Malcolm X- 1992-Denzel Washington owns this role and makes Malcolm X a figure of dignity and a sympathetic character, no small feat considering the reputation shared by both the controversial leader AND director Spike Lee.
The Great Debaters-2007 – A small film, which tends to be overlooked, but an important one in that this is not a typical Denzel Washington action film vehicle, but rather a chance for him to shine as a leader and mentor. This role allowed him to show a very real side of the actor, one who inspires others…In this part, he plays Melvin B. Tolson, a teacher who inspired his students to take risks. Based on a true story, the team of African-American college students from Wiley College struggled to gain acceptance in the 1930’s while battling prejudice and stereotyping in the Jim Crow world of the
Taking of Pelham 123-2009 – In this we see an older version of Denzel Washington. He plays the older and mellower part of the unfortunate transit worker who happens to be on duty when a crazed psychopath, played by John Travolta, hi-jacks a New York Subway train and proceeds to terrorize the city. This remake was executed well and moved at a fast pace.
Man on Fire 2004– Washington was never better than in this portrayal of a slightly down and out former CIA operative turned bodyguard who becomes a man with a mission. He is “on fire” to retrieve his lost charge, a young girl played by Dakota Fanning, who is abducted while under his watch.