Unbelievably, W. Kamau Bell and Kevin Avery spent a solid ten minutes talking about my rankings of Denzel Washington’s filmography on the podcast Denzel Washington is the Greatest Actor of All Time Period. I’ve first off got to say thank you to Liz @Denzealots on twitter for sending my list to the hosts because the community that they (and Igor Rusinov) have developed through this podcast.

However, I now feel that I have to finally get around to defending my rankings, something I’ve been putting off as my summer job comes to a close. There are 44 Denzel films that I was considering for this so films like Wilma, Flesh & Blood, and License To Kill are not included in this ranking either because of availability or because they were TV movies that weren’t starring Denzel front and centre (like The George McKenna Story did).

The ranking of films for me always splits into categories of rankings because sometimes the placement themselves don’t give enough information. For instance For Queen and Country  is ranked at number 39 and Fallen is ranked at number 40, but For Queen and Country is a significantly better film than  Fallen is. It’s just where the rankings had them end up. With that in mind, Denzel’s filmography works as such using the DWITGAOATP rating scale.

Man On Fire

I Been Took!

44 – Hard Lessons

43 – Virtuosity

42 – Man on Fire

41 – Carbon Copy

40 – Fallen

Cry Freedom

I was Led Astray

39 – For Queen and Country

38 – The Siege

37 – The Manchurian Candidate

36 – Cry Freedom

35 – Heart Condition

34 – The Equalizer

33 – 2 Guns

32 – Safe House

31 – Power

30 – The Hurricane

Preacher's Wife

I’d Give it a Hoodwink

29 – Antwone Fisher

28 – The Pelican Brief

27 – John Q

26 – Remember the Titans

25 – The Preacher’s Wife

24 – The Bone Collector

23 – He Got Game

22 – Much Ado About Nothing

21 – Déja Vu

This movie Ran Amok all over the Screen

20 – Mo Better Blues

19 – Courage Under Fire

18 – The Taking of Pelham 123

17 – Ricochet

16 – Glory

15 – Philadelphia

14 – Flight

Devil in a Blue Dress

I give it a Bamboozle!

13 – Mississippi Masala

12 – Out Of Time

11 – Inside Man

10 – Unstoppable

9 – Devil in a Blue Dress

8 – The Book of Eli

7 – The Great Debaters

6 – A Soldier’s Story

5 – Training Day

Crimson Tide

This is what he does!

4 – The Mighty Quinn

3 – American Gangster

2 – Crimson Tide

1 – Malcolm X

Over the next two weeks I’ll write up an individual post for each category because they all deserve some love and attention, and as I go through them I’ll replace the reviews in the official list on letterboxd with the reviews from these posts and update all the links accordingly.

Oh, and a final note on the headline of this piece. While at first I wasn’t convinced, I am definitely, officially, on board with Denzel being the greatest actor of all time period. No other actor has an output so perfectly consistent  that I’ve been witness to.


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