Two time Academy-Award winner Denzel Washington is a national treasure. In preparation for his upcoming take as Robert McCall in the final installment of The Equalizer, we bring you his top five roles on the big screen. The Equalizer 3 arrives in theaters September 1.
“It’s not what you know; it’s what you can prove.” – Alonzo Harris
Training Day is a harrowing, intense drama starring Denzel Washington as narcotics officer Alonzo and Ethan Hawke as Jake Hoyt, a rookie cop on his first day working with the Los Angeles Police Department’s tough inner-city narcotics unit. When the day is over neither man will be the same. Considered one of Denzel Washington’s finest roles, with quotable lines and terrifying scenes, the film received multiple award nominations and Denzel Washington secured his second Academy Award winning Best Actor for his unforgettable portrayal of Alonzo.
“Life don’t owe you nothing. You owe it to yourself.” – Troy Maxson
Denzel Washington didn’t just star in Fences alongside Viola Davis, he directed the multiple award-nominated film, too. Based on August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, Fences follows Troy (Washington), a 57-year-old working-class man who struggles with providing for his family and becomes estranged from his wife Rose (Davis). The play was originally staged on Broadway in 2010 with Washington and Davis playing Troy and Rose. The actors reunited again for the big screen adaption, which was later chosen by the American Film Institute as one of the top ten films of 2016. Fences was ultimately nominated for numerous awards, including four Oscar nominations at the 89th Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor (Washington), Best Supporting Actress (Davis), and Best Adapted Screenplay with Davis winning for her performance.
“You gotta be who you are in this world, no matter what.” – Robert McCall
In The Equalizer, Denzel Washinton portrays Robert McCall, a man who believes he has put his mysterious past behind him yet cannot stand idly by when he meets a young girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters. Directed by the iconic Antoine Fuqua, the script originally had no back story for Robert McCall so Denzel Washington contributed much to the character’s background and back story, including McCall having obsessive-compulsive disorder. The first installment would be the beginning of a multi-project collaboration between Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington. The Equalizer’s success spawned a trilogy with the latest installment The Equalizer 3 hitting theaters on September 1.
“What we lost in the fire, we found in the ashes.” – Sam Chisolm
When greedy industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) seizes control of the Old West town of Rose Creek, local Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) and other desperate residents turn to bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington) for help. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, the film is a remake of the 1960 Western by the same name. Both films are based on Seven Samurai and Fuqua said he wanted to remake the film because the subject of tyranny and terrorism still resonates. The Magnificent Seven was Denzel Washington’s first Western with the actor sharing that he did not grow up watching Westerns and he was hesitant about starring in one until Fuqua convinced him to come onboard.
“Hate put me in prison. Love’s gonna bust me out.” – Hurricane Carter
In this moving sports biographical drama, Denzel Washington plays Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a man whose dreams of winning the middleweight boxing title were destroyed when he was arrested and tried along with another man for the murders of three people in a New Jersey bar. Wrongfully accused, Carter and John Artis were sentenced to three life terms in prison. The film received multiple award nominations including Academy Award and SAG Award nominations for Best Actor for Washington. Denzel Washington won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama for his role as Hurricane Carter.