In this article, we will be ranking Denzel Washington’s movies in order from best to worst, taking into account factors such as box office success, critical acclaim, and personal preference. 

Whether you’re a die-hard Denzel fan or simply looking for a new movie to watch, this list of Denzel Washington movies in order has something for everyone. So, let’s take a look at Denzel Washington’s filmography and see how his movies stack up against one another.

30 Denzel Washington Movies in Order

Denzel Washington is a renowned actor with a career spanning over four decades. His filmography includes a wide range of roles in both dramatic and action-packed movies. Washington has numerous accolades to his name, including two Academy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards. He is widely considered one of the greatest actors of his generation.

Here is a highlight of 30 of Denzel Washington’s movies in order, from best to worst.

1. “Eyes on the Prize” (1987)

Eyes on the Prize | Official Trailer

Topping this list of Denzel Washington movies in order is the documentary series “Eyes on the Prize.” In the movie, Washington narrates the story of the civil rights movement in the United States from 1954 to 1985. The series received positive reviews and won multiple awards, including three Emmys. It has a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

2. “The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation” (2005)

Animation The Moon And The Son (2005)

In this animated short film, Denzel Washington voices the character of the son, who has a conversation with his deceased father (John Turturro) about their relationship. The film received positive reviews and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. It has a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

3. “Malcolm X” (1992)

Malcolm X (1992) Official Trailer - Denzel Washington Movie HD

With a 98% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 9.0 rating on IMDb, “Malcolm X” is widely considered one of the best Denzel Washington movies. In this biographical drama, Washington plays civil rights leader Malcolm X, tracing his life from his troubled childhood to his assassination in 1965. The movie received critical acclaim and Washington was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance.

4. “St. Elsewhere” (1982)

Trailer for St. Elsewhere - Channel 4 - September 1987

In this medical drama, Denzel Washington plays Dr. Phil Reed, a resident at the fictional St. Eligius hospital in Boston. The show aired for six seasons and received positive reviews, winning 13 Emmy Awards. It has a 95% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.0 rating on IMDb.

5. “Fences” (2016)

Fences Official Trailer #1 (2016) Denzel Washington, Viola Davis Drama Movie HD

With a 95% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.2 rating on IMDb, “Fences” is another highly regarded movie in Denzel Washington’s filmography. In this drama, Washington plays Troy Maxson, a former Negro League baseball player struggling to provide for his family in 1950s Pittsburgh. The movie was adapted from a play of the same name, and Washington received critical acclaim for his performance, winning a Tony Award for his role on Broadway and an Academy Award for his role in the film.

6. “Glory” (1989)

Glory 1989 Trailer

With a 95% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.9 rating on IMDb, “Glory” is another highly regarded movie in Denzel Washington’s filmography. In this historical drama, Washington plays Pvt. Trip, a slave who joins the Union Army during the Civil War. The movie tells the story of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, the first all-black regiment in the Union Army, and the bravery and sacrifices they made during the war. Washington received an Academy Award nomination for his performance.

7. “A Soldier’s Story” (1984)

A Soldier's Story - Trailer (HD)

In this drama, Denzel Washington plays Pvt. Peterson, a soldier who is investigating the murder of a sergeant at a training camp for black soldiers in 1944. The movie is based on a play of the same name, and it received positive reviews. It has a 92% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.3 rating on IMDb.

8. “Training Day” (2001)

Training Day (2001) Official Trailer - Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke Movie HD

With a 77% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.7 rating on IMDb, “Training Day” is a well-regarded crime thriller in Denzel Washington’s filmography. In the movie, Washington plays Detective Alonzo Harris, a corrupt LAPD officer who takes a young, idealistic police officer (Ethan Hawke) on a day-long ride-along through the city’s drug-infested neighborhoods. Washington won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role.

9. “Cry Freedom” (1987)

CRY FREEDOM (Trailer)

In this historical drama, Denzel Washington plays Steve Biko, a South African anti-apartheid activist who was arrested and tortured by the government in 1977. Kevin Kline co-stars as Donald Woods, a white South African journalist who helps bring attention to Biko’s plight. The movie received positive reviews and has a 74% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.4 rating on IMDb.

10. “Unstoppable” (2010)

Unstoppable Official Trailer #1 - (2010) HD

With a 73% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.9 rating on IMDb, “Unstoppable” is a well-regarded action movie in Denzel Washington’s filmography. In the movie, Washington plays Frank Barnes, a veteran train engineer who teams up with a young conductor (Chris Pine) to stop a runaway train carrying toxic chemicals. The movie received positive reviews for its fast-paced action and strong performances by Washington and Pine.

11. “Flight” (2012)

Flight TRAILER (2012) Denzel Washington, Robert Zemeckis Movie HD

With a 73% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.0 rating on IMDb, “Flight” is another well-regarded movie in Denzel Washington’s filmography. In this drama, Washington plays Captain William “Whip” Whitaker, a commercial airline pilot who miraculously lands his damaged plane after a mid-air disaster, saving the lives of almost everyone on board. However, an investigation into the crash reveals troubling information about Whip’s actions leading up to the incident. The movie received positive reviews for Washington’s performance and the compelling plot.

12. “The Great Debaters” (2007)

The Great Debaters Movie Trailer

In this drama, Denzel Washington plays Professor Melvin B. Tolson, a poet and political activist who coaches a small African-American college’s debate team in their quest to defeat Harvard University in a national competition. The movie received positive reviews and has a 73% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.2 rating on IMDb.

13. “The Equalizer” (2014)

THE EQUALIZER - Official Trailer (HD)

With a 62% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.1 rating on IMDb, “The Equalizer” is a solid action movie in Denzel Washington’s filmography. In the movie, Washington plays Robert McCall, a former covert operative who comes out of retirement to save a young girl from being trafficked by a group of Russian gangsters. The movie received positive reviews for its action scenes and Washington’s performance, and it spawned a sequel in 2018.

14. “Safe House” (2012)

Safe House (2012) Trailer - HD Movie - Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds

Denzel Washington plays Tobin Frost, a former CIA operative who is captured by the agency after years on the run. Ryan Reynolds plays Matt Weston, a young and inexperienced agent who is tasked with transporting Frost to a safe house for interrogation. The movie received mixed reviews and has a 58% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.5 rating on IMDb.

15. “The Little Things” (2021)

THE LITTLE THINGS – Official Trailer

“The Little Things” is a 2021 crime thriller film starring Denzel Washington as a burned-out detective assisting on a serial killer case. The film also stars Jared Leto and Rami Malek. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a rating of 58% and an average rating of 6/10. On IMDb, it has a rating of 6.3/10.

16. “Deja Vu” (2006)

Deja Vu - Official Trailer

In this sci-fi thriller, Denzel Washington plays Agent Doug Carlin, an FBI investigator who is brought in to help solve a terrorist attack on a ferry in New Orleans. Carlin discovers that he has the ability to travel back in time, and he uses this power to try and prevent the attack from happening. The movie received mixed reviews and has a 51% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.7 rating on IMDb.

17. “The Book of Eli” (2010)

The Book of Eli (2010) Official Trailer - Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis Movie HD

In this post-apocalyptic action movie, Denzel Washington plays Eli, a lone wanderer who is tasked with delivering a mysterious book across a desolate landscape. Gary Oldman plays Carnegie, a ruthless warlord who will stop at nothing to get his hands on the book. The movie received mixed reviews and has a 53% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.6 rating on IMDb.

18. “The Magnificent Seven” (2016)

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN - Official Trailer (HD)

In this western action movie, Denzel Washington plays Sam Chisolm, a bounty hunter who is recruited by a group of townsfolk to protect their village from a group of bandits. Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke co-star in this remake of the classic 1960 film. The movie received mixed reviews and has a 52% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.5 rating on IMDb.

19. “The Equalizer 2” (2018)

THE EQUALIZER 2 - Official Trailer (HD)

In this sequel to “The Equalizer,” Denzel Washington reprises his role as Robert McCall, a former covert operative who comes out of retirement to protect a young girl from being trafficked by a group of Russian gangsters. The movie received mixed reviews and has a 51% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.3 rating on IMDb.

20. “The George McKenna Story” (1986)

Preview Clip: The George McKenna Story (1986, Denzel Washington, Lynn Whitfield, Virginia Capers)

In this biographical drama, Denzel Washington plays George McKenna, a high school principal in Los Angeles who fights to turn around a troubled school. The movie received mixed reviews and has a 50% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.3 rating on IMDb.

21. “Power” (1986)

Power (1986) Official Trailer - Richard Gere, Denzel Washington Movie HD

In this drama, Denzel Washington plays Clay, a successful businessman who is forced to confront his past when his estranged brother (Jim Brown) comes back into his life. The movie received mixed reviews and has a 50% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.3 rating on IMDb.

22. “2 Guns” (2013)

“2 Guns” is a 2013 action comedy film starring Denzel Washington as Bobby Trench, a DEA agent, and Mark Wahlberg as Michael Stigman, a naval intelligence officer. In the film, the two men team up to take down a corrupt CIA after they are set up on a mission to infiltrate a drug cartel. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 53% and an average rating of 5.7/10. On IMDb, it has a rating of 6.6/10.

23. “The Tic Code” (1999)

the Tic Code class scene

In this drama, Denzel Washington plays Calvin, a jazz musician who has Tourette’s syndrome. Polly Draper co-stars as his ex-wife, and Gregory Hines plays a jazz pianist who becomes Calvin’s friend and mentor. The movie received mixed reviews and has a 50% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.3 rating on IMDb.

24. “The Final Countdown” (1980)

The Final Countdown (1980) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

In this science fiction movie, Denzel Washington plays a sailor who is aboard an aircraft carrier that travels through time to the day before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Kirk Douglas co-stars as the carrier’s commanding officer, and Martin Sheen plays a pilot who becomes stranded on the carrier. The movie received mixed reviews and has a 50% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.3 rating on IMDb.

25. “For Queen and Country” (1988)

For Queen and Country film clip

In this drama, Denzel Washington plays Reuben James, a Vietnam veteran who returns to his native England and becomes involved in the struggle for civil rights. The movie received mixed reviews and has a 50% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.3 rating on IMDb.

26. “Out of Time” (2003)

Out of Time (2003) | Official Trailer | MGM Studios

In this mystery-thriller, Denzel Washington plays Chief Matt Lee Whitlock, a small-town police chief who becomes a suspect in the murder of his mistress. The movie received mixed reviews and has a 33% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.1 rating on IMDb.

27. “The Manchurian Candidate” (2004)

The Manchurian Candidate (2004) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

In this political thriller, Denzel Washington plays Major Bennett Marco, a Gulf War veteran who begins to suspect that his unit was brainwashed during their deployment. The movie is a remake of the 1962 film of the same name, and it received mixed reviews. It has a 32% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.0 rating on IMDb.

28. “Carbon Copy” (1981)

Carbon Copy (1981) ORIGINAL TRAILER [HD 1080p]

In this comedy, Denzel Washington plays Roger Porter. Porter is a young man who discovers that he has a white father (George Segal) after his mother passes away. The movie received mixed reviews. It goes down as one of Washington’s worst movies.

29. “Ricochet” (1991)

Ricochet - Trailer (HD) (1991)

In this action movie, Denzel Washington plays Nick Styles, a detective who is targeted for death by a drug dealer (John Lithgow) he put in prison years earlier. The movie received mixed reviews and has a 28% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 5.8 rating on IMDb.

30. “Heart Condition” (1990)

Heart Condition 1990 Movie

In this comedy-drama, Denzel Washington plays Bob, a lawyer who is paired with the ghost of his heart donor (Bob Hoskins) to solve his own murder. The movie received negative reviews and has a 13% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 5.1 rating on IMDb.

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Overall, the order of Denzel Washington’s movies showcases his range as an actor and his ability to bring depth and nuance to a wide variety of roles. If you found this list of Denzel Washington movies in order to be interesting, be sure to check out BuddyTV for other listicles featuring actors like him.