10 Best Directors Denzel Washington Has Worked With

For decades, Denzel Washington has been one of the most adored and acclaimed actors on the planet. With depth and pathos to back up his charm and charisma, Washington redefined what it means to be a classic movie star.

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During her storied career, Washington has worked with all kinds of big-name filmmakers. In addition to his frequent collaborations with Spike Lee and Tony Scott, Washington has played roles for filmmaking icons such as Kenneth Branagh, Robert Zemeckis and half of the Coen Brothers.

ten Robert Zemeckis


Robert Zemeckis made some of the most beloved films ever made, from time travel Back to the future to the groundbreaking live-action/black impersonation animation hybrid Who Framed Roger Rabbit to the Disney-fied history lesson that is Forrest Gump.

In 2012, Washington starred in one of Zemeckis’ darker films. Flight revolves around an alcoholic pilot (a role that earned Washington an Oscar nod), who tries to fight his addiction after narrowly avoiding a plane crash.

9 Kenneth Branagh


Denzel Washington and Kenneth Branagh in Much Ado About Nothing

Kenneth Branagh recently received some of the best reviews of his career for his semi-autobiographical coming-of-age masterpiece. Belfast. Belfast marked a return to form for Branagh after a few critically acclaimed big-budget blockbusters.

Before being a go-to filmmaker for studio masts, Branagh was Hollywood’s go-to filmmaker for refreshingly accessible Shakespeare adaptations. Washington played the role of Don Pedro in Branagh A lot of noise for nothing film.


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8 Antoine Fouqua


Usually, Best Actor awards are reserved for the performers behind the moral protagonists of their films. But the Academy made an exception for Washington’s fascinating turn as a corrupt cop in Antoine Fuqua’s crime thriller training day.

After the phenomenal success of training dayWashington reunited with Fuqua for a few more action-packed gems, including a remake of The Magnificent Seven and the film version of The equalizer (and its sequel).


7 Alan J. Pakula


Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington towards the camera in The Pelican Brief (1993)

Alan J. Pakula is renowned for his Nixon-era “paranoia trilogy.” Made up of Klute, The parallax viewand All the President’s Menthis trilogy is made up of three tense thrillers that beautifully evoke the political division surrounding the Watergate scandal.

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Pakula also delivered one of the best performances of Meryl Streep’s career in the title role of Sophia’s Choice. Washington worked with Pakula on The Brief Pelicanone of John Grisham’s best adaptations.


6 Norman Jewison


Norman Jewison has the impressive distinction of having been nominated for the Best Director Oscar three times in three different decades: for In the heat of the Night in the 1960s, for fiddler on the roof in the 1970s, and for Dreamer In the 1980’s.

Washington collaborated with Jewison to bring to the screen the tragic story of Rubin Carter, a promising boxer whose career was destroyed by years of wrongful imprisonment. the hurricane.


5 Ridley Scott


Denzel Washington Idris Elba American mobster Ridley Scott

Since Extraterrestrial for blade runner for Gladiator, Ridley Scott is responsible for some of the most legendary films ever made. With the double whammy of last year The last duel and Gucci Houseit’s clear that the director is still going strong.

Washington was best known for working with Tony Scott, but he played real drug kingpin Frank Lucas in his brother Ridley’s critically acclaimed biopic. american mobster.


4 Jonathan Deme


Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington in court in Philadelphia

Although he made a name for himself with naturalistic comedies like Melvin and Howard and Married to the MafiaJonathan Demme has joined the pantheon of the world’s greatest filmmakers with his masterfully crafted crime thriller Thesilenceofthelambsthe first (and, so far, only) horror film to win the Best Picture Oscar.

Demme led Washington in philadelphia creamthe first major Hollywood film to tackle the AIDS crisis, and a remake of the political actor The Manchu Candidate.




3 Joel Coen


denzel washington tragedy macbeth

Kenneth Branagh isn’t the only filmmaker to cast Washington in an adaptation of Shakespeare. The actor recently teamed up with Joel Coen, branching out as a solo director without his brother’s input, to Macbeth’s Tragedy.

RELATED: The Coen Brothers’ 10 Best Twists, Ranked

Together, the Coen brothers made some of the most acclaimed films ever made, from Fargo for Raising Arizona for Inside Llewyn Davis for There is no country for old people.


2 Tony Scott


Denzel washing in taking Pelham 123

Before legendary action director Tony Scott passed away in 2012, he regularly chose Washington to helm his movies. It marked one of the most iconic actor-director pairings of all time: Scott had a classic movie star to ground his action movies with depth and nuance, and Washington had an “actor director” who could bring out his best work.

Scott and Washington have collaborated on all kinds of thrillers: Underwater Thriller Crimson Tiderevenge thriller man on firesci-fi techno-thriller Already seena remake of the thriller The Capture of Pelham 123and getaway train thriller unstoppable (which ended up being Scott’s last film).


1 Spike Lee


Denzel Washington seated behind microphones in Malcolm X.

In addition to Tony Scott, Washington has frequently worked with Spike Lee. Lee helped revitalize independent cinema with his feature debut She must have it and conducted universally acclaimed masterpieces like do the right thing and BlacKkKlansman.

Washington worked with Lee on the musical Mo’ Better Bluesthe biopic Malcolm X (in which he gave one of his greatest performances of all time as a titular human rights activist), the sports film He has gameand the bank robbery thriller Inside the man.

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