An Academy Award and Golden Globe decorated actor, Denzel Washington is among the elite. The unique swagger and acting ability he brings to the movie screen are rarely imitated and never duplicated. Here’s a quick list of the best performances Washington has had to date.
7. The Hurricane, 1999
Based on the true story of Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter (Washington), which Rubin Carter himself wrote, follows the middleweight boxer’s life. Just as he was reaching the pinnacle of his career, Carter was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. Though the police constantly stated that he was never even a suspect, based on one person’s testimony, and that alone, he and one other were convicted of murder. It follows both his life prior to, during, and after his incarceration.
6. Malcolm X, 1992
Based on the true life story of Muslim-American, Malcolm Little (Washington), the movie focuses on his life, conversion to Islam, his constant incarceration, and continued battle for civil rights, and equality among the races. Though the movie begins during World War II, its primary plot is based during the 1960s, where Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, and Civil Rights activists such as Rev. Martin Luther King also strives for equality.
5. Training Day, 2001
Narcotics detective, Alonzo Harris (Washington), is joined by Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke). The movie follows just one day in the life of the ever-under-pressure and undercover detectives. While Jake is just learning the ropes, he must look to his superior officer, Harris, for direction, as the two grind it out in the rough, undercover lifestyle.
4. Crimson Tide, 1995
Starring alongside Gene Hackman, Denzel Washington plays Lt. Commander, Ron Hunter (Washington). Upon arriving on the U.S.S Alabama, Hunter finds that he is under the command of a slightly sea-crazy Captain in Frank Ramsey (Hackman). After receiving orders to launch nuclear missiles against the Soviets, and receiving a second, incomplete, message, Hunter assumes command of the ship. Hunter, who has never even been close to combat before, experiences the true meaning of pressure, both mentally and physically, as the submarine plunges to near hull-crushing depth after being attacked.
3. Remember the Titans, 2001
Coach Herman Boone (Washington) is given the head coaching job over returning Coach Bill Yoast (Will Patton) at T.C. Williams High School. In the height of the civil rights movement, and just as schools are becoming integrated, Boone refuses to be intimidated, despite the constant racial slurs and bricks tossed his way. There is no longer a “left side” and a “strong side” but one T.C. Williams’ Titan football team.
2. Book of Eli, 2010
A truly remarkable movie, Book of Eli is based on a dismal Earth, that appears to have been victim to a nuclear holocaust. Washington plays title character, Eli, who holds the most prized possession in the world, a book, The Bible. Eli faces a slew of adversity along his way, yet sticks to his mission and his promise; to deliver the book to where a still small voice is telling him: west.
1. Glory, 1989
With an all star cast like Morgan Freeman, Cary Elwes, Matthew Broderick, and, of course, Denzel Washington, it’s hard not to have an amazing movie. Washington, who won both a Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in his role as Private Silas Trip. The 54th Massachusetts, a completely black squadron, is led by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw (Broderick). Though they believe they are fighting for their freedom, at first it appears that they will only be doing manual labor, slave-like tasks. Eventually, however, Shaw gets the men their shot, at Glory.
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