5 best films starring Denzel Washington according to Rotten Tomatoes

By Adam C. BetterJul 11, 2024 09:09 AMFilms
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Denzel Washington in Equalizer (2014)
Denzel Washington in Equalizer (2014). Source: https://www.imdb.com/?ref_=nv_home

Denzel Washington is a celebrated actor known for his powerful performances spanning multiple genres. As we eagerly await his role in the highly anticipated "Gladiator 2," it's an opportune time to reflect on his most acclaimed films, carefully ranked by Rotten Tomatoes. Let's explore Washington's top five movies. This is prepared by SSP.

1. "Mississippi Masala" (1991)

At number five, we have "Mississippi Masala" (1991), directed by Mira Nair. In this romantic drama, Washington portrays Demetrius Williams, a Southern carpet cleaner who falls in love with Mina, an Indian woman displaced from Uganda. Their love story unfolds against a backdrop of cultural clashes and explores themes of love and displacement. Washington's tender and charismatic performance effortlessly conveys the emotions of a man navigating the complexities of different cultures, making "Mississippi Masala" a beautiful exploration of identity.

2. "Devil in a Blue Dress" (1995)

In the fourth spot, we find "Devil in a Blue Dress" (1995), helmed by Carl Franklin. Set in 1948 Los Angeles, this neo-noir mystery follows Washington as Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins, a WWII veteran turned private investigator. The film dives into themes of race, identity, and morality. Washington's portrayal of Easy Rawlins exudes a quiet strength and vulnerability, displaying his versatility across genres. His nuanced performance adds depth to the character, captivating audiences with its intelligence.

3. "Fences" (2016)

Moving up to number three, we encounter "Fences" (2016), a film directed by and starring Denzel Washington. Representing a film adaptation of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Washington plays Troy Maxson, a former baseball player trying to reconcile with his past. The story delves into themes of family, regret, and racial tension in 1950s America. Washington's powerful and heartbreaking performance captured an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. His skillful direction maintains the intensity of the original play, earning acclaim for its authenticity.

4. "The Tragedy of Macbeth" (2021)

Stepping into the second spot is Joel Coen's "The Tragedy of Macbeth" (2021), where Washington astounds as the titular character. Filmed in black and white, this adaptation focuses on Macbeth's descent into madness. Washington's haunting portrayal exhibits restraint and intensity, as he navigates the inner conflicts and ambitions of Shakespeare's tragic hero. Critics commend his performance, emphasizing his vulnerability, which adds a poignant touch to Macbeth's tragic journey.

5. "Glory" (1989)

Finally, Washington's highest-rated film on Rotten Tomatoes clinches the top position, "Glory" (1989), directed by Edward Zwick. This remarkable historical drama centers around the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment—the Union Army's second African American regiment during the Civil War. Washington's portrayal of Private Trip, a defiant runaway slave turned soldier, earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. His raw, emotive performance effectively conveys the pain and resilience of a man fighting for freedom. One particularly memorable scene shows Trip's silent, tear-filled defiance during a flogging, leaving an indelible mark in cinematic history.

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