The Film

Fences is a 2016 American drama film directed by and starring Denzel Washington and written by August Wilson, based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name. Wilson died in 2005, but completed a screenplay before his death. In addition to Washington, the film also stars Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson, Jovan Adepo, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson and Saniyya Sidney.

Principal photography on the film began on 25 April 2016, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the Hill District, and wrapped in mid-June 2016. Fences was released in the United States on 16 December 2016 by Paramount Pictures.

Fences received very positive reviews and was chosen by the American Film Institute as one of the top ten films of 2016. It has been nominated for numerous awards, including four Oscar nominations at the 89th Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actor (Washington), Best Supporting Actress (Davis), and Best Adapted Screenplay, with Davis winning for her performance. It also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor for Washington and a Best Supporting Actress win for Davis.

Cinema Trailer




Previous attempts to adapt August Wilson's 'Fences' for the screen had been fruitless, partly due to Wilson's insistence on utilizing an African-American director. In a 2013 interview with Empire, Denzel Washington expressed his intention to star in and direct an adaptation of 'Fences', reprising his role from the 2010 Broadway revival of the play, which, like the film, was produced by Scott Rudin.

On 28 January 2016, it was reported that Rudin, Washington, and Todd Black would produce a film adaptation of the play, directed by Washington and starring Washington and Viola Davis, reprising their roles from the 2010 revival that earned both actors Tony Awards. Playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner came aboard to build on a draft written by Wilson before his death in 2005. However, Wilson is the only credited screenwriter for the film, while Kushner received a co-producer credit.

Black explained that Washington insisted that they remain faithful to Wilson's work, saying, "The star of the movie is the screenplay and August Wilson's words. What Denzel said to me, to Scott, to all the actors, the cinematographer, and the production designer was, 'Don't make any decision without August Wilson's words leading you to make that decision.' Whatever you do, let the words inform your decision first. That's what we all had to abide by."

On 4 April 4, Mykelti Williamson, Jovan Adepo, Russell Hornsby, Stephen Henderson, and Saniyya Sidney joined the cast, with Williamson, Hornsby, and Henderson also reprising their roles from the 2010 production.


On 25 April 25, it was reported that Fences had begun filming in Pittsburgh. On 14 June 2016, principal photography was completed. Post-production was completed in mid-November. Charlotte Bruus Christensen was the director of photography, David Gropman was the production designer, Sharen Davis was the costume designer, Hughes Winborne edited the film, Sean Devereaux was the visual effects supervisor, and Marcelo Zarvos composed the film's score.


The film began a limited release on 16 December 2016, before opening wide in 2,223 theatres on 25 December.


• Denzel Washington as Troy Maxson
• Viola Davis as Rose Lee Maxson, Troy's wife
• Stephen Henderson as Jim Bono, Troy's friend
• Jovan Adepo as Cory Maxson, son of Rose and Troy
• Russell Hornsby as Lyons Maxson, Troy's son from a previous relationship
• Mykelti Williamson as Gabriel Maxson, brother of Troy
• Saniyya Sidney as Raynell Maxson, daughter of Troy and his mistress, Alberta.

Critical Reception

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 93%. The site's critical consensus reads, "From its reunited Broadway stars to its screenplay, the solidly crafted Fences finds its Pulitzer-winning source material fundamentally unchanged – and still just as powerful." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 79 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.

Steve Pulaski of Influx Magazine gave the film an A+, saying, "August Wilson keenly summarized the pitfalls and hardships of the black community by making slice-of-life dramas and intimately written poems like 'The Janitor', and Fences works to capture that by presenting us with characters that aren't easily defined and moments that are enthralling in how impacting they can be." Ty Burr of the Boston Globe wrote, "You don't get groundbreaking cinema from Fences, but what you do get - two titanic performances and an immeasurable American drama - makes up for that."