For over 30 years, Denzel Washington has been one of the most reliable actors in the industry, and has more than assured his status as one of the all-time greats. Not only is he one of the very few talents that can open a movie at the box office based on his name alone, but he rarely if ever gives a performance that’s anything less than endlessly watchable.
The 65 year-old never seems to phone it in, lose his focus or have one eye on the paycheck, which is remarkable when you consider the number of generic action thrillers he’s starred in over the years that were elevated above mediocrity entirely by his presence. Of course, Washington is also more than happy to jump between genres, and the breakthrough mainstream role and first Academy Award win of his career came when he starred in 1989 Civil War epic Glory.
Matthew Broderick may have taken top billing as Colonel Robert Shaw, but it was Denzel Washington that stole the show and walked away with the entire movie as Private Silas Trip thanks to a powerhouse turn that blew the rest of the cast right off the screen. Despite winning rave reviews though, Glory was largely shut out of the major categories at that year’s Academy Awards (aside from Denzel’s aforementioned win), and disappointed at the box office after bringing in just $27 million on an $18 million budget.
However, it was still the movie that catapulted him towards the top of the Hollywood A-list, a position that he hasn’t given up three decades later, and Denzel Washington‘s fans and those that enjoy sweeping war epics with engaging stories, stunning cinematography and intense battle sequences can check out Glory now that it’s available to stream on Netflix from today.