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Denzel Washington “outshot” real soldiers while making this movie

Denzel Washington went to a military academy while preparing for one of his best '90s movies, and he even managed to unlock a hidden talent for combat.

Denzel Washington played a soldier in Courage Under Fire

Is there anything Denzel Washington can’t do? We know that a Denzel Washington movie will feature outstanding acting, but it turns out that exceptional marksmanship is a hallmark of his best movies as well. The man doesn’t do anything by halves.

These skills came to the fore while Washington was working on one of his best war movies, Courage Under Fire. Released in 1996, the movie follows Washington as a guilt-ridden lieutenant colonel tasked with investigating whether a deceased helicopter pilot (Meg Ryan) is worthy of a posthumous Medal of Honor.

In an interview with Jet magazine to promote the movie, Washington revealed that he attended one of the most prestigious American military academies to learn how to fire a tank. And it turns out he was really good at it.

“I actually outshot some of their soldiers,” Washington said as he reflected on the training. He also said that his perspective on the armed services changed through the process of making the movie.

He added: “The one thing I kept finding out about these men and women is that they’re not just cardboard Rambos. I heard the word integrity used more than ever before. I think we civilians can learn a lot about people in the armed services.”

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It’s fair to say that Courage Under Fire isn’t the most fondly remembered of Washington’s best drama movies, but it was a critical favorite at the time and still has an impressive 86% approval score on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

As for Washington himself, we are very impressed at his prowess at the helm of a tank. Between him and Keanu Reeves, it seems like Hollywood could put up a pretty decent military force. Terrifying if you’re on the opposite side.

You can find out what we thought in our Equalizer 3 review. We’ve also got a guide to the Equalizer 3 cast and an Antoine Fuqua interview.

Elsewhere, we’ve delved into why Liam Neeson would love to work with Denzel Washington and how a drug kingpin told Denzel Washington to win an Oscar. This guy has had quite the career. Denzel, of course, not the kingpin, as you can find out with our guide to the best Denzel Washington movies.