117+ Best Denzel Washington Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. is an American actor, director, and producer. He has received two Golden Globe awards, one Tony Award, and two Academy Awards. Profoundly inspirational Denzel Washington quotes will encourage growth in life, make you wiser and broaden your perspective.

If you’re searching for powerful quotes by actors that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes from John Wayne, powerful Clint Eastwood quotes and famous Emma Watson quotes.

Famous Denzel Washington Quotes

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. – Denzel Washington

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

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. – Denzel Washington

You’ll see some great performances [in Fences]. And I’m not just saying that because I directed it either! You’ll see! – Denzel Washington

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

Every punch that’s thrown is mine. Every punch that’s caught, I catch. – Denzel Washington

Dreams without goals, are just dreams and they ultimately fuel disappointment. – Denzel Washington

I’m a logic monster, if things don’t make sense I gotta make sense of them. – Denzel Washington

Dakota Fanning is a child, but she is a wonderful actor. I don’t know what a child actor is. She’s an actor who’s a child. – Denzel Washington

I’ve always seen it to be a privilege to make movies. It’s a really expensive, creative medium. – Denzel Washington

I believe in God. I don’t fear man, I fear God. – Denzel Washington

In the movie I realized, I had the luxury of getting to see how the other person feels. – Denzel Washington

When I did A Soldier’s Story, I was very young and green and thought I knew everything-now I know I know everything! – Denzel Washington

When we shot Cry Freedom, I wasn’t even allowed in South Africa. They told me I could come but I wasn’t going to leave. I had heavy death threats at that time. So we shot in Zimbabwe. In 1995, I had the privilege and the honor to meet Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela the same day: I had breakfast with Desmond Tutu and lunch with Nelson Mandela. Then I had the good fortune to have Mr. Mandela actually come to my house in California. There’s been a tremendous amount of change. – Denzel Washington

When you trust the director, you want to trust his or her choices. I don’t want to say, ‘No, I don’t like this girl or that guy, when the director really loves them. No, you want to go with what the director likes. – Denzel Washington

Revenge is a meal best served cold. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

I wasn’t allowed to go to movies when I was kid; my father was a minister. 101 Dalmatians and King of Kings, that was the extent of it. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

I try to encourage actors to work harder off screen because that’s where you find things. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

Raising the standard of the work, not complaining about somebody not voting. – Denzel Washington

We rehearsed for two weeks [in Fences], and we taped out the whole house in the front, and the rooms, and we stood it up like a play. We tried to get off book and gave people small props. – Denzel Washington

I had the kid [on Fences] who understudied me so I could stand back and think about shots so he had to learn the blocking and everything. I’d come in early sometimes, and they ‘d be in there rehearsing and working on their stuff. I didn’t want them to feel like, Oh these are people who can’t be touched. We’re all working actors; we’re all trying to get better. – Denzel Washington

I think that we all at some point are in search of something – a higher power, whatever you want to call it, the meaning of life. I know I was, especially at even my son’s age in my 20s, and dabbling in Eastern philosophies and yoga and Buddhism and Christianity and Islam. I kind of touched them all, you know, just trying to figure out the meaning of life or if nothing else, figure myself out. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

We do what we have to so we can do what we want to. – Denzel Washington

For me, success is inner peace. That’s a good day for me. – Denzel Washington

Do what you have to do, to do what you want to do. – Denzel Washington

I’m not afraid to upset people. But I am not as upset because I understand what I’m up against. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

In Los Angeles, everyone is a star. – Denzel Washington

After directing the first film it feels kind of tricky being back to being in front of the camera, because I’ve always got one eye over there, kind of thinking of what they are doing, and how the shot is being composed. I think it takes a couple of films to just get back to just being an actor. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

It’s very important to transcend places that hold us. – Denzel Washington

Goals on the road to achievement cannot be achieved without discipline and consistency. – Denzel Washington

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

A sociopath will do anything to win. Anything. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

Growing up I didn’t watch movies. – Denzel Washington

Money doesn’t buy happiness. Some people say it’s a heck of a down payment, though. – Denzel Washington

I read the Bible every day. – Denzel Washington

If it ain’t on a page, it ain’t on a stage. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

At the end of the day, it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished. It’s about what you’ve done with those accomplishments. It’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It about what you’ve given back. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

I’ve just directed a film called The Great Debaters, which is inspired by a true story about a young college debating team in the thirties and two of those people are still alive and we put them on tape on the film and I’m sure that will be added to the DVD, and to get the opportunity to do that is very cool. – Denzel Washington

Man gives you the award but God gives you the reward. – Denzel Washington

Put God first in everything you do. – Denzel Washington

Fall forward. Here’s what I mean: Reggie Jackson struck out 2,600 times in his career – the most in the history of baseball. But you don’t hear about the strikeouts. People remember the home runs. Fall forward. Thomas Edison conducted 1,000 failed experiments. Did you know that? I didn’t either – because number 1,001 was the light bulb. Fall forward. Every failed experiment is one step closer to success. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

In fact, someone was telling me that Gladiator was the one film where Ridley Scott didn’t take a producer’s credit. And it won. But this guy changed the industry twice; with Aliens which was a whole new way of looking at things and Blade Runner that was also a whole new way of looking at things. – Denzel Washington

I had a lot of success from the start. I never really was tested for long periods of time. I got my first professional job while I was a senior in college. I signed with the William Morris Agency before I graduated. – Denzel Washington

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

Come on, I know bad acting when I hear it. – Denzel Washington

It’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove. – Denzel Washington

I called Scott Rudin, and I told him I wanted to do the play [Fences], so that’s how the ball got rolling. I never said, I’ll do the play, and the next year I’ll do the film, I just wanted to do the play. – Denzel Washington

Luck is where opportunity meets preparation. – Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington: I like the collaboration, I like seeing people do well, so I really plan to direct the rest of my days. – Denzel Washington

That’s where you can find things and modulate your performance and give the other actors something fresh to respond to. We’ve probably all worked with actors who when it’s suddenly your close up, they get sleepy. I don’t like that. It’s selfish acting, and I won’t tolerate it. – Denzel Washington

I was first introduced to August Wilson in the 80s when Charles Dutton did Ma Rainey and James Earl Jones and Courtney Vance did Fences. I’ve long considered August Wilson to be one of the five greatest playwrights in American history. – Denzel Washington

Say what you really want to say. – Denzel Washington

There’s racism everywhere. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

Every day, sincerely and without phoniness, Lou demonstrated by his actions how very vital it is – more than anything else – to understand and appreciate the people who work with you…Do your job well, but always remember that the people you work with are your most valuable asset. Embrace them. Honor them. Respect them. – Denzel Washington

It was never my dream to be famous. I didn’t start acting to be a movie star. I started in the theater and my desire was to get better at my craft. It’s still my desire. I don’t consider myself a movie star, nor do I really have the desire to be one. I’m just an entertainer. An actor who works hard at his craft. Whatever labels people give me, that’s not really me or part of my process. – Denzel Washington

I say luck is when an opportunity comes along, and you’re prepared for it. – Denzel Washington

Don’t aspire to make a living, aspire to make a difference. – Denzel Washington

You start to find a rhythm and usually if it makes me laugh or comment in the editing room then I knew that’s what’s going to happen in the audience. That first reaction is usually the right reaction. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

When I was a child, I thought I saw an angel. It had wings and kinda looked like my sister. I opened the door so some light could come into the room, and it sort of faded away. My mother said it was probably my Guardian Angel. – Denzel Washington

Nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks. Fall forward. Every failed experiment is one step closer to success. – Denzel Washington

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

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. – Denzel Washington

It’s strictly business. If I loan you $25 million, I want my money back. I don’t want to hear about the social impact. That’s great for you, but now I’m $25 million in the hole, so next time you come to ask me. – Denzel Washington

What’s a celebrity anyway? Paris Hilton’s a celebrity. I’m just a working actor. – Denzel Washington

I pray that you all put your shoes way under the bed at night so that you gotta get on your knees in the morning to find them. And while you’re down there thank God for grace and mercy and understanding. We all fall short of the glory, we all got plenty. – Denzel Washington

If you want to be a warrior, you have to train. – Denzel Washington

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

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. – Denzel Washington

Bad guys need love too. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

I worked with Sidney Lumet years ago, and we had a long rehearsal process, and he would tape out the entire set on the stage, so I stole that from him. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

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

My ultimate life dream project is my kids. My family. – Denzel Washington

I have a new respect for filmmakers, that’s for sure, ’cause it’s not easy. If I’m allowed to, I’ll be directing for the rest of my life. I love the process. – Denzel Washington

You can’t break me because you didn’t make me. – Denzel Washington

I and haven’t been unemployed for 20 years. I’m an exception to the rule. – Denzel Washington

I know, as an actor, I don’t like sharing everything with the director. And it’s fine if they don’t with me. – Denzel Washington

I’ll be working with Ridley’s [Scott] brother, Tony, again, someone who needless to say we’ve had a great amount of success together. I trust him – so I won’t have to think about it, or I’ll try not to. – Denzel Washington

Fundamentally, the most important thing is to get the film made for me and to get as many people to see it as possible. And if I help that, then – I know I help that, let’s put it that way. I do know that I help that. It is called show business. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

I played Othello, but I didn’t sit around thinking how Laurence Olivier did it when he played it. That wouldn’t do me any good. – Denzel Washington

I just do what I feel and what I like. I don’t necessarily censor or feel an obligation to have a particular moral standard – I’m willing to wallow in the mud, if necessary. It appears as if there seems to be a consistency in result, but maybe that has as much to do with the roles I choose as it does with how I play them. I do what pleases me. – Denzel Washington

You pray for rain, you gotta deal with the mud too. That’s a part of it. – Denzel Washington

I never really had the classic struggle. I had faith. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

I’ve been fortunate. I don’t pick scripts. Scripts pick me. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

I am not going to bury my son! My son is going to bury me! – Denzel Washington

Meryl and Katharine Hepburn are probably the two greatest actresses of this and the last century. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

You don’t have to kill somebody to play a murderer. You have to read the script and interpret the character. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

I talked to my mother about it a lot. I asked her what it was like to grow up in New York and Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s, and I asked her about a woman leaving her husband. I asked her about how she would feel about that woman, and my mother grew up in the Church Of God In Christ, and she told me that the woman might be isolated because the other women thought she might go and come after their husbands. That’s how they thought then. – Denzel Washington

I didn’t realise that Ridley Scott has never won an Academy Award. – Denzel Washington

If you don’t fail, you’re not even trying. – Denzel Washington

I’ve always felt protected. That’s the God’s honest truth. – Denzel Washington

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. – Denzel Washington

If you take the time and put in the effort to write your own material and absolutely refuse to be denied the right to make your film it is difficult whatever colour you are. – Denzel Washington