Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

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.

#47

Heart Condition (1990)
10%

#47
Adjusted Score: 4872%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Racist police officer Jack Moony (Bob Hoskins) has a vendetta against Napoleon Stone (Denzel Washington), a charismatic black lawyer who... [More]
Directed By: James D. Parriott

#46

John Q (2002)
24%

#46
Adjusted Score: 27176%
Critics Consensus: Washington's performance rises above the material, but John Q pounds the audience over the head with its message.
Synopsis: Story centers on a man whose nine-year-old son is in desperate need of a life-saving transplant. When he discovers that... [More]
Directed By: Nick Cassavetes

#45
#45
Adjusted Score: 30327%
Critics Consensus: A talented cast is wasted on a bland attempt at a suspenseful, serial killer flick.
Synopsis: Policewoman Amelia Donaghy (Angelina Jolie) is in hot pursuit of a serial murderer whose calling card is a small shard... [More]
Directed By: Phillip Noyce

#44
#44
Adjusted Score: 28099%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When Reuben James (Denzel Washington), a decorated paratrooper, is discharged from the British military, he returns to his old neighborhood... [More]
Directed By: Martin Stellman

#43

Virtuosity (1995)
30%

#43
Adjusted Score: 30495%
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: A former cop who has been imprisoned for murdering the psychopath who killed his family, Parker Barnes (Denzel Washington) is... [More]
Directed By: Brett Leonard

#42

Man on Fire (2004)
38%

#42
Adjusted Score: 44754%
Critics Consensus: Man on Fire starts out well, but goes over the top in the violent second half.
Synopsis: In a Mexico City wracked by a recent wave of kidnappings, ex-CIA operative John Creasy (Denzel Washington) reluctantly accepts a... [More]
Directed By: Tony Scott

#41

Fallen (1998)
39%

#41
Adjusted Score: 41399%
Critics Consensus: Has an interesting premise. Unfortunately, it's just a recycling of old materials, and not all that thrilling.
Synopsis: After witnessing the execution of serial killer Edgar Reese (Elias Koteas), whom he arrested, police detective John Hobbes (Denzel Washington),... [More]
Directed By: Gregory Hoblit

#40

The Siege (1998)
44%

#40
Adjusted Score: 45763%
Critics Consensus: An exciting, well-paced action film.
Synopsis: After terrorists attack a bus in Brooklyn, a Broadway theater and FBI headquarters, FBI anti-terrorism expert Anthony Hubbard (Denzel Washington)... [More]
Directed By: Edward Zwick

#39
#39
Adjusted Score: 58088%
Critics Consensus: An exceptionally well-cast throwback thriller, The Little Things will feel deeply familiar to genre fans -- for better and for worse.
Synopsis: Deputy Sheriff Joe "Deke" Deacon joins forces with Sgt. Jim Baxter to search for a serial killer who's terrorizing Los... [More]
Directed By: John Lee Hancock

#38

The Book of Eli (2010)
47%

#38
Adjusted Score: 54305%
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: Thirty years after war turned the world into a wasteland, a lone warrior named Eli (Denzel Washington) marches across the... [More]

#37

Power (1986)
50%

#37
Adjusted Score: 50283%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Once-noble media consultant Pete St. John (Richard Gere) is now employed by a number of corrupt politicians. A potential client... [More]
Directed By: Sidney Lumet

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 60839%
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: Chaos reigns in the New York City subway system when heavily armed criminals, led by a mastermind named Ryder (John... [More]
Directed By: Tony Scott

#35

The Equalizer 2 (2018)
52%

#35
Adjusted Score: 64583%
Critics Consensus: The Equalizer 2 delivers the visceral charge of a standard vigilante thriller, but this reunion of trusted talents ultimately proves a disappointing case study in diminishing returns.
Synopsis: If you have a problem and there is nowhere else to turn, the mysterious and elusive Robert McCall will deliver... [More]
Directed By: Antoine Fuqua

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 56982%
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: Taut thriller about a young law student whose legal brief about the assassination of two Supreme Court justices causes her... [More]
Directed By: Alan J. Pakula

#33

Safe House (2012)
53%

#33
Adjusted Score: 61496%
Critics Consensus: Safe House stars Washington and Reynolds are let down by a thin script and choppily edited action sequences.
Synopsis: For the past year, rookie CIA agent Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) has been eager to prove himself while cooling his... [More]
Directed By: Daniel Espinosa

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 67301%
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 is an idealistic defense attorney whose life gets upended when his boss and mentor -- the legendary... [More]
Directed By: Dan Gilroy

#31

Déjà Vu (2006)
56%

#31
Adjusted Score: 61860%
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: The team of top-secret program brings ATF agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) into its midst to capture the terrorist (Jim... [More]
Directed By: Tony Scott

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 62235%
Critics Consensus: Solid performances and a steady directorial hand help The Preacher's Wife offer some reliably heartwarming - albeit fairly predictable - holiday cheer.
Synopsis: A cleric begins to doubt himself and is visited by an angel. The heavenly emissary is supposed to help the... [More]
Directed By: Penny Marshall

#29

The Equalizer (2014)
60%

#29
Adjusted Score: 68806%
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: Robert McCall (Denzel Washington), a man of mysterious origin who believes he has put the past behind him, dedicates himself... [More]
Directed By: Antoine Fuqua

#28

Out of Time (2003)
64%

#28
Adjusted Score: 69340%
Critics Consensus: A fun and stylish thriller if you can get past the contrivances.
Synopsis: Matt Lee Whitlock (Denzel Washington) is the police chief of a small Florida town, going through a divorce with his... [More]
Directed By: Carl Franklin

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 83624%
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: Looking to mine for gold, greedy industrialist Bartholomew Bogue seizes control of the Old West town of Rose Creek. With... [More]
Directed By: Antoine Fuqua

#26

2 Guns (2013)
64%

#26
Adjusted Score: 71774%
Critics Consensus: Formulaic and often jarringly violent, 2 Guns rests its old-school appeal on the interplay between its charismatic, well-matched stars.
Synopsis: For the past year, DEA agent Bobby Trench (Denzel Washington) and U.S. Navy intelligence officer Marcus Stigman (Mark Wahlberg) have... [More]
Directed By: Baltasar Kormákur

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 76869%
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: In Virginia, high school football is a way of life, an institution revered, each game celebrated more lavishly than Christmas,... [More]
Directed By: Boaz Yakin

#24

Training Day (2001)
73%

#24
Adjusted Score: 79437%
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: Police drama about a veteran officer who escorts a rookie on his first day with the LAPD's tough inner-city narcotics... [More]
Directed By: Antoine Fuqua

#23

Ricochet (1991)
74%

#23
Adjusted Score: 66836%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After tracking down and arresting Earl Talbot Blake (John Lithgow), a psychotic hit man, rookie Los Angeles police officer Nick... [More]
Directed By: Russell Mulcahy

#22

Cry Freedom (1987)
74%

#22
Adjusted Score: 75355%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Set in apartheid-torn South Africa. Donald Woods is the editor of the East London Daily Express and Steve Biko is... [More]
Directed By: Richard Attenborough

#21

Flight (2012)
77%

#21
Adjusted Score: 87786%
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: Commercial airline pilot Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) has a problem with drugs and alcohol, though so far he's managed to... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#20

Antwone Fisher (2002)
78%

#20
Adjusted Score: 82927%
Critics Consensus: Washington's directing debut is a solidly crafted, emotionally touching work.
Synopsis: The touching story of a sailor (Derek Luke) who, prone to violent outbursts, is sent to a naval psychiatrist (Denzel... [More]
Directed By: Denzel Washington

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 84537%
Critics Consensus: A wonderful cast and top-notch script elevate The Great Debaters beyond a familiar formula for a touching, uplifting drama.
Synopsis: Poet and professor Melvin B. Tolson (Denzel Washington) teaches at the predominately black Wiley College in 1935 Texas. He decides... [More]
Directed By: Denzel Washington

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 87681%
Critics Consensus: While not the classic its predecessor is, this update is well-acted and conjures a chilling resonance.
Synopsis: Years after his squad was ambushed during the Gulf War, Major Ben Marco (Denzel Washington) finds himself having terrible nightmares.... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

#17

Philadelphia (1993)
79%

#17
Adjusted Score: 80292%
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: Fearing it would compromise his career, lawyer Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) hides his homosexuality and HIV status at a powerful... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

#16

He Got Game (1998)
80%

#16
Adjusted Score: 80687%
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: Jake Shuttleworth (Denzel Washington) has spent the last six years in prison after accidentally killing his wife during a violent... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 89431%
Critics Consensus: American Gangster is a gritty and entertaining throwback to classic gangster films, with its lead performers firing on all cylinders.
Synopsis: Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) earns his living as a chauffeur to one of Harlem's leading mobsters. After his boss dies,... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 97067%
Critics Consensus: Sarita Choudhury and Denzel Washington's romantic chemistry lights up the screen in Mississippi Masala, Mira Nair's observant and sexy tale of cultures clashing.
Synopsis: The vibrant cultures of India, Uganda, and the American South are blended and simmered into a rich and fragrant fusion... [More]
Directed By: Mira Nair

#13

The Hurricane (1999)
83%

#13
Adjusted Score: 87685%
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: Denzel Washington is Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a man whose dreams of winning the middleweight boxing title were destroyed when he... [More]
Directed By: Norman Jewison

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 89079%
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: During the 1991 Gulf War, Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Serling (Denzel Washington) accidentally caused a friendly fire incident, a mistake that... [More]
Directed By: Edward Zwick

#11

Inside Man (2006)
86%

#11
Adjusted Score: 95189%
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: A tough detective (Denzel Washington) matches wits with a cunning bank robber (Clive Owen), as a tense hostage crisis is... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#10

Unstoppable (2010)
87%

#10
Adjusted Score: 93723%
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: When a massive, unmanned locomotive roars out of control, the threat is more ominous than just a derailment. The train... [More]
Directed By: Tony Scott

#9

The Mighty Quinn (1989)
88%

#9
Adjusted Score: 68686%
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: Police chief Xavier Quinn (Denzel Washington) investigates the gruesome murder of Donald Pater, one of the wealthiest residents on a... [More]
Directed By: Carl Schenkel

#8

Crimson Tide (1995)
89%

#8
Adjusted Score: 91053%
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: After the Cold War, a breakaway Russian republic with nuclear warheads becomes a possible worldwide threat. U.S. submarine Capt. Frank... [More]
Directed By: Tony Scott

#7

Malcolm X (1992)
89%

#7
Adjusted Score: 94290%
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: A tribute to the controversial black activist and leader of the struggle for black liberation. He hit bottom during his... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 92479%
Critics Consensus: Kenneth Branagh's love for the material is contagious in this exuberant adaptation.
Synopsis: In this Shakespearean farce, Hero (Kate Beckinsale) and her groom-to-be, Claudio (Robert Sean Leonard), team up with Claudio's commanding officer,... [More]
Directed By: Kenneth Branagh

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 99203%
Critics Consensus: Humor, interesting characters, and attention to details make the stylish Devil in a Blue Dress an above average noir.
Synopsis: In late 1940s Los Angeles, Easy Rawlins (Denzel Washington) is an unemployed black World War II veteran with few job... [More]
Directed By: Carl Franklin

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 92003%
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: A black Army investigator (Howard E. Rollins Jr.) travels to a remote military base in the heart of the Louisiana... [More]
Directed By: Norman Jewison

#3

Fences (2016)
92%

#3
Adjusted Score: 108564%
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: Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington) makes his living as a sanitation worker in 1950s Pittsburgh. Maxson once dreamed of becoming a... [More]
Directed By: Denzel Washington

#2

Glory (1989)
94%

#2
Adjusted Score: 97702%
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: Following the Battle of Antietam, Col. Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick) is offered command of the United States' first all-African-American... [More]
Directed By: Edward Zwick

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 107682%
Critics Consensus: Led by a stellar Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth strips the classic story down to its visual and narrative essentials.
Synopsis: Joel Coen's bold and fierce adaptation of "Macbeth," a tale of murder, madness, ambition, and wrathful cunning.... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen