Training Day

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Training Day
Theatrical release poster with original release date
Directed byAntoine Fuqua
Written byDavid Ayer
Produced by
CinematographyMauro Fiore
Edited byConrad Buff
Music byMark Mancina
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • September 2, 2001 (2001-09-02) (Venice Film Festival)
  • October 5, 2001 (2001-10-05) (United States)
Running time
122 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$45 million
Box office$104.9 million

Training Day is a 2001 American crime thriller film directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by David Ayer. It stars Denzel Washington as Alonzo Harris and Ethan Hawke as Jake Hoyt, two LAPD narcotics officers followed over a 24-hour period in the gang-ridden neighborhoods of Westlake, Echo Park, and South Central Los Angeles. It also features Scott Glenn, Eva Mendes, Cliff Curtis, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Macy Gray in supporting roles.

Training Day was released on October 5, 2001, by Warner Bros. Pictures. It received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised Washington and Hawke's performances but were divided on the screenplay. The film received numerous accolades and nominations with Washington's performance earning him the Academy Award for Best Actor and Hawke being nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 74th Academy Awards.[1]

A television series based on the film, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, was announced in August 2015 and premiered on February 2, 2017, on CBS. Only Gugliemi, Berenger and Barry reprised their roles but it was cancelled after one season.


Ambitious Los Angeles Police Department Officer Jake Hoyt is up for promotion and is assigned to work with Detective Alonzo Harris, a highly decorated narcotics officer, for a one-day evaluation. Driving around in Alonzo's Monte Carlo, they begin the day by catching some college kids buying marijuana. Alonzo confiscates the drugs, puts them into a pipe and tells Jake to smoke it. When Jake refuses, Alonzo threatens him at gunpoint, stating that refusing like this while on the streets would get him killed. Jake smokes the pipe, and Alonzo laughs, telling him that it was laced with PCP.

After paying a visit to Roger, an ex-cop turned drug dealer, Jake notices a pair of addicts attempting to rape a teenage girl in an alley. Jake intervenes while Alonzo watches. After the girl leaves and Alonzo scares the addicts off, Jake finds the girl's wallet on the ground and retrieves it.

Later, Alonzo and Jake apprehend a dealer named Blue, finding crack rocks and a loaded handgun on him. Rather than go to jail, Blue informs on his employer Kevin "Sandman" Miller, who is in prison. Using a fake search warrant, Alonzo steals $40,000 from Sandman's home. At lunch, the two visit Alonzo's mistress Sara and their young son. Alonzo then meets with a trio of corrupt high-ranking police officials he dubs the "Three Wise Men". Aware that the Russian mafia is hunting Alonzo, they suggest he skip town. Alonzo insists he has control of the situation and trades the $40,000 for an arrest warrant.

Using the warrant, Alonzo, Jake and four other narcotics officers return to Roger's house and seize $4 million, a quarter of which Alonzo keeps. Alonzo shoots and kills Roger after Jake refuses, staging the scene with his men to make the shooting look justified. Infuriated, Jake gets into a standoff with the corrupt officers. However, Alonzo already planned the day's events and threatens Jake with the routine post-incident blood test, which will flag the PCP-laced cannabis Jake smoked earlier and end his career. Alonzo promises to protect Jake for his cooperation and Jake is forced to comply.

Later that evening, Alonzo drives Jake to the home of a Sureños gangster named "Smiley" for an errand. As he waits for Alonzo, Jake reluctantly plays poker with Smiley and his fellow gang members. Smiley then reveals Alonzo's situation: by midnight, Alonzo must pay $1 million to the Russians for killing one of their men over an insult in Las Vegas or be killed himself. Realizing that Alonzo has abandoned him and paid Smiley to kill him, Jake attempts to flee but is beaten and dragged to the bathroom. Before they can execute him, a gang member searches Jake for money and finds the wallet of the teenage girl, who happens to be Smiley's cousin. After calling his cousin and confirming that Jake saved her, Smiley releases Jake out of gratitude.

Jake returns to Sara's apartment to arrest Alonzo just as he is leaving to pay the Russians with Roger's money. A gunfight and chase ensue, and Alonzo is eventually subdued on the street while the entire neighborhood gathers to watch. Alonzo offers money to whoever kills Jake – to no avail. Jake takes the stolen cash to submit as evidence against Alonzo and the neighborhood gang allows him to leave safely. Enraged, Alonzo threatens to retaliate against the neighborhood but they ignore him and walk away.

Alonzo flees for Los Angeles International Airport but he is ambushed and gunned down by the Russians. Jake returns home as the press reports on Alonzo's death.




Although corruption in the LAPD's C.R.A.S.H. unit was yet to be exposed when Training Day was written, Antoine Fuqua has stated that the emergence of the Rampart Scandal in the late 1990s catalyzed the completion of the film. Denzel Washington also grew a beard in order to emulate the appearance of Rafael Pérez, an LAPD narcotics officer involved in multiple scandals.[3][4] Fuqua wanted Washington's character to be seductive and part of a machine, and not just a random rogue cop. In Washington's own words: "I think in some ways he's done his job too well. He's learned how to manipulate, how to push the line further and further, and, in the process, he's become more hard-core than some of the guys he's chasing."[5]

Fuqua also saw Ethan Hawke's character as generally honorable but so driven by ambition that he was willing to compromise his principles, particularly when following the charming and persuasive example of Washington's character. He has said that he fought with studio executives who wanted to cut the Three Wise Men scene, thinking it slowed the film. He insisted that the scene was pivotal in establishing that at least some of Alonzo's illegal actions were sanctioned by his superiors who regarded unethical behavior as a necessary evil.[6]

Fuqua wanted Training Day to look as authentic as possible, and he shot on location in some of the most infamous neighborhoods of Los Angeles. He even obtained permission to shoot in the Imperial Courts housing project, the first time L.A. street gangs had allowed a film crew to be brought into that neighborhood. The crew also filmed in Hoover Block and Baldwin Village.[7] Parts of the film were shot on a dead end street called Palmwood Drive, where the Black P. Stones Blood gang members were seen on the rooftops. Cle Shaheed Sloan, the gang technical advisor of Training Day, managed to get on screen real-life gang members from Rollin' 60 Crips, PJ Watts Crips, and B. P. Stones (a Bloods set). According to Fuqua, the actors and crew ended up receiving a warm welcome from local residents. When he was unable to shoot a scene directly on location, he recreated the locations on sets.[6]

There were also two police officers on hand as technical advisors, Michael Patterson and Paul Lozada (the latter from the San Francisco Police Department). Washington, Hawke and other cast members also met with undercover police officers, local drug dealers, and gang members to help understand their roles better.[7]


Davis Guggenheim was originally attached to direct the film, with Matt Damon as Jake Hoyt and Samuel L. Jackson as Alonzo Harris.[8] Once Washington became attached to the project, however, he requested to have Guggenheim replaced.[9] Eminem was offered the role of Jake Hoyt, but turned it down to star in 8 Mile.[10] Tobey Maguire, Paul Walker, Freddie Prinze Jr., Ryan Phillippe, and Scott Speedman tested for the role of Jake Hoyt.[11]


A soundtrack to the film was released on September 11, 2001, by Priority Records. It peaked at 35 on the Billboard 200 and 19 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and spawned two hit singles, Nelly's "#1" and Dr. Dre and DJ Quik's "Put It on Me".


Training Day was originally scheduled for release on September 21, 2001, and had a strong advertising push.[12] However, following the September 11 attacks, the film was pushed back to October 5, 2001, replacing Collateral Damage's original release date.[13]

Home media[edit]

Training Day was initially released on DVD and VHS on March 19, 2002.[14] A Blu-ray version was initially released on August 1, 2006.[15] A 4K Blu-ray version was released on February 28, 2023.[16]


Box office[edit]

Training Day opened at number one, grossing $22.5 million, ahead of fellow new release Serendipity in second place.[17] Upon opening, it achieved the second-highest October opening weekend, behind Meet the Parents.[18] It repeated in the top spot in its second weekend, above that week's new release of Bandits in second place, and spent its first six weeks in the Top 10 at the box office.[19] It went on to gross $76.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $28.2 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $104.9 million,[20] against a budget of $45 million.[21]

Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 74% of 170 critics' reviews are positive. The website's consensus reads: "The ending may be less than satisfying, but Denzel Washington reminds us why he's such a great actor in this taut and brutal police drama."[22] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 71 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[23] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[24]

Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert said: "Washington seems to enjoy a performance that's over the top and down the other side".[25] Ebert gave the film three out of four stars, praising both the lead and supporting actors and the film's gritty, kinetic energy. He noted several plot holes and wrote that "[a] lot of people are going to be leaving the theater as I did, wondering about the logic and plausibility of the last 15 minutes."[25]

Writing in The Hollywood Reporter, Michael Rechtshaffen gave the film a positive review, stating: "Denzel Washington ventures into the dark side as a seriously corrupt narcotics cop... and the results are electrifying. So is the picture, thanks to taut, sinewy direction by Antoine Fuqua and a compelling script by David Ayer."[26]

Denzel Washington's performance as Detective Alonzo Harris was highly praised by critics. In The Village Voice, Amy Taubin wrote that his "old-fashioned combination of decency and sexiness suggests the African American counterpart to Gregory Peck (in his To Kill a Mockingbird period), as an LAPD cop so evil he makes Harvey Keitel's Bad Lieutenant look like even smaller potatoes than he was meant to be".[27]


Award Category Recipient Result
Academy Awards[28] Best Actor Denzel Washington Won
Best Supporting Actor Ethan Hawke Nominated
American Film Institute Awards[29] Actor of the Year – Male – Movies Denzel Washington Won
All Def Movie Awards Most Quoted Movie Nominated
Best Bad Mu#&a Award Denzel Washington Won
ALMA Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Eva Mendes Nominated
Excellence in Make-Up in Television and Film Ken Diaz and Jay Wejebe Won
ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards Most Performed Song from a Motion Picture "#1" – Nelly and Waiel "Wally" Yaghnam Won
Awards Circuit Community Awards Best Actor in a Leading Role Denzel Washington Runner-up
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Ethan Hawke Nominated
BET Awards Best Actor Denzel Washington (also for John Q.) Nominated
Black Reel Awards[30] Best Film Won
Best Director Antoine Fuqua Won
Best Actor Denzel Washington Won
Best Film Poster Won
Best Original Soundtrack Nominated
Best Original Song "#1" – Nelly Nominated
BMI Film & TV Awards Film Music Award Mark Mancina Won
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards[31] Best Actor Denzel Washington Won[a]
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards[32] Best Actor Nominated
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards Best Actor Nominated
Festival Nazionale del Doppiaggio Voci nell'Ombra Best Male Voice (Film Award) Francesco Pannofino (for dubbing Denzel Washington) Won
Best Male Voice (Audience Award) Won
Golden Globe Awards[33] Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama Denzel Washington Nominated
Golden Schmoes Awards Best Actor of the Year Nominated
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards[34] Best Actor Won
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards[35] Best Actor Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards[36] Best Actor Won
MTV Movie Awards[37] Best Villain Won
Best Line "King Kong ain't got nothin' on me!" Nominated
Best Cameo Snoop Dogg Won
MTV Video Music Awards Best Video from a Film "#1" – Nelly Nominated
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Motion Picture Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture Denzel Washington Won
National Society of Film Critics Awards[38] Best Actor 2nd Place
New York Film Critics Circle Awards[39] Best Actor Runner-up
Online Film Critics Society Awards[40] Best Actor Nominated
Satellite Awards[41] Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards[42] Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role Nominated
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role Ethan Hawke Nominated
Taurus World Stunt Awards[43] Best Work with a Vehicle Brian Machleit and Robert Powell Nominated

In June 2003, the American Film Institute named Alonzo Harris the 50th greatest screen villain of all time in its list AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains.[44]

TV series adaptation[edit]

On August 7, 2015, it was announced that Antoine Fuqua had decided to develop a television series based on the movie, and had teamed with Jerry Bruckheimer to develop the concept. Warner Bros. Television was shopping the show to the American broadcast networks. Will Beall would write the series, while Fuqua would serve as executive producer, and would direct the potential pilot.[45] CBS ordered a pilot on August 14, 2015. In addition to Fuqua, Bruckheimer, Beall, and Jonathan Littman will serve as executive producers for the series, which is set 15 years after the original film.[46] In May 2016, CBS picked up the series.[47]

In the CBS television series Alonzo is mentioned by Deputy Chief Joy Lockhart when briefing Officer Kyle Craig on sending him undercover at LAPD's Special Investigation Section to investigate Detective Frank Roarke. Frank briefly mentions Alonzo at the end of the first season. The series, starring Bill Paxton and Justin Cornwell, premiered on February 2, 2017, with a 13-episode run as a mid-season replacement.

Filming for the first season had been completed in December 2016, so the run was not affected by Paxton's death on February 25, 2017, two days after the fourth episode aired.[48] The lowest rated drama series on CBS that season, it was canceled on May 17, 2017, the same week the season finale aired.[49]


In October 2019, it was reported that Warner Bros. was developing a prequel to Training Day. The prequel follows a young Alonzo Harris in late April 1992, two days before the verdict of the Rodney King trial and the associated L.A. riots.[50] On February 28, 2022, the prequel, named Training Day: Day of the Riot, started production in California.[51]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tied with Brian Cox for L.I.E..


  1. ^ "The envelope, please: The 2nd annual Foscars". The Journal News. March 25, 2002. p. 30. Archived from the original on May 12, 2023. Retrieved May 12, 2023 – via Open access icon
  2. ^ List, Mallorie (July 30, 2018). "Terry Crews' Best Roles". Complex. Retrieved January 24, 2024.
  3. ^ Murray Pomerance (February 1, 2012). Bad: Infamy, Darkness, Evil and Slime on Screen. SUNY Press.
  4. ^ Jonathan Markovitz (October 14, 2011). Racial Spectacles:Explorations in Media, Race and Justice. Taylor & Francis.
  5. ^ "Man on a mission" Archived July 26, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. October 2006. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  6. ^ a b Fuqua, Antoine (director, primary contributor) (June 3, 2002). Training Day DVD (Motion picture commentary). U.S.
  7. ^ a b "'Training Day' Production Notes". Warner Bros. Archived from the original on January 22, 2002. Retrieved February 11, 2010.
  8. ^ "WB recruits Ayer's 'Training Day'". July 21, 1999.
  9. ^ "Waiting for Superman director Davis Guggenheim". The A.V. Club. October 13, 2010.
  10. ^ "Eminem Gets Day vs. Denzel?". ABC News.
  11. ^ "Training Day". Entertainment Weekly.
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  13. ^ "'Men in Black 2' ending changed because of attack". Messenger-Inquirer. September 15, 2001. p. 14. Archived from the original on June 19, 2023. Retrieved June 19, 2023 – via Open access icon
  14. ^ Godinez, Victor (March 8, 2002). "Heroes of the past are resurrected". The Dallas Good Morning News. Sun Herald. p. 98. Archived from the original on April 8, 2023. Retrieved April 8, 2023 – via Open access icon
  15. ^ McCutcheon, David (July 31, 2006). "Warner's Bundle of Blu-ray". IGN. Retrieved May 19, 2023.
  16. ^ "'Training Day'; Arrives On 4K Ultra HD February 28, 2023 & Digital On February 7 From Warner Bros". January 17, 2023.
  17. ^ "Weekend Box Office Report:'Training Day' Is Lesson No. 1 for Washington, Warners; 'Serendipity' Bubbles Up to No. 2". October 8, 2001. Archived from the original on December 15, 2001. Retrieved September 21, 2019 – via The Hollywood Reporter.
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  26. ^ Rechtshaffen, Michael (September 12, 2016) [2001-09-04]. "'Training Day': THR's 2001 Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on October 20, 2021. Retrieved August 23, 2023.
  27. ^ Taubin, Amy (October 2, 2001). "Temples of the Familiar". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on February 23, 2014. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
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  30. ^ "Black Reel Awards Past Winners". Black Reel Awards. Archived from the original on February 26, 2016. Retrieved August 24, 2021.
  31. ^ "BSFC Winners: 2000s". Boston Society of Film Critics. July 27, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  32. ^ "1988-2013 Award Winner Archives". Chicago Film Critics Association. January 2013. Retrieved August 24, 2021.
  33. ^ "Training Day – Golden Globes". HFPA. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  34. ^ "KCFCC Award Winners – 2000-09". December 14, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  35. ^ "Las Vegas Film Critics Society (Previous Sierra Award Winners)". Retrieved August 24, 2021.
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  47. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 13, 2016). "'Training Day', 'Bull', 'MacGyver', 'The Great Indoors', Matt LeBlanc Comedy & Jason Katims Drama Picked Up By CBS". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved May 13, 2016.
  48. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 26, 2017). "Bill Paxton Had Completed Order For CBS' 'Training Day' Before His Death". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on June 26, 2023. Retrieved August 18, 2023.
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  50. ^ Jeff Snider (October 10, 2019). "Exclusive: 'Training Day' Prequel in the Works at Warner Bros". Collider. Archived from the original on October 12, 2019. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
  51. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (October 10, 2019). "'Training Day' Prequel In Development At Warner Bros". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on December 25, 2019. Retrieved October 8, 2020.

External links[edit]