Denzel Washington has had one of the most successful acting careers in history and has been a mainstay in Hollywood for 25 years.
He’s one of the most bankable stars in the biz and even though he’s getting a little older he still kicks ass! Let’s take a look at some Denzel’s most celebrated and memorable roles in his prestigious career. The man can’t do wrong!
It’s arguably Denzel’s role in Philadelphia that really made Washington a superstar. Playing a once homophobic ambulance chasing lawyer Joe Miller.
He gives a stunning performance opposite Tom Hanks as a lawyer that sees the error of his ways as he single-handedly takes on a powerful law firm to do what’s right. “Explain it to me like I’m a 4-year-old”
5. American Gangster
Probably one of Denzel’s best movies, his performance in this one tends to be forgotten for some reason. He plays real-life New York gangster and heroin kingpin, Frank Lucas opposite Russel Crowe in this crime drama that takes place in the 1970s.
On the outside he seems cool and calm but Denzel hits a home run when it’s time for the characters brutal side to come out. You can’t be heroin kingpin if you’re Mr. Nice Guy after all.
Crowe’s cop character may be the hero, but Washington took a risk at playing the villain and his potrayal of Lucas draws us in to his seedy criminal empire that keeps you involved in every second of this riveting thriller.
4. Crimson Tide
The Hunt for Red October may be the king of all sub movie, but Crimson Tide comes in a close second and Denzel is the perfect foil for Gene Hackman’s old crusty captain.
The two clash heads when Denzels Lieutenant-Commander Hunter has to deal with passive racism as the two go head-to-head over orders that involve the launch of a nuclear weapon!
The real fireworks happen when Denzel doesn’t back down from the formidable Hackman as the battle of wills continues. His character rarely loses his cool despite betrayals and mutinies among his crew all while the Russians might be out there!
3. Remember the Titans
This true story was based on the first black head coach of a Virgina high school football team when football was first desegregated.
Washington plays Herman Boone, a black head coach hired to lead a team divided by race.
The still stands as one of Disney’s most financially successful and critically acclaimed pictures mainly due to Washington’s performance.
Washington stole the show as the rugged yet likable Private Trip in Glory that shot him to stardom and international fame with his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
One scene that stands out particularly is the whipping sequence where it seems Denzel’s character simply won’t break. That type of intensity in an actor is hard to forget and still stands as a prime example of Washington’s professionalism.
1. Training Day
Denzel has the rare ability to pull off being the hero or the villain in any given movie and less than perfect characters (like in Flight). In Training Day he definitely chose the latter as playing one of the more memorable dirty cops in recent movie history.
As a corrupt LAPD narcotics detective he takes innocent rookie cop Ethan Hawke on a 24-hour ride on the ugly side of law enforcement as it is rather than how it should me.
Washington had previously been known for his more heroic roles as in Cry Freedom and The Pelican Brief , but his turn as a real bad guy impressed so much he was awarded the Best Actor Oscar for his efforts.
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