Best Viola Davis Movies and TV Shows, Ranked

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Viola Davis, an accomplished American actress and producer, stands out as one of the few performers who have achieved the prestigious EGOT status. This remarkable distinction entails being honored with an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony award. She is the only black actress who has achieved the Triple Crown of Acting, and in 2012 and 2017, Time recognized her as one of the 100 most influential people worldwide. Additionally, in 2020, The New York Times ranked her ninth on their list of the greatest actors of the 21st century. Her notable and intriguing roles have earned her critical acclaim in film, television, and theater. As a select feature today, we have handpicked the best Viola Davis Movies and TV shows ranked per their IMDb Ratings.

Top 10 Viola Davis Movies and TV Shows According to IMDb Rating 


IMDb Rating: 8.3

Viola Davis appeared in the first season’s first episode, “A Whole New Whirled,” and the eighth episode, “It’s Cow or Never,” of the superhero series Peacemaker, a spin-off from the 2021 movie The Suicide Squad. Both were received well by the critics. James Gunn wrote and directed the episodes. The actress made an uncredited cameo appearance as Amanda Waller, reprising her role from the DC Extended Universe.


  • Viola Davis
  • John Cena
Created By James Gunn
Release Date January 13, 2022
Running Time 39–47 minutes


IMDb Rating: 8.1

The thriller Prisoners was a financial and critical triumph, generating US$122 million worldwide. The National Board of Review named it one of the top ten films of 2013, and Roger Deakins was nominated for Best Cinematography at the 86th Academy Awards. Viola Davis essayed the pivotal character of Nancy Birch. There is some deft foreboding, some clever turns, and a gratifying conclusion in Prisoners. The eerie atmosphere and cinematic style make it an unforgettable, lingering horror entertainer.


  • Viola Davis
  • Hugh Jackman
  • Jake Gyllenhaal
  • Maria Bello
Director Denis Villeneuve
Release Date September 20, 2013
Running Time 153 minutes

The Help 

IMDb Rating: 8.1

The Help is a period drama film based on the 2009 book of the same title by Kathryn Stockett.  It was a box office success, earning $216.6 million against a budget of $25 million. Although The Help does not delve deeply into its racial themes, it succeeds primarily due to its exceptional cast. Viola Davis, in particular, delivered a remarkable performance that could easily carry the film on its own. The film received criticism for its portrayal of race, with some arguing that it perpetuated a white savior narrative. U.S. audiences can watch The Help on Amazon Prime Video.


  • Jessica Chastain
  • Viola Davis
  • Bryce Dallas Howard
  • Allison Janney
  • Octavia Spencer
  • Emma Stone
  • Sissy Spacek
Director Tate Taylor
Release Date August 10, 2011
Running Time 146 minutes

How to Get Away with Murder

IMDb Rating: 8.1

How to Get Away with Murder is a captivating legal drama thriller television series that debuted on ABC on September 25, 2014, and wrapped up on May 14, 2020. Viola Davis portrays the character of Annalise Keating, a highly skilled defense attorney and esteemed law professor at a renowned university in Philadelphia. In the show, she and five of her students get caught up in a murderous scheme. Davis received widespread critical acclaim for her performance, making her the first Black woman to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Additionally, she won two Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series and the Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series. She was also nominated for Best Actress in a Television Series at the Golden Globe Awards, Best Actress in a Drama Series by the Critics’ Choice Awards, and Individual Achievement in Drama by the Television Critics Association at the TCA Awards. The series is streaming on Netflix on a membership basis.


  • Viola Davis
  • Billy Brown
  • Alfred Enoch
  • Jack Falahee
  • Katie Findlay
  • Aja Naomi King
  • Matt McGorry
  • Karla Souza
  • Charlie Weber
  • Liza Weil
  • Conrad Ricamora
  • Rome Flynn
  • Amirah Vann
  • Timothy Hutton
Created by Peter Nowalk
Release Date September 25, 2014
Running Time 43 minutes

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

IMDb Rating:  8.1

Viola Davis appeared as an additional character in seven episodes of the crime drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit/ Law & Order: SVU from 2003 to 2008. She played the role of Donna Emmett. The episodes featuring the actor were titled Mercy, Grief, Birthright, Doubt, Cage, Cold, and Retro, spread across seasons from 4 to 10, garnered a U.S. viewership in millions of 15.50, 13.97, 14.20, 15.20, 14.20, 10.83, and 9.20, respectively.


  • Viola Davis
Created by Dick Wolf
Release Date September 20, 1999
Running Time  minutes


IMDb Rating: 8.1

Viola Davis appeared in all eight episodes of the thriller television series Traveler. The viewership of the episodes ranged between 3 and 9 million. She portrayed the character of Special Agent Jan Marlow. The show received mixed reviews.


  • Viola Davis
  • Aaron Stanford
  • Matt Bomer
  • Logan Marshall-Green
Created by David DiGilio
Release Date May 10, 2007
Running Time 42 minutes

Third Watch

IMDb Rating: 8.0

In Third Watch’s eighth episode of season three, Viola Davis briefly appeared, essaying the character of Margo Rodriguez. Debuting on December 10, 2001, the episode titled “Act Brave” was written by Scott Williams and directed by Brooke Kennedy.


  • Viola Davis
Created by John Wells
Release Date September 23, 1999
Running Time  minutes

United States of Tara 

IMDb Rating: 8.0

Viola Davis appeared in six of the twelve episodes of Season 2 of United States of Tara as Lynda P. Frazier. She appeared in episodes 2 (Trouble Junction), 3 (The Truth Hurts), 4 (You Becoming You), 7 (Dept. of F’d Up Family Services), 8 (Explosive Diorama), and 9 (The Family Portrait). At its premiere, it garnered a U.S. viewership of 0.51, 0.41, 0.40, 0.59, 0.56, and 0.56 million.


  • Viola Davis
  • Toni Collette
Created by Diablo Cody
Release Date January 18, 2009
Running Time 30 minutes

Ocean’s Eleven

IMDb Rating:  8.1

In Ocean’s Eleven, the 2001 movie, Viola Davis provides the uncredited voice for the parole board interrogator who questions the lead character, Danny Ocean (played by George Clooney), in the film’s first scene. Ocean’s Eleven was a box-office hit, grossing $450.7 million worldwide against a budget of $85 million and becoming the fifth-highest-grossing film of that year. It was well-liked by critics.

Voice Cast:

  • Viola Davis
Director Steven Soderbergh
Release Date December 7, 2001
Running Time 116 minutes

New York Undercover

IMDb Rating: 7.9

In 1996, Viola Davis appeared in Smack is Back, the seventh episode of the third season of New York Undercover. She portrayed the character of Mrs. Stapleton. It was written by Steven Phillip Smith and premiered to a U.S. viewership of 8.90 million. The episode featured the opening song: Inner City – “Good Life”


  • Viola Davis
  • Michael DeLorenzo
  • Malik Yoba
Director Jesús Salvador Treviño
Release Date September 8, 1994
Running Time 45–48 minutes

10 Other Popular Viola Davis Movies and TV Shows According to IMDb Rating

Title IMDb Rating
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation 7.7
Scandal 7.7
NYPD Blue 7.7
The Practice 7.7
Traffic 7.6
Doubt 7.5
Law & Order: Criminal Intent 7.5
Brothers & Sisters 7.5
Law Abiding Citizen 7.4
Air 7.4

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