its lead performers firing on all cylinders.
Synopsis: Nobody used to notice Frank Lucas, the quiet driver to one of the inner city's leading black crime bosses. But... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#13

Cry Freedom (1987)
76%

#13
Adjusted Score: 77.338%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A powerful drama that helped expose to the world the malfeasance of South African apartheid, Cry Freedom chronicles the fact-based... [More]
Directed By: Richard Attenborough

#12

The Hurricane (1999)
83%

#12
Adjusted Score: 87.838%
Critics Consensus: Thanks in large part to one of Denzel Washington's most powerful on-screen performances, The Hurricane is a moving, inspirational sports drama, even if it takes few risks in telling its story.
Synopsis: In 1966, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter was a top-ranked middleweight boxer whom many fight fans expected to become world champion. When... [More]
Directed By: Norman Jewison

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 87.637%
Critics Consensus: An emotional and intriguing tale of a military officer who must review the merits of a fallen officer while confronting his own war demons. Effectively depicts the terrors of war as well as its heartbreaking aftermath.
Synopsis: A US Army officer, despondent about a deadly mistake he made, investigates a female chopper commander's worthiness for the Medal... [More]
Directed By: Edward Zwick

#10

Unstoppable (2010)
87%

#10
Adjusted Score: 92.726%
Critics Consensus: As fast, loud, and relentless as the train at the center of the story, Unstoppable is perfect popcorn entertainment -- and director Tony Scott's best movie in years.
Synopsis: In this action thriller from director Tony Scott, rookie train operator Will (Chris Pine) and grizzled veteran engineer Frank (Denzel... [More]
Directed By: Tony Scott

#9

Inside Man (2006)
86%

#9
Adjusted Score: 93.127%
Critics Consensus: Spike Lee's energetic and clever bank-heist thriller is a smart genre film that is not only rewarding on its own terms, but manages to subvert its pulpy trappings with wit and skill.
Synopsis: The volatile showdown between a determined cop and a perfectionist bank robber is sent spiraling toward disaster when a scheming... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#8

Crimson Tide (1995)
88%

#8
Adjusted Score: 90.859%
Critics Consensus: Boasting taut, high energy thrills and some cracking dialogue courtesy of an uncredited Quentin Tarantino, Crimson Tide finds director Tony Scott near the top of his action game.
Synopsis: Two leaders with different philosophies about battle and leadership wage war with each other in this tense military thriller. Capt.... [More]
Directed By: Tony Scott

#7

The Mighty Quinn (1989)
88%

#7
Adjusted Score: 88.458%
Critics Consensus: A deft hybrid of laughs, espionage, and music, The Mighty Quinn is a smart, pleasant entertainment that offers an early example of Denzel Washington's onscreen magnetism.
Synopsis: On a small Caribbean island, police chief Xavier Quinn investigates a murder where the prime suspect is Maubee, a charming... [More]
Directed By: Carl Schenkel

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 91.54%
Critics Consensus: Humor, interesting characters, and attention to details make the stylish Devil in a Blue Dress an above average noir.
Synopsis: Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins is a decorated war hero who returns home to the segregation of post-war America. Forced to accept... [More]
Directed By: Carl Franklin

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 93.197%
Critics Consensus: A meticulously-crafted murder mystery with incisive observations about race in America, A Soldier's Story benefits from a roundly excellent ensemble and Charles Fuller's politically urgent screenplay.
Synopsis: Inspired by the Herman Melville novel Billy Budd, writer Charles Fuller created the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Soldier's Play, which he... [More]
Directed By: Norman Jewison

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 93.425%
Critics Consensus: Kenneth Branagh's love for the material is contagious in this exuberant adaptation.
Synopsis: Actor Kenneth Branagh made his directorial debut with a rousing screen adaptation of William Shakespeare's Henry V. Four years later,... [More]
Directed By: Kenneth Branagh

#3

Malcolm X (1992)
89%

#3
Adjusted Score: 93.257%
Critics Consensus: Anchored by a powerful performance from Denzel Washington, Spike Lee's biopic of legendary civil rights leader Malcolm X brings his autobiography to life with an epic sweep and a nuanced message.
Synopsis: Writer-director Spike Lee's epic portrayal of the life and times of the slain civil rights leader Malcolm X begins with... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#2

Glory (1989)
93%

#2
Adjusted Score: 96.008%
Critics Consensus: Bolstered by exceptional cinematography, powerful storytelling, and an Oscar-winning performance by Denzel Washington, Glory remains one of the finest Civil War movies ever made.
Synopsis: Glory is a celebration of a little-known act of mass courage during the Civil War. Simply put, the heroes involved... [More]
Directed By: Edward Zwick

#1

Fences (2016)
92%

#1
Adjusted Score: 102.492%
Critics Consensus: From its reunited Broadway stars to its screenplay, the solidly crafted Fences finds its Pulitzer-winning source material fundamentally unchanged -- and still just as powerful.
Synopsis: Denzel Washington directed and stars in this adaptation of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which centers on a black garbage... [More]
Directed By: Denzel Washington

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