HBO Max combines the huge film library of HBO with a number of other films available just for the service. But which of the HBO Max movies are the best ones to stream and watch today?
Here are our picks for the best HBO Max movies that are currently available on the streaming service. We kept this list to just the films you can watch on HBO Max. For a list of the best movies on the HBO service, head over to our separate feature. You can sign up for the new streaming service at the link below.
Best HBO Max movies:
Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best HBO Max movies regularly as new ones launch.
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick directed and co-wrote (with Arthur C. Clarke) this 1968 sci-fi epic. Even in this age of CGI, this film still holds up extremely well. The themes of evolution and the discovery of a vastly superior alien civilization stand out, as humanity takes its first few steps beyond Earth. Of course, the highlight of the movie is HAL, the AI in charge of the Jupiter-bound spaceship Discovery. HAL doesn’t want anything to stop this mission, even the human astronauts who HAL sees as threats. It’s definitely one of the best HBO Max movies.
The 1942 classic WWII-themed romantic movie is still highly emotional to watch in 2020. Rick, played perfectly by Humphrey Bogart, is the owner of a bar in Casablanca, Morocco, where all sorts of “business” is taken care of under the table. However, Rick never thought he would have to encounter his lost love Ilsa, played equally perfectly by Ingrid Bergman. Ilsa and her husband are on the run from the Nazis, and they both need Rick’s help to get away from them. Can Rick keep his feelings for Ilsa at bay? Will Ilsa abandon her husband for Rick? This movie is perhaps the first great romantic film, and it’s still one of the best you can watch.
3. The Dirty Dozen
This 1967 movie was a very different kind of World War II film compared to previous such movies. It depicted 12 US Army convicts, many of them destined to be hung for their crimes. The movie takes an unusual premise; these convicts were pulled out of their cells to train for a secret mission just before D-Day. It’s a formula that been used in other movies and TV shows since, including in the superhero genre with Suicide Squad. It’s a lot of fun to watch as these criminals, one of which is a total psycho, try to work together. It’s certainly one of the best HBO Max movies you can watch.
This is the story of a great white shark that wandered its way well beyond its normal waters and came across the small coastal resort town of Amity Island. It proceeds to do what it normally does; attack and eat anything that it sees. Of course, this 1975 movie was a massive hit and established Steven Spielberg as one of the best movie directors of all time. The terror of the shark attacks still resonates 45 years later, and the final part of the film, where three men in a small boat attempt to take the shark out, remains one of the best sequences in movie history.
5. The Right Stuff
This 1983 film tells the true story of the US space program. It begins in 1947, where the now late US Air Force test pilot Chuck Yeager, as played by Sam Sheppard, becomes the first man to break the sound barrier. From there, we advance a few years until 1957, when the Soviet Union puts the first satellite into orbit. The US now is in the “space race” and recruits a number of pilots to become the first Mercury astronauts. This movie, while a bit long, shows how those astronauts trained for their flights into space, and how that affected their personal lives.
6. Singin’ in the Rain
Is there a better movie musical than this 1952 classic? Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds are all at the top of their game as they play movie performers in 1920s Hollywood. The plot doesn’t really matter. What matters is this movie has tons of great songs, tons of great singing by the leads, and some memorable dance and set pieces that really can’t be topped, even today.
7. The Wizard of Oz
1939 not only brought us Gone with the Wind, but also this children’s musical classic that is still great to watch. Ok, Judy Garland might have been a tad too old to play Dorothy Gale, but you can ignore that for the most part. What you get is excellent songs, some fantastic performances by Garland and the rest of the cast, and some superb visual effects and art design. You also get one of the best movie villains of all time, with Margaret Hamilton’s Wicked Witch of the West. Anyone who threatens a dog is automatically someone to be feared.
8. When Harry Met Sally
This 1989 classic is not only one of the best HBO Max movies, but also one of the best romantic comedies ever made. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan play people who constantly debate whether men can actually be friends with women, without having romantic feelings get in the way. This movie, written by Nora Ephron and directed by Rob Reiner, has a ton of laughs, including THAT SCENE that could be one of the funniest sequences in film history.
9. The Maltese Falcon
The hardboiled detective movie came into its own with this 1941 classic movie. Humphrey Bogart plays the private eye Sam Spade. At first, we see him and his partner accept the job to find a missing woman. However, things go south when his partner is killed, and Spade soon becomes involved in a plot involving a falcon statue. All of the classic detective tropes are here, but few movies handle them as well as this film.
10. Citizen Kane
Is Citizen Kane the best movie of all time? Many people think so, and there’s no doubt that this 1941 classic was a major influence on many future movie directors. Orson Welles directed, co-wrote and stars as Charles Foster Kane, a fictional media baron who, in the beginning of the movie, is seen dying with one word on his lips: “Rosebud”. What did he mean? The rest of the movie looks back at Kane’s life as both a reported, and the audience, attempt to find out what “Rosebud” means. This movie’s use of flashbacks and different viewpoints to tell a story was unusual at the time, but it’s an effective way to keep the mystery of Kane, and Rosebud, alive until the very end.