Think of the many successful Black actors that you know of. Of course, Will Smith, Angela Basset, Samuel L. Jackson and Denzel Washington probably come to mind, along with a long list of others. As one of many A-list actors, Denzel Washington has an incredible catalog. A career spanning over three decades, the actor has credits in Malcolm X, Training Day, Fences and The Equalizer amongst a long list of films. Here are some of our favorite performances and movies from the actor.

Well-respected by many other A-listers, Denzel Washington is able to captivate audiences with riveting performances. He’s a rare talent who can not only play but excel in just about any character or role you give him. At 69 years old, he’s received numerous accolades including multiple Golden Globes awards, Academy Awards, Tony Awards and NAACP Awards. Born in Mount Vernon, Denzel Washington received his bachelor’s degree in Drama and Journalism from Fordham University

Malcolm X (1992)

IMDb: 7.7/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%

Denzel Washington puts on an incredible performance as Malcolm X himself in this biopic. Centering the life of Malcolm X and his fight for racial justice, Denzel encapsulates the revolutionary Black activist. The 1992 film was directed and co-written by Spike Lee, whom Washington has worked with throughout his career. Following his incarceration, his conversion to Islam, his activism and his assassination, this film truly takes you through the life of Malcolm X.

The Equalizer Series (2014, 2018, 2023)

IMDb: 7.2/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 61%

One of Denzel’s most popular action movies, The Equalizer series follows a retired agent who returns to action to save a teenager being trafficked by the Russian mafia. At almost 60 years old when the first movie of the series was released, Denzel proves that age is just a number. The first Equalizer movie, which was released in 2014, did so well in theaters that two sequels were produced in 2018 and 2023. The Equalizer 2 follows Robert McCall’s journey as he sets out for revenge after a close friend is murdered. Reprising his role as Robert McCall, the storyline follows the character in Italy, involving McCall taking down gang members.

Fences (2016)

IMDb: 7.2/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

Directed by the actor himself, Denzel Washington stars alongside Viola Davis in this period drama. Following the ups and downs of the couple and their family, the film takes place in 1950s Pittsburg. The movie was a commercial success, grossing $64 million, making $40 million over budget. With a long list of accolades including multiple NAACP Image Awards, Golden Globes and Academy Awards nominations, this powerful film will make you laugh and cry.

Training Day (2001)

IMDb: 7.7/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 74%

The 2001 movie Training Day follows a detective and police officer, with Denzel’s character showing the new police officer the ropes around being in law enforcement. Denzel won an Oscar for his stellar performance in this film, ultimately revealing the corrupt nature of some law enforcement individuals. Washington stars alongside Ethan Hawke in this crime thriller.

Inside Man (2006)

IMDb: 7.6/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%

Crime and thriller movies seem to be Denzel’s thing. Directed by Spike Lee, Washington takes on the role of law enforcement again, portraying a New York City cop. Squaring off against a criminal mastermind on a Wall Street bank heist, this Lee-Denzel pairing crime thriller was a hit. Following a police officer, a bank robber and a broker enter high stakes in a hostage crisis. This movie was a hit in the theaters, making $184.4 million with a $45 million budget for production.