100 Quotes by Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington, a consummate actor with an unparalleled command of his craft, stands as a cinematic titan known for his versatility and commanding presence. With a career spanning decades, Washington has tackled a wide array of roles, bringing depth and authenticity to each character he embodies. Whether portraying historical figures, flawed heroes, or complex antiheroes, Washington's performances resonate with emotional nuance and gravitas.

His ability to convey a character's inner turmoil or conviction through subtle gestures and powerful monologues has earned him critical acclaim and numerous accolades, including Academy Awards. Beyond his artistic prowess, Washington's dedication to promoting diversity in the entertainment industry and his involvement in impactful projects behind the camera highlight his commitment to effecting positive change. His influence extends beyond the screen, inspiring aspiring actors and artists to aspire to greatness while using their platform for social good.

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Denzel Washington Quotes


It's very important to transcend places that hold us. (Meaning)

I'm not a film buff. I don't watch a lot of movies. (Meaning)

If it ain't on a page, it ain't on a stage. (Meaning)

In Los Angeles, everyone is a star. (Meaning)

Without commitment, you'll never start but more importantly without consistency you'll never finish. (Meaning)

If you don't trust the pilot, don't go. (Quote Meaning)

The only thing stopping you from achieving your dreams are the stories you keep telling yourself. (Meaning)

Show me a successful individual and I'll show you someone who didn't give up when they felt lost. (Quote Meaning)

Just because you are doing a lot more, doesn't mean you are getting a lot more done. (Meaning)

Put God first in everything you do. Everything that I have is by the grace of God, understand that. It's a gift, I didn't always stick with Him, but He stuck with me.

Goals on the road to achievement cannot be achieved without discipline and consistency. (Quote Meaning)

Why do we close our eyes when we pray, cry, kiss, or dream? Because the most beautiful things in life are not seen but felt by the heart.

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Be careful what you ask for because when you pray for rain, you have to deal with the mud as well.

Don't aspire to make a living, aspire to make a difference. (Meaning)

At the end of the day, it's not about what you have or even what you've accomplished. (Quote Meaning)

The chances you take… the people you meet… the people you love...the faith that you have - that’s what’s going to define your life.

Do what you have to do, to do what you want to do. (Meaning)

To protect the sheep, you gotta catch the wolf. And it takes a wolf to catch a wolf, you understand?

I made a commitment to completely cut out drinking and anything that might hamper me from getting my mind and body together. And the floodgates of goodness have opened upon me - spiritually and financially.

Nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks. Fall forward. Every failed experiment is one step closer to success. (Meaning)

A man once told me that you step out of your door in the morning, and you are already in trouble. The only question is are you on top of that trouble or not?

In marriage, if you're a guy, learn two phrases. One is "yes, dear" and the other is "honey, you're right." Be patient. Be good friends first. And stick together. You gotta work at it. It's not all a honeymoon, it's not all flowers and roses, but if you're friends and partners and committed, you'll be okay. And everybody's got advice for you - don't listen.

You'll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse. Now, I've been blessed to make hundreds of millions of dollars in my life. I can't take it with me, and neither can you. It's not how much you have but what you do with what you have.

Just stick with your kids. There's no set of rules on how to be a parent. No handbook. Just hang around your kids and ask them a lot of questions. You have to stay involved in your children's lives and monitor everything they're doing whether they like it or not. You're not in the job of making them like it. You're there to protect them in a world that can be troubling.

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My mother used to tell me man gives the award, God gives the reward. I don't need another plaque.

Got to be who you are in this world, no matter what. (Meaning)

I'm very proud to be black, but black is not all I am. That's my cultural historical background, my genetic make-up, but it's not all of who I am nor is it the basis from which I answer every question.

If you don't fail, you're not even trying. (Meaning)

Money doesn't buy happiness. Some people say it's a heck of a down payment, though.

I don't concern myself with award. I'd been to the party enough times to know it really didn't matter.

Some said America took a step forward electing a black president. In light of the unconstitutiona l expansion of powers, lack of transparency and fueling the fires of unrest that clearly hasn't been the case. Vote based on merits, not to fill a racial quota.

The greatest lesson I've learned in life is "Who knows what's good or bad?" Things come along that you really want, and they turn out to be the worst thing in the world. And some of the worst tragedies that you can conceive turn out to be the best things, the exact medicine you need in that moment.

The secret to a happy marriage? Do whatever your wife tells you. 'Yes, dear.' And breathe.

Success? I don't know what that word means. I'm happy. But success, that goes back to what in somebody's eyes success means. For me, success is inner peace. That's a good day for me.

You can’t break me because you didn’t make me. (Quote Meaning)

Luck is where opportunity meets preparation. (Meaning)

I believe in God. I don't fear man, I fear God.

True desire in the heart for anything good is God's proof to you sent beforehand to indicate that it's yours already.

My faith helps me understand that circumstances don't dictate my happiness, my inner peace.

You pray for rain, you gotta deal with the mud too. That's a part of it. (Meaning)

Dreams without goals are just dreams. (Quote Meaning)

Do what you gotta do so you can do what you wanna do. (Meaning)

Man gives you the award but God gives you the reward. (Quote Meaning)

Writing is a weapon and it’s more powerful than a fist could ever be.

For me, success is inner peace. That's a good day for me.

A film is just like a muffin. You make it. You put it on the table. One person might say, 'Oh, I don't like it.' One might say it's the best muffin ever made. One might say it's an awful muffin. It's hard for me to say. It's for me to make the muffin.

Thank God in advance for what's already yours.

I've worked in a factory. I was a garbage man. I worked in a post office. It's not that long ago. I like to think that I'm just a regular guy.

For whatever reason, God has blessed me with the ability, put me in a position to make these leaps and bounds. I'm fulfilling my part of the bargain, which is to give back and be a positive influence on others.

Cursed be the ground for our sake. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for us. For out of the ground we were taken, for the dust we are and to the dust we shall return.

The Bible says "faith without works is nothing" so destiny is great, fate is great, faith is great - but you still have to work at it. I don't just sit at home and wait for it all to unfold.

My mother never gave up one me. I messed up in school so much they were sending me home, but my mother sent me right back.

There's always got to be room for what you might call benign corruption. Nobody blames a man who steals food to feed his starving children, but on the other hand, somebody who picks up a badge and takes an oath to serve and protect; we do expect a certain level of essential honesty.

There's a book called "The Sociopath Next Door." I thought most sociopaths were violent. In fact, they aren't. But almost all sociopaths want to win, no matter what.

I say luck is when an opportunity comes along and you're prepared for it.

So you never know who you touch. You never know how or when you'll have an impact, or how important your example can be to someone else.

What it taught me was forgiveness. It taught me that when people present themselves in a certain way, there's probably some back story or issue or reason for the way that they are. It's not you. It's them. And a lot of times, its about something that's completely out of their control

I actually don't hang out with any celebrities. My closest friends are old friends. And my real close friends, none of them are actors.

My father was a minister for 50 years with Pentecostal Church of God in Christ. We prayed about everything, every day, then he always said, "Amen. God is love." I thought God is love was one word. Like "Godislove." And it took me a long time to learn what that really meant.

Every failed experiment is one step closer to success. (Meaning)

Acting is like music and you improvise. It's like jazz, there's no rhyme or reason to it. It's not a plan. You practice to music and you just play it.

A sociopath will do anything to win. Anything.

Talent comes from God. If you have been given some, then value it, cultivate it, work and develop it.

If you want to be a warrior, you have to train.

I walk by faith, not by sight. (Meaning)

Don't be afraid to fail big, to dream big. (Meaning)

Hate, hatred for yourself, for other people, will confine you, but love can set you free.

The poorest people are the sweetest people.

I’ve found that nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks.

Cats are too independent. They piss me off. They play when they want, and then they turn their back on you. Dogs, you throw the ball, and they bring it back, tongue hanging out, tail wagging. Cats are like "Not right now, too busy." Definitely a dog man. Except when it comes to cleaning up after them! Cats win that!

The lessons I learned in Sunday School have kept me on track

I'm not interested in being a celebrity; I'm interested in being a better actor and a better director.

I'm not a big Hollywood star. I'm an actor. I'm called a star. That's not what I am. First of all I'm a human being; my profession is acting. People give you titles. They say you're an up and coming star, then they say you're a star, then they say you're a washed-up star. So I don't get caught up in what I'm called. My job, my profession, is acting.

As an actor in the theater you're taught that you never play a bad guy. You have to love who you are. You can't say, "Oh, I'm a bad guy." How do you play that?

The time to worrying about flying is when you're on the ground. When you're up in the air, it's too late. No point in worrying about it then. (Quote Meaning)

I work hard for the audience. It's entertainment. I don't need validation.

Acting is just a way of making a living, the family is life.

It's not what you know, it's what you can prove. (Meaning)

We've all received our share of good fortune, so that's my definition of much. A single blessing is all the bounty in the world, and if you've been blessed at all you're meant to pass some of that on. You're meant to set a positive example. That's our responsibility

If you don't love your fellow man, women, person, then you don't have anything. If you don't treat your neighbor as you would want to be treated that to me is the fundamental message.

We do what we have to so we can do what we want to. (Meaning)

I never really had the classic struggle. I had faith.

Revenge is a meal best served cold. (Meaning)

I love research and being educated. It's a great job being able to step into all kinds of professions and into other people's shoes.

It's not easy for me to admit that I've been standing in the same place for 18 years.

We all are doing the best we can. I would like to say that I'm a walking poster board for feminism and women's liberation, but there are things that I do in my life that deeply, deeply fall short of being a statement for being a strong woman. I am flawed as much as anyone else.

I think a role model is a mentor - someone you see on a daily basis, and you learn from them.

Any good piece of material like Shakespeare ought to be open to reinterpretation.

Where I think the most work needs to be done is behind the camera, not in front of it.

I'm older and wiser. So and now having segued into filmmaking I'm looking at [Ridley Scott ] and what he does in an entirely different way and I have respect for what he does and how he composes shots. So that was what was completely fascinating.

I've always felt protected. That's the God's honest truth.

I'd be more frightened by not using whatever abilities I'd been given. I'd be more frightened by procrastination and laziness. (Meaning)

Acting, it's not my life, my children and my family, that's life. I'll get up every morning, God willing, for that.

You don't pick black actors or black directors because they are black. You pick them because they are good. If you lend somebody 50 million dollars you want you're money back. You don't care if they are oppressed. You just want you're money back.

I've always seen it to be a privilege to make movies. It's a really expensive, creative medium.

My ultimate life dream project is my kids. My family.

It's important for us to tell our stories.

There are films that I don't like, and then someone will come up to me and say it's their favorite movie. The movies belong to the people. You make them and you put them out. For me, I love the process of making films. For me, my favorite film is always my next one.

In my humble opinion, in the nuclear world, the true enemy is war itself.

Taking the money from drug operations and all that sort of stuff is something that goes past what most of us in society would expect a policeman should do. That temptation hits the police force at the same time as the temptation to take those drugs that are readily available hits the people on the streets.

When people protest and are upset with a movie, it becomes a big hit. They hated Passion of The Christ, it worked out pretty well for the box office. So let's get that going.

When you make a movie it's always interesting, because you end up in places you never would as a normal visitor or tourist.

I try to encourage actors to work harder off screen because that's where you find things.

We live in a time when people give up too easy.

So the desire you have, that itch that you have to be whatever it is you want to be ... that itch, that desire for good is God’s proof to you sent already to indicate that it’s yours. You already have it. Claim it.

Americans love to talk about the Constitution and how it protects the rights of every citizen and promises freedom to every citizen, but it's also a country based on racism and they don't talk about that too much and every time there's a film which deals with it there's certain parts of the country that feel uncomfortable.

I just try to be honest and true to the character and play the part.

You will never see a U-Haul behind a hearse. (Meaning)

If you have an enemy, then learn and know your enemy, don't just be mad at him or her.

Sometimes when you're the good guy, you're sort of trapped. "Oh, he can't say that." And even when you're playing a real person like a Steven Biko, you're sort of stuck within those confines. So yeah, bad guys do have more fun.

A part of me still says, 'Maybe, Denzel, you're supposed to preach. Maybe you're still compromising.' I've had an opportunity to play great men and, through their words, to preach. I take what talent I've been given seriously, and I want to use it for good.

Everybody has a job to do. There are people in Iraq on both sides of this war who do what they do for religious reasons, and they feel with God on their side. Some people are good at annihilating people. Maybe that's their gift.

Hate put me in prison. Love's gonna bust me out.

The last few years I've been saying I was ready to quit. It wasn't that interesting to me. Now that I'm directing, it's all new again.

It's simple: You get a part. You play a part. You play it well. You do your work and you go home. And what is wonderful about movies is that once they're done, they belong to the people. Once you make it, it's what they see. That's where my head is at.

The strongest, toughest men all have compassion. They're not heartless and cold. You have to be man enough to have compassion - to care about people and about your children" (217) - John Singleton "Oh Man, I've Become My Father

My mother used to tell me: "You gotta smile more. Because if you don't smile, the way you look at people, they'll think you're mad at them."

You have to grab moments when they happen. I like to improvise and ad lib.

I'm a parent. I think we're responsible for the problems that young people have. I believe that. I don't blame them for any of it. I blame us for what we haven't done as mothers and fathers, not sticking together as a unit.

Bad guys need love too. (Meaning)

The only reason I'm acting in films I direct is to get the money to make them, quite frankly, it's not what I'm interested in doing.

I'm a positive person, so I don't get bogged down with it. If you're expecting that, if you wall in that, if you practice that, then you'll attract what you fear.

As an actor, you're a color of paint on someone else's palette. But as a director, it's your canvas and you make the painting you want to make.

I asked my mother I said, "You divorced my dad, how did you decide? She said, "I decided twelve years before he knew it." I was like wow; I'm learning something new every day.

You never know how you're going to affect people.

I'm a logic monster, if things don't make sense I gotta make sense of them.

Say what you really want to say.

I don't feel pressure, because I do what I want to do. I don't feel pressure at all. I've never done any movies because I thought this was what somebody wanted me to do. I'm a bit more, for lack of a better word, selfish than that. But like I say in the movie, you do what you have to do so that you can do what you want to do.

Viola [Davis] is one of the great actors of her generation. She has one of these moments in the theater that I don't even know how to describe.

I still have my unemployment books and I remember when I worked for the sanitation department and the post office.

When my oldest boy was about 14, I started to talk to him about some of the mistakes I made in life, just to put a few dents in that shiny armor.

Religion to me is when man gets ahold of spirituality: "My god is right, yours is wrong." Religion to me is the human condition. "If you're a Muslim, you can't be a Christian." That to me is religion.

We had a guy, a gentlemen by the name of Mr. Greenleaf who lived behind the house we were shooting [Fences], and he was like a part of the movie. He would come downstairs, and he couldn't hear well to say, "Ya'll want some coffee?"

I remember my mother and father arguing about light bulbs because my father thought he could save money by putting 25-watt bulbs instead of 60-watt bulbs and my mother was trying to explain to him that her children needed to learn to read so that they could go to college. He couldn't see that.

My role 14 years ago in Richard III - that was the first time I played a bad guy and learned a lot about it - they have all the fun!

I got on my knees and sort of communicated with the spirits. When I came out, I was in charge. I couldn't have acted that, I couldn't have written that.

I don't look back, no. Maybe when I'm older; people say, 'What's your favorite film?' I say, 'My next one.' I'm not interested in sitting around; I just don't, never have.

We know what hair smells like when a hot comb hits it. That's a cultural thing. We know what that smells like on Sunday mornings, usually church-related or something. In my house, it was getting ready for church and your sister was getting her hair fried.

We've all had some level of injustice, whether 20 years in prison, or 20 minutes sitting in your car waiting for a police officer to determine your future. Or even a few moments in an elevator with some woman clutching her purse thinking you're going to rob her ¾ regardless of celebrity, that has happened to me.

You don't have to kill somebody to play a murderer. You have to read the script and interpret the character.

― Denzel Washington Quotes

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Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.

 
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