Denzel Washington redefined stardom for black actors and set many standardized Hollywood representations of black characters. Washington is among the best American actors of all time. 

Denzel Washington developed an interest in acting and enrolled at American Conservatory Theater. He made his screen acting debut in the 1977 TV movie Wilma. The actor’s first major Hollywood appearance was in the 1981 movie Carbon Copy. Washington’s first major career breakthrough was playing Doctor Philip Chandler in NBC’s hospital drama series St. Elsewhere in 1982. His first major feature-film role was in Norman Jewison’s A Soldier’s Story in 1984. 

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Here are some of his best performances:

Glory (1989)

Edward Zwick’s on-screen portrayal of the American Civil War was perceived from the unique perspective of African-American soldiers in the movie. Washington’s energetic performance got him a Supporting Actor Oscar. Private Trip ended as his breakthrough role and completed his transition from the small screen to the big screen.

He Got Game (1998)

Spike Lee’s sports drama showed a potent racial critique of the commercial exploitation of baseball games. Ray Allen, a basketball pro was in one of the main roles as Jesus Shuttlesworth. Washington played Jesus’ father Jake Shuttlesworth. 

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The Hurricane (1999)

Another sports drama directed by Norman Jewison, The Hurricane was fictionalized tale of real-life boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter. Carter was wrongfully convicted of a triple homicide in 1966 and made to spend almost two decades in jail. Washington’s performance brought this story of perseverance and hope. The Hurricane was largely a prison drama. Washington did intensive boxing training to look alike the boxer in the movie.

Remember The Titans (2000)

Boaz Yakin’s sports drama, Remember the Titans plotted sentimental and convenient techniques that triggered the audience deeply. It was not only real-life characters, the struggle it portrayed still persists. In the first half, Washington grabbed the audience’s attention.

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American Gangster (2007)

Denzel Washington’s character, Frank Lucas in Ridley Scott’s sprawling gangster drama totally allured the audience. The hard-hitting portrayal of Lucas’ cruelty contrasted his family man image to the outside world.

Flight (2012)

Washington’s Oscar-nominated performance in Robert Zemeckis’ thriller drama was released after the actor’s mainstream thrillers Taking of Pelham 123 and Unstoppable. In both movies, he played an ordinary man fighting off his inner demons, while rising up to face an extraordinary situation. His performance in the movie was powerful. 

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The Tragedy Of Macbeth (2021)

Joel Coen’s first direction without brother Ethan Coen was close to Shakespeare’s original play it was based on, Macbeth. It has been adapted multiple times in modern and traditional backdrops. Washington delivered the play’s famous speeches and dialogues in an elegant manner. The ‘floating dagger’ plot was particularly uttered in an ingenious manner. The film and Washington’s performance gave new shades of excellency to a familiar story.